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Understanding Stopwatches

Stopwatches are a great tool for timing laps, relay times, and any time-frame you wish to measure. There are countless different types of stopwatches with varying features. In this guide, you'll learn the fundamentals of a stopwatch so you can be well-informed when choosing one.

What is a Stopwatch?

A stopwatch is a handheld device that records the amount of time that has elapsed from an initial time. A basic stopwatch typically has a main display and three buttons on top. The button on the left is used for measuring lap splits, cumulative splits, and resetting the time. The middle button changes the mode and the button on the right starts and stops the stopwatch. Although this holds true for a vast majority of stopwatches, some models may attribute these functions to different buttons or in some cases, may only have a "Start/Stop" button.

Basic Functions

It's best to consult your user's manual to learn how to use your particular model. However, some of the phrases in your user manual may sound foreign to you. The following are some defined key phrases:

  • Cumulative split: A cumulative split refers to a time that you choose to record while running your stopwatch. However, your stopwatch will continue to measure the overall time in the background. This is a handy feature when you want to make a note of each time a lap is completed. To do so, switch your stopwatch to split mode and press the button labelled "split" whenever you want to record a specific time.
  • Lap split: A lap split measures the time frame in between each cumulative split time. For example, if your cumulative split shows a lap completed at 10 minutes then another lap finished at the 20 minute mark, the lap split will measure the time frame in between those two laps. To find a lap split, switch to lap split mode and press the "split" button every time you want to record the in between time. When you press the "split" button, the background time will start at zero and start measuring your lap split time.
  • Alarm: Most alarms function by either a separate "alarm" button or by pressing the mode button until the alarm is activated. Once activated, you can adjust the time to whenever you want the alarm to ring. You can use alarms to time when a workout should end or even as a morning alarm clock.
  • Countdown mode: This mode refers to a countdown you can set for any given workout or task. You can preset your stopwatch to a certain time you want to count down from. Once zero is reached, your stopwatch may ring an alarm and start counting back up.
  • Recall: A recall button will display all of your past splits. Recall buttons vary on stopwatches and greatly depend on how much memory your stopwatch can store.
  • Stroke rate calculator mode: This function is used primarily for swimming and measures strokes per minute. Typically, you would enter this mode then press the appropriate button when a stroke is completed. Some stopwatches may require you to record the number of strokes within a certain time frame before the stroke rate can be calculated. For example, a stopwatch may need to record the number of strokes in a 10 second timeframe before a final calculation.

Extra Features

Stopwatches can be used for any competition or training session. Therefore, there are many features available to suit your unique active lifestyle. The following are different features you can find on a stopwatch:

  • Water-resistant
  • Shock-resistant
  • Backlight display for easy viewing in dark lighting.
  • Size of display
  • Memory for storing past times.
  • Fun colors
  • Calendar
  • Precision: Stopwatches can measure up to 1/1000ths of a second.
  • Warranties
  • Alarm
  • Countdown timer
  • Stroke rate mode

Perfect Timing

Stopwatches are highly accurate and can measure nearly any time-frame. They're a great way for athletes of all skill levels and sports to reach goals whether it's running a faster mile or improving swim technique. You can customize your stopwatch to have as many features as necessary. With dozens of fun colors and designs, you'll find a stopwatch perfect for your physical activity.

Shop all Stopwatches

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1 year ago.
Folks - do you, or anybody you know of, make a stopwatch that offers the split or lap functionality while in count-down mode?? I am using the stopwatch for road rally purposes where we need to drive a particular distance in a set time, and we have landmarks with target times associated with each. Of course we can do this in count-up mode, but it is easier to just get how far off pace you are in count-down mode, particularly when you get close to the finish and are looking for 00:00:0 when you cross the line. Thanks in advance for your help...

3 years ago.
I was curious how the stroke rate function works? What is the algorithm? I already own an Ultrak 495 and have no idea how the logarithmic countdown translates into stroke count
4 years ago.
Hi, I was wondering if you sold or know of stopwatches that can take 3 different swimmer's times at once? Thank you.
4 years ago.
Hi Cristina, We offer the Robic SC-899 Triple Timer Stopwatch, Speed and Countdown which can take 1-3 swimmer's times at the same time. Here is the link:
6 years ago.
Hi Sam,

We would be happy to assist you with this! Make sure your watch is in Normal Time mode. Then, press "A" 4 times to disarm your alarm and chime. If that doesnt work, then you can contact the manufacturer in the link below. I hope this information is helpful. Please let us know if you have any other questions. Have a wonderful day!
Sam Wheeler
6 years ago.
I have a older model Robic SC-600 Sports Chronometer. Since it is quite
old, I no longer have the instruction paperwork. I do not remember how to
turn off the alarm. It goes off the same time every day & is annoying. Can
you instruct me how to deactivate it? Thank you!
Sam Wheeler
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