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All database entries are submissions to the wristwatch category ("chronometres-bracelet") at the observatory competition.The term chronometer is often wrongly applied to timekeeping instruments fitted with an additional mechanism that may be set in motion by pushbuttons to enable measurement of the duration of an event.These culminated in the development and implementation of global satellite navigation systems (GSN-GPS) in the last half of the 20th century.The marine chronometer is no longer used as the primary means for navigation at sea, although it is still required as a backup, since radio systems and their associated electronics can fail for a variety of reasons.

In 2017 the Observatory Chronometer Database (OCD) went online, which contains all mechanical timepieces ("chronometres-mecaniques") certified as observatory chronometers by the observatory in Neuchatel from 1945 to 1967, due to a successful participation in the competition which resulted in the issuance of a "Bulletin de Marche".A mechanical chronometer is a spring-driven escapement timekeeper, like a watch, but its parts are more massively built.Changes in the elasticity of the Balance Spring caused by variations in temperature are compensated for by devices built into it.(The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition, 2008, Columbia University Press).Because only very few movements were ever given the attention and manufacturing level necessary to pass the Observatory standards, there are very few Observatory Chronometers in existence.Most Observatory Chronometers had movements so specialized to accuracy that they could never withstand being used as wristwatches in normal usage.

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