The measurement of the displacements caused by the propagation of a short pulse of surface acoustic waves on a solid substrate is investigated. A stabilized time-domain differential interferometer is proposed, with the surface acoustic wave (SAW) sample placed outside the interferometer. Experiments are conducted with surface acoustic waves excited by a chirped interdigital transducer on a piezoelectric lithium niobate substrate having an operational bandwidth covering the 200–400 MHz frequency range and producing 10-ns pulses with 36 nm maximum out-of-plane displacement. The interferometric response is compared with a direct electrical measurement obtained with a receiving wide bandwidth interdigital transducer and good correspondence is observed. The effects of varying the path difference of the interferometer and the measurement position on the surface are discussed. Pulse compression along the chirped interdigital transducer is observed experimentally.