tachymeter watch

Do you need a Tachymeter watch?

Understanding The Mystique of The Tachymeter: A Comprehensive Guide

In the magnificent universe of horology, each watch holds its own unique charm and functionality. Among the many intriguing features that elevate a timepiece's appeal, one stands out with great prominence - the tachymeter. This intriguing feature, though often shrouded in mystery, serves a practical purpose and adds a distinctive allure to high-end watches. 

Let’s delve into the intricacies of the tachymeter on a watch, tracing its history, understanding its functionality, exploring its different types, and finally, answering the pressing question - Do you need a tachymeter watch?

So, What Is A Tachymeter?

In a world fascinated by speed, a tachymeter finds its rightful place. Predominantly featured on high-quality watches, a tachymeter is essentially a speed measuring tool. It gauges the speed of movement over a predetermined distance, typically one kilometre or one mile.

The design of a tachymeter resembles a speedometer of a vehicle, often located on the outer rim of the watch face. It works in tandem with the watch's chronograph (stopwatch) function, providing a simple yet powerful method of speed calculation.

Tracing The Origins: The History of The Tachymeter

The tachymeter's roots are intertwined with the birth of the chronograph watches, dating back to the turn of the 20th century in Switzerland. This period marks the inception of the very first tachymeter-integrated watches, which were highly favored by aviation experts and automobile racers. They leveraged the ingenious speed measuring function to gain a competitive edge.

Vintage Chronograph watch

Today, tachymeters are a common feature on high-end watches, often unnoticed by the majority of the watch owners. However, it remains a key component of many modern chronographs, with leading brands like Rolex and Omega, among others, embracing the tachymeter feature with great affinity.

The Tachymeter in Action: How to Use it Correctly

To unlock the full potential of a tachymeter, you need to understand its operation. The process is relatively straightforward - with the chronograph hand set to zero, you drive a kilometre and then take the reading on the tachymeter. The reading denotes your average speed over that kilometre.

The Magic Behind The Tachymeter: How Does It Work?

A tachymeter operates on a simple mathematical principle. It calculates speed by dividing the total seconds in an hour (3,600) by the number of seconds it takes to cover the predefined distance (one kilometre or mile).

For instance, if your watch's tachymeter reads 90 after you've covered a kilometre, it means you've taken 40 seconds to travel that distance. Here's the math: 3600 (seconds in an hour) / 40 (seconds it took to travel) = 90 (tachymeter reading).

While the equation appears simple on paper, the fact that your watch can perform this calculation is a testament to the marvel of micro-engineering.

Exploring Varieties: Different Kinds of Tachymeter

The world of tachymeters is not confined to one type. Over the years, different styles of tachymeter have emerged, each with its unique characteristics and functions. Here are a few prominent types:

Fixed Bezel Circumferential Tachymeter

This is the most classic form of tachymeter, used by renowned brands like Rolex and Tag. It is generally mounted on either the fixed outer or inner bezel.

Snail-type Tachymeter

Also known as a spiraling tachymeter or a circling scale, this variant is usually found on vintage chronograph watches. It offers a wider range of speed measurement and is particularly suitable for calculating slower speeds.

Moving Bezel Circumferential Tachymeter

A rarity in the watchmaking world, this type of tachymeter is mounted on a rotating bezel, allowing racers to calculate the average speed for each mile of a race.

The Big Question: Do You Need a Tachymeter Watch?

The relevance and necessity of a tachymeter watch are subjective and depend largely on personal preferences. While the tachymeter's practical application in measuring speed has been overtaken by advanced stopwatches and similar devices, it continues to add a touch of elegance and sophistication to high-end watches.

Whether you're a watch collector or someone who appreciates the intricacies of watchmaking, knowing how to use a tachymeter can be a valuable skill.

In Conclusion

The appeal of a tachymeter watch lies in its intricate detailing, its homage to over a century of tradition and craftsmanship, and of course, its trendy look. So, do you need one? Probably not. But a tachymeter watch is more than just a practical tool - it's a symbol of heritage, precision, and style.

Looking for your own tachymeter watch?

Check out our selection here at La Touraine.