what is a tachymeter omega

What Is A Tachymeter On A Watch & How Do You Use It?

What is a tachymeter on a watch? It’s a feature found on chronograph watches, particularly ones produced by high-end brands such as Rolex and Omega. Put simply, the tachymeter measures distance and speed. If you’d like to learn about the tachymeter in more detail, this guide will teach you all you need to know.

What Is A Tachymeter For?

close up of black and silver tachymeter watch

Tachymeters are always found on chronograph watches. They can either be fixed to the case or they can be part of the rotating bezel. The scale of a tachymeter depends on the specific watch model, but most tachymeters start at the 7 second mark. The main function of this watch feature is to convert elapsed time into average speed, making it useful for athletes.

How Does A Tachymeter Work On A Watch?

tachymeter scale

There are three different types of tachymeters, and they all work differently.

Snail Type

The snail type tachymeter is designed in a spiral shape. It usually has three different rings to measure time, and it’s the best type of tachymeter to use for slower speeds.

Circumferential On A Fixed Bezel

This is the most common type of tachymeter and perhaps the simplest; the scale is fixed to the bezel.

Circumferential On A Rotating Bezel

You can also have tachymeters that are part of rotating bezels. They measure the average speed over longer distances.

Measuring Speed With A Tachymeter

Breitling blue dial tachymeter watch

When measuring speed with this watch feature, you first need to find markers to track your distance. Once you’ve decided on your markers, start running. When you pass the first marker, start the chronograph, and only stop it when you pass the second marker.

Then, find where the second hand is on the minute track and convert it using the tachymeter scale. This will show you your average speed based on the time it took you to reach the second marker.

Measuring Distance With A Tachymeter

Black and silver TAG Heuer watch

Now that you know how to use a tachymeter to calculate speed, it’s also important to know how to measure distance. The first steps for measuring distance are the same as the steps for calculating speed.

You simply choose your markers, set the chronograph after the first marker, and stop it after the second. However, this time you need to ensure the measurement is scaled correctly to fit the tachymeter. For example, if you were running for 120 seconds, you need to divide it by two to get 60 seconds (anything higher than this will not fit on the scale).

Then, you check what speed aligns with 60 seconds and divide this by two to find your average speed. You should choose your tachymeter depending on which kind of distance you are dealing with as this will make it easier to work to scale. For example, purchase a snail type for short distances and a circumferential on a moving bezel for longer distances.

Who Uses Tachymeter Watches?

black watch on man's wrist

It goes without saying that athletes benefit from tachymeters on watches. It’s an incredibly easy way to work out your average speed – the maths is all done for you.

Pilots also appreciate this feature as they can easily measure the distance travelled by plane based on the average speed they were travelling at. On the flip side, they can calculate their average speed when they know their travel time.

Finally, fans of luxury watches adore tachymeters as it is a prestigious feature of high-end timepieces. Particularly when placed on a rotating bezel, tachymeters look fashionable and futuristic.

Our Final Thoughts On Tachymeter Watches

Close up of tachymeter scale

If you are a keen athlete, a pro pilot, or you have expensive taste, your next watch should feature a tachymeter. Fortunately, you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to this type of watch. The likes of Tag Heuer, Omega, Rolex, and IWC Schaffhausen all sell enchanting tachymeter watches for men and women.

While you’re on the Uniform Wares website, we encourage you to have a look at our collection and see if anything takes your fancy. We may not have tachymeters, but we have sophisticated Swiss-made designs at a reasonable price! Browse our watches for sale today.

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