What is Tachymeter in Watches?

Watches are not just accessories for checking time, but they are also a reflection of one’s style, personality, and interests. It’s not surprising, then, that one of the most sought-after features among watch enthusiasts is the tachymeter. But what is a tachymeter and how does it work? In this article, we will explore everything you need to know about the tachymeter in watches.

[presto_player id=1767]

What is a Tachymeter?

The tachymeter is a feature that is commonly found on the bezel of a watch. It helps in measuring speed and distance. A tachymeter can be used for various functions, such as calculating the speed of a moving object, measuring the distance between two points, or estimating the time it will take to travel a certain distance.

To use a tachymeter, you need to have a reference point. You start the chronograph at the beginning of the reference point and stop it at the end. The tachymeter scale will show you the speed in units per hour. For example, if the scale shows 60, it means that the object or event can travel 60 units per hour.

How Does a Tachymeter Work?

A tachymeter is a scale that is marked on the bezel of a watch. The scale is based on the speedometer of a car and generally ranges from 500 to 60 units per hour. The tachymeter works by measuring the elapsed time between two reference points.

Suppose you want to measure the speed of a car traveling on a highway. First, you need to start the chronograph when the car passes the first reference point, such as a mile marker. Then, you stop the chronograph when the car passes the second reference point, which could be another mile marker.

The elapsed time is then read against the tachymeter scale. For instance, if the elapsed time is 30 seconds, the tachymeter scale will show the speed of the car to be 120 mph.

How to Read a Tachymeter?

A tachymeter has a single scale that is inscribed on the bezel of the watch. The scale is based on one unit of measure, such as kilometers or miles. The scale is divided into equal divisions and starts at one end with a zero, which indicates the start point. The scale can go up to several hundred units per hour, depending on the watch model.

To read a tachymeter, you must first start the chronograph and wait for the object to pass the starting point. Then, stop the chronograph when the object passes the endpoint. The elapsed time is then read against the tachymeter scale.

What is Tachymeter in Watches
What is Tachymeter in Watches

Use the appropriate conversion factor to arrive at the required unit, such as kilometers per hour or miles per hour. It is also essential to know that the tachymeter is not a precise instrument and can vary depending on various factors, such as the accuracy of the timing mechanism.

Tachymeter and Motorsports

The tachymeter function is particularly useful for motorsports enthusiasts. It can be used to calculate the speed of a moving vehicle, such as a car or a motorcycle. For example, if you start the chronograph function on your watch when a car passes you and stop it when the same car passes you again one mile down the road, the tachymeter scale on your watch will indicate the car’s average speed in miles per hour.

  • To use the tachymeter function in watches, you must be familiar with distance and time measurement.
  • The tachymeter has to be calibrated for a specific purpose—such as timing a 1-kilometer trail, and measuring speed in miles per hour would not bring accurate results.

Tachymeter and Aviation

In addition to motorsports, a tachymeter can also be useful in aviation. Pilots can use the function to measure their ground speed during takeoff or landing. To do this, they start the chronograph when the airplane’s wheels leave the ground and stop it when they touch down. The number on the tachymeter scale that aligns with the second hand of the watch indicates the ground speed in units per hour.

Tachymeter and Style

Apart from its practical use, a tachymeter can also add to the style of a watch. Some watchmakers incorporate unique and artistic designs on the tachymeter scales, such as color gradients or geometric shapes. The tachymeter function can give a watch a sporty and rugged look, making it perfect for outdoor activities or casual occasions.

Popular Watches with Tachymeter

Numerous watch brands offer watches with tachymeter functions. Some of the popular ones include Rolex Daytona, Omega Speedmaster, TAG Heuer Carrera, and Breitling Navitimer. These watches are high-end and cater to a specific market, primarily targeting sports or racing enthusiasts. They are known for their precision and reliability and are considered investment pieces.

Advantages of a Tachymeter

The tachymeter is a versatile tool that has many advantages. It is commonly used by individuals who need to measure speed and distance frequently, such as pilots, athletes, and drivers. Here are some of the advantages of tachymeters in watches:

Multipurpose: Tachymeters can be used for a variety of purposes, such as calculating speed, distance, and time.

Easy to use: Tachymeters are simple to use and do not require any technical skills or extensive training.

Accurate: While a tachymeter may not be as precise as other instruments, it can provide reasonably accurate results for many applications.

Stylish: Tachymeters are stylish and add a unique touch to watches. They are a great conversation starter and a reflection of one’s personality and interests.

Common Misconceptions about Tachymeters

While tachymeters in watches offer a lot of benefits, there are many misconceptions about how they work. Here are some common misconceptions about tachymeters:

Tachymeters measure time: Tachymeters don’t measure time; they measure speed and distance based on elapsed time.

Tachymeters are precise: Tachymeters may not be as precise as other instruments but can provide reasonably accurate results for most applications.

Tachymeters are only for professional use: Tachymeters are versatile and can be used by anyone who needs to measure speed and distance frequently.


The tachymeter is an essential feature in watches that can be used for various purposes. It helps in measuring speed and distance and is an accurate and easy-to-use tool. By understanding how tachymeters work, you can use them to get reasonably accurate results for calculating speed, distance, and time. So, next time you buy a watch, consider getting one with a tachymeter and explore its many benefits.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *