The Chronograph & its Tachymeter


The Chronograph & its Tachymeter

The Chronograph. Used as a stopwatch yes, but it’s also a complication with a multitude of uses and scales. The function is to measure and record intervals of time, generally activated by a pusher on the side of the watch case to start, stop or reset a counter to zero.

The measure of time elapsed is usually by a long chronograph seconds hand, 2 subdials to measure and totalise hours, minutes, but also quarter hours, tenth hours, etc.

And that’s not all… far from it. Because a chronograph watch can have many different complications.

Levrette Chronographe N°14026 Mouvement Mécanique Circa 1950

Chronograph, a world of complications & scales

Take for example, the flyback complication, a reset function that immediately starts timing a second event without the need to stop the chronograph first. This comes in handy if you need to time a rapid sequence of events such as laps in a race. Another nifty complication, the split-second, has a second chronograph seconds hand so that you may time different events that begin at the same time but don’t end together.

The beauty of a chronograph watch is also the ability to measure other elements besides time. Depending on the different scales on the dial, the internal upper ring, or the bezel, you can measure the heart rate with a pulsimeter, how far away something is with the telemetry scale, and facilitate calculations of time and cost with the decimal.

Omega - Speedmaster Automatic Reduced - Bracelet Nato Cuir Noir

The Tachymeter

One of the more popular scales we see on chronographs is the tachymeter. Other than looking “really cool,” the scale is also really useful.

For example, we can easily calculate the speed of a moving object such as a car. Start the chronograph when the car departs, then stop when you know it has reached 1 mile. We see that 36 seconds have elapsed. The chronograph seconds hand points to 100 on the scale, which means that the car was going 100 mph.

You can also time the car for one kilometer. This time the chronograph seconds hand indicate that 20 seconds have elapsed, corresponding to 180 on the tachymeter. Therefore, the car was going 180 kph.

Distance traveled can also be calculated with the formula distance = rate x time. Keep in mind that this only works if the speed remains constant. For instance you’re cruising on the highway at 75 mph. Start your chronograph seconds hand. When it reaches 75 on the tachymeter it means that you’ve traveled a mile.

Montre Omega - Speedmaster Moonwatch Calibre 321 - ST 105.012-65

Not at all limited to moving objects, you can also measure the speed of almost anything constant in seconds and then convert it into “productivity” over an hour.

Let’s say you want to know how long, more or less, it will take you to write a report. You time yourself writing a sentence. According to the chronograph seconds hand, 15 seconds have elapsed, pointing to 240 on the tachymeter, which is how many sentences you can potentially type in an hour. Pretty nifty huh?

So here you have it. One of the most useful complications that exist…that’s also for daily life functions! An elegant and sure way to respect the boiling time for the perfect al dente pasta.

Bon appetit gentlemen.

Omega - Speedmaster 105-012 Centrale Boites - Bracelet Cuir Marron

To go with a Chronograph

Porte-Cartes en Cuir Pigskin Noir
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