The tachymeter on watches: What is it and how is it used?


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The tachymeter on a chronograph watch is a numerical scale printed on the outer part of the dial or on the bezel, which allows measuring average speed based on the distance traveled.

To use it, the chronograph function of the watch is employed. Although it is technically possible to use the tachymeter with the second hand, the task becomes much simpler if we have the ability to start and stop the timing.

Perhaps with just the definition, it might be a bit difficult to understand what a tachymeter is, but once you’ve finished reading this entry and learn how to use it, you will understand it perfectly.

Festina Reloj Cron贸grafo para Hombre de Cuarzo con Correa en Cuero F20339/1
  • Indicador: Anal贸gico.
  • Estilo: Brazalete.
  • Material: acero inoxidable.
  • Cristal: Cristal mineral.
  • Material de la correa: caucho.

鉁 How to use the tachymeter on a watch?

Using the tachymeter on a watch is easier than it seems; it all depends on the relationship between distance, speed, and time.

It involves a simple mathematical operation, where we can know any of the three variables as long as we have the other two.

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The watch can measure time and speed thanks to the numerical scale of the tachymeter. So, all we need is a fixed distance on which to operate it, such as the kilometer marks on a road.

With the help of these marks, we can measure both speed and time. Let’s see how:

鉃 Measuring speed

The simplest way is to do it from a moving car, using the kilometric markers located on the roadside to determine the speed. There is exactly one kilometer between each of them.

  1. Prepare the watch in the chronograph function with the chronograph hand in the starting position.
  2. Start the chronograph when you pass the first kilometric mark on the road.
  3. Stop the chronograph just as you pass the next mark, that is, just after covering one kilometer of distance.
  4. Observe the scale and the number where the hand has stopped. That will be the average speed in km/h at which we have traveled that kilometer.

The scale works the same way in miles as in kilometers; we just need to keep in mind that the units of distance and speed will always match.

For example, if we measure during one mile instead of using one kilometer, the result shown by the tachymeter will be in miles per hour (mph).

With this system, we can measure speeds starting from 60 km/h since most tachymeter watches only have marks to measure over the 60 seconds it takes for the hand to complete one rotation of the dial.

But what if we want to measure the speed of something that takes more than a minute to cover that kilometer or mile? The answer is simple; we just need to extrapolate and make some additional calculations.

For example, if we want to measure the speed of a runner over a distance of 100 meters, assuming they completed it in about 10 seconds, the hand will point to 450 on the scale. But since 100 m is one-tenth of a kilometer, we have to divide that figure by 10 to obtain the speed in km/h.

This is 450 / 10 = 45 km/h. Therefore, the runner had to maintain that average speed to complete the test in 10 seconds.

Similarly, we can use larger distances. For example, if we don’t have reliable marks every kilometer but have them every three kilometers, we can multiply the obtained mark by three to get the average speed for each kilometer.

鉃 Measuring distance

The tachymeter is the result of applying mathematics to time and distance, and like any mathematical formula, we can calculate any of the variables in isolation if we have the others.

Therefore, if we want to calculate the distance, we have to drive at a constant speed for the measurement to be correct.

Once we’ve done that, we just have to wait for the chronograph hand to indicate on the scale the same speed as the car’s. At that moment, we will have covered one kilometer.

鉃 Measuring other things

With a bit more imagination, we can also use the tachymeter to measure anything else, such as the average production rate of a product, as long as it can be manufactured in less than a minute.

Just start the chronograph while the object is being manufactured and stop it when it’s finished. The reading obtained will tell us how many of them can be manufactured in an hour.

鉁 The best watches with tachymeter

Here are some of the best watches with a tachymeter that you can currently get, selected as always based on their quality-price ratio.

鉃 Festina Tachymeter F16760/3

隆OFER! -20%
Technical specs

CrystalMineral
MovementQuartz
MaterialsStainless steel case and leather strap
Case diameter44 mm
Case thickness12 mm
Weight77 grams
Water resistance50 meters
Special functionsChronograph / Tachymeter

Festina is a Spanish watch brand that offers a wide range of elegant chronographs in its collections.

One of the most popular ones is the F16760/3, a quartz watch with three complications, including the chronograph with a tachymeter scale.

鉃 Citizen Aviator Chrono CA0690-88E

隆OFER! -11%
Technical specs
CrystalMineral
MovementSolar quartz (Eco-Drive)
MaterialsStainless steel case and strap
Case diameter44 mm
Case thickness12 mm
Weight163 grams
Water resistance100 meters
Special functionsChronograph / Tachymeter


The CA0690-88E is an aviator-style watch from the Eco-Drive range. This means it operates on solar power or any light source, which is especially useful if you want to use the chronograph compulsively.

Solar watches are particularly practical when they have special functions, as they never run out of batteries. Just expose them to light for a few hours, and they will work for months, even in the dark.

鉃 Timex Intelligent Quartz

Technical specs
CrystalMineral
MovementQuartz
MaterialsStainless steel case and leather strap
Case diameter43 mm
Case thickness12 mm
Weight73 grams
Water resistance100 meters
Special functionsChronograph / Tachymeter


Timex is one of the American watch brands with a long history, although they currently manufacture their watches in Switzerland and the Far East.

They are also known for offering high quality and well-designed watches at affordable prices, as can be seen with the TW2P78800, a quartz watch that stands out for its design resembling a car’s instrumentation.

This watch is made from a single piece of steel and has some interesting surprises besides the chronograph, such as the Indiglo illumination, a system that can light up the entire dial by pressing a button.

鉃 Seiko Solar SSC769P1

隆OFER! -27%
Technical specs

CrystalSapphire
MovementSolar quartz
MaterialsStainless steel
Case diameter41 mm
Case thickness12 mm
Water resistance100 meters
Special functionsChronograph / Tachymeter

The Seiko SSC769P1 is possibly one of the most functional and durable analog watches you can find, as it not only has the classic chronograph/tachymeter but also features scratch-resistant sapphire crystal.

It runs on solar power and is water-resistant up to 100 meters. Definitely a watch that will stay on your wrist for a long time without the need for maintenance.

鉃 Citizen Eco-Drive CB5001-57E

隆OFER! -19%
Technical specs

CrystalSapphire
MovementSolar quartz (Eco-Drive)
MaterialsStainless steel case and leather strap
Case diameter45 mm
Case thickness13 mm
Water resistance200 meters
Special functionsChronograph / Tachymeter / Radio-controlled

When it comes to technology and functionality in an analog watch, possibly the best option is the Citizen Eco-Drive CB5001-57E. A device powered by solar energy that can also automatically set itself to the correct time.

Indeed, the CB5001-57E is one of the so-called radio-controlled watches, so it can synchronize its hands with the various atomic clocks scattered around the world.

It is also water-resistant up to 200 meters and has scratch-resistant sapphire crystal, making it a very durable watch.


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Last update of links and images on 2023-11-29.

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