Tachymeter Vs Chronograph Watch Difference In Working & Usage

In full transparency, being an Amazon Associate we may collect a small commission (at no cost to you!) when you click on some of the links in this post and make a purchase. These funds allow us to maintain the site and continue to write great articles for you.

Tom and his team mentions and reviews only those products that they find good enough after using & researching them for several weeks. By doing this we make sure that you get a well rounded review and recommendations to make the best decision for yourself.

Most people confuse themselves between a chronograph and a tachymeter watch and some also consider them to be the same. Although there are some similarities between both the watches, there are also some differences that make both different from each other.

A chronograph watch is a normal timepiece with a built-in stopwatch that measures the time elapsed between two instances. While on the other hand, a tachymeter watch measures the speed over a fixed distance based on the time taken to cover that distance.

To know more about both the watches and how they are different from each other keep reading the article.

Quick links to specific parts of the article:

Tachymeter Vs Chronograph Watches: What’s The Difference?


A chronograph watch can work independently i.e. it does not need a tachymeter in order to measure the time interval of an event. However, a tachymeter watch cannot work without a chronograph because it needs someone to measure the time elapsed between the starting and endpoint of an event over a fixed distance so that it can convert the time elapsed (in seconds) to speed (in km/h).

And therefore you will see that all tachymeter watches come with a chronograph function but not all chronograph watches come with a tachymeter.

Physical Difference Between Tachymeter And Chronograph Watches

The tachymeter and chronograph watches may look similar at a quick glance but if you look closely there is a small difference that distinct a Chrono watch from a tachymeter watch.

A chronograph watch looks like an ordinary watch with three subdials that track time in seconds, minutes, and hours. You will find two big push-buttons on the right-hand side of the watch at 2’o clock and 4’o clock that is used to start/ stop and reset the timer. Also, the second hand on the dial is a part of the chronograph function and it is not used to indicate the time. For indicating time in seconds there is a subdial at 6’o clock which is not a part of the chronograph function.

Chronograph watch

On the other hand, a tachymeter watch looks identical to a chronograph watch as it also has three subdials and two push-buttons. But what’s different here is you will find tachymeter scale readings on the bezel of the watch that shows speed based on the chronograph timer. Some tachymeter watches have readings marked on the dial instead of the bezel so don’t get confused.

tachymeter vs chronograph

So overall in terms of physical appearance the major difference lies in the tachymeter scale readings which you can find on a tachymeter watch but not on the chronograph watch.

Working Of Chronograph Vs Tachymeter Watches

How To Use A Chronograph Watch And How It Works

A chronograph watch works in three steps; start, stop and return to zero. When you push the start button mostly located at the 2’0 clock position of the watch it starts counting the time. The central second hand of the watch measures the time in seconds while the minutes and hours subdials track the elapsed time in minutes and hours.

Some chronograph watches have a 1/10th of a second sub-dial instead of an hour subdial which shows more precise time but it can only track time up to 30 or 60 minutes. Upon taking the readings you can reset the watch hands to their initial position i.e. zero by pressing the reset button found on the watch at 4’0 clock to use the chronograph timer again.

Check out our picks for the best chronograph watches available under $500.

How To Use A Chronograph Tachymeter Watch

The tachymeter readings start at the 7-second mark of the watch at 500-speed units but on few models, it can also start from the 9th-second mark at 400 units of speed. To read a tachymeter you need to start the chronograph timer and measure the time elapsed. Once the task completes you need to stop the countdown timer and match the second hand to the tachymeter reading on the bezel. The number on the bezel at which the second hand of the watch is pointing is your speed.

For example, on your watch, you measured that it took you 45 seconds to complete a mile in your car. If the tachymeter scale reading next to 45-second mark is 80 it simply means you were moving at a rate of 80 miles/hour.

Final Verdict

So that was a quick comparison of tachymeter vs chronograph watches. Put simply a chronograph watch works as a stopwatch and measures elapsed time while a tachymeter watch measures the speed. Also, by going through the article you must have understood that all tachymeter watches are chronograph watches but not all chronograph watches are tachymeter watches. Also, now you know how to differentiate a chronograph watch from a tachymeter watch. A tachymeter watch has a reading scale at the bezel or on the dial of the watch while a chronograph watch has no such readings so you can easily tell which is a tachymeter watch and which one is a chronograph watch.


What Does A Tachymeter Measure On A Watch?

A tachymeter watch is used to measure the speed of a moving car, plane, runner, etc. over a fixed distance.

What Are The 3 Dials On A Chronograph Watch?

The three dials are used to measure elapsed time in seconds, minutes, and hours.

Is It Bad To Leave Chronograph Running?

Yes, it’s not appropriate to keep the chronograph running because it puts pressure on your watch’s machinery which may damage it in the long run.

Tom Nielson

Tom's love for watches started when his grandfather gifted him his Rolex watch when he turned 18! Being a teenager it was a big deal for him. Later when he got his first job he bought Fossil Palm Pilot back in 2003 which was a smartwatch. Since then smartwatches have come a long way and so is Tom's love for them. His experience with watches inspired him to start Wearholic and share his knowledge of wearables including watches, smartwatches, smart glasses, & smart clothing.

Leave a Comment