For those who live life at high speed, whether recording the morning jog or lap times at Kyalami on the weekend, there’s nothing quite like engaging with the stopwatch functionality of an automatic chronograph. Continuously aiming to improve our personal bests, we obsessively monitor every heartbeat, step and kilometer. Although this is recorded via apps and digital devices strapped to our wrist, mankind has been keeping pace of his movements way before FitBit or Apple Watch appeared on the scene. Our fascination with motor racing and speed has lead to some pretty remarkable releases in the world of watches.
Here are a few of our current favourites and some of their key features explained.
1. Dial (or face)
2. Crystal is the glass protecting the dial
3. Case is the main body of the watch, which house the mechanical parts
4. Crown is used to adjust the date and time settings and on the case of non-automatic mechanical watches, it is used to wind a watch.
5. Bezel - this is the outer ring surrounding the crystal. Diver’s watches and chronographs have indexed bezels to assist with monitoring elapsed time. A bezel can be fixed or rotating.
6. Tachymeter scale - either inscribed around the outer edge of the dial or on the bezel. It is used to calculate speed based on travel time or to measure distance based on speed.
7. Lugs (where strap or bracelet is connected to the case)
8. Strap (leather or woven cloth) or bracelet (metal)
9. Date aperture
10. The chronograph is the stopwatch ‘complication’ — the function of a more complicated mechanical movement in a watch that is beyond the simple display of hours and minutes — with an independent sweeping second hand. The button at 2 o’clock is to start and stop the timer and the button at 4 o’clock is to reset to zero. More complex ‘flyback’ chronographs allow the timing hand to be rapidly reset using only one button. Additional complications can include sub-dials to measure lapsed seconds, minutes, hours or even more accurately, the tenths of a second.
OMEGA SPEEDMASTER RACING MASTER CHRONOMETER
The original Speedmaster 'Broad Arrow' was created in 1957 and was so named because of its distinctive hands. It is not only one of the most iconic chronographs, it was the first chronograph wristwatch with its tachymeter scale engraved on the bezel — a feature designed for the benefit of racing drivers. The Speedmaster Racing Master Chronometer with 44.25mm case on leather and perforated orange rubber strap referencing a particularly rare racing dial from 1968 with its distinctive bicolor track-style minute markers, orange baton hands and logo. Its motor racing heritage is revealed this time with a matt black dial featuring orange markings and bevelled 18K white gold arrowhead indexes. Its polished ceramic bezel has a brushed Liquidmetal tachymeter scale for perfect legibility. If a watch has ‘chronometer’ in its name then you can rest assured that it has tested and certified to have met very high standards of precision, this watch powered by the very reliable automatic-winding calibre 9900. POA, call Swatch Group for stockists on 0119111200 or visit omega.com.