Units Per Hour: these three words serve as a unique reminder to the strong bond between the Rolex Cosmograph Daytona and the world of motorsports. The Rolex Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona, or Daytona, for short, is an outstanding achievement in watch design, engineering and functionality. Today, we shall discover how the chronograph function of the Rolex Daytona works and how the Rolex Daytona displays time.
Debuted in the year 1963 and now equipped with a fully in-house manufactured chronograph caliber, beyond the continuous display of regular time, the Cosmograph Daytona allows for the accurate measurement of a time period up to 12 hours long.
The three sub-dials on the front of the Daytona provide a wealth of information to its wearer — when in use. The chronograph complication of the Daytona relies on two pushpieces and three hands to provide a secondary time measuring device that is easy to use and is seamlessly integrated into the watch.
Here is how the Rolex Daytona works. Both pushpieces have a fluted ring around them: these rings are there to provide watertight security to the precious components that live within the case of the Daytona.
The rings are to be unscrewed by just a few rotations, freeing the pushers from their secured positions and now allowing them to be pressed at will.
By pressing on the upper button, the chronograph function of the Rolex Daytona begins its operation. This is indicated by the long, arrow-tipped hand in the center of the watch to start its sweeping motion around the full dial of the watch.
Exactly as the first minute of measurement has passed, this arrow-tipped hand arrives back to its zero position, marked by the Rolex Crown on the dial, and begins the measurement of the second minute. As this moment arrives, the hand over the sub-dial at the 3 o’clock position of the dial ticks over to “1,” displaying the first complete minute timed by the chronograph.
Upon the completion of the first full hour of chronograph measurement, the sub-dial at the 9 o’clock position of the dial will display “1,” marking the first full hour of chronograph timing.
The timing of the chronograph can be suspended by pressing once again on the pusher above the crown. As this is done, the central, long hand, as well as the hands at the 3 and 9 o’clock sub-dials are stopped in their motion, indicating the timed period down to the nearest fifth of a second.
How to reset all chronograph hands to zero on the Rolex Daytona? First, stop the chronograph by the means we just described above. Then, unscrew the lower pusher and press firmly on it. This will set all three hands of the chronograph into motion, promptly resetting them to their “0” position.
What does “Units per hour” stand for on a Rolex Daytona? That is the so-called Tacyhmeter scale, a scale that goes from 400 to 60 allows for the measurement of speed. To use the tachymeter scale, use the upper pusher to start the chronograph when passing by a milestone. By doing so, the arrow-tipped seconds hand in the center is set into motion. When reaching the subsequent milestone, stop the chronograph by pressing on the upper pusher again. The central seconds hand is stopped, pointing at the tachymeter scale on the bezel of the watch: this way, a reading is provided on your average speed.
So, what does the sub-dial at the 6 o’clock position do? Marked up to “60,” this sub-dial is the so-called “running seconds,” or continuous seconds display.
Its hand is rotating tirelessly and constantly, irrespective whether the chronograph is being used, or not. In other words, this sub-dial is the “normal” seconds hand of the watch.
Reading the actual time is therefore done by the two main hands in the center of the dial for the hours and minutes, and glancing down on the 6’clock sub-dial to learn the seconds.
This is the intuitive, effective and brilliantly engineered way the Rolex Daytona works.
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