Trying to beat the summer doldrums? We have the solution. Check out your wristwatch knowledge as we bring you some great Fun Facts you may not know. Today we ask you five questions about watches and water sports – an appropriate topic during these long dog days of summer.
photo courtesy IWC
Q: Why do true dive watches have bezels that turn in only one direction?
A: The uni-directional bezel found on top-notch dive watches is there as a safety feature. The one-way bezels turn counterclockwise only so that if the watch is accidentally banged in a dive, the bezel will not move clockwise. An accidental clockwise move would mean that elapsed dive time indicated on the watch would be less than the actual elapsed time, which could cause the diver to think he has more oxygen than he actually has.
Q: What is a yacht timer?
A: A yacht timer watch is one that offers the 10-minute count down before a yacht race starts. The pre-race minutes are critical to the participants, as this is the time they use to maneuver their boats to the starting line and get a good position for when the signal sounds. Some yacht timers offer a different color for the 10-minute countdown and the final five-minute countdown.
Q: Who invented the chronometer?
A: The development of the chronometer is a long and storied one. A shipwreck in 1707 of four British warships claimed the lives of 2,000 sailors when they crashed into the Scilly Isles near the UK because the sailors did not know their longitude. In 1714, the Longitude Act was established by England – providing a prize of 20,000 pounds (about $5 million today) for anyone could devise an effective method of measuring longitude at sea. John Harrison developed the first accurate marine clock, but Pierre LeRoy completed his marine clock a few years earlier in 1766 and it is believed his detached escapement paved the way for others.
Q: What is a Cyclops eye?
Also known as a magnifying lens, the Cyclops eye is incorporated into the watch crystal and lies above the date window to make viewing the date easier. The concept was conceived of in the early 1950s and often, today, is used to magnify other information on a watch.
Q: In 1927, which brand proved its water resistance in the English Channel?
A: The first British woman to swim the English Channel was Mercedes Gleitze, who accomplished the swim on her eighth try on October 7, 1927. Certain questions were raised about her swim, so she announced she would repeat it on October 21. On that date – her ninth swim — she carried a Rolex watch with her to prove its water resistance. While she was unable to complete that swim, when she emerged from the water, the watch was still working. Hans Wilsdorf, founder of Rolex, named the watch the Oyster.
Oh, and here is a question NOT related to watches, but to time:
Q: Why are the days of August referred to as Dog Days?
A: This is the sultry part of summer that occurs during the period that Canus Major — or Sirius — the Dog Star, rises at the same time as the sun. This is typically from July 3 to August 11. It is supposed to be a period marked by lethargy and inactivity.