10 Best Sailing Watches in 2019 – Buyer’s Guide & Reviews

best-sailing-watches

As a sailor, yachtsman or sea-faring enthusiast, you’d agree that sailing and precision go hand in hand. Hence, your wardrobe is incomplete without a high-precision timepiece.

Sailing watches share some traits with dive watches but are more complicated. You’ll find these complications quite useful while sailing.

Need to know when it’s time for dinner? Sailing out on the water or speeding around a regatta course? No matter what your sailor’s watch needs are, our watch reviews on the best sailing watches have got you covered.

A sailing watch can also be called a yachting watch or a regatta watch. It’s a watch that has been specially designed as a countdown timer for sailing races.

Starting a race on the water is not as easy as lining up on a race track while expecting the start gun. Yachtsmen will need to control their boats in the wind and countdown to the start of the race. This is where a countdown timer comes in. From the audible signal [usually a horn], you can start your sailing timer.

So, your sailing watch gives you an onboard progress measurement to when the race will start. This guides you in sailing your boat at speed with the hope of reaching the start line for the start gun to go off.

History of Sailing Watches

The licenses for rotating bezels – used to countdown to the start of a race – were recorded in the 1950s. In the 1960s, these rotating bezels showed up on the Aquastar model. The Aquastar Regatta was among the first sailing watches on the market.

Other luxury watch brands like the Heuer and Breitling brands were also early inventors of regatta watches. These were the Heuer Yacht Timer, Breitling Co-Pilots and Heuer Regatta timepieces.

In the 1970s, the Omega brand joined the train of marine watches with its Seamaster Yachting watch. In the 1980s, Breitling released its Chronomat Yachting watch as a contrast to their already well-known Chronomat.

Finally, Rolex launched its Yacht-Master in 1992. The brand has continued to transform this watch due to its increasing popularity with the entrance of the Yacht-Master II. This yachting watch is quite popular among sailing watch enthusiasts.

What to Look Out For In a Sailing Watch

Countdown Timer: All sailing watches come with a countdown timer. This can either be based on a sort of disc system on their dials or some etchings on their bezels. Whichever it is, it’ll allow you countdown to the start of a race.

Chronograph: Most sailing watches come with chronograph features.

Durability: There are many conditions on the water that sailors or water racers are prone to. So, it’s essential to have a sailing watch that’s built to last and is super durable.

Water Resistance: Just like dive watches, sailing watches have to be at least 100 meters (330 feet) water-resistant. 

Now let’s take a look at some of the best sailing watches for the year 2019.

Comparison Table

Product

Case Diameter

Band

Water Resistance

Price

rolex-yacht-master-II

Case Diameter: 44 mm

44 mm

Band: Oystersteel

Oystersteel

Water Resistance: 100 m   (330 ft)

100 m   (330 ft)

panerai-luminor-1950-3-day-chrono-flyback-regatta

Case Diameter: 47 mm

47 mm

Band: Rubber

Rubber

Water Resistance: 100 m   (330 ft)

100 m   (330 ft)

ulysse-nardin-marine-regatta

Case Diameter: 44 mm

44 mm

Band: Rubber

Rubber

Water Resistance: 100 m   (330 ft)

100 m   (330 ft)

corum-admiral's-cup-ac-one

Case Diameter: 45 mm

45 mm

Band: Rubber

Rubber

Water Resistance: 300 m   (330 ft)

300 m   (990 ft)

omega-speedmaster-x-33-regatta

Case Diameter: 45 mm

45 mm

Band: Nylon

Nylon

Water Resistance: 30 m   (100 ft)

  30 m   (100 ft)

breitling-exospace-B55-yachting

Case Diameter: 46 mm

46 mm

Band: Titanium

Titanium

Water Resistance: 100 m   (330 ft)

100 m   (330 ft)

tag-heuer-aquaracer-calibre-s-regatta-chronograph

Case Diameter: 42 mm

42 mm

Band: Stainless steel

Stainless steel

Water Resistance: 300 m   (1000 ft)

300 m   (1000 ft)

seiko-velatura-yachting-timer-chronograph

Case Diameter: 48 mm

48 mm

Band: Leather

Leather

Water Resistance: 100 m   (330 ft)

100 m   (330 ft)

tissot-sailing-touch

Case Diameter: 45 mm

45 mm

Band: Rubber

Rubber

Water Resistance: 100 m   (330 ft)

100 m   (330 ft)

garmin-quatix-5-sapphire

Case Diameter: 47 mm

47 mm

Band: Stainless steel

Stainless steel

Water Resistance: 100 m   (330 ft)

100 m   (330 ft)

The 10 Best Sailing Watches of 2019

1. Rolex Yacht Master II

FEATURES

Case Diameter: 44 mm
Case Material: Oystersteel
Dial Window: Scratch resistant sapphire
Dial Color: White
Bezel Material: Ceramic
Band Material & Color: Oystersteel, folding Oysterlock safety clasp with Easylink 5 mm comfort extension link
Movement:  In house automatic movement (Rolex 4161)
Water Resistance: 100 m (330 feet)
Functions: Centre hour and minute hands, small seconds hand at 6 o’clock. Programmable countdown with mechanical memory and on-the-fly synchronization. Stop-seconds for precise time setting.

Our sailing watches review wouldn’t be complete without Rolex. The Rolex Yacht-Master II, launched in 2007, is a successor to the brand’s original Rolex Yacht-Master. If you’re after a regatta watch that personifies the spirit of a sailor, this is it.

The yacht master integrates Rolex’s exclusive regatta countdown function that can be programmed from 1 to 10 minutes. This programming memorizes the mechanism so that it can return to its previous setting when reset. Thanks to its Ring Command bezel, you’ll find programming the countdown quite easy.

Within this yacht watch is the Rolex Calibre 4161 movement guaranteeing you of a 72-hour power reserve. Its water-resistance of 100 meters (330 feet) gives you confidence as you show it off from the deck of your yacht.

PROS

  • Gorgeous, legible nautical watch.
  • Amazing aesthetics of the dial.
  • Robust and comfortable oyster bracelet.
  • Chronograph with a programmable countdown function.

CONS

  • It might be heavy and too large for small wrists.

2. Panerai Luminor Regatta Chrono Flyback

FEATURES

Case Diameter: 47 mm
Case Thickness: 19 mm
Case Material: Titanium
Dial Window: Anti-reflective sapphire crystal
Dial Color: Black
Bezel Material: Polished Titanium
Band Material & Color: Black rubber with brushed titanium pin buckle.
Movement: Automatic movement (Caliber P.9100/R)
Water Resistance: 100 m (330 feet)
Functions: Hours, Minutes, Small Seconds, Flyback Chronograph, Regatta, Second reset.

The Panerai watch brand is renowned for its watches made for underwater activities. However, the watch brand launched the Panerai Luminor as a show of its support to yachting, which started in 2005.

The Panerai Luminor Regatta Chrono comes with a professional easy-to-use regatta countdown feature.

This nautical watch runs on Panerai’s in-house P.9100/R movement that gives a power reserve of 72 hours. It also powers the watch’s Flyback chronograph and integrates an anti-shock system.

Get ready for a big day at the races either as a racer or a spectator with this regatta watch and have no regrets.

PROS

  • A simple, effective timepiece with excellent dial aesthetics.
  • Impressive movement with a 3-day (72 hours) power reserve.
  • Legible, practical and easy-to-use.
  • Great face design and color contrast.

CONS

  • Its 47 mm case might be too large for your tastes and wrist.

3. Ulysse Nardin Marine Regatta

FEATURES

Case Diameter: 44 mm
Case Thickness: 20.3 mm
Case Material: Stainless steel 
Dial Window: Scratch resistant sapphire
Dial Color: Blue
Bezel Material: Fluted bezel with rubber inserts
Band Material & Color: Blue rubber strap featuring titanium inserts and folding buckle.
Movement: Automatic movement (Caliber UN-153)
Water Resistance: 100 m (330 feet)
Functions: Hours, Minutes, Date, Chronograph, Regatta Countdown Timer

With the help of Lain Percy and Loick Peyron, the Marine Regatta was launched in 2017. These two are professional yachtsmen from the Swedish Artemis Racing team.

It’s a bi-directional chronograph countdown timer. It automatically starts timing the race once the countdown is complete. This means you won’t have to worry about pushing the restart button at the exact time the start gun goes off.

The inverter mechanism on this model is what we love most. It makes this watch function as a traditional chronograph for time tracking. The regatta’s timer can be set anytime between 1 and 10 minutes.

This sailor’s watch runs on an automatic chronograph Calibre UN-155 movement with a 3-day [72 hours] power reserve. It’s water-resistant up to 100 meters (330 feet) and comes with an anti-reflective sapphire crystal.

If you’re on the lookout for classic sailing watches, this sailing timer gets the job done and exceeds all benchmarks set for it.

PROS

  • Impressive watch that’s in-between sportiness and elegance.
  • It comes with an exhibition sapphire case back.
  • Great fit on the wrist.
  • Durable rubber straps that complement the dial.

CONS

  • It might look big for smaller wrists.

4. Corum Admiral's Cup Ac-One 45 Tides

FEATURES

Case Diameter: 45 mm
Case Thickness: 14.3 mm
Case Material: Titanium (grade 5)
Dial Window: Double anti-reflective sapphire crystal , sapphire case back
Dial Color: Textured blue
Bezel Material: Titanium
Band Material & Color: Blue vulcanized​ rubber strap with titanium triple-blade folding clasp
Movement: Automatic movement (Caliber CO 277)
Water Resistance: 300 m (990 feet)
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date, moon phase indicator, tides coefficient, timing of the next two high and low tides, current strength and tidal process indicator

The Corum Admiral’s Cup timepiece has been existing since 1960. It was launched as the first square-shaped water-resistant watch. It remained so till the early 1980s when its case was changed to a bigger dodecagonal shape.

The Corum Admiral’s Cup is a luxury sports watch that boasts of a water resistance that’s up to 300 meters (990 feet). We believe the chronograph hand design – which also uses the Corum key as the counterweight – of this timepiece is simply glorious.

Turn this nautical watch over and you’ll see its automatic Corum CO 132 movement through the exhibition case back. This movement guarantees you of a 42-hour power reserve.

The Corum Admiral’s Cup is proof of how intelligent design and an eagerness to iterate can bring about a better product.

PROS

  • Amazing watch for sea lovers, with a sporty yet elegant look.
  • Legible and easy-to-read dial with anti-reflective coating.
  • Unique set of complications including tides' movements.
  • Excellent water resistance up to 300 m (990 feet).

CONS

  • None.

5. Omega Speedmaster X-33 Regatta Chronograph

FEATURES

Case Diameter: 45 mm
Case Material: Titanium (grade 2)
Dial Window: Scratch‑resistant sapphire crystal with anti‑reflective treatment on both sides
Dial Color: Black
Bezel Material:  Ceramic/titanium mix
Band Material & Color: Black coated nylon fabric
Movement: Quartz movement (Omega 5620)
Water Resistance: 30 m (100 feet)
Functions: 24 hours, date, chronograph, battery end of life indicator, perpetual calendar, regatta timing

The Omega Speedmaster X-33 Regatta watch is fondly called the ‘moon watch that went sailing’. This sailing watch is a limited edition (2,017 pieces) designed for the Emirates Team New Zealand (35th America’s Cup in Bermuda).

The Omega Speedmaster X-33 Regatta  is a 30-meter (100 feet) water-resistant regatta watch that runs on highly precise thermo‑compensated multi‑functional quartz movement.

Keep track of local and home time while you’re far away from home with its three time zones display.

Like we earlier mentioned, countdown timers on sailing watches are important in yacht racing. They give you a running start of about 5 minutes before you cross the start line. You can activate the regatta countdown timer by pressing the red button at the 9 o’clock mark. This triggers a series of alarms with distinct ringing patterns.

PROS

  • Lightweight and comfortable on the wrist.
  • Lume-packed hands and indices.
  • Good set of professional regatta functions.

CONS

  • Its water-resistance of 30 meters (100 feet) is too low.

6. Breitling Exospace B55 Yachting

FEATURES

Case Diameter: 46 mm
Case Thickness: 15.25 mm
Case Material: Titanium 
Dial Window: Sapphire, glareproofed both sides
Dial Color: Carbon fiber pattern
Bezel Material: Titanium
Band Material & Color: Titanium
Movement: Quartz movement (Breitling B55​)
Water Resistance: 100 m (330 feet)
Functions: Flyback function, electronic tachometer, regatta chronograph (lap timer, regatta times), calendar(digital, perpetual, with weeks indication), countdown timer, UTC world time; pairing possibility (Bluetooth Low Energy) with a smartphone

Looking for a luxury yachting watch with some tricks up its electronic sleeve? The Breitling Exospace B55 Yachting is yours for the taking.

This yachting watch isn’t only for high precision timekeeping. It comes with a race timer system and a host of functions. You can have it connected to your smartphone via Bluetooth. You can check the timer, store/share time measurement and control the watch’s functions from your device.

The Breitling Exospace B55 is powered by the brand’s thermo-compensated SuperQuartz movement. It’s a rechargeable battery-powered movement with a 10-year life span.

The countdown timer of this timepiece is quite easy to use. Even if a judge decides to stop and restart the countdown to a regatta, you can also reset to a new countdown.

This timepiece comes with a 100-meter (330 feet) water resistance, which is fair enough for a regatta.

PROS

  • Smartly designed countdown system with audible, visible alarms.
  • Extremely accurate chronograph.
  • Easy-to-use countdown timer.
  • You can use your phone to make adjustments to the watch’s settings.

CONS

  • The carbon fiber pattern dial may displease some tastes.
  • Relatively expensive.

7. TAG Heuer Aquaracer Calibre S Regatta Chronograph

FEATURES

Case Diameter: 42 mm
Case Thickness: 12.8 mm
Case Material: Stainless steel
Dial Window: Scratch resistant sapphire
Dial Color: Blue
Bezel Material: Blue Aluminum
Band Material & Color: Silver stainless steel, deployment buckle clasp
Movement: Auto-quartz movement (Tag Heuer Caliber S)
Water Resistance: 100 m (330 feet)
Functions:  Hours, minutes, small-seconds, perpetual calendar, regatta timer and chronograph.

This regatta chronograph might not have the same level of history and celebrity affiliation as other regatta watches. Yet, it’s an affordable sailing watch. If you’re all about the task when on board, the Aquaracer belongs on your wrist.

Within this watch is TAG Heuer’s patented Calibre S movement -an electro-mechanical movement. It also includes a vital regatta feature that lets it countdown the ten minutes before a yacht regatta starts.

This regatta is accurate to 1/10 of a second with an impressive 300-meter (990 feet) water resistance. Let’s not forget the calendar feature that won’t need to be corrected for the next 100 years after purchase.

PROS

  • Gorgeous affordable watch with a legible dial.
  • When in regatta mode, the hands move anti-clockwise.
  • High water resistance of 300 meters (990 feet).

CONS

  • Some find it heavy on the wrist.

8. Seiko Velatura Yachting Timer Chronograph

FEATURES

Case Diameter: 48 mm
Case Thickness: 12.5 mm
Case Material: Titanium case
Dial Window: Scratch resistant sapphire
Dial Color: Black
Bezel Material: Stainless steel
Band Material & Color: Black leather
Movement: Quartz movement 
Water Resistance: 200 m (660 feet)
Functions:  Hours, minutes, small-seconds, regatta timer and chronograph.

The Seiko Velatura Yachting Timer Chronograph is the heart of Seiko’s collection of marine watches.

This yachting timer was designed to be lighter, sturdier and more resistant to the rigors of the open sea. It’s made from stainless steel and covered with sapphire crystal, giving the watch a 200-meter (660 feet) water resistance.

It runs on Seiko’s quartz 7T84 Calibre chronograph movement. This provides a free-set countdown timer that’s up to 15 minutes. The chronograph function allows for split-time measurements. So it counts time up to 12 hours, in 1/5-second increments.

It’s got an excellent chronograph movement. So, you can restart the counters and return the watch’s hands to its previous position anytime.

PROS

  • Its colorful dial complements the watch’s unique aesthetics.
  • Elegant, affordable watch with alarm functions.
  • Easy-to-use and activate yachting functions.

CONS

  • It’s not quite easy to tell the time without paying full attention.
  • Alarm sounds are too low.

9. Tissot Sailing-Touch

FEATURES

Case Diameter: 45 mm
Case Thickness: 15 mm
Case Material: Stainless steel
Dial Window: Anti reflective sapphire
Dial Color: Black
Bezel Material: Stainless steel
Band Material & Color: Black rubber
Movement: Quartz movement
Water Resistance: 100 m (330 feet)
Functions: Perpetual Calendar, Chronograph, World Time, Alarm, Month, Date, Day, GMT, Second Time Zone, Hour, Minute, Second, Battery EOL Indicator, Thermometer, Altitude Indicator, Barometer, Compass

The Tissot Sailing-Touch watch is another affordable sailing watch to look out for if you’re on a budget.

What makes this sailing watch so cool? Its great touch-screen sapphire crystal interface. Activate the dial by pressing the button at the 3 o’clock mark.

We love how the case’s design is so smooth. So, you’ve got no worries about your watch pulling at something while you move around your boat.

Another special feature is the countdown function. It becomes a racing chronograph as soon as it reaches zero. Stay informed of the time of high and low tides with the barometer, compass and tide features.

It runs on Tissot’s special ETA quartz movement with a 100-meter (330 feet) water resistance.

PROS

  • Easy-to-use and accurate nautical watch.
  • It comes with a tachymeter scale for speed estimation.
  • It comes with a perpetual calendar and double alarm features.

CONS

  • Quite bulky on smaller wrists.

10. Garmin Quatix 5 Sapphire

FEATURES

Case Diameter: 47 mm
Case Thickness: 12.8 mm
Case Material: Fiber-reinforced polymer
Dial Window: Scratch resistant sapphire
Dial Color: Blue
Bezel Material: Stainless steel
Band Material & Color: Silver stainless steel
Movement: Smartwatch
Water Resistance: 100 m (330 feet)
Functions: GPS marine smartwatch, race countdown timer, autopilot control and remote waypoint marking features, altimeter, barometer, compass, activity tracking for several sports, wrist-based heart rate

Looking for an affordable nautical watch with multisport functions? This should top your list. Garmin is a reliable watch brand when it comes to sporty smartwatches. So, you can rest assured that you’re getting top-notch technology.

This marine watch comes with a heart-rate monitor, tack assist and a race countdown timer. It’s a great yachting watch that can also suffice as a watch for daily wear. Monitor your watch’s settings by pairing it with your phone.

Besides being a great navigator [thanks to its GPS feature], it’s a great fishing watch too. It’s a 100-meter (330 feet) water-resistant timepiece, so don’t take it for a dive.

It lasts up to a day in GPS mode, 14 days in smartwatch mode and 60 hours in activity tracking mode.

PROS

  • A sleek timepiece with stylish aesthetics that make a statement on and off the water.
  • It comes with a Quickfit band system for easy band changes.
  • You can monitor your heart-rate easily.

CONS

  • Bulky on smaller wrists.
  • Quite fragile.

Final Thoughts!

From compasses that help detect line bias and steady your bearings to audible and visual countdowns, it’s all here. There’s an ideal sailing or yachting watch for every seafaring watch aficionado.

Your first time on the market for a sailing watch? It helps to get started on the right path with the right sailing watch reviews.

Looking for a perfect sailing watch as a gift for someone you care about? Awesome. Our list of the best sailing watches will be a perfect buying guide for you.


Marilyn

Marilyn

Marilyn Chase writes fashion articles for luxury power houses that want to see their brands surge. Her articles have appeared in various North American and Western European websites. She contributes articles about design, craftsmanship and manufacturing techniques in fashion. Her articles focus on trends and research supported by first hand interviews and pictures. She is qualified by extensive experience and a degree in fashion from New York.