Whether you’re out sailing on the water, or just checking the time until dinner, no boat owner’s wardrobe is truly complete without a stylish sailing watch. What’s more, the list of features sailing watches can have is continuously increasing.
You can now buy a digital watch with accurate radio-controlled time, tidal data, barometric pressure, temperature, a compass, and even a depth meter. However, many sailors still have a soft-spot for classic analogue watches that don’t do much more than tell the time.
Whatever your preference and budget, our rundown of some of the market’s best sailing watches is bound to have something you’ll love.
1. Optimum Series 12 - £89.99
In terms of value for money, this sailing watch is our top choice! At the modest price of £89.99, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the watch is missing many of the features that make digital sailing watches so helpful. What’s more, the series 12 boasts both shock and water-resistance and is built from sturdy plastic with a removable silicone rubber strap.
The 28mm LCD display enables you to see the time and the timer running simultaneously. For the final minute of a race - when things get exciting – the size of the timer numbers change from 9mm to 19mm. There is also an ‘electro-luminescence’ backlight option, so the display is easy to read at a glance - even in bad lighting - while out on the water.
Image credit: Optimum Time
2. Suunto Elementum Ventus - £412
This Finnish brand has been a hit among serious sailors for many years now, and this new steel model is even more attractive than some of the company’s more practical looking watches. Despite being designed mainly for use on water, this time-piece certainly wouldn’t look out of place on your wrist on land either.
Its features include a barometer trend graph, a storm alarm, an advanced compass, and - for those of you who like to snorkel - a depth meter (obviously, the water resistance of up to 328ft goes hand in hand with this). The glass also has an anti-reflective coating so even in bright weather the watch face is always clear.
Priced at £412.36 you get a stylish, reliable watch, but without the guilt of really breaking the bank!
Image credit: Suunto
3. Tag Heuer Aquaracer 300m Chronograph - £1,750
Granted, this watch doesn’t have the history and celebrity that some other (pricier) sailing watches possess (we’ll get to those later), but the Aquaracer’s more modest price tag of £1,750 means that it proves very popular regardless.
Its understated look with either black or navy dials means it’s a watch you can wear to any occasion - no questions asked. The standard functions (date, seconds dials, counters for split seconds, minutes and hours) work effectively without unnecessary bells and whistles, make the Aquaracer ideal for the boat owner who’s all about the task in hand when on board.
Image credit: Tag Heuer
4. Omega Seamaster Diver 300m Chronograph - £4,000
Known amongst enthusiasts as one of the best James Bond watches, starring in every film since Golden Eye in 1995, the Omega Seamaster Diver 300m has also been relied upon by boaters and divers for many decades. This timeless watch features a faceted black dial with a 30-minute recorder, a 12-hour recorder, a small second dial at 9 o'clock, and (as the name suggests) its waterproof to 300m.
Priced at £4,000, you’re certainly paying for Omega’s heritage, but we reckon it might just be worth it to feel like James Bond while on the water!
Image credit: Omega
5. Rolex Oyster Perpetual Yacht-Master II - £18,500
We couldn’t make a list of the best sailing watches without including Rolex. For those of us willing to drop £18,500 on a watch - labelled a ‘chronometer certified professional regatta chronograph’ by Rolex - the iconic Oyster Perpetual Yacht-Master II has been designed to ‘embody the spirit of the sailor’.
The Yacht-Master II’s countdown can be programmed between 1 and 10 minutes, and the programming even memorizes the mechanism, so when reset it returns to the previous setting. It also helps that this watch is absolutely stunning to look at!
Plus, it’s waterproof to 100m, as you would naturally expect – so you can show it off in style from the deck of your boat!
Image credit: Rolex
Whichever one of these sailing watches takes your fancy, it’s sure to be your pride and joy along with your boat, and it’s a good idea to keep possessions such as these protected.
Insure4Boats is one of the UK’s leading specialist boat insurers – offering tailored specialist boat insurance, so you only pay for the cover you need.
Insure4Boats is also part of Ripe Insurance which, if your watch is among the more expensive ones on the list, offers specialist watch insurance providing worldwide cover 24/7 against loss, theft and accidental damage, giving you protection and peace of mind both home and away.