Show You Four Great Sailing Watches
Ever since John Harrison invented the marine chronometer the relationship between horology and boats has proved watertight. Currently, in the era of GPS, no one needs a timepiece to determine a vessel’s location on the ocean, but having a watch on the water still has its benefits.
Take the Rolex Yacht-Master II: Yachting is one of the few sports where a system of pennants and sounds notifies participants of the time remaining before a race starts, or “the countdown.” The Yacht-Master II has a chronograph movement that is able to measure the countdown—anywhere from 10 minutes to one minute—by changing the crown position, rotating the bezel and pushing the lower chronograph button. With its blue or gray bezel, white dial, a red-and-white countdown arrow and a countdown gauge outlined in blue, the Yacht-Master II is also one of Rolex’s best-looking timepieces.
Staying on the same tack, the Yachttimer Regatta Countdown, a sailing watch from sportswatch brand Alpina, has a rugged appearance and an unusual display. On the black dial, the countdown gauge is an easy-to-read ring of black numerals on a blue background. Buttons on the side of the case set the gauge. As the minutes to the start of the race tick by, the numerals disappear beneath the dial. When the countdown’s final seconds, the numerals are superseded by the black letters S-T-A-R-T on a bright orange background. When the whole word is visible, it is go-time.
Louis Vuitton takes a more complex approach to yachting with its Tambour Spin Time Regatta Chronograph, a mechanical watch with traditional chronograph and countdown timer functions. A button at 8 o’clock on the case selects the function, and the word “Chrono” or “Regate” appears in a window at 12 o’clock. Select the “Regate” function and five red cubes appear at the edge of the dial from 1 o’clock to 5 o’clock. The button at two o’clock starts the five-minute countdown to the race. As each minute passes one cube turns from red to blue.
While all five are blue, the race starts. Since mankind first realized that the seas are a source of food and an almost boundless thoroughfare, we have kept track of the tides.
Now the job is frequently done by some digital gadget—however die-hard mechanical devotees do have an option: the Corum Admiral’s Cup AC-One 45 Tides watch. Launched in 1991 and revamped last year, it displays a wealth of information including the link between the tides and the moon.
A subdial at 12 o’clock shows the phases of the moon and also has a hand and a ring showing the numerals 95-120 and 20-45. During a full or new moon, when tides are strongest, the hand points to 95-120; when tides are weakest, in the first and last quarters of the moon, it swings to 20-45. A subdial at 6 o’clock indicates the time of the next two tides in a 24-hour period and a third, at 9 o’clock, tracks the height of the tide and its current strength.
Furthermore, Corum worked for three years with the Geneva’s Observatoire Astronomique and the French Navy to develop the watch, which can be programmed for tides in coastal areas from poles to poles.