Sailing-themed models prove that dive watches aren’t the only options for those who love the sea.
Diving watches aren’t the only tickers designed for those who love the sea.
The horological winds of late have brought us a wave of new sailing watches, mostly dedicated to the America’s Cup – the world’s oldest sporting trophy. Known for its historical naval roots, Panerai has long had ties to the sailing world, having had its own Classic Yachts Challenge for more than a decade. In 2017, the brand became the official partner of the 35th America’s Cup, and created five special editions for the event, including models for Oracle Team USA and Softbank Team Japan. But what typically makes a sailing watch? We demonstrate using the – take a deep breath – Panerai Luminor 1950 Regatta Oracle Team USA 3 Days Chrono Flyback Automatic Titanio.
Before a race starts, teams have to line up their craft behind an invisible line in open water, and keep them in position – 10 to 15 minutes before the race. That’s why the regatta countdown timer is a sailing-watch staple. In this watch, a user sets the countdown timer, using the pusher at 4 o’clock to move the red minute chronograph hand backwards. When the chronograph is started using the pusher at 10 o’clock, both the red minute and blue seconds chronograph hands start moving as part of the countdown. Once the countdown ends, the chrono hands start showing the elapsed time since the start of the race.
TACHYMETER IN KNOTS
Commonly found on automotive-themed watches as well, tachymeters are scales that can be used for computing measurements such as average speed over a predetermined distance. The unit for the scale here is marked in knots, so sailors can have a rough idea of how fast (or not) they are going.
Half the fun of sports is having an undying allegiance to one’s favourite team. As the official watch of Oracle Team USA (which, sadly, did not win the America’s Cup 2017), this 47mm timepiece features red and blue contrast stitching, an engraved team logo on the caseback, and black leather straps featuring embossed team logos.
While sailing and diving are both aquatic sports, it is generally not expected of sailors, unlike divers, to descend too deeply into the sea, if at all. Which is why sailing watches, like the titanium one shown here, generally have water-resistance levels of 100m, as opposed to the 300m water resistance you get with dive watches.