What Are The Best Sailing Watches… Updated For 2022

To Summarize: We looked at a wide variety of sailing watches, investigating what we thought were the main things that sailors would find useful. Through our investigations, our pick as the best sailing watch that we looked at was the Optimum Time Series 3 Sailing Timer.

This was our winning watch last year, and in 2022, we still can’t go past it. We really liked this watch for a variety of reasons, however, at the top of the list was its practicality when on the water. It was also very reasonably priced… definitely not over the top, especially when compared to some of the fancier watches on the market.

The main winning points:

  • Extra-large display (16mm high digits), making it easy to catch the countdown timer at a quick glance
  • Audible countdown timer functions at important intervals during the countdown to the race start
  • Sync button, so if you miss the 5-minute gun, you can get a more accurate countdown time at the 4-minute flag

Optimum Time Series 3 Sailing Timer

Optimum Time Series 3 Sailing Watch
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It may not be the most attractive watch going around, but for most sailors, it’s more about practicality and how it works, rather than looking smart, when out on the water.

For a good-looking watch, we liked the Nautica N83 Men’s Accra Beach Watch, so if looks are more your thing, then check this one out.

Our Picks Of Top Sailing Watches

Below is a table of some of our picks of the top watches for sailors at the moment. And further below, we look at each one in more detail, so read on…

WatchNameWater resistant toWarrantyRatingPrice & More Info
Ronstan Clear Start Sailing WatchRonstan Clear Start Sailing Watchn/aPlease contact the seller directly for warranty information for this product.

4.5 out of 5 stars

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Optimum-Time-Series-3-Sailing-TimerOptimum Time Series 3 Sailing Timer5 ATMn/a

3.8 out of 5 stars

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Suunto TraverseSuunto Traverse100m / 330ftManufacturer’s warranty can be requested from customer service.

4.2 out of 5 stars

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Timex Ironman Classic 30 Full-Size WatchTimex Ironman Classic 30 Full-Size Watch100m / 330ftn/a

4.4 out of 5 stars

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Gill Stealth Timer WatchGill Stealth Timer Watch50m / 165ftn/a

3.5 out of 5 stars

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Casio Men's Pro Trek PRW-3500T-7CR Digital WatchCasio Men's Pro Trek PRW-3500T-7CR Digital Sport Watch200m / 660ftCheck with the manufacturer regarding warranty.

4.4 out of 5 stars

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Nautica Men's N09915G Sport Ring Multifunction Stainless Steel WatchNautica Men's Quartz Resin Silicone Watch100m / 330ftNautica 5-year warranty

4.2 out of 5 stars

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Nautica N83 Men's Solar WatchNautica Men's N83 Watch50m / 165ftn/a

4.4 out of 5 stars

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Sperry Top-Sider Women's 10014924 WatchSperry Top-Sider Women's 10014924 Hayden Watch50m / 165ftSperry Limited Lifetime Warranty

4.0 out of 5 stars

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For sailors, a sailing watch is more than just a fashion statement. They are not necessarily a trendy fashion accessory that sailors wear as a status symbol. More than anything else, a good sailing watch is a vital tool; an integral part of every sailing outing.

A sailing watch is just like a good comrade – reliable, trustworthy, and dependable. They excel in the rugged, rough, and tumble of a sailor’s life and are able to keep a good time just the same. They have an array of functions and features that are especially useful when racing or cruising. Every serious sailor owns one.

A seasoned sailor knows exactly what to look for and what they want in sailing watches. Of course, though, every individual has their own preferences. Whether they are looking for basic functions or more high-tech capabilities, every sailor has a perfect watch in mind, with water resistance, an easy-to-see display, and ease of use being at the top of many sailors’ lists.

Whether you are looking to buy a sailing watch for yourself, or as a special sailing gift, check out our picks of the best sailing watch options available below…

Detailed Reviews Of Some Of The Best Sailing Watches for 2022

Of course, we can’t tell you which watch is best for you, as everyone’s requirements and personal preferences are different. However, we can give you the information you need to make an informed decision and highlight some that we like. In the reviews below, we are going to take an in-depth look at some of the best sailing watches available on the market right now.

Ronstan Clear Start Sailing Watch

Ronstan ClearStart 40mm Sailing Watch
Ronstan ClearStart 40mm Sailing Watch

This watch has an oversized display which is perfect for hitting the starting line on time. As would be expected, the watch has a number of settings important for sailing, including time and countdown & up.

The buttons are so prominent that it is just impossible to miss them. It also beeps for low battery warning. It fits well with any wrist size.

Ronstan has a number of different styles of watches on the market, so you are bound to find one that you like.

For the best price for the Ronstan Clear Start Sailing Watch, click here.


Comfortable to wear
Easy to press and find buttons
Easy to read


Watch has been noted to sometimes reset to 12 Noon (this may be when you use the light close to when the battery goes flat, it causes the watch to reset due to draining the battery)
The user interface not as intuitive or user-friendly as some would like – some had to refer to the user manual to perform basic functions
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Optimum Time Series 3 Sailing Timer

Optimum Time Series 3 Sailing Watch
Optimum Time Series 3 Sailing Watch

This Optimum Time Sailing Timer makes it easy to start your countdown when the gun goes so you won’t miss the start.

It has some great features that are specifically designed for sailors, such as a 5, 4, 1, 0 start sequence with audible tones, and a “sync” button so that you can instantly sync your countdown if you do miss the gun by a little.

The extra-large display (16mm or 0.63in digit height) makes catching the time left before a start easy.

It also comes with an elastic strap so that you can wear it on your wrist or over your sleeves, as well as a mast/boom mounting bracket for even more viewing options.

As well as being one of the best countdown timers on the market, it will also work well as your day-to-day watch.

For the best price on the Optimum Time Series 3 Sailing Timer, click here.


Sturdy construction
Easy to wear and to use
The very large display makes it super-easy to read
Good racing functions


The strap may stretch over time
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Suunto Traverse

Suunto Traverse
Suunto Traverse

This watch is more than just a sailor watch… it has heaps of cool features that will serve you well on and off the water.

The watch has an in-built GPS, compass, barometric trending functions, and flashlight to keep you out of trouble. You can track your movements and transfer wirelessly to a map when back onshore to visualize your course over the day. Of course, it is water-resistant, up to 100m / 330 feet.

For the best price on the Suunto Traverse watch, click here.


Long-lasting battery
Good design, easy to read, and stylish graphite


A little on the big size for some people, or those with smaller wrists or frames
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Timex Ironman Classic 30 Full-Size Watch

Timex Ironman Classic 30 Full-Size Watch
Timex Ironman Classic 30 Full-Size Watch

This is a no-nonsense type of sailing watch that suits most wrist sizes, even those who have smaller wrists.

Starting and resetting the countdown is easy, and following race starts for the team becomes simpler with the rolling countdown option.

It is also water-resistant up to 100m or 330ft.

It’s at the more affordable end of the spectrum, so if you are looking for something a little cheaper, then make sure you check this one out.

For the best price on the Timex Ironman Classic 30 Full-Size Watch, click here.


Good entry-level watch –
well priced
Easy to set, easy to read
Great set of functions
Much more than just a stopwatch


Light does not always seem to work
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Gill Stealth Timer Watch

Gill Stealth Timer Watch
Gill Stealth Timer Watch

This sailing watch not only has a large display in the last minute of the countdown but is also audible. The 44mm x 30mm dot matrix display is extremely easy to read even in the rain. It is also water-resistant to 50m.

It has an impact-resistant design construction which is handy when out sailing. It also has a digital compass, a “stealth” mode vibrate function, and sleep mode which can preserve battery life.

For the best price on the Gill Stealth Timer Watch, click here.


Simple design
The large display makes it easy to read
Sturdy construction


It may not be as aesthetically pleasing as some may like
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Casio Men’s Pro Trek PRW-3500T-7CR Digital Sport Watch

Casio Men's Pro Trek PRW-3500T-7CR Digital Watch
Casio Men’s Pro Trek Digital Watch

This Pro Trek Men’s PRW-3500T-7CR sailing watch features so many functions that are useful in any sport. However it has details that are especially vital to sailing such as large function buttons that allow easy manipulation even when the hands are wet or wearing sailing gloves, the key functions are intuitive and it does not require frequent revisits to the manual.

Pressure changes monitoring of the barometer are graphically depicted as trends, and the watch has a digital compass that could come in handy in case of an emergency.

For the best price on the Pro Trek Men’s PRW-3500T-7CR, click here.


Stylish and easy to wear with a comfortable band
Many useful functions


Compass hard to read without ‘clock face’ design for some
The backlight has no timing function
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Nautica Men’s Quartz Resin Silicone Watch

Nautica Men's N09915G Sport Watch
Nautica Men’s Quartz Resin Silicone Watch

This sailor watch features so many functions that are useful in any sport. However it has details that are especially vital to sailing such as large function buttons that allow easy manipulation even when the hands are wet or wearing sailing gloves, the key functions are intuitive and it does not require frequent revisits to the manual.

Pressure changes monitoring of the barometer are graphically depicted as trends, and the watch has a digital compass that could come in handy in case of an emergency.

For the best price on the Nautica Men’s Quartz Resin Silicone Watch, click here.


Nice looking watch with the blue and yellow coloring
Average sized so it is not too big or small
The outer ring is adjustable
The extra band is an added bonus that can make the watch look brand new or fit different settings when worn


Some find the size of this watch to be too small
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Nautica Men’s N83 Watch

Nautica N83 Men's Solar Watch
Nautica N83 Men’s Solar Watch

Here is a classic-looking round watch that features a sweeping second hand. There is also a date window, luminous hands, and an embossed bezel.

The brass case is 43-millimeters in diameter. The watch comes with an analog display and a 20mm adjustable silicone strap.

It is solar powered so spending time out in the sun sailing keeps it charged.

Being water-resistant to 50-meters / 165-feet this should be more than adequate for doing the job when on the water or in the clubhouse.


Nice looking watch
Easy to read, with large display
Luminous hands


8-inch wrist circumference was a bit small for some users
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Sperry Top-Sider Women’s 10014924 Hayden Watch

Sperry Top-Sider Women's 10014924 Watch
Sperry Top-Sider Women’s Watch

If you are looking for an unusual and elegant watch, this Sperry sailing watch would be a good choice.

It has a cool featured logo at the 12 o’clock mark. The silver-tone with a white dial makes it easy to read. The stainless steel case is 36-millimeters in diameter and includes a durable mineral dial window.

The watch has a Japanese quartz movement and analog display. The striped band is made from comfortable canvas and comes complete with buckle closure. It is water-resistant to 50-meters / 165-feet.


Elegant design. Nice looking watch
Comfortable canvas strap with buckle
Easy to wear and read


The band may not be to everyone’s taste
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What To Look For In A Good Sailing Watch

Buying a sailing watch is not easy – there are so many to choose from. It’s also difficult to know what features are important and what to look for to get the best value for money.

First, you need to determine what kind of sailing you do, and how you use your watch. If you are a casual sailor who only goes out every now and then, you may not need a watch that has all the bells and whistles. If you are a racer or spend a lot of time on the water, you’ll need a watch that will withstand harsh conditions and have all the functions you need.

Below is a list of some features and functionality that you might want to consider when buying a sailing watch…

Digital vs. Analog

With either, it is important to have an easy-to-read layout, with large digits and fluorescent hands/digits or a good backlight. Personally, I prefer a digital so that I can set the countdown timer with ease, and you can get them with very large displays so no mistakes are made in the battle at the start line.

Water Resistance

This goes without saying (but I’ll say it anyway)… if it’s not water-resistant, then don’t wear your watch sailing.

That being said, the water-resistance numbers (eg. Water resistant to 30m) don’t actually mean that they can be worn down to that depth. This has always baffled me but mainly has to do with the new watch being initially tested in ideal conditions (with water pressure and temperature not changing rapidly), with the seals being brand new and the watch itself being in perfect condition. For some more info on how deep you may be able to go with your watch, check out this article.

If you do get your battery replaced, make sure that your watch is pressure tested afterward to verify integrity.

Handy Sailing Features

Obviously, for sailing, it’s good to have a countdown feature. Another handy feature is an option to sync the countdown, so if you miss the 5-minute gun, you can sync it easily when it is coming up to the 4-minute mark.

Another great feature is having an audible alert during the countdown sequence. In addition to the alert at the start-gun time, good sailing watches also have extra alert tones that go off at various intervals. This means that you can focus on watching the water, sails, and other boats than having to drop your eyes to your watch all the time.

You also want your watch to be easy to use. There is nothing worse than being out on the start and trying to navigate through the watch menus and trying to set the countdown timer but having difficulty. The easier it is to use, the better. That being said, spend some time at home before your next race to get up-to-speed with how the watch works. Spending time familiarizing yourself with all the features and how the watch works will be time well spent.

Extra Features

Watches these days can be like miniature Swiss army knives – they can have all sorts of features. Eg. GPS, compass, barometer. Some features are nice to have, but may not be worth the extra money. Try to work out exactly what you need, and ensure that your watch does it all well. Check out reviews and YouTube videos (see more info in our reviews below) for other’s opinions and to take a closer look.

Band Size & Type

Some sailors like to wear watches over the top of their shirt or jacket so they can easily check the time. If this is your preference, then you want to be sure that the band size is large enough to accommodate this. Additionally, you want the band to be comfortable and, since the watch will quite likely get knocked about while sailing, it has to be strong and keep the watch secured (ie. Not come undone easily).

A strap made of silicone or rubber is also good since it does not absorb water, making it more comfortable to wear even when wet.

Personal Preferences

A sailing watch is a vital sailing instrument and a serious implement that any skipper cannot do without. If you are a long-distance sailor, you may not realize that they can now come with a barometer and can detect variations in pressure, an important factor in predicting the weather. Some racers love to have chronograph movements and compasses that detect line bias and bearings. These might be nice to have but maybe more than just the basics that you really need.

And for others, it’s not so much about all the functions that can help with sailing but more about the look when back at the bar.

However, whatever your reason for having a favorite watch for sailing, with the range that we have provided above, we should have you covered.

What’s Your Preference As The Best Sailing Watch?

These are just a few of the many watches that sailors can find on the market today. You can find many different makes and models on the internet, so you are sure to find one that precisely meets your requirements. Have a look at some more of our picks here.

Sailor watchmakers are conscious of what sailors want with their watches and are endeavoring to produce ones that can truly meet the requirements of sailors. There are some excellent watches out on the market these days which can make deciding on the best watch for your personal circumstances difficult… hence why we have put this list together to try to narrow down the choices to some of the better ones on the market and make it a little easier for you to choose.

Sailing watches are reflections of the character and requirements of the user. So whether you opt for a simpler watch with only the basic functions or go for the more sailing-specific features, the best sailing watch is the one that is a perfect match for you… and this will be different for different people. But no matter how serious you are about your sailing, make sure to check out the watches above, as they will be a good start.


  1. Al sargent on April 12, 2017 at 11:40 am

    I’m a fan of the Casio Men’s F201WA-9A Multi-Function Alarm Sports Watch — simple, cheap, reliable. At $11, it’s easy to pack spares for teammates that forget to bring their own, and it’s no big deal if you lose one overboard. It has simple functionality so there is less to go wrong in a starting sequence.

    • Admin on April 12, 2017 at 12:02 pm

      Hi Al
      I haven’t seen this one before. It is definitely well priced, and has some good reviews. At that price, you can pack a few spares. Nice idea.
      Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  2. Ged Yardy on April 11, 2018 at 8:09 am

    Optimum 3. Buttons stopped working due to corrosion after light use and being outside warranty. I could only discover this by removing the back … the watch was practically useless anyway as I could not reset. I tried to help give feedback about a design fault that could be solved …. I got nothing back. I would have bought another one but now avoid them as I would like it to last perhaps 2yrs plus

    • Admin on April 16, 2018 at 12:02 pm

      Hi Ged
      Sorry to hear that you have had issues with the Optimum 3. And surprised that you did not get a reply to your feedback. I have not heard anyone else having issues like this.
      Disappointing especially since it was out of warranty.
      Thanks for sharing your experience.

  3. Jack Bill on August 15, 2018 at 1:04 am

    Yep, I had an Optimum 3, loved it for its big numbers, easy buttons on top – avoids having side buttons which can be activated by jacket cuff as on previous watch.
    However, out of warranty, my buttons gummed up and failed to operate too.
    So then I bought an Optimum 2, out of warranty I capsized big time, had to swim to boat, some moisture got in watch. In removing steel back to dry it, the strap fixing points broke off the watch, they could be seen to be half broken through already!
    No more Optimum Time, give me Casio Quality.

    • Admin on August 17, 2018 at 8:53 am

      Hi Jack. Thanks for your feedback. Interesting. It’s a pity that some are having issues with the Optimum 3… as a sailing watch it has a lot of good design features.

  4. John Rads on August 27, 2018 at 10:27 pm

    Have had 4 Optimum time watches, series 11 and 1 series 3, and they have all leaked. The series 3 pops out of its plastic holder unless you tape it in, the strap is worse than knicker elastic. I won’t be buying Optimum time again, they look good and work well but the quality is terrible. Recently I’ve been using a Gill W013 which is brilliant, no leaks so far. The Gill can be locked so you don’t hit buttons accidentally during the start sequence, the sync is excellent and it’s really easy to reset for recalls etc. The only gripe is I’ve just broken the strap catching is in the main sheet during a gybe, just waiting to see what Gill can sort out of if they’re going to expect me to buy a new watch.

  5. Chris on April 28, 2020 at 5:32 pm

    Anyone know if the Suunto traverse alpha countdown timer has a cycle function? Many watches just countdown once and stop, whereas for a sailing start sequence a repeating 5 minute countdown is much better. Thanks.

    • Admin on April 29, 2020 at 9:17 am

      Hi Chris
      Yes, I know what you mean. The functionality you mention would be handy in a sailing watch.
      I do not have the Suunto Traverse Alpha… however I contacted Suunto support and asked. They said that once the countdown timer reaches zero, it stops and goes back to the original start time, so it does not restart or count up.
      Hope that helps. For anyone wanting to check out pricing and reviews of the Suunto Traverse Alpha watch, click here.

  6. Maximus Panin on December 30, 2020 at 8:39 am

    I am using Suunto Core Lava Red. Recently I learned about Russian watches from the Poljot company, which produces yacht watches under the “6MX” brand.

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