What Are The Best Sailing Watches… Updated For 2023

Last Updated on March 28, 2024 by admin

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 2023, 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 (and why we liked it):

  • 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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Let’s be honest… it may not be the most attractive watch going around. But for most sailors, it’s more about practicality, features, and how it works, rather than looking smart, when out on the water.

For a good-looking watch, we liked the Nautica Men’s Quartz Watch, so if looks are important, 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 toWarrantyRatingMore Info
Ronstan Clear Start Sailing WatchRonstan Clear Start Sailing Watch5 ATM / 50m / 150ftPlease contact the seller directly for warranty information for this product.
4.6 out of 5 stars
$$
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Optimum-Time-Series-3-Sailing-TimerOptimum Time Series 3 Sailing Timer5 ATM / 50m / 165f12 months
4.5 out of 5 stars
$$
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Suunto TraverseSuunto Traverse
100m / 330ft
Manufacturer’s warranty can be requested from customer service.
4.5 out of 5 stars
$$$$$
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Timex Ironman Classic 30 Full-Size WatchTimex Ironman Classic 30 Full-Size Watch100m / 330ftOne-Year Limited Manufacturer Warranty
4.6 out of 5 stars
$
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Gill Stealth Timer WatchGill Stealth Timer Watch50m / 165ft2 years
3.5 out of 5 stars
$$$
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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.
4.7 out of 5 stars
$$$$$
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Nautica Men's N09915G Sport Ring Multifunction Stainless Steel WatchNautica Men’s Quartz Resin Silicone Watch100m / 330ftNautica 5-year manufacturer’s warranty
4.4 out of 5 stars
$$
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Nautica N83 Men's NAPHBF118 WatchNautica Men’s N83 Watch50m / 165ftCheck with the manufacturer regarding warranty.
5.0 out of 5 stars
$$
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Timex Women's Ironman Transit WatchTimex Women’s Ironman Transit 33mm Watch100 m / 330 ftCheck with the manufacturer regarding warranty.
4.5 out of 5 stars
$$
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Detailed Reviews Of Some Of The Best Sailing Watches for 2023

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.


Optimum Time Series 3 Sailing Timer

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

Key Specs

Watch NameOptimum Time Series 3 Sailing Timer
Display TypeDigital
Case Diameter65 millimeters
Case Thickness16 millimeters
Band Width20 millimeters
Band MaterialAdjustable elasticated strap
BacklightYes
Item Weight3.52 ounces
Water Resistant Depth5 ATM / 50 m / 150 ft
Digit Display Size16 millimeters
Other FeaturesMultiple start sequence options
Shock resistant
Boom/mast mount bracket supplied

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.

pros

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

Cons

The strap may stretch over time
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See the images below for different mounting options for this sailing watch, and also check out the video below for some of the functions available.


Ronstan Clear Start Sailing Watch

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

Key Specs

Watch NameRonstan Clear Start Sailing Watch
Display TypeDigital
Case Diameter40 mm / 1 9/16″
Band MaterialSilicone
Bezel MaterialGlass fibre reinforced
Clasp TypeStainless steel buckle
BacklightYes
Item Weight50 g / 1.8 oz
Water Resistant Depth5 ATM / 50 m / 150ft
Digit Display Size10 mm / 3/8″
Other FeaturesMultiple start sequence options
Shock resistant
Durable ultra-clear mineral crystal lens

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 a low battery warning. It fits well with any wrist size.

Ronstan has several 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.

Pros

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

Cons

The 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 is 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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Suunto Traverse

Suunto Traverse
Suunto Traverse

Key Specs

Watch NameSuunto Traverse
Display TypeDigital
Case Diameter50 mm / 1.97″
Case Thickness16.5 mm / 0.65″
Band MaterialNylon
Bezel MaterialStainless steel
Clasp TypeBuckle
BacklightYes
Item Weight‎‎80 g / 2.82 oz
Water Resistant Depth100 m / 330 ft
Digit Display SizeVarious sizes
Other FeaturesCompass
Sunrise & sunset times
Storm alarm alerts
GPS time update

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.

Pros

Long-lasting battery
Good design, easy to read, and stylish graphite
Comfortable watch, not heavy on the wrist

Cons

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

Key Specs

Watch NameTimex Ironman Classic 30 Full-Size Watch
Display TypeDigital
Case Diameter38 millimeters
Case Thickness12.73 millimeters
Band Width16 millimeters
Band MaterialDurable resin
Bezel MaterialResin
Clasp TypeBuckle
BacklightYes
Item Weight‎‎22.68 grams
Water Resistant Depth100 m / 330 ft
Other Features3 time zone settings
INDIGLO night-light

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.

Pros

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

Cons

Light does not always seem to work
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Gill Stealth Timer Watch

Gill Stealth Timer Watch
Gill Stealth Timer Watch

Key Specs

Watch NameGill Stealth Timer Watch
Display TypeDigital
Case Diameter44 millimeters
Clasp TypeStainless steel buckle
Item Weight‎‎150 grams
Water Resistant Depth50 m / 165 ft
Digit Display SizeVarious sizes
Other FeaturesMultiple start sequence options
Full dot matrix display
Shock and impact resistant
Polycarbonate face

This sailing watch not only has a large display during 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 a sleep mode that can preserve battery life.

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

Pros

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

CONS

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

Key Specs

Watch NameCasio Men’s Pro Trek PRW-3500T-7CR Digital Sport Watch
Display TypeDigital
Case Diameter56.9 millimeters
Case Thickness14.8 millimeters
Band Width26 millimeters
Band MaterialTitanium
Bezel MaterialStainless steel
Clasp TypeFold-over push-button clasp with safety
BacklightYes
Item Weight128 g / 4.5 oz
Water Resistant Depth200 meters
Other FeaturesSolar powered
Battery level indicator
Digital compass & thermometer
Power saving mode

This Pro Trek Men’s PRW-3500T-7CR sailing watch features 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.

Pros

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

Cons

Compass hard to read without a ‘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

Key Specs

Watch NameNautica Men’s Quartz Resin Silicone Watch
Display TypeAnalog
Case Diameter39 millimeters
Case Thickness11 millimeters
Band Width22 millimeters
Band MaterialResin plastic
Bezel MaterialStainless steel
Clasp TypeBuckle
BacklightNo
Water Resistant Depth50 m / 165 ft
Other FeaturesShatter-resistant face

This sailor watch features 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.

Pros

Nice looking watch with 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

Cons

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

Nautica N83 Men's NAPHBF118 Watch
Nautica N83 Men’s Watch

Key Specs

Watch NameNautica Men’s NAPHBF118 N83 Watch
Display TypeAnalog
Case Diameter40 millimeters
Case Thickness9 millimeters
Band Width20 millimeters
Band MaterialSilicone
Bezel MaterialMetal
Clasp TypeBuckle
Water Resistant Depth5 ATM / 50 m / 165 ft
Other FeaturesGlow in the dark
Mineral crystal face
Date indicator

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

The case is 40 millimeters in diameter. The watch comes with an analog display and a 20mm adjustable silicone strap that fits a wrist circumference of up to 8 inches.

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.

Pros

Nice looking watch
Easy-to-read display
Luminous hands
Slim, sleek, uncluttered design

Cons

The 8-inch wrist circumference was a bit small for some users
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Timex Women’s Ironman Transit Watch

Timex Women's Ironman Transit Watch
Timex Women’s Ironman Transit Watch

Key Specs

Watch NameTimex Women’s Ironman Transit 33mm Watch
Display TypeDigital
Case Diameter33 millimeters
Case Thickness11 millimeters
Band Width12 millimeters
Band MaterialResin
Bezel MaterialResin
Clasp TypeStainless steel buckle
Item Weight27.2 Grams / 0.96 ounces
Water Resistant Depth100 m / 330 ft
Other FeaturesIndiglo light
Strap fits wrist circumference up to 7.5-inch

If you are looking for an unusual and elegant watch, this Timex Women’s Ironman Watch watch would be a good choice.

It has a cool white and rose-gold case and an easy-to-read display. The case is 33 millimeters in diameter and the resin strap fits a wrist circumference of up to 7.5 inches.

It is water-resistant to 100 meters / 330 feet.

Pros

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

Cons

The band may discolor over time
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Background

For sailors, a sailing watch is more than just a fashion statement. They are not necessarily trendy fashion accessories that sailors wear as status symbols. 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 can 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 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 that we have reviewed above.

What To Look For In A Good Sailing Watch

Choosing the right sailing watch isn’t easy – the options can be overwhelming. With an array of available features, sometimes determining what you need or want and finding the best value for money becomes a challenge.

Start by assessing your sailing activities and how you use your watch. As a casual sailor who sails sporadically, you might not need a high-end watch with all the features. But, if you’re a regular racer or devote significant time to sailing, you might require a durable watch that can withstand harsh conditions and provide all the necessary functions.

Here’s a list of some features and functionality to consider when purchasing your 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 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 a bit… I mean, why can’t a watch that says it is water resistant to 30m go down to 30m? My research has revealed that the new watch’s initial performance in ideal conditions, the brand-new seals, and the perfect condition of the watch itself play a significant role. If you are interested in learning more about the possible depth your watch can handle, I recommend reading 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, instead of having to look down at your watch all the time.

Obviously, you want your watch to be easy to use. There’s nothing worse than being on the starting line, struggling to navigate through your watch’s menus and trying to set the countdown timer. The simpler the usage, the better. However, it is beneficial to spend some time before your next race to understand your watch’s operations. Spending time at home to familiarize yourself with all the features and functionalities proves worthwhile.

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 others’ opinions and to take a closer look.

Band Size & Type

To more easily check the time and countdown, some sailors like to wear watches over the top of their shirts or jackets. If this is your preference, then you want to be sure that the band size is large enough to allow for 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 (i.e. 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.


Sailing Watch FAQs

What features should a good sailing watch have?

There are several features that a good sailing watch should have. Depending on your experience as a sailor, the type of sailing, and personal preferences, a sailing watch can provide a way for sailors to track progress, navigate a sailing course, and stay safe.

Here are a few examples of the features that a good sailing watch may have:

– Water-resistance: To prevent damage to the watch, it should be water-resistant to 50m (minimum) or 100m (preferable).
– Countdown Timer: This is an invaluable feature to keep sailors informed on the time remaining before the race start.
– Durability: Considering the workout a watch gets when in the harsh elements and stresses of sailing, it needs to be strong enough to last a long time.
– Clear Display: A clear display, with backlighting and easy-to-read digits, makes it easy to read the information in all kinds of lighting.
– GPS (optional): A GPS feature not only assists sailors in tracking their location, but it will also help in overall navigation.
– Compass (optional): Navigation and orientation are made possible with a built-in compass.
– Barometer and Weather Forecasting (optional): A barometer assists in identifying changes in the weather and forecasts inform sailors of predicted changes in conditions to permit the making of strategic sailing decisions.

How much should I expect to spend on a sailing watch?

A lot of the cost of a sailing watch will come down to the included features. The more features you require to meet the needs of the type of sailing you do will add to the cost of the sailing watch. However, entry-level watches with basic features can cost between $50 and $100. Mid-range sailing watches with additional features cost between $200 and $500. High-end sailing watches with advanced features can cost $1,000 and more.

Are sailing watches waterproof?

The majority of sailing watches are designed to be waterproof. This means they can withstand exposure to water and the harsh elements found in marine environments. The ATM (atmosphere) scale is the most common measurement of water resistance. A watch rated at 10ATM can resist pressure equal to being approx. 100 meters / 330ft underwater. Keep in mind that water resistance does not make a watch completely impervious to water.

What are the benefits of using a sailing watch while sailing?

There are several benefits to using a sailing watch. They include:

– Timing: A timing feature on a sailing watch is crucial. That is because it enables sailors to accurately countdown time to the race start, as well as easily tell the time while on the water.
– Navigation: Sailing watches that contain a GPS can help you navigate and track your location while on the water. This can be useful when you are on unfamiliar waterways.
– Performance Tracking: Some sailing watches contain additional features that can assist in tracking performance. These features include wind speed, boat speed, tide details, and more. This information helps you to make the proper adjustments when sailing.
– Durability: Sailing watches are constructed to endure the harsh conditions and marine elements expected while sailing. They are designed to be sturdy enough to withstand impacts and are often shock-resistant to handle the rough nature of sailing.
– Convenience: Being water resistant, and sturdy, with a large display and many features, they are a very convenient tool that most sailors use.

Can sailing watches be used for other water activities?

Designers often specifically create sailing watches for sailors. However, these watches include features that other water activities can also find useful. For example, features like water resistance, GPS and navigation, and timers/alarms can prove beneficial in water activities such as swimming, kayaking, and stand-up paddleboarding, as well as in day-to-day life.

What differentiates a sailing watch from a regular watch?

A sailing watch is specially designed for sailing and various other water-based activities. The main differences between a sailing watch and a regular watch are the features such as water resistance, timers, a compass, durability, and GPS.

Are sailing watches reliable?

In general, sailing watches prove very reliable. However, keep in mind that certain variables, such as the quality of the components and maintenance, can affect its reliability. By choosing a reputable brand and sticking to the manufacturer’s care tips, you can ensure you make the most out of your watch.

What stylish brands of sailing watches would you recommend?

There are numerous watch brands renowned for their stylish sailing watches. Here are some of the top choices:

– Rolex: High-quality, reliable timepieces have been features of these watchmakers for many, many years. The Rolex Yacht-Master is a popular choice with sailors.
– Breitling: This is another high-end popular sailing watch brand. A favorite watch from this company is the Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronograph.
– Omega: This is another watch brand known for high-quality, stylish, and functional watches. Sailors like the Omega Seamaster.
– Garmin: This is a brand that is very well-known for navigational tools. They also have a selection of sailing watches with the Garmin Quatix 6 being a stand-out for sailing.
– Timex: This is another well-known brand with a history of producing quality timepieces. The Timex Intelligent Quartz Yacht Racer is an affordable, functional option.

What should I consider before purchasing a sailing watch?

Before you purchase a sailing watch, here are a few considerations to factor into your search:

– Water Resistance: The watch you wear sailing is likely to get wet, so you need a sailing watch with good water resistance. Good watches are rated to 50 meters but watches rated to 100 meters or more are better.
– Durability: Sailing is hard on watches. They get exposed to salt water, sun, and general wear and tear. It is crucial that a sailing watch can withstand the workout it will receive.
– Features: Depending on the type of sailing you do, the features you need will vary. However, common features include countdown timers, GPS, and sometimes a compass and a barometer.
– Comfort: Because you will be wearing your sailing watch for long periods, it must be comfortable to wear. Look for a strap that fits well, but is comfortable on a lightweight watch body.
– Style: Finally, the overall look of the watch is important. Personal preferences will determine your final choice here, but it is always a good idea to try to match the look with your personality. A classic or sporty watch may be the right choice.

Are there any maintenance requirements for sailing watches?

Just as you would expect from most devices, sailing watches require maintenance to keep them working properly and accurately. The specific care requirements will depend on the brand and model of the sailing watch but here are a few general tips:

– Cleaning: fter each use, keep your sailing watch clean by washing it in fresh water and drying it by wiping it down. Use a soft cloth to gently remove anything from the watch face or band.
– Battery: If your sailing watch is battery-operated, that battery will need replacement from time to time. Refer to the owner’s manual you received with your sailing watch for exact details but remember the battery should be replaced every one to two years.
– Water Resistance: Because sailing watches are made to withstand water exposure, the seals and gaskets used to keep water out may degrade with time. To ensure yours is still water-resistant, it is a good idea to get it tested every year or two.
– Strap/Band: The strap or band on your sailing watch may wear over time. Depending on the type of strap and how often you wear it, it may need to be replaced every few years.
– Servicing: It’s a good idea to service your mechanical sailing watch every three to five years to ensure the movement works properly and accurately.


What’s Your Pick For The Best Sailing Watch?

You can find many different makes and models available, so spend the time to ensure you find one that does what you need it to do. If you haven’t done so already, take a moment to browse through our recommendations above.

Watchmakers understand sailors’ needs and strive to produce watches that meet their requirements. The market offers some excellent watches today, which makes the decision for the best personal watch challenging. This is why we compiled this list of our favorite sailing watches above. It narrows down the choices available to some of the better ones on the market, simplifying your selection process.

Whether you opt for a simple watch with only the basic functions or a fancy one with more features, the best sailing watch should perfectly match your needs. What works best differs for each individual. Regardless of your sailing proficiency, you should definitely explore the watches we mentioned above.

Do you have a favorite sailing watch? What brand and model is it? What do you love or dislike about it? What features are must haves? Please share your sailing watch comments below…

About Brendan

Brendan has over 30 years experience sailing dinghies, yachts, and windsurfers, but has recently started Laser sailing. "I found it difficult to find all the information that I needed when I started sailing my Laser, and I am sure that others have had the same problem. So I combined all the information I could into this website to help other Laser sailors get the most out of this sport. If you have any questions or comments, let me know... I will get back to you as soon as I can."

11 Comments

  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.
      Brendan

  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.

  7. Philip Keenan on October 13, 2022 at 2:08 pm

    For competitors sailing in handicap fleets such as PHRF or Portsmouth Yardstick, the countdown-count-up function is very important. I race an Ideal 18 keelboat against a variety of other sailing craft including Soling, Ensign, Flying Scott, Lightning and others.

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