Setting Sail: The Best Watches To Enjoy on Your Yacht
Nautical-inspired watches are the perfect addition for your sailing day. From the classic Rolex Yacht-Master to Breguet’s new Marine collection.
For over 300 years, navigating the oceans and timekeeping have been inseparable. It began with humanity’s desire to discover uncharted territories, creating the need for ultra precise timepieces for navigation over the water. A watch inspired by the antique concept of the Marine Chronometer, the nautical-inspired watch comes with a cool, summery elegance. Meant to look good on land or on the deck of a boat — and in time for the sailing season, we’ve decided to take a closer look at some of the best nautical-inspired watches available now on the market.
Rolex Yacht-Master 42
An original refinement to an emblematic sailing timepiece: the Yacht-Master 42 is available in 18 ct yellow gold. Launched in 1992, the Yacht-Master was designed specifically for navigators and skippers. Embodying the rich heritage that has bound Rolex and the world of sailing since the 1950s, this Professional-category watch provides a perfect blend of functionality and nautical style, making it equally at home on and off the water. An emblematic nautical timepiece, it is easily recognized by its bidirectional rotatable 60-minute graduated bezel made entirely from precious metal or fitted with a Cerachrom insert in high-technology ceramic.
The unique gold alloy of the latest design is created and cast at the brand’s foundry in Geneva, Switzerland. It offers unparalleled resistance, making the new Yacht-Master 42 an unbeatable ally on the open seas. Its Oysterflex bracelet is equipped with an Oysterlock safety clasp, also in 18 ct yellow gold, which prevents accidental opening, as well as the Rolex Glidelock extension system that enables the wearer to adjust the length of the bracelet quickly and easily. The black lacquer dial with hour markers in simple geometric shapes, the crystal with an anti-reflective coating and the optimised Chromalight display combine to provide excellent legibility in any circumstances. The Oyster Perpetual Yacht-Master 42 is equipped with calibre 3235, a movement at the forefront of watchmaking technology.
The Breguet Marina Hora Mundi 5557
The Marine collection is all about the exploration of the seas. Directly inspired by the past of the brand when A.L Breguet was a Chronometer-maker to the French Royal Navy, it’s the brand’s vision of a sporty-chic watch, with a more robust case and comfortable water-resistance (100m). This year, Breguet adds the Hora Mundi 5557 to the collection for those who intend to cross time zones by sailing the oceans. A true traveller’s watch, it has an instant time zone jumping mechanism and synchronised date and day/night indications. Displaying a world map on the dial against a guilloché sea of choppy waves, the Hora Mundi is a GMT watch with an ingenious technical twist that lets you switch back and forth between two time zones at the push of a trigger.
Louis Vuitton’s Tambour Outdoor Chronograph
The Outdoor Chronograph watch is the latest addition to Louis Vuitton’s distinctive Tambour collection. Inspired by the luxury house’s love of travel and fondness for all things nautical, it’s the perfect watch for the modern sailor. It’s cleverly equipped with two essential functions designed for the urban explorers: A perfectly legible and ergonomic chronograph to keep track of time and an intuitive GMT allowing the setting of a second time zone. The Nautical Steel Outdoor Chronograph comes in a polished, winch-like design, with its gradating blue-to-navy dial and striking blue strap the obvious cues for ocean inspiration as the Tambour Outdoor Chronography GMT Nautical Steel reflects Louis Vuitton’s affinity with the sea.
Panerai Radiomir Eilean Experience Edition Watch
Panerai draws on its nautical heritage with the release of the Radiomir Eilean Experience Edition watch, in a piece that encompasses nautical-inspired Italian design codes. Limited to 50 pieces, the watch is inspired by the classic form of the yacht, Eilean, designed and created by boat builder William Fife and restored by Panerai. It’s a natural tribute for the brand, which began by supplying timekeeping instruments to the Italian Royal Navy. At 45mm, the new piece cuts a slimmer silhouette, the surface of its organic form adapting over time thanks to the bronze on the bezel, crown and caseback, which will take on its own unique patina — an homage to the repurposed metal salvaged from Eilean. Elswhere are other nautical nods, like the textured surface of the blue dial reminiscent of the ripples on a boat’s teal deck.
Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris Mariner Collection
A more sport-oriented tandem of dive watches, Jaeger-LeCoultre introduced the new Polaris Mariner Memovox and Polaris Mariner Date. Modelled on a 1960s diver’s alarm wristwatch, the Polaris manages to be sport and slightly retro at the same time. The gradient (or fumè or smoked) blue dial is being used once again. The watches have been upgraded from their 2018 counterpart — water resistance is now 300m instead of 200m — and features a white “lume”. While earlier Polaris limited editions relied on cream Super-Luminova for the faux-aged look, the new Polaris Mariner sticks to clean white luminous paint. The contrast between the white lume and blue dial gives it a clearly more contemporary look, which is further accented by the dash of orange on the dial and hands.
More importantly, the Polaris Mariner pair have also received some functional upgrades, which means they meet the ISO6425 standard for a diving watch. Amongst the new features are screw-down crowns, which is most crucial for the second crown that rotates the inner, elapsed-time bezel. Having the crown secured prevents accidental rotation of the inner bezel, which is can be used to record the duration of time spend underwater. And the screw-down crown also incorporate an orange security band that is visible when the crown is unscrewed, serving as a reminder to screw down the crown before entering the water.
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