Top 6 Sailing Watches For Any Aquatic Expedition

Watches are like the souls of mankind. For one, watches give accuracy in time and time is a highly valuable factor in a sailors life. Sailing watches are usually waterproof and a watch could either be an analog or digital one. It could also be a combination of both analog and digital. Sailing watches differ from most other watches because of the loaded hi-tech functions they perform. Post of these watches are waterproofed and they serve differebt functions such as detection of speed , can be used for navigation, can also serve as a tide detector dependent on the type of purpose it is designed to serve.

Sailing watches are extraordinary gears for everyone who loves water activities and those who are interested in sailing. Watch is very essential to keep time, navigate waters and use for sail racing, amongst many other functions.

Below we will look at the best  all-sailing watches and discuss their uses more in depth.

RatingI.D.ModelFeatures/Best UseCompare Prices
#1Garmin Quatix 5, Garmin Marine, Garmin 3Garmin Quatix 3,& 5 SeriesChart Plotters/Built-in GPS/Sail Racing Compare Prices
#2Tissot Sailing-Touch Tissot Sailing Touch100 m Water Resistant Depth/Swiss Quartz/Sail Divers
Compare Prices
#3Gill Regatta Watch/TimerCountdown timer with synchro system/Sail RacingCompare Prices
#4Ronstan Clear Start Sailing Watch - 50mm(2")Ronstan Clear StartWatch displays 13mm (1/2") digits/Race Sequence Re-synchronisationCompare Prices
#5Nautica Men's NAD21001G NSR 103 TIDE TEMP COMPASS Watch with Black BandNautica Men's NAD21001G NSR 103 TIDE TEMP COMPASS Compass tide tracker and thermometer/Snorkeling/Coastal Sailing
Compare Prices
#6Suunto Traverse Alpha GPS/GLONASS Watch with Versatile Outdoor Functions for Fishing and Hunting and Wearable4U Ultimate Power Pack Bundle (Foliage), Suunto, Traverse Watch, Suunto WatchSuunto Traverse Alpha GPS/GLONASSCompare Prices
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Sailboat Watch Review

The following review grades are based on functionality, price, quality and aesthetics, all equally weighted.

We really love the rugged look to this watch. I wear this watch when I sail in the Gulf and I 've owned it for two years and it has yet to produce a scratch on the face.  It sports a knurled stainless steel bezel and you really can't go wrong with stainless. The band is water repellent nylon and the glass is premium scratch resistant sapphire crystal. You can really take this watch on any kind of adventure. 

I've tested the battery life on this watch, measuring normal use and it will  typically last 7-10 days. While recording your GPS sailing trail, it will last you only about 1 day, so keep that in mind. If you only use it for an alarm clock, or saving a gps location, or any other basic function, it will last you 1 month. We recommend also buying a wireless portable charger (RavPower or the smaller Goal Zero Flip 10  these chargers usually have enough power capacity to re-charge the watch multiple times while on the go. 

Functions: We really like the flashlight function and it is very bright at night. There is lock screen button so when you are moving around the cockpit and bump some of the buttons on the dial, it won't change the screen you are on. 

The biggest highlight of this watch is the GPS Tracking and GPS Location saving features. You can track your course or if there is an area out at sea that you want to come back to for whatever reason (good fish spot or you want to track your sailing journey) then you can with clicking a few buttons (it is not overly complicated)..It beats spending thousands of dollars for built-in GPS but  obviously, limited in screen outputs and screen size. However, the user interface is very user friendly.  Shows altimeter (gain and loss) mode, sunset and sunrise times , steps taken, speed compass displays moon phase second counter mode and many other awesome features. When you record, your gps will actually draw out a map of your trek. It is fantastic!

Improvements: We've found that the Nylon straps will tend to hold a smell so make sure you are not fishing and especially not gutting fish while wearing this watch. If you could, upgrade to a silicone strap. If not that is ok, just make sure you don't sweat while using it because it will stink. Other than that this particular nylon strap is very durable and you will be very happy with it. Keep in mind the price is high if it were just a watch but this is more of an awesome way to record your navigations (routes) and much much more.

Overall Rating: 4.7/5

    We really love this watch and we dive off our sailboat with it in deeper waters as it has shown to handle up to 100 m of water pressure (Thats roughly as deep as a football field is long! ) . We really were drawn to the display as it is stainless steel with the classy round face. We were most impressed with the compass tide tracker and thermometer functions. It also has a geographic direction gauge! The window dial is mineral based. Aesthetically this watch has it all. The band is rubber and utilizes a buckle closure. I've had the watch for 2 years now and there are no signs of wear anywhere on the watch. 

    Improvements: This watch does not have the digital readings you may need on your sailing excursions and we would like to really use it in even deeper waters! (Scuba diving anyone?).  Also we would have liked if the hands glow in the dark ( they do not) for when you are sailing at night . We would have also liked if it had an Indiglo feature. The tide feature is awesome but since you can't pick which location you are the readings come out somewhat general

    Conclusion: As a sailor this watch can really come in handy. The tide gauge can really give you a sense of what the waves/wind is doing at any given time. The readings are pretty accurate!  The compass is also an awesome feature. At the 150$ price point you really can't beat it. 

    Overall Rating: 4.7/5

    RONSTAN Clear Start Sailing Watch

    Overall Rating: 4.7

    This 50 mm race watch by Ronstan is the perfect sailing race watch and is a cult classic! This is a redesign of an older version with a few new tweaks. The new model has the sync and start/buttons on opposite sides so they are less likely to get bumped at the same time causing inconsistencies. We really like the backlight timer for use at night. The band can be used overtop foul weather gear including a dry suit.  We found it to work real well in racing and that is what it is best suited for.

    In time of day mode, you can flip the date to show days then the month if you are outside of the U.S. You can change the time to 12-hour or 24 hour mode. It has a chrono mode count up feature and alarm clock so that you can set it and you won't be late for the start. There is race timer mode. It will default into match race and roll into 10 minute cycles which is editable( inside 59 minutes) to count down and count back up if you are looking to time the race itself.  The sync button will shave seconds off the timer in case you missed the gun! We really love this piece by Ronstan. It is  really designed to get you off the line in style!

    Improvements: None really. It is really easy to see the start sequence. The audible cues really come in handy. In general, really easy to program, excellent surface read out.

    Conclusion: So if you are out there sailing on a Harbor 20 racer, this is the watch for you. We wouldn't hesitate as it really stylish easy to use and this price is right. 

    Although this watch is limited in GPS functionality, you cannot go wrong with $120 dollars for a race watch that works and works well to do what it was made to do. The countdown function and sync functions work extremely well. This watch is water resistant and impact resistant and it definitely holds true from what we have experienced with it. The buttons are extremely user friendly .

    If you would rather have  Regatta Timer, you may go with that option as well. This can be used on dinghies and keelboats.

    You can actually wear it as a watch. You can attach it to a laser spar (take it in the cradle and rotate 90 degrees btw) and attach it to a mast or a bulkhead(if it is affixed to the boat, you would just rotate the head and it is removed from the cradle. You will get a standard watch, alarm, and race timer (obviously) . We found that it is real easy to read and the numbers are big (that is big when you are racing, you shouldn't be squinting down at your watch while racing). Big buttons on the face of the watch and not on the side so you do not accidentally bump them! We found that it really contours nicely to the wrist! We aare mentioning both of these Regatta's because t he quality is extremely similar. The battery life is excellent and changing out the battery is as simple as twisting the battery cap with a coin. 

    The timer mode is excellent  (5 pre programed modes/starts) and has a customizable timer option and the sync feature works excellent. It will beep every minute then will be beep down to ten seconds, then will be every second after that down to zero. 

    Improvements: One thing we will say about the Regatta watches/Timer is that some may find the volume to be quite low at max sound. So depending on your sense of hearing, you may want to test it out first to see if you can pick up enough to hear the timer sound and alarm clock. Remember, it will be noisier on your sailboat then what a quiet room sounds like. 

    Overall Rating: 4.7/5

    Besides the fact that this is a Tissot, The functionality is second to none on the Sailing Touch . The stainless steel techymeter (measures speed) bezel is absolutely gorgeous. We love that the hands illuminate and the perpetual calendar is real sharp and workable. This case is a 45mm stainless steel case which utilizes an anti-reflective sapphire dial window. It uses Swiss quartz movement (Oh yea!) and is water resistant up to 100 m so you can go snorkeling with it but probably not scuba diving off your sailboat. The band is made of rubber and it is a fold over clasp. This is made as a divers extension. 

    The Histogram is so neat on this watch. It gives you a pressure reading within 6 hours, Tide reading for a specific location! (not a generic reading). This also has a Regatta countdown timer and Metro function which is an outside temperature reading. The compass function uses a magnetic signal to indicate georgraphic NSEW declinations. 

    Improvements: This is a pricey watch but is well worth the investment. The audio on the Regatta sounds wonderful and really resonates. It would be cool if this watch was solar charging but that may be asking for too much. This is not your standard spring band so if you don't like the band you will be SOL!

    Conclusion: If you are a technophile sailor you will love this watch! The touch screen is awesome on this watch! Do not hesitate if you are looking for the best of the best without GPS. 

    Overall Rating: 4.9/5


    This watch is insane, it is as simple as that. The Garmin Quatix 5 provides connectivity with the Garmin chart you will need to plot when you are auto-piloting your (for example) Seagame 250CC! This will show you where you have been, the names of waypoints, More on that in a minute. The remote waypoint marking and data streaming which includes speed, depth temp and wind! This watch comes with a built-in fusion link Lite App which is absolutely crazy, controlling pretty much any stereo product! This watch is like a combination of 5 things: Activity, Smart, GPS , Outdoorsman's watch and stylish device too. The price is is pretty steep but you can track your sail races, gps locations out at sea with ease. The gps signal is extremely accurate and fast! Has a 70x70 matrix that allows you 
    We also love the heartbeat rate monitor on this watch. If you are a kayak sailor you can track your performance with its activity profile mode. This watch stems from the fenix 5 and was made with the true mariner in mind. We absolutely love how sleek and stylish it is too, you will be stunned with how comapct it is while still packing a mean punch in visibility. Whatever your physical activity may be, this watch can track it! You do not need a chest strap to monitor your heart rate.  
    The biggest and best features were: 1) Tides feature. They shoot out weekly updates to you in real time so you know exactly what tides to expect at any given moment. 2) Connectivity to Garmin GPS. 3) The Marine charts and elevation maps for GPS navigation. Also, we love the battery life on them. We believe they are exceptionally better than the Apple watches as far as life through one charge. 
    Improvements: No way. If anything (we are being spoiled when we say this) it does not send /write texts but can receive/read texts which is more than enough for us for everything else that it does. This is not a cheap watch but it is the best marine sailing watch on the market today hands down. 
    Conclusion: If you are a true sailor and you want to work with a full function GPS readings (speed/ground, course/ground, range bearing estimated time of route ), sensors (barometer and altimeter) that is recorded via graph, 
    stop looking and get your hand on the Quatix! With a 1000+ waypoints the options are endless. You also get a 3 access compass and a works as a NEMA 200o remote.  If you buy the GN t10 remote transmitter on a NEMA then you will be able to broadcast all the functions you will see on your instruments (GPS functions and wind instruments) . If you have a Garmin Auto pilot you can use this watch as a remote. All you would have to do is pair it up to the auto pilot. You will be  able to predict the tides way in advance, for any of 45 tide stations anywhere in the country, graphically or numerically.  We wouldn't hesitate if you are serious about gps profiling and you use a wicked console  so you shouldn't either 🙂
    Overall Rating: 5/5

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