A sailing watch will not only set you up for a great time on the water, it will also be a huge asset in your life as well.
But with so many different options on the market, how do you go about choosing the right one for you?
From functional features to stylish embellishments - whatever attracts you to a watch is up to you - but if you're looking for something that is more a personal statement than a soulless accessory, Mylor Chandlery will guide you through all the key things you need to consider when you're looking out for a truly game-changing timepiece.
#1. Work Out Your Budget
When it comes to purchasing a watch, you'll find loads with those superyacht sized price tags attached that seem to do everything; surviving any depth, boasting countless different programmes and have a processing power that would put your laptop to shame... The fact of the matter is, for a lot of everyday sailors, these bells and whistles a pretty much surplus to requirement.
Typically the higher the price, the more features you'll get and the more you'll be able to do with your watch. For £100 and under you'll find a watch with an array of features that will serve you well during any everyday sail.
#2. Waterproof vs Water-Resistant
Understanding the slightly confusing semantics of "proof" and "resistant" is essential before going out and making your important watch purchase.
Typically water-resistant watches have a set depth or pressure they can survive going down to. For example, the typical water resistance levels range from 3 - 20 ATM (atmospheres) or 30 - 200 metres.
Technically speaking, there are no such things as waterproof watches, as all watches will fail when they reach a certain pressure, so look instead at the different water resistants information on the watch packaging or the watch face itself. To help you out, bear the following in mind:
30 metres (3 ATM) : Water resistant against rain, sea spray explosure and splashing but NOT for full submersion in water - swimming, bathing and so on.
50 metres (5 ATM) : Quick swims and accidental exposure to water.
100 metres (10 ATM) : Swimming, use in pools and other water sport activities.
200 metres (20 ATM) : Shallow diving and frenetic or physically demanding water sports.
Dive Watches: Conforms to ISO 6425 regulations which means the watches are designed and tested especially for diving.
#3. Find Your Features
It's best to tailor your watch features according to type of on-water activities you're involved in. If you're a leisure sailor who's regularly in and out of a dinghy or small sailing boat, something like a Limit Sports Watch will serve you well, offering you water-resistance of 100 metres, with a slim, stylish profile that won't get caught or knock against boat trim and isn't too bulky next to shirt cuffs.
For more series sailors and racers the feature-heavy Ronstan ClearStart™ Stainless Steel Sailing Watch will allow you to initiate complex timings, countdowns and sequencing while you're on the water and will look effortlessly smart and stylish while you're on land as well.
#4. Display Decisions
Analogue and digital displays are the options at your disposal, but which one you choose has everything to do with how intense or physical your type of sailing is.
For leisure sailing in fair weather, you'll easily be able to get away with a simple analogue face, but for poor visibility, rainy or rough weather conditions, you really need a digital watch to work out the time quickly without having to turn your wrist or wipe away sea spray every time you want to tell the time. You're also likely to have the option of a luminant face when you buy a digital watch, which will be practical if you're doing DIY below deck or embarking on a sunset sail.
#5. Stainless Steel, Silicon Or Something Else?
There are a number of different watch finishes available but, if you're wondering which one is right for sailing you need to think more about function over visual aesthetics.
Of all the options available, a silicon watch band is probably your best bet due to the hardwearing physical properties, versatility and ability to deflect seaspray, dirt and other sailing-related debris.
For more of a dressier look, you can opt for a stainless steel or fabric band watch but it's important to remember that these styles will show signs of wear more quickly than plastic or silicon options, as they usually feature a chunkier, shockproof design.