What makes the best sailing watch in 2021?

The best sailing watch in 2021 is most likely going to be the watch that you are happy with because it looks and performs to your liking. You need to know what you want out of a sailing watch and what you need. Are you racing Volvo 60s or are you bobbing around the Whitsundays on a 60-foot yacht? Is it your job to get the boat to the start line at a precise point in time or are you responsible for getting the pre-dinner drinks ready in time for sundowners?

So “best” needs to be taken into context. If follows that there must be several characteristics that will determine if a watch is indeed the best sailing watch in 2021. Let’s have a look at some of these characteristics before we get into the watches themselves…

What makes a good sailing watch?

The best sailing watch in 2021 is durable

First and foremost, a good sailing watch needs to be durable. Anyone who ever stepped on a yacht knows that if something gets loose on deck it will find its way to Davy Jones’ Locker even if it has to bounce 12 times, roll 8 meters and then unexpectedly jump the gunwale; it will be lost overboard…

So a good sailing watch starts with a good durable watchband that will be able to withstand the conditions that come with sailing. The watch needs to stay on your wrist irrespective of the fact that it gets regularly caught on the stays, standing rigging, sheets or barber haulers. In normal life, when the watchband fails, you pick up your watch and repair it; if this happens on a boat, you start Googling “sailing watches for sale” and sulk for the rest of the month.

The watch face needs to be bulletproof. It seems that everything on a yacht is harder, stronger and sharper than your toes so your watch face will get a similar treatment. Some watches have optional hardened watch face material so you can pick what suits your budget. 

The best sailing watch in 2021 must be dependable

Anyone that has ever been in a regatta or sailing race knows the importance of timing. Hitting the line a second after the starting time is crucial for positioning and clean air. To get the correct time you need a dependable watch that is accurate and stays accurate.

For those that still drag the sextant up on deck, the correct precise time is especially important as your position fix depends on it.

Dependable also means that the watch is ready to be used at any time. Running out of battery power 8 minutes before the starting time is not an option. Battery life (or other propulsion) is synonymous with dependability…

The best sailing watch in 2021 has style

Let’s face it, your sailing watch needs to look cool and sophisticated even when you are at the fish & chip shop chatting to the girl behind the counter. Style is important because your watch represents who you are or at least who you aspire to be. People do not spend in access of $5,000 on a watch because it tells the time better. Your watch tells the time and it tells your personal story in an instant. So don’t skimp on style!

The best sailing watch in 2021 is fully water-resistant

Does this need a mention at all or is this just common sense? Depending on what you do on a yacht, you will get either wet, very wet or drenched. Is it important to have a watch that is water-resistant to 250 meters? Perhaps not, but 30 meters would be a reasonable minimal expectation for a sailing watch.

The best sailing watch in 2021 must have functionality

Last but not least, your watch needs to have the functionalities that make it a sailing watch. If it just tells the time it is a sailing watch by name only. If it merely has a nautical aesthetic design it is a “pretty watch”; not a sailing watch. Even worse, if you market a “sailing” watch on the wrist of a bloke on a 50 million dollar superyacht then it is simply pretentious if all the watch can do is give you the correct time.

A sailing watch needs to have clear and easily readable displays. Countdown timers that are easily accessed, set and displayed with audible alarms. Do you need to be able to manage your autopilot from your watch or access Spotify? Well, perhaps not. So ask yourself what you expect from your watch and check if your new watch can deliver on those functionalities and check if your budget can handle it.

Is this a battle of the sailing watches?

The quick answer is “no”. The watches under review range dramatically in price so there are expectations over a wide range of features and functions that need to be considered in the context of the purchase price. There will be a good sailing watch for anyone’s budget…

Let’s have a look at some of the sailing watches on the market in 2021 in no particular order…

Gill Race Watch

When you mention Gill, you think of watersports. No less so with the Gill Race Watch which is clearly designed for sailing.

Being water resistance to 30 meters, built tough with carbon-reinforced ABS plastic construction, a stainless steel case back and TPU strap, the Gill Race Watch is a flexible, hardwearing sailing watch.

Produced in different colours, this watch suits both men and women.

An RRP of $145.00 will make the Gill Race watch a really good entry-level sailing watch.

Gill Race Watch

Read the full review and go in the running of winning the Gill Race Watch…

Ronstan RF4055

The Ronstan brand is synonymous with sailing so there is an expectation that the RF4055 is a true sailor’s watch. The first thing you noticed in the feature list is that it has some specific countdown tools with the world sailing standards 5,4,1,0, start time warning system which Ronston claims to be loud and clear.

A solid looking watch that is water-resistant to 50 meters, the Ronstan’s RF4050 seems like a dependable workhorse.

At an RRP of  $120.62, Ronstan’s RF4055 may be just the watch you need to get you on that line 1 second before the starting gun…

The manufacture sent us a sample so we can conduct a full review on this watch. Sign up to our newsletter to get the results… Is this the best sailing watch in 2021? Leave a comment below…

Review Pending…

SUUNTO 7

Suunto 7 is a smartwatch with a lot of functionalities. As a sailing watch, the Suunto 7 elevates itself well above the Suunto Core for several reasons but seems to outsource some of this functionality to “WEAR OS BY GOOGLE™”. The display seems clear and crisp protected by Corning® Gorilla® Glass which is surrounded by a stainless steel bezel which sits on a glass fibre reinforced polyamide casing and is secured by a silicone strap.

Is the Suunto 7 a sailing watch? Perhaps not in the sense that it is dedicated to being a sailing watch but being a “smartwatch” it certainly has some features that we as sailors can use. For example, features like mapping, compass, countdowns etc…

At an RRP of  $599.99, the Suunto is well worth looking into.

We asked the manufacture for a sample so we can conduct a full review on this watch. Sign up to our newsletter to get the results… Is this the best sailing watch in 2021? Leave a comment below…

pending sailing watch review

quatix® 6

The quatix® 6 is arguably a true sailing watch. It is marketed as such and there are a lot of functions on this smartwatch that supports the Garmin’s “mariner’s watch” claim.

The first thing you notice is the connectivity. Not just Spotify and other entertainment apps but connectivity to your boat. Reading your current depth, SOG and wind direction is pretty impressive if all you have to do is look at your watch. And, if your boat’s gear falls within the compatibility parameters, you can even steer your boat with your watch. This is on top of mapping and countdown functions we expect in a sailing watch…

At an RRP of between $999.00 and $1,799.00, the quatix® 6 is worth a second look.

We asked the manufacture for a sample so we can conduct a full review on this watch. Sign up to our newsletter to get the results… Is this the best sailing watch in 2021? Leave a comment below…

pending sailing watch review

Rolex Yacht-Master II

Life is full of adventure. Make the most of your time with the perfect piece, like this 2020 Yacht-Master II 44mm from Rolex.

Crafted from stainless steel with a blue chronograph dial and a link bracelet, this timepiece is sure to keep you punctual and looking great, whatever life throws at you.

RRP around $32,000.00, the Rolex Yacht-Master II may be an investment piece you buy for your kid and trust they develop a love for sailing just like you did…

We asked the manufacture for a sample so we can conduct a full review on this watch. Sign up to our newsletter to get the results… Is this the best sailing watch in 2021? Leave a comment below…

pending sailing watch review

Optimum Time OS14

The first thing you notice about the Optimum Time OS14 is the fact that it is purpose-built for sailing and is part of a substantial range of sailing watches and timers.

With racing time countdown functionality (5,4,1,0) as just the start of a long list of sailing tools, you know that this watch is going to help you get on the podium.

 An RRP of $151.41 makes this watch a solid entry-level watch that does what it claims and does it well…

We asked the manufacture for a sample so we can conduct a full review on this watch. Sign up to our newsletter to get the results… Is this the best sailing watch in 2021? Leave a comment below…

pending sailing watch review

PROMASTER SAILHAWK

The Promaster Sailhawk from Citizen is certainly a good looking timepiece. It claims to have Eco-Drive technology so it will never run out of power: something we would love to test…

It also features some sailing functions such as a countdown and is water-resistant to 200 meters.

 An RRP of $653.00 will raise some expectation of a good solid watch which by all accounts Citizen is bound to exceed…

We asked the manufacture for a sample so we can conduct a full review on this watch. Sign up to our newsletter to get the results… Is this the best sailing watch in 2021? Leave a comment below…

pending sailing watch review

PANZERA Aquamarine

The Panzera Aquamarine Series is marketed specifically for coastal sailing adventures and focusses on style, quality and an uncluttered approach to timekeeping.

With quality features such as a Miyota backbone, a sapphire crystal anti-reflective surface, luminous hands and water-resistant to 200 meters,  this timepiece may well be your pick of the bunch.

 An RRP of $800.00 sets the bar fairly high. We would love to test the PACIFIC BLUE PORTO and let you know how we go…

We asked the manufacture for a sample so we can conduct a full review on this watch. Sign up to our newsletter to get the results… Is this the best sailing watch in 2021? Leave a comment below…

pending sailing watch review

Timex Allied®

At first glance, the Timex Allied® distinguishes itself by its looks. This is a big boy’s watch with nautical features you may not find in other watches.

With a digital compass, air and water temp as well as tidal information this is a sailor’s watch. 

Stainless steel gunmetal housing, blue band and a generous 45mm face, this is also a blokie watch that you can wear anywhere.

An RRP of $249.00 will secure your new watch and will have you looking like you mean it…

We asked the manufacture for a sample so we can conduct a full review on this watch. Sign up to our newsletter to get the results… Is this the best sailing watch in 2021? Leave a comment below…

pending sailing watch review

TNG TNG10151D

This TNG Classic Tornado Sailing Chronograph is Dutch design and Swiss made. At a price point where we have some serious expectations, TNG doesn’t disappoint. 

The countdown stands out as soon as you look at the TNG10151D. Engineered to show five dynamic dots, each dot represents one minute. Therefore the sailing timer is always ready for a five (or ten) minute countdown.

This will be a serious purchase for most of us at an RRP of $6,360.00.

We asked the manufacture for a sample so we can conduct a full review on this watch. Sign up to our newsletter to get the results… Is this the best sailing watch in 2021? Leave a comment below…

pending sailing watch review

The Prospex Marinemaster

Prospex was launched internationally just two years ago and has already established itself as one of the brand’s leading global collections.

Now, building on this success, a new Prospex marine collection is launched, led by a Marinemaster watch that is the first watch, other than Astron, to incorporate Seiko’s unique GPS Solar technology.

We asked the manufacture for a sample so we can conduct a full review on this watch. Sign up to our newsletter to get the results… Is this the best sailing watch in 2021? Leave a comment below…

pending sailing watch review

OMEGA SPEEDMASTER X-33 REGATTA

Omega is renowned for quality and durability. The Speedmaster X-33 Regatta shows to be exactly that.

With a large “red button” to initiate starting time countdown and other functions, the Speedmaster X-33’s Regatta will be valued and appreciated where time is of the essence.

With a true sailing pedigree, this is a watch to keep your eye on when in the market for a top-end quality timepiece…

This will be a serious purchase for most of us at an RRP of $6,360.00.

We asked the manufacture for a sample so we can conduct a full review on this watch. Sign up to our newsletter to get the results… Is this the best sailing watch in 2021? Leave a comment below…

pending sailing watch review

TISSOT SAILING TOUCH

The first thing you notice about the Tissot is its smoothness and quality. With a tactile scratch-resistant sapphire crystal face and polished titanium case, you know it is durable as well.

The Tissot Sailing Touch is packed with features too. Compass, altimeter, weather & tide information, alarm, regatta countdown and chronograph all accessible without the clutter of buttons.

At an RRP of $1,600.00, it has some serious competition which it is ready to tackle with Swiss quality and some nifty functionalities…

We asked the manufacture for a sample so we can conduct a full review on this watch. Sign up to our newsletter to get the results… Is this the best sailing watch in 2021? Leave a comment below…

pending sailing watch review

Your verdict...

Have your say… There is no better opinion than yours so let us know what you think. We looking for the “people’s choice” best value for money sailing watch as well as the best overall sailing watch. Don’t be shy – your opinion matters…

Best value for money

Best overall

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