Are You A Yachting Novice? 5 Sensible Watches To Help You Survive At Sea

If you are in job that almost drains all of your time – be careful that it doesn’t completely engulf your life – transforming you into a shadow of your former self.  Find time to do the things you love – or, better yet, find new hobbies.

Yachting is a very enjoyable sport if you relish the allure and freedom that being in open waters can bring.  However, if you are a yachting novice, there are so many elements to think about, that it can become overwhelming.  As a novice to sailing, take baby steps, focusing on the basics – one of which is avoiding the potential nightmare of not being vitally prepared whilst at sea with one of the simplest of equipments.

lightening at sea

One simple mistake that could be potentially catastrophic is not having the right watch. I made the rookie error of associating sailing with just one watch – the typically popular Rolex Yacth-Master II.  However, there are so many components to think about in choosing a watch that will help keep you safe in the great aquatic stratosphere, that just having one watch in your repertoire will not do.

This article is for you if you have not yet started sailing but would like to pick this up as a hobby, or if you are already out there dallying in being a novice yachtsman.  Be aware that yachting watches are in itself a niche, therefore, it depends on what you will be doing at sea which will help to guide you towards making the ultimate choice.

I for one, will just be lounging, and always wishing it to be an auspicious day for good weather.

These Five Watches Are a Must Have Whilst Yachting

1. The All-in-One Luxury Yacht-Master Watch

If you want a watch that blends in with your lifestyle, from the boardroom to the sea, then The Rolex Oyster Perpetual Yacht Master II is my personal favorite.

Although it is quite expensive (it is a Rolex after all) it is worth its weight in gold; as you don’t have to think of getting another watch for anything else.

Rolex Oyster Perpetual Yacht Master

This is a watch that magically captures the aura that personifies the yachtsman- whilst transcending seamlessly in everyday life.

This watch is a classic beauty – and not one which you would immediately identify as a sailing watch due to its classic aesthetics.  It has all the features a yacthsman could need, and more, with its unique selling point being that “it is the only chronograph watch in the world having a mechanical memory“.

Rolex states they created this watch specifically for competitive sailing, and some of the world’s best known navigators give testament to this. This may be attractive for someone interested in racing, but for me, the main draw is the lifetime guarantee of the highly corrosion repellent oyster steel band which will withstand the potentially harsh conditions at sea. Also it is a commanding, bold, classic, adventurous, sexy timeless investment piece.

2. The Yachting Watch For Those With Challenges in Manual Dexterity

Now, if like me, you are quite dyspraxic, plain clueless, and incessantly irritatingly always getting in the way, you need a robust simplistic timepiece with all the tools you could possibly need at sea. The Tag Heuer Aqauracer 300m Chronograph would be perfect. 

Tag Heuer Aqauracer 300m Chronograph

This watch is unobtrusive, but well- made and reliable. The best part is that it is scratch resistant and  doesn’t look out of place on a novice’s wrist. I would hate to appear pretentious, having a watch full of features I have absolutely no idea what they represent. Also, if you happen to constantly violently crash into objects, this scratch resistant watch will definately be your best friend. 

Tag Heuer has very recently introduced a new generation of the Aquaracer Professional 300.  Right now, it is too new to comment on, except it is known to be much thinner and lighter than its predecessors. It is yet to be reviewed by the sailing community, but I can’t see why there would be any resistance to recommending the new generation.

3. The Yachting Watch For The Tech Loving All-round Sportsperson

Garmin Quantix 6 Solar

If you do not only enjoy yachting, but also a multitude of other sports, whilst simultaneously living a full busy life, then the Garmin Quantix 6 Solar may just be the watch for you. 

If you dream of escaping to sea for a few weeks on end, but want to keep in touch with those on land, and still be in control of some of life’s necessities, then consider this watch.  It has a long battery life for up to 24 days if kept in smartwatch mode – which is just amazing.  Not only can it be programmed to autopilot and plot charts, it can control your music surround sound, keep you abreast of your email, pay bills and has an in-built compass.  This is a real toy for the adventurer or the tech geek who is most content playing with the myriad of features this watch offers.  

This is also perfect for the novice who is only trialling yachting to determine if suits their lifestyle.  If you do multiple sports and want something that rivals the Applewatch then this might just be the watch for you.  It’s full of all the bells and whistles you would expect to find in a smartwatch, keeping you in tune with your health, fitness, running your house, schedules and more. The only thing this appears to not be able to do is make you dinner at sunset. 

4. The Racing Watch

If you are a novice yachtsman, it would be doubtful if you will be racing from the start, but if this is something you are thinking of in the future then it’s worth having a peruse early on. Perhaps think of a relatively inexpensive starter watch that is trusted among the very supportive yacthing community which isn’t too expensive – such as the Ronstan Clear Start Sailing watch.

Ronstan Clear Start Sailing watch

This is a highly functional user- friendly watch with a large face and big numbers which doesn’t distract you from the open water, even in poor visibility. This watch is reassuringly both waterproof and shock resistant, but most importantly, very accurate in time-keeping. If racing is your thing, a split second is all it takes to separate you from being the runner-up and being the celebrated victor.  

Make sure to check that simple things like gloves and cuffs, or even flexing the wrist doesn’t interfere with the watch. Don’t buy blind. Try it on to see if is for you. If you do decide to try it out, just be aware it is not the most robust, but Ronstan will replace the watch if it is damaged and still under warranty. Otherwise, this watch is perfect for teens.

5. The Watch For The Sailing Dabbler

You may have big aspirations, but your job is demanding and you are not yet in control. You are not quite sure whether you will be hanging around the yacht club frequently, or even going to sea more than twice yearly, then get a watch that is inexpensive, not solely for sailing, but has all the functionality you may need just by the action of twisting your wrist.

The Casio Pro Trek Men’s PAG240T-7  is such a watch to consider. It is quite inexpensive and to be fair very underwhelming and inelegant to look at. However, it’s highly functional, and if you break it or decide that yachting isn’t for you, well- no water under the bridge. 

Casio is one of those brands that has been around for many years, and although they appear to fly low under the radar, they have a loyal fan base as they are renowned for producing watches that have longevity.  The ProTrek has all the functions a novice could need, including a compass, robustness, water resistance, a timer, solar power, and works in all weathers.  You will not realise how useful a well fitted sailing watch is until you are donning your waterproof gear or strapping the watch over wetsuits – which I gather can be an annoyance at times. But for all it’s positive attributes, it’s just- well – unattractive.

casio protrek men’s pag240t-7


So now you are venturing out to sea as a novice yachtsman, there are a few parameters to look for in your new companion of a watch to keep you safe whilst you are out there.  It goes without saying that the watch has to be waterproof as you will be surrounded by water.

Other than that, think about what features you simply cannot live without.  If you think you are of such competitive calibre you will end up racing, or you will invariably be in the thick of the race shouting on top of your lungs – then make sure to choose a watch with a countdown accurate timer. 

Think about whether you will be diving as well as the watch should be robust, has some lighting to see properly if the conditions become murky, or if you need to strap it over wetsuits. 

Are you thinking of vanishing for a while at sea? Then do think about the length of the battery life, or get a solar powered watch.

A watch doesn’t have to be expensive to be functional, but if I were to – or not- stick with yachting, the Yacthmaster II would still be my choice as it is the ultimate embodiment of luxury and craftsmanship. 

Are you thinking of taking up yachting?  Or, are you already dabbling or even a pro? If so, what are your recommendations on the best watches for novices?

It doesn’t necessarily have to be yachting, but any sport in general.  Please do let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

Verona Wheatley sitting on a brown leather chair with silver studs
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