Best Sailing Watches of 2024: The Ultimate Guide to Setting Sail in Style!

Reviewed by Tim West

Updated:

Note: As a reader-supported site, we may earn a commission at no extra cost to you when you purchase through links in this post; your support helps us maintain our content, read more.

best sailing watches

This is a review of the best sailing watches in 2024

As someone who’s spent a considerable amount of time sailing, I know a reliable sailing watch is a must-have during any journey.

It’s not just about time, it’s about getting key info to make your journey smooth and rewarding.

But, I get it – with so many choices and features out there, picking the right sailing watch can feel like navigating stormy seas. You’re balancing water resistance, durability, and accuracy, plus high-tech features like GPS, MOB alerts, race countdown timers, weather data, and more.

No worries, though! I’ve got your back. I’ve sailed these waters before, and I’m here to guide you through. 

Let’s begin this journey to discover the best sailing watches available for serious sailors.

Let’s go!

Best Sailing Watch

Garmin MARQ Captain: Best Equipped Sailing Watch

Garmin Quatix 7: Best Sailing Watch With Smart Features

Ronstan ClearStart Race Timer: Best Sailing Watch For Racing

Optimum Time Series 3 Race Timer: Best Large Display Sailing Watch For Racing

Casio Tide Graph Moon Phase: Best Budget-Friendly Sailing Watch

Looking to upgrade your sailing wardrobe? Don’t miss our comprehensive Sailing Outfit Guide, designed to ensure you’re optimally prepared for every weather condition and sailing challenge.

Best Sailing Watches Reviewed

Garmin MARQ Captain

Garmin MARQ Captain

Display Size: 1.2” (30.4 mm) diameter

Water Rating: 10 ATM (330ft / 100m)

Battery Life: Up to 12 days (Smartwatch mode)

Pros: With its advanced features, the Garmin MARQ Captain offers sailors real-time boat data,  weather, and tidal data, an accurate regatta timer, MOB (man overboard), and a tack assist function. This ensures you’re always a step ahead, making informed decisions for exceptional sailing performance.

Cons: The MARQ Captain comes with a steep price tag. Also, utilizing its full range of features requires a solid understanding of its functionalities, which could be a learning curve for some users.

As a long-time sailor, Garmin is a brand I’ve grown to trust. Known for their commitment to precision and innovation, their latest offering, the MARQ Captain, is no exception.

Firstly, the real-time weather and tidal data right on your wrist is a godsend. No more guessing or approximations, it’s about making informed decisions for your sailing trip. As someone who has sailed since the times this technology was almost non-existent, this feature alone is a game-changer for me.

The Garmin MARQ Captain has also revolutionized how I start my races. The regatta timer, backed by enhanced GPS, ensures that I start my races exactly on time. It feels like having a personal assistant counting down for me.

As for the ‘tack assist’ function, it’s an incredible tool that tells me whether I’m on a lift or a header. It’s like having a second pair of expert eyes on the water. Plus, the MOB button is an essential safety feature I enjoy sailing with and gives me peace of mind.

This classic sailing watch also integrates with the onboard technology of my boat. Streaming boat data directly to my wrist, or controlling Garmin’s Fusion audio systems—you name it, the MARQ Captain does it. It’s like having your boat on your wrist.

The watch’s aesthetics are impressive, too. The navy ceramic bezel, jacquard-weave strap—every detail speaks to the thought and craftsmanship that’s gone into it. It feels good to wear, and it turns heads.

I also love the always-on display and waterproof capability up to 100 meters. The QuickFit® mechanism on the jacquard-weave nylon strap makes it comfortable for long wear.

The GPS sailing features including speed, distance, heading, and a virtual starting line are like my personal dashboard on the water. Having a time-to-burn calculator is incredibly helpful, too.

Lastly, the preloaded marine mapping and weather forecasts, including storm alerts and home port conditions, really round out the Garmin MARQ Captain as the best sailing watch for anyone serious about their time on the water.

So, if you’re looking for the perfect watch on the market, do yourself a favor and give the Garmin MARQ Captain a serious look. I can personally vouch for its outstanding features and benefits— this durable timepiece it’s well worth the investment.

Garmin Quatix 7

Garmin quatix 7

Display Size: 1.3” (33 mm) diameter

Water Rating: 10 ATM (330ft / 100m)

Battery Life: Up to 16 days (Smartwatch mode)

Pros: Advanced navigational features and comprehensive connectivity with select compatible Garmin devices, providing critical data right on your wrist. Bright display, ensuring readability even in direct sunlight.

Cons: High price points might deter budget-conscious buyers. 

The Garmin Quatix 7 is a unique multisport GPS smartwatch that is as useful on the water as it is off. As a previous user of the Quatix 6, I was excited to experience the updated features of the Quatix 7, and it did not disappoint.

The first thing you’ll notice about the Quatix 7 is its bright AMOLED display, which is a notable upgrade from the Quatix 6. This AMOLED display basically means you get rich, vivid colors and excellent image quality compared to other display technologies. The Quatix 7’s display is considerably brighter, making it much easier to read, especially in direct sunlight. 

However, some users have flagged that the extra brightness brings down the watch’s battery life compared to its predecessor Quatix 6 This wasn’t my case and I guess it all depends on which one of the watch’s features you use on a regular basis. 

As for its navigational capabilities, the Quatix 7 excels with its support for coastal charts and inland maps. It offers comprehensive connectivity with select compatible Garmin chartplotters using the free Garmin Connect app,  Fusion-Link™ entertainment system control, and even autopilot control. It’s also embedded with BlueChart® g3 charts and LakeVü g3 maps, which are perfect for any water-based adventure.

One standout feature for me is the watch’s ability to connect to my boat’s compatible devices and provide data like water depth, engine RPM, wind, and more right on my wrist. It even alerts me to imminent swell changes and anchor drag, offering a level of situational awareness that is incredibly useful when on the water.

The Quatix 7 also shines off the water, offering a suite of health monitoring and sports apps. It consistently samples your heart rate, even underwater, and provides advanced sleep monitoring and a recovery time advisor for post-workout.

This Garmin sailing watch is as rugged as it is sophisticated, with a scratch-resistant sapphire lens and a comfortable silicone strap. It’s designed to fit comfortably on wrists with a circumference of 125-208mm. It’s also water-rated to 10 ATM, so it can easily handle your aquatic adventures.

Overall, the Garmin Quatix 7 offers a wide array of features that will appeal to both boating enthusiasts and multisport athletes alike. Its bright display, comprehensive connectivity, and health monitoring capabilities make it a versatile and duarable companion for any adventure, whether it’s on land or sea. However, be prepared for a bit of a learning curve.

While this sailing watch has a somewhat steep price point and complex features, its benefits and capabilities make it an investment worth considering. From the accurate GPS and useful navigational features to its health-tracking features and impressive durability, this smartwatch offers a comprehensive package for any sailing enthusiast.

So, if you’re looking for a reliable, feature-rich wearable timepiece that can keep up with your adventures, I encourage you to consider this sailing smart watch. Its blend of practical features and rugged construction is designed with you in mind, ready to meet the unique challenges and demands of life at sea.

Ronstan Clear Start Race Timer

RONSTAN ClearStart Race Timer

Display Size: Oversized 5/8″ (16mm) digit display

Water Rating: 5 ATM (165ft / 50m)

Battery Life: Not specified

Pros: The Ronstan ClearStart sailing watch stands out with its large display and intuitive race sequence synchronization feature. These make it the perfect companion for racing sailors who value precision and ease of use.

Cons: While the watch excels in many areas, some users have reported difficulties trying to turn the watch on (watch the video below for a guide on how to solve this issue!).

When it comes to sailing gear, Ronstan is a name that commands respect. Their products are hailed worldwide for their innovativeness, and the ClearStart Race Timer is a proud addition to their portfolio.

Now, onto the watch. Imagine you’re out on the water, the sun’s gleaming, and you’re gearing up for a race. The large display of this sailing watch is a sight for sore eyes, with 5/8″ (16mm) digits that are a breeze to read, even from the boom or mast base. For an average sailor, it’s a relief not having to strain their eyes in crucial race moments.

The Multiple Start Sequence options are a great feature of this watch, offering World Sailing 5,4,1,0, Match Racing, and User Set. It’s like having a Swiss army knife of sailing watches. No matter your race type, this watch has got you covered.

I’ve always loved the SYNChronisation function on this watch. It’s easy to start the countdown too early or too late in the heat of the moment, but this feature brings you right back on track with the official race time. You’ll love how it keeps you on track, making your sailing experience smoother.

We all appreciate an alert when we’re up against time. With this watch’s pre-programmed race sequence sounds you’ll know exactly where you are in the start sequence. It’s like having your personal assistant on board, keeping you updated without having to glance at the watch.

Then there’s the multi-line display, showing the start sequences and time concurrently. It’s all there – no switching between modes needed. It’s almost like this watch reads your mind.

And the flexibility it offers! The countdown can repeat at the end of a sequence or start counting up to track elapsed race time. Plus, the separate fast access to Race and Time mode scrolling makes navigation a breeze.

As sailors, we value a watch that can withstand the elements. This watch is water-resistant up to 50 meters and shock-resistant, too. You can confidently wear it without fear of damage, even in the most rigorous of races.

Finally, it’s worth mentioning the diverse mounting options this watch offers – wrist, hull, mast, or boom. This adaptability to different positions caters to personal preferences and optimizes functionality based on your needs.

The Ronstan ClearStart Race Timer isn’t just a watch; it’s a versatile companion that meets the unique demands of a sailing enthusiast. So, check out this sailing watch, folks. It’s not often you come across a combination of practicality, durability, and sleek design. 


OptimumTime OS3 Race Timer

OptimumTime OS Series 3

Display Size: Oversized 5/8″ (16mm) digit display

Water Rating: 5 ATM (165ft / 50m)

Battery Life: Not specified

Pros: Large display and buttons for easy navigation; Multiple start sequence options and a sync button make it perfect for competitive sailing.

Cons: The large size might not suit everyone.

In the sailing world, the ‘big yellow timer’ has quite the reputation. It’s renowned for its blend of robustness and user-friendly functionality, making it a go-to choice for sailors across the globe.

One thing that genuinely stands out about this Optimum sailing watch is its large, rotatable display. You see, it’s not just about the size, but the flexibility it offers. With a quick twist, you can adjust the viewing angle for optimal readability. No more squinting or awkward wrist twists to check the time while you’re tacking.

The timer function of this sailor watch is nothing short of impressive. Whether you’re a fan of the standard 12 or 24-hour format or need something a bit more advanced like the pre-programmed 5,4,1,0 ISAF start sequences, this watch has got you covered. You’ll appreciate the audible alarms too – just the nudge you need without being too intrusive.

We’ve all had those ‘oops’ moments when we’ve missed a gun. But here’s where this watch comes into its own. The sync button is a lifesaver – one press, and you’re back in sync with the race control timer. You can start your countdown late or early, and this watch will still keep you on track.

Despite its size, this sailing watch is surprisingly comfortable to wear, thanks to the adjustable elasticated strap and the neat, low-profile buttons. Even better, it’s water-resistant up to 5 ATM and built to withstand shocks, meaning it can handle whatever your sailing adventures throw at it.

Finally, there’s the backlight feature. As someone who enjoys sailing into the sunset, I can tell you how invaluable this is. Whether you’re in a race or simply navigating at night, being able to see your watch clearly is a game-changer.

If you’re on the lookout for the best watch for sailing out there, you can’t go wrong with this big yellow timer. It’s more than just a sailing watch; it’s a reliable partner that will make your sailing experience smoother and more enjoyable. 

So, don’t wait any longer. Check it out for yourself and see the difference it makes.

Buy on


Casio Tide Graph Moon Phase

Casio Tide Graph Moon phase

Display Size: 1.6” (42 mm)

Water Rating: 10 ATM (330ft / 100m)

Battery Life: Up to 10 years

Pros: This Casio sailing watch offers practical features including sea level graphs and moon phase, which any sailor can appreciate. The durability and extensive battery life of this watch make it a steadfast partner for maritime adventures.

Cons: Though sturdy, it does not provide the advanced features and capabilities available in modern smart sailing watches.  

Let’s chat about Casio. This brand, renowned for bringing innovations that meet our latent needs, continues to delight with its range of reliable products. One of which is their tough watches.

This watch is like your personal almanac on your wrist, providing world and dual time features and even displaying moon data like the moon’s age and phase. Being on the open sea, it’s you, your vessel, and this Casio watch acting as your guide.

The tide information for specific dates and times is a great feature when planning your sailing strategy. 

Built to last, this watch has a resilient resin casing and is water-resistant up to 100 meters. No more worrying about a wave splash, or an accidental drop in the water. This watch is likely to survive countless sailing escapades without skipping a beat.

One of the standout attributes of this watch is its remarkable battery life. Imagine not having to worry about a battery change for approximately 10 years! That’s a whole decade of worry-free sailing adventures.

The LED light feature is really useful when you’re sailing during dawn or dusk. With a selectable illumination duration, it ensures the watch is always easy to read in any lighting condition.

While this watch offers an array of useful features for any sailor, it’s important to note that it doesn’t include the kind of specialized sailing and racing features found in some of the higher-end sailing watches we’ve talked about. I am talking GPS, maps, boat data capabilities, connectivity etc. 

But if you’re looking for an entry-level, budget-friendly option to simply track time during your sailing adventures, this Casio watch is a strong contender. It might not be the most high-tech option out there, but it certainly delivers on functionality and reliability.

So, if you’re searching for a new sailing watch that offers great value for money, give this Casio a look. It may not be the most specialized watch for our purposes, but it holds its own with many of the best sailing watches in terms of practicality and durability. 

Ready for your next adventure on the waves? Don’t miss out on this sailing companion! Check out the Casio Tide Graph Moon Phase today and make it your reliable mate for all your sailing adventures.

Buy on


What To Look For When Choosing A Top Sailing Watch in 2024

Sailing watches aren’t just timekeepers; they’re precision instruments engineered with the sailor in mind. These timepieces often include unique features such as tidal information and weather predictions, serving as starting points for the sailor’s journey. Advanced models go further, offering dedicated navigational features and racing chronographs essential for when the countdown reaches zero at the start of a race.

Their functionality extends beyond the typical scope of regular watches. These watches are not just about keeping time but are integral in keeping sailors safe and well-informed on the water. With waterproof designs, they withstand the challenging marine environment, ensuring reliability whether you’re racing or cruising.

Finding the best watches requires considering your specific sailing needs. Sailors use these watches for a variety of purposes, from timing maneuvers as the race countdown reaches zero to navigating through treacherous waters. The right watch is suitable not just as a timepiece but as a tool for precision and safety in every sailing scenario.

Whether your focus is on competitive racing or leisurely cruising, understanding and selecting a watch that aligns with your sailing needs is crucial. This guide aims to navigate you through the options, ensuring the watch you choose enhances your sailing experience.

Key Considerations for Sailors

When it comes to choosing a sailing watch, you need to consider its waterproof capability, as we’re dealing with a pretty wet environment! Durability is crucial too – it needs to withstand the rigors of saltwater, sun, and hard use. 

Accuracy is vital as well, particularly for racing, where seconds matter. And let’s not forget ease of use. You want something that’s intuitive to operate, even in challenging conditions.

Essential Features of Sailing Watches

A top-notch sailing watch should include features like race countdown and race start functions to keep you competitive during races. GPS capabilities help you navigate and plan routes, while a compass keeps you oriented. 

Being able to access tidal data and barometric pressure info can be a real game-changer, offering you insights into local conditions and upcoming weather patterns. 

Some advanced sailing watches even offer charting or plotter capabilities, allowing you to view electronic charts directly on your watch, providing a visual representation of your position relative to coastlines, landmarks, and other navigational information.

Timing Functions and Accuracy When Yachting

Timing is everything in sailing, and what you look for in a sailing watch is crucial. A good sailing watch will offer a range of timing functions like countdown time for racing and other regatta timers.

These tools help a race sailboat captain countdown to the start of a race and control pacing. Split timing for tracking multiple events can also come in handy when using your watch, especially for racers juggling multiple tasks.

Water Resistance and Durability

Sailing watches are rated for their ability to withstand water exposure, and a high water resistance rating is key. Your watch certainly needs to be durable, capable of handling not just splashes but also sustained submersion. It should be constructed with a rugged case and scratch-resistant glass to keep the watch performing in top condition. Tough materials like stainless steel or hard resin are ideal to ensure the watch stands up to the sea’s demands.

You’ll find that these watches are typically rated at 5 ATM or 10 ATM, indicating they can endure pressures equivalent to depths of 50 meters or 100 meters, respectively. This level of water resistance is essential to keep the watch protected during various activities, including sailing, swimming, and even light diving.

GPS and Navigation Features

Advanced sailing watches often feature integrated positioning capabilities, enabling you to navigate more accurately. With this feature, you can have distance travelled and GPS routes displayed on the watch, calculate speed, and even mark and record waypoints  This helps with route planning and can be a lifesaver if you get off course.

Environmental Sensors and Data

Modern sailing watches can include sensors to measure temperature, barometric pressure, and compass heading. Access to real-time tidal data can help you plan your route and timing, especially for long-distance sailing. These features give you a better understanding of your environment and allow you to make more informed decisions on the water.

Design and Comfort

Watches these days are designed to provide the best in both style and functionality for sailors. Not only should a sailing watch be lightweight and easy to read in various lighting conditions, but it should also ensure comfort.

Most watches have soft rubber or synthetic straps, ideal for the marine environment and preferable over metal for safety and durability. These materials provide the best combination of comfort and resilience, essential for sailors who need quick and easy access to data on a well-designed watch face.

Brand and Price Considerations

In your search for the perfect sailing watch, brands like Garmin, RONSTAN,  Rolex, Timex and Optimum Time are renowned for their quality, enhancing the experience of sailing. While expensive sailing watches may seem like a hefty investment, they often provide superior performance and durability, key qualities to look for in sailing gear.

Remember, a quality sailing watch may not only elevate your experience sailing but can also serve as an exceptional sailing gift. The right choice, though pricier, pays off in the long run.

Maintenance and Care

Maintaining your sailing watch is crucial for its longevity. You’ll need to keep an eye on the battery life and possibly consider regular servicing to keep the watch’s internal mechanisms in top shape. As for cleaning, rinse the watch in fresh water after each sailing trip to remove any salt or dirt. With proper care, your sailing watch can serve you well for many years.

Final Words

Well, there you have it! After navigating through our guide to the best watches specifically for sailing, it’s clear that the Garmin MARQ Captain stands out as the premier choice for sailors who want the best.

This timepiece is more than a watch; it’s a testament to what makes the best in maritime timekeeping. With its precise navigation capabilities and crystal-clear display, it is perfectly tailored for sailors.

The Garmin MARQ Captain not only meets but exceeds the expectations of sailors who want a watch designed specifically for sailing, boasting a wealth of features dedicated to their unique needs.

Happy sailing as you embark on your adventures with one of the finest watches for sailors!

Why not explore more? We’ve got other sailing articles that you might find interesting:

FAQ

Do you need a sailing watch?

A sailing watch is beneficial for serious or competitive sailors, offering features such as waterproofing, race countdown timers, and navigational aids. For casual sailing, a standard watch may suffice, but for enhanced safety and performance, a sailing watch is a valuable asset.

Are sailing watches reliable?

Absolutely, sailing watches are built to be reliable under extreme sailing conditions. They’re designed to withstand the elements and to provide crucial data accurately. Their reliability, however, depends on the quality of the watch, so always choose a reputable brand.

What features should a good sailing watch have?

Watches for serious sailors typically have a countdown timer for races, water resistance, durability, and a clear display. Advanced features can include GPS, barometric pressure tracking, temperature sensors, tidal data, and a compass.

What is a good watch for sailing?

The Garmin MARQ Captain is an excellent choice for sailing, offering a wealth of specialized sailing and racing features. For a budget-friendly option, Casio’s Tide Graph Moon Phase is a solid choice with basic yet valuable features for any sailor.

What makes a sailing watch?

A sailing watch is specifically designed to assist sailors with functions such as countdown timers, tidal data, and accurate timekeeping. They’re built to withstand harsh marine conditions, offering high water resistance and durability.

Which Garmin watch is best for sailing?

The Garmin MARQ Captain is the best for serious sailing. The Garmin Quatix 7 is also good and a bit cheaper. It has many useful features for sailing too. You can learn more about these watches in this article.

What is a nautical watch?

A nautical watch, also known as a sailing watch, is designed to assist sailors with useful features such as tidal information, countdown timers for races, GPS for navigation, and strong water resistance. They’re built to endure marine conditions and provide sailors with the necessary data for their adventures.

Photo of author

AUTHOR

Hi I am Peter, I absolutely love being out on the water and I have a deep passion for all things nautical. Sailing has been a huge part of my life and I plan to continue doing it for as long as I can. When I'm not out sailing, I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, reading a good book, and listening to music.