This is a review of the best sailing watches in 2023.
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 perfect sailing watch to enhance your adventures.
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
Table of Contents
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
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 nautical 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 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 water resistance 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 considering a new sailing watch, do yourself a favor and give the Garmin MARQ Captain a serious look. I can personally vouch for its outstanding features and benefits—it’s well worth the investment.
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 for key MFD features, autopilot control, and Fusion-Link™ entertainment system 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 tide 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 sailing watch’s design 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 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 a sailor looking for a reliable, feature-rich wearable 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.
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 gear 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.
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.
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 tide 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 taking 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 nautical escapades.
What To Look For When Choosing The Best Sailing Watch
Sailing watches aren’t just timekeepers; they’re precision instruments engineered with the sailor in mind. They often include unique features like tidal information and weather predictions as starting points, and dedicated navigational features in advanced models.
This makes them different from regular watches, as they’re not just about keeping time, but about keeping us safe and well-informed on the water.
Key Considerations for Sailors
When it comes to choosing a sailing watch, you need to consider its water resistance, 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 countdown timers 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
Timing is everything in sailing. A good sailing watch will offer a range of timing functions like race countdown timers and regatta timers. These tools help you manage race starts and control pacing. Split timing for tracking multiple events can also come in handy, especially for racers juggling multiple tasks.
Water Resistance and Durability
Sailing watches need to handle a good splash, so they should have a high water resistance rating. Durability comes into play too – your watch should be built to last, with a rugged case and scratch-resistant glass. Look for tough materials like stainless steel or hard resin to ensure your watch can stand up to the demands of the sea.
A common water resistance rating you’ll often find is 5 ATM or 10 ATM, which means the watch can withstand pressures equivalent to being submerged in water at depths of 50 meters or 100 meters respectively. This level of water resistance ensures that your watch remains protected even during activities such as sailing, swimming, and even some diving.
GPS and Navigation Features
Advanced sailing watches often feature integrated GPS capabilities, enabling you to navigate more accurately. With this feature, you can measure distance traveled, 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. These features give you a better understanding of your environment and allow you to make more informed decisions on the water.
Design and Comfort
Design isn’t just about looks; it’s about functionality and comfort. A good sailing watch should be lightweight, have a comfortable strap, and be easy to read, even in bright sunlight or at night. Consider the size of the watch face and the layout of the information on the display – can you quickly and easily access the data you need?
Brand and Price Considerations
When it comes to brands of sailing watches, there are many reputable ones known for their quality and innovation. Garmin, RONSTAN, and Optimum Time are just a few that come to mind. Price will vary based on the brand and the features you choose. It’s worth remembering that sometimes, you do get what you pay for. Investing in a quality watch can pay dividends 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.
Well, there you have it! After charting our course through the vast ocean of sailing watches, it’s clear the Garmin MARQ Captain is the true skipper in the fleet of the best sailing watches. It’s packed with all the features a sailor could need – from its precise navigation to the stunning clarity of its display, not to mention the boatload of sailor-centric features it’s got under the hood.
Why not explore more? We’ve got other sailing articles that you might find interesting:
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?
A good sailing watch should 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?
For a premium experience, the Garmin MARQ Captain stands out as the best Garmin watch for sailing, with a suite of specialized features. The Garmin Quatix 7 is another top contender, offering an impressive array of sailing functions at a slightly lower price point. You can read more about these products 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 like 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.