Pre-Owned Picks — 3 Nautical Watches Three nautically-inspired picks for week 19 by Ben Hodges May 08, 2020 MIN READPre-Owned Picks — 3 Nautical Watches
Yachting enthusiasts enjoy the kinetic momentum of a boundless fuel. Wind never depletes or pollutes and only the waves crashing against the hull act as the background noise. Mechanical watches have the same ideology.
For this week’s Pre-Owned Picks, I have selected three watches for life on the waves.
All watches are pre-owned and picked from Chrono24. Every week we pick a few pre-owned watches from Chrono24, the largest market place for wristwatches in the world — watches that we love ourselves, or think they will be interesting to you. So to be clear, we picked the watches, Chrono24 only send us the images without their watermark and in a proper resolution.
Tissot Sailing T-Touch
The T-Touch range by Tissot used to sell like hotcakes. The touch-screen quartz piece had a great selection of standard features; alarms, chronograph functionality, and multi-time-zones. But what set the T-Touch apart was the additional functions tailor-made to particular outdoor activities. From mountaineering to biking, the Tissot set the benchmark for activity wearables. The Apple Watch has taken a little wind out of the sails of the T-Touch, but real adventurers still prefer the more robust and bespoke T-Touch.
There is a significant fluctuation in the tide line the further north or south you travel from the Equator.
Take, for example, the Sailing version. This T-Touch has a suite of options befitting of any mariner. With the tide indicator, you enter the tide details from the Almanac before you set off, and the sailing T-Touch will calculate the times between low tide to high tide within 24 hours. There is a significant fluctuation in the tide line the further north or south you travel from the Equator. These can vary depending on location. But indicating the two high and two low tides of the day helps plan when to moor up.
Navigating with the T-Touch compass
The Sailing T-Touch also has a surprisingly accurate compass. Pressing the compass button shifts the hour and minute hands to point north-south, acting as needles. Turning the watch allows you to see which direction you’re heading, with degrees magnetic marked on the dial for every thirty degrees. It also reads the magnetic bearing on the LCD. The watch has a barometer, keeping track of atmospheric pressure with a reading every couple of hours. If it is going up, then good weather is on the way. If the pressure drops, then prepare for a storm.
On a yacht, you may find yourself hoisted up a mast or at the helm. Tracking the tides or the pressure from a glance at the wrist makes the Sailing T-Touch a trusty companion. Water-resistance is rated at 100 meters, more than enough to handle the spray and splashes of the high seas. It’s rare to find the Sailing version these days. It’s not even listed on the Tissot site. However, I found a great looking version on Chrono24 with the matching steel bracelet. This is probably the most stylish T-Touch that Tissot has ever made.
Rolex Yacht-Master II
Jumping to another level is the Yacht-Master II. Possibly, the most well-known regatta chronograph, and the least desirable professional steel Rolex. I say that as I spotted at least three stainless steel Yacht-Master IIs in three different retailer windows all within a 50-mile radius this year alone. The lock-down started in March in the UK, so no doubt there could be a lot more. I’m sure I do not need to tell you that most steel Rolex watches have a waiting list. This has been a recurring story in the last few years and is not set to change anytime soon. So, to regularly come across a steel Yacht-Master II highlights that the count-down regatta timer is a very niche function.
Regatta yachting chronographs
A regatta is a yacht race where buoys mark the start/finish lines. The problem is, yachts cannot launch from a grid position, like a motor race. Instead, each skipper leads the crew to keep the boat as close to the start line, without crossing it. A starting bell alerts the designated count-down, usually 10 minutes, until the race officially begins. In this time, the crew stays as close to the wind as possible all while avoiding the yachts around them. The Yacht-Master II has a programmable bezel that pulls the red regatta hand backwards to set the timer. Tracking the count down allows the skipper to get into position and prepare to launch with accurate timing.
Now, regatta racing accounts for a tiny fraction of recreational sailing. But the Yacht-Master II is a great way to celebrate and share your passion for yachting. I found dozens of stainless steel YMIIs on Chrono24 but settled for the rarely seen white gold model with platinum relief bezel. This is usually a £38,650 watch. To find one in excellent condition at nearly half the price at £21,927, with box and papers is worth seeking out. And you never know, with the extra heft of white gold, it may come in handy if your anchor snaps off the chain.
Ulysse Nardin Marine Grand Deck
This last one is more accustomed to the exclusive yacht club than the open ocean. Yet, the Marine Grand Deck features a plethora of nautical inspirations. The aluminum retrograde minute hand tracks left to right, before swinging back to zero upon reaching the next hour.
“We don’t need sailboats that don’t take people anywhere, and we don’t need wristwatches to tell us the time anymore either.”
– Former Ulysse Nardin CEO, Patrik Hoffmann at the 2017 America’s Cup
It is this movement that simulates the boom on a yacht as it tacks and gybes in the wind. Controlling the retrograde hand are translucent cables and winch-like pulleys. These spiral winches are powered by gears beneath the dial, which pull and release the cables, similar to the main sheet on a sailing vessel.
A dial filled with nautical inspiration
The 60-second flying tourbillon at 6 o’clock balances with the outsized hour window above. A flying tourbillon removes the supporting bridges to allow an unimpeded view into the mechanics below and also provides the running seconds. With the centralized time display, the rest of the dial is free for creative flair. The dial itself is wood marquetry that mimics the teak decks of classic yachts with rubber inlays between the planks. On the rehaut are gold “safety” railings that typically flank the perimeter of boats. The logo at 12 o’clock shows the nautical flag symbols representing U (Ulysse) and N (Nardin), either side of the anchor.
The jump hour can be quick-set with the pusher at 2 o’clock, and the familiar traits of the Marine range such as the integrated lugs and coin edge are present on the Grand Deck. Visible through the display case-back is the in-house, manually wound caliber, UN-630. On an alligator strap at a price of 280,000CHF, the white gold Marine Grand Deck was only for a lucky few. The highly polished platinum version was a limited edition of 18, so Chrono24 may hold the best chance of being able to snag one.
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About the author
Ben has been working in central London for 7 years. In that time, Ben has developed an interest in watches after being gifted his father’s Breitling at 25. He explores the weird and wonderful in horology at all price ranges,… read more
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