Marine Watches: Background, Features, and More

Marine Watches: Background, Features, and More


Let’s begin with some background information about marine watches. It was nearly impossible for ships to detect their position at sea in the early days of sailing, especially once the terrain was no longer visible. The current and wind were not taken into account in the navigation. Many ships have been thrown off course as a result of these flaws. Latitude was simple to calculate at the time, but longitude was more difficult. This challenge persisted for so long that in 1714, a massive competition was held in the United Kingdom to solve it. John Harrison entered with his marine chronometer.

For portable time standards, a marine chronometer is both precise and accurate. By measuring the time at a particular place, it can be used to determine longitude, for instance, GMT and the current location’s time. There have been many advances and products from some of the greatest brands on the market since the introduction of the maritime watch.

There are numerous multisport Smartwatches that are waterproof and intended for use on a boat. The smarter your watch technology, the better your marine and sailing watches. There are currently options on the market that include tidal data, barometric pressure, compass bearing, temperature, depth gauge, and a reliably correct radio-control time. There is also Bluetooth connectivity. Despite this, sailors will always prefer to wear an analog watch that merely displays the time.

There are sailing watches to suit your needs, whether you want a multipurpose Casio, an analog from Nautica, or anything from a well-known brand like Rolex.

Additional Reading: Best Always-On Display Smartwatches

5 Features to Look For in Marine Watches

Countdown Timer

This is the most crucial feature to look for in a maritime (or sailing) watch. A skipper’s ability to measure intervals leading up to the start of a race is essential. This can be pretty difficult to determine depending on the wind and current.

Using a countdown timer, it instantly converts to a race chronograph once it reaches zero.


This isn’t a reference to receiving anything that looks nice. In your marine watch, there are a few design characteristics to consider. For example, you should choose a watch face with less clutter. Choose something with large, luminous hands, easy-to-read digits, and a backlight with a glare-reducing coated glass face. All of these small details contribute to a seamless visual experience. When you’re out on the water, this is a must-have.


The materials used to make your maritime watch significantly impact its longevity. Your watch will be exposed to the harsh elements of nature like wind and water.

It is, therefore, preferable to choose a watch with a silicone wristband over one with a leather one. The importance of the case and strap cannot be understated. Consider what you’ll be wearing and choose a strap that complements it, such as one that can stretch over the clothing.

You’ll need something that can withstand many shocks. The most frequent material for the case, buckles, clasps, and bracelets is stainless steel. If money is not an issue, other materials such as gold and titanium and sapphire and ruby can be obtained.

Waterproof Rating

There has never been a completely waterproof watch. This word is somewhat deceptive. All Smartwatches can endure a certain amount of water pressure before seals leak or gas or water bubbles enter the mechanism, damaging the watch.

The term “waterproof” describes how well something can withstand being submerged in water. The basic guideline is that the higher the number is from ATM, the better. You might be surprised to learn that anything less than 100ATM is generally not recommended for diving. We can only imagine that if you’re a sailor, your watch will be subjected to extreme variations in water pressure (waves, heavy rain, and diving into water count as intense and instant changes). A rating of 200ATM is your ideal sweet spot.

Digital Features

A high-quality digital maritime watch will include digital functions that will come in handy at sea. A digital watch with a variety of helpful naval features, including:

  • Information on the tides (including moon phase)
  • A barometer that measures the pressure in the atmosphere
  • An altimeter that measures altitude (as it suggests)
  • Thermometer 
  • Thermometer 
  • Alarms that are both audible and that vibrate

Battery Life

This is crucial. Trips on the water are rarely quick. You’ll want to find a maritime watch that can sustain repeated use for your voyage.

When you’re out on the water, the last thing you want to do is drain your boat’s battery to use your watch. The more you use it, the more the battery drains. Similarly, the more digital functions a watch has, the faster you notice that it’s dying.

Fortunately, the battery life on maritime watches is usually excellent, so they’re suitable for the job. Some gadgets can last up to 200 hours between charges.

Additional Reading: Best Apple Watch Band For Kids


Before buying a marine watch, make sure you know precisely what characteristics you want. There are a lot of them out there, and they’re usually rather expensive. Hundreds of thousands of dollars are frequently spent.

What kind of watch you need depends on the type of aquatic activities you participate in. In any case, you want a device that is sturdy, comfy, accurate, and, most importantly, will survive the duration of your trip.

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