“Best sailing watches under $1,000: Le Forban Brestoise, Marnaut Seascape 200R, Baltic Aquascaphe White, Yema Navygraf Marine Nationale, Christopher Ward C60 Trident Pro 600, Certina DS PH200, Unimatic U3 Classic, Farer Endeavour Titanium”
Best Sailing Watches Under $1,000
- Le Forban Brestoise ($490)
- Marnaut Seascape 200R ($449)
- Baltic Aquascaphe White ($681)
- Yema Navygraf Marine Nationale ($790)
- Christopher Ward C60 Trident Pro 600 ($895)
- Certina DS PH200 ($980)
- Unimatic U3 Classic (Approx. $615)
- Farer Endeavour Titanium
Close your eyes and imagine this. You are standing on the deck of your sailing yacht, with a freshly made drink of your choice in your hand. As you look down at the endless ocean, you can feel the fresh ocean breeze on your face. You can smell the taste of the ocean. You inhale. You exhale. You look down on your wrist to check what time it is. But what is that? There is no watch there. How could that happen? Well, maybe because you’re broke and didn’t find any articles about good sailing watches for under $1,000? Could that be? And if so, worry no longer, I got you. But before we sail on, let me give you a short overview of what a sailing watch actually is, and what to look out for when buying one.
Let’s start with the easy one. What even is a sailing watch? So, like with dress watches, sports watches, or nautical watches, there is not fixed term to define what a sailing watch is. There is no certification or complication needed for a watch to be called a sailing watch. That being said, if we have to allocate sailing watches to some sort of watch category, I think that the dive watch category would be the best fitting category. Not talking about dive watches that measure 45mm in diameter and are capable of enduring water pressures of up to 1000 meters, I’m talking about those dive watches that come on a rubber strap or metal bracelet, that are comfortable, easy to read, and have a water resistance rating of around 100 to 300 meters. This is how I personally would define a sailing watch. And I know, there are certain watches that have a specific Regatta sub-dial and chronograph functionalities, to measure regattas. But that’s not what I want to cover today. Because odds are, most of you out there are not buying a sailing watch to stop the exact time at a sailing race, instead you want a watch that you can rely on, on your next boating trip, be it on the ocean, lake or even on a river. And if I’m wrong, and you want to have a selection of some watches that feature those regatta specific complications, I’ve written an article about it as well. You can check it out here.
So, now that you know what a sailing watch is, let’s take a short look at what you should look out for when buying one for yourself.
Basically, there are three main things to look out for when buying a sailing watch:
- Legibility is key when it comes to sailings watches. When you’re battling the waves, you just don’t have time to fiddle around on your watch – you need to know the time at a glance.
- Water resistance. As mentioned earlier, you probably shouldn’t go on sailing trips with your vintage Patek Philippe dress watch, since the splashes of saltwater will pretty much penetrate the crystal, which will probably lead to your watch being completely ruined. So, you want to have a watch that is capable to, at least, endure a short swim. Try to go for a water resistance rating of anywhere between 100 to 300 meters of water resistance.
- Strap choices. Similar to the last point, a 30-year-old, leather strap will probably not make it through the rough conditions out at sea. Try to go for a rubber strap, NATO strap, or a stainless-steel bracelet.
So, without further ado, let’s plunge in (pun intended) and take a look at eight of my favorite sailing watches on this list of the best sailing watches that can be bought for $1,000 or less. And as always, I’m trying to include some not-so-well-known brands and watches as well, so that even the most knowledgeable enthusiast will still get to see something new. By the way, if you are interested in other parts of the series “Best Watches Under”, click here and you will get a whole array of different topics I’ve covered, like the best dive watches under…, the best dress watches under… and so on. I think you get my point.
But enough with all the talking, let’s get started!
Le Forban Brestoise ($490)
The first pick of the day comes from the French manufacturer Le Forban. Namely, the Le Forban Brestoise. Those of you that already read some of my previous articles, will probably recognize this watch and the brand behind it, as I featured them in a few articles before, like the “Affordable Alternatives To The Blancpain Fifty-Fathoms” article or the “Best Dive Watches Under $500” article. But let’s assume you are new around here and didn’t get the chance to check them out, first of all, welcome, and second, let me introduce the brand Le Forban to you. Because trust me, this is a story you want to hear.
Ready? Good. Let’s turn back the time to 1969 when Le Forban initially was founded. During the early 70s, Le Forban specialized in producing highly durable dive watches, which they distributed to the French Navy, who equipped their sailors with those highly capable and reliable dive watches. This is and the quality of their watches were the main reasons that Le Forban was so well respected among enthusiasts, collectors, divers, and sailors, at the time. Unfortunately, a few years after its launch, the brand stopped all production and disappeared from the radars. Maybe it was because of the quartz crisis, maybe because of some other issues. I couldn’t find an answer to that. But fortunately, the story doesn’t end here. In 2019, exactly 50 years after its initial launch, the brand was revived and immediately reintroduced two of its most iconic models. The Malouine and the Brestoise. And the latter is the one that we are going to look at in a little bit more detail.
The Le Forban Brestoise features a stainless-steel case, which measures 38.4mm in diameter, 12.75mm in thickness, and 45mm from lug to lug. Thanks to its modest case proportions, the watch will wear very conservatively and comfortably on your wrist, making it suitable for a broad range of different wrist sizes. But as nice as the case may be, the real star of the show, undoubtedly is its dial. The black lacquered dial features harpoon-style hands, high-contrasting Arabic numerals, and indexes, as well as an unusual, shaped date window at 3 o’clock. Complementing the sailing spirit of the Le Forban Brestoise is the 120-click unidirectional aluminum bezel, as well as the domed sapphire crystal, that protects the handsome dial.
The Le Forban Brestoise is powered by an automatic Miyota 8215 movement, which provides around 42 hours of power reserve. And while it may be a reliable movement, I would have loved it, if they went with a Seiko NH35A, which would have been a perfect choice, and a little bit more exciting. But besides the movement, the Brestoise is a nice sailing/dive watch, which offers a lot of bang for your buck.
Specifications: Price: $490, Case Size: 39mm, Thickness: 12.75mm, Lug-to-Lug: 45mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Water Resistance: 150m, Movement: Automatic Miyota 8215 movement, Power Reserve: 42 Hours, Crystal: Sapphire
Marnaut Seascape 200R ($449)
Coming up next is the Marnaut Seascape 200R. Marnaut was founded back in 2018 and specializes in making dive watches inspired by iconic dive watches from the mid-20th century. Marnaut bases its operation out of Croatia, which is something I never heard about before. Usually, you see brands like this pop up mainly in Asia, but I’m glad that Croatia now got its own little watch brand, which, who knows, maybe the beginning of a rich watch-making culture.
The Marnaut Seascape 200R features a twin-crown super compressor case, which is made from stainless steel and measures 40mm in diameter, 13mm in thickness, and 48mm from lug to lug. I like that they went with very wearable proportions and that they honored the 60s super compressor divers, which, in my opinion, are just a very cool category of watches. By the way, for those of you that aren’t familiar with the twin-crown super-compressor cases, let me enlighten you. Very popular from the 50s to the 60s, super compressors usually had two crowns. With the upper crown you were able to rotate the inner bezel, while with the bottom crown, you could adjust the time, like with any normal crown. And after a time of abstinence, I’m glad to tell you that the super compressor cases are now making a comeback, due to watch brands needing a new, innovative way to make and market their nautical watches. And, obviously, Marnaut had the same thought. But the Seascape 200R has a lot more to offer, than just bringing back a cool case from the 60s. For example, the stunningly blue dial, which, with its symmetrically raised indexes and little dots, reminds a lot of the exoskeleton of a sea urchin.
Powered by the automatic Miyota 9015 movement, which provides around 42 hours of power reserve, this watch is perfect for everyone that is looking for a sailing watch with a nice design, a nice movement, and a very reasonable price tag.
Specifications: Price: $449, Case Size: 40mm, Thickness: 13mm, Lug-to-Lug: 48mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Water Resistance: 200m, Movement: Automatic Miyota 9015 movement, Power Reserve: 42 Hours, Crystal: Sapphire
Baltic Aquascaphe White ($681)
Next up is the Baltic Aquascaphe. Featured by many watch blogs, magazines, and YouTubers, this watch definitely deserves a spot on this list. Inspired by the vintage dive watches of the 60s, the Baltic Aquascaphe is designed to pay tribute to past times, while simultaneously catering to the needs of modern ocean lovers. And while most of you will be familiar with the classic Aquascaphe that features a black sapphire bezel and a clean, black dial, today we are going to take a look at the most recent Baltic Aquascaphe. It is, let’s say, a little bit lighter on the design part, but a lot more noticeable than before. Yes, I’m talking about the all-white Aquascaphe that was released just a few months ago. For me, this striking white, diving-capable watch, is the perfect affordable summer watch for you to enjoy on your next sailing trip.
This Baltic Aquascaphe features a stainless-steel case, which measures 39mm in diameter, 12mm in thickness, and 47mm from lug to lug. Its case proportions allow for it to sit comfortably on a very wide range of wrist sizes, which is something I can appreciate. Something else I highly appreciate is the beautiful snow-white dial, which features diver typical hour and minute markers, luminous pencil-shaped hands, as well as a vibrant red inscribing just above the 6 o’clock position, which gives the watch a slight touch of desperately needed color. Hugging the dial is a unidirectional bezel, which is made from black sapphire, and offers a nice contrast to the dominant white color.
Inside of the stainless-steel case, beats the automatic Miyota 9093 movement, which beats at 28,800 BPH, and provides approximately 42 hours of power reserve.
And there you have it. For $681, you will get a perfect summer watch, that will serve you very well on your sailing trips.
Specifications: Price: $450, Case Size: 39mm, Thickness: 12mm, Lug-to-Lug: 47mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Water Resistance: 200m, Movement: Automatic Miyota 9093 movement, Power Reserve: 42 Hours, Crystal: Sapphire
Yema Navygraf Marine Nationale ($790)
The next watch on this list will seem familiar to most of my seasoned readers since I’m admittedly a big fan of the brand and find that they offer tremendous value for my money. Of course, I’m talking about the French watch manufacturer Yema, which was founded back in 1948 by Henry Louis Belmont. And the watch that made it onto this list is the Yema Navygraf Marine Nationale. Made to serve as an ultra-rugged, highly reliable wristwatch, the Yema Navygraf Marine Nationale is a watch specifically designed by French navy personnel, in order to create a watch that will endure the harshest of harsh conditions out on the high sea.
The Yema Navygraf Marine Nationale features a stainless-steel case, which measures 39mm in diameter, 12.15mm in thickness, and 45mm from lug to lug. Its carefully brushed case hugs the rich, navy-blue dial, which features white exclamation mark-shaped hour markers, a distinct signature of the 1970’s vintage Navygraf model, luminous index-styled hands, a golden Navygraf inscribing, as well as the iconic Marine Nationale logo on 6 o’clock. The same colored, navy-blue bezel, which is made from scratch-resistant sapphire glass and features a matte white plating to mirror the glossy rendering of the vintage bakelite resin bezel. Topping off the whole thing is a sapphire crystal, enabling the watch to be water-resistant up to 300 meters (990ft).
To sum it up, if you are looking for a striking sailing/dive watch, that is durable enough to serve the French navy, and will only cost you $790, then the Yema Navygraf Marine Nationale is a perfect fit for you.
Specifications: Price: $790, Case Size: 39mm, Thickness: 12.15mm, Lug-to-Lug: 45mm, Lug Width: 19mm, Water Resistance: 300m, Movement: Automatic in-house YEMA2000 movement, Power Reserve: 42 hours, Crystal: Sapphire
Christopher Ward C60 Trident Pro 600 ($895)
Coming up next is another watch that sparks pure summer feelings in me. The Christopher Ward C60 Trident Pro 600. Known for being the world’s first online-only watch brand, Christopher Ward was founded by three friends, Mike France, Peter Ellis, and Chris Ward back in 2005. The idea of making their own watches, came to them, while they were enjoying a gentle boat trip down the river Thames. And as they all were fascinated by horology and everything that surrounds it, the decision was made that they want to start a watch business. And after more than a year, on June 2nd, 2005, they launched their brand out of a converted chicken shed on a farm in Berkshire, England.
And ever since then, they are riding the wave of success, which ultimately, brings us to where we are today, and to the Christopher Ward C60 Trident Pro 600. The watch features a stainless-steel case, which measures 40mm in diameter, 12.95mm in thickness, and 47.46mm from lug to lug. The case, which features a combination of brushed and polished surfaces, is complemented perfectly by the crisp white dial. Like the previously mentioned Baltic Aquascaphe, the dial of this particular watch has the same, clean look, which is typical for a watch that was made to be worn when out on the water. Remember when we talked about sailing watches needing to have a highly legible dial? Well, this watch is one of the best examples of that. Only featuring applied hour indexes, CW-typical hands, and a date window, this watch is for sure legible when you are battling the relentless waves of the ocean.
But as with so many other things in life, sometimes you have to take a look behind the curtain, to determine if it’s worth it. And when we look at what’s behind the curtains of this Christopher Ward watches, we discover that this timepiece is powered by an automatic Sellita SW200-1 movement, which provides around 38 hours of power reserve. The movement is not that exciting, but it is reliable, and considering the $895 price tag, using the SW200-1 was a solid choice.
Specifications: Price: $790, Case Size: 40mm, Thickness: 12.95mm, Lug-to-Lug: 47.46mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Water Resistance: 300m, Movement: Automatic Sellita SW200-1 movement, Power Reserve: 38 hours, Crystal: Sapphire
Certina DS PH200 ($980)
Moving on to the Certina DS PH200, a watch that pays tribute to past eras of watchmaking, and, in my opinion, is gravely underrated. In fact, most of the lists that are featured in various watch blogs, don’t even mention its existence. And I have to ask why, since, here in Switzerland, Certina is well respected, and known to be a very good watch manufacturer.
And I believe, that the Certina DS PH200, will increase the worldwide awareness and respect of Certina quite significantly, due to its iconic design and its mechanical movement. Actually, Certina’s rise already started, when Hodinkee decided to include them into their shop. Well done, Hodinkee!
Anyway, the Certina DS PH200 features a polished stainless-steel case, which measures 42.8mm in diameter, and 11.9mm in thickness. The proportions are rather big, compared to the last few watches, like the Christopher Ward, or the one of Baltic. That being said, this watch is through and through a dive watch, so it shouldn’t come as a big surprise that it’s more on the larger side of the size spectrum. Speaking of dive watches, as mentioned earlier, the design of DS PH200 is heavily inspired by dive watches from past eras, which can be clearly seen on the dial and bezel. The DS PH200M has a glossy blue dial with diamond shape hands, imprinted Super-LumiNova hour and minute markers, and a date window on the 3 o’clock position. Adding to the overall vintage vibe is the slightly domed rotating bezel, made from blue, glossy ceramic.
The watch is powered by the Powermatic 80 caliber which features an entirely new balance spring made of Nivachron™, making this watch more resistant towards magnetic fields and shocks.
All in all, if you are looking for a vintage-looking, sailing, and diving-capable watch, that will costs you just shy of $1,000, the Certina DS PH200, would certainly be a good pick.
Specifications: Price: $980, Case Size: 42.8mm, Thickness: 11.9mm, Lug-to-Lug: n/a, Lug Width: 20mm, Water Resistance: 200m, Movement: Automatic Powermatic 80.611 movement, Power Reserve: 80 hours, Crystal: Sapphire
Unimatic U3 Classic (Approx. $615)
Coming up next is a watch from Bella Italia. The Unimatic U3 Classic (UC3 for short). A watch from a brand that most of you will be very familiar with. Unimatic. Known for creating good-looking, minimalistic timepieces, which also boast some impressive specs, this Italian brand is a rising star within the watch industry. Their watches are usually out within minutes, and they have valuable collaborations with various brands, the most recent being Hodinkee, with whom they created 3 different watches, that were sold out within a very short time, and are now being resold on grey market platforms for more than 3.5x the initial list price.
The Unimatitc U3 Classic features a brushed stainless-steel case, which measures 41.5mm in diameter, 13.7mm in thickness, and 51mm from lug to lug. The straight lugs effortlessly hug the beginning of the black NATO strap, which the watch is delivered on. In a typical Unimatic manner, the decoration of the dial is kept to a bare minimum, it only features simplistically painted hour markers, two sub-dials, which indicate the seconds measured by the chronograph complication, as well as the 24-hour time, and the central chronograph hand, which is kept as understated as possible. Since Unimatic specializes in making sailing, and diving capable timepieces, the UC3 features luminescent coatings on all time-telling components, as well as screw-down Chrono pushers, which enable the watch to be water-resistant up to 300 meters.
Powered by the Meca-quartz caliber Seiko VK64, the watch features a special movement, which combines a mechanical movement with a quartz movement. What does that mean you may ask? The mechanical part of the movement ensures the sweeping motion of the central chronograph hand, while the quartz part of the movement takes care of the rest. Hence, Meca-quartz (= mechanical + quartz). And I know, we aren’t the biggest fan of quartz watches. But hey, for a watch that will only cost you 525 euros (Approx. $615), has a chronograph complication, a cool design, and is perfectly capable to serve any aspiring sailor, Mecaquartz is all we can ask for.
Specifications: Price: EUR 525 (Approx. $615), Case Size: 41mm, Thickness: 13.7mm, Lug-to-Lug: 51mm, Lug Width: 22mm, Water Resistance: 300m, Movement: Meca-quartz caliber Seiko VK64 movement, Power Reserve: Quartz, Crystal: Sapphire
Farer Endeavour Titanium ($1,370)
And now, the last one but not least. The Farer Endeavour Titanium. And I know, I know, the price tag of this watch says $1,370. And while this is not a typo, you will probably find this watch pre-owned and used for around $1,000. And even if not, I wanted to include this watch into this list, in order to give those of you, that are willing to go slightly over budget, a very solid option, which is also somewhat of a secret tip. What do I mean by that? Well, this is a very cool watch that you probably won’t see that much on the wrists of your sailing buddies.
Anyway, the watch features a twin-crown super compressor case, which measures 41mm in diameter, is made from marine-grade II titanium, and is coated in matte black DLC. Complementing the pitch-black case is the light-absorbing matte black dial, which features polished steel hour markers, filled with pure white Super-LumiNova, an internal unidirectional bezel, oversized hour, and minute hands, and a second hand with the Farer typical “A” tip. The case is topped off by a double curved sapphire crystal, which enables the watch to have a water resistance rating of up to 300 meters (990ft).
The watch is powered by the automatic Swiss-made Sellita SW200-1 elaboré movement, which has a customized Farer rotor, that features a beautifully engraved submersible wave design. The 26-jewel movement provides around 38 hours of power reserve.
As mentioned before, this watch is more thought to be an additional bonus, for those of you that took the time and read until the end. And while the price may be over our budget, I still think that this watch is worth it and would strongly recommend you take this watch into consideration for your next sailing adventure.
Specifications: Price: $1,370, Case Size: 41.5mm, Thickness: 12.5mm, Lug-to-Lug: 45mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Water Resistance: 300m, Movement: Automatic Swiss-made Sellita SW200-1 elaboré movement, Power Reserve: 38 hours, Crystal: Sapphire
As I demonstrated with this list, there are a lot of sailing-capable watches out there, that can be bought for $1,000 or even less, in the year 2021. So, for those of you that want to have a more affordable companion for one of your next sailing adventures, hopefully you now have some inspiration and ideas, in which direction your future research will go. Oh, and by the way, if you are interested in other watches under $1,000, I made a complete list of the best automatic watches under $1,000. Would appreciate it if you could go and check it out.