The yacht timer is one of those complications that I imagine makes non-watch people think all of us must be completely insane. As if the hobby wasn’t already thought of as something perhaps a bit uncomfortably elevated, here we have a watch with a complication that is designed to ensure your boat doesn’t get an unfair advantage in the very casual weekend sailing race that you have scheduled. We’re not exactly talking about something with a mass market appeal, here. But, of course, once you start digging into the actual watchmaking, the history of the complication, and the utility behind it, you begin to realize that the yacht timer need not be associated purely with the blue bloods. Frederique Constant introduced an affordable yacht timer last year as part of their Regatta Countdown collection that went for chic elegance mixed with real value, and now they’re back with another that has a more purely sport driven feel. Let’s take a look.
Frederique Constant Yacht Timer Regatta Countdown
- Case Material: Stainless steel
- Dial: Gray
- Dimensions: 42mm
- Crystal: Sapphire
- Water Resistance: 100 meters
- Movement: FC-380
- Strap/bracelet: Stainless steel bracelet
- Price: €3,495
- Reference Number: FC-380GT4H6B
- Expected Release: Available now
First, a refresher on the yacht timer as a complication. A yacht timer, (also known as a regatta timer) is a sailing tool that enables those involved in the racing of yachts to time the start of the race. Boats, unlike cars, or human beings, have a hard time staying in one place at the start of a race – they’re constantly sailing about. Prior to a race, everyone gets a 10 minute warning, and it’s up to each crew to time the initial crossing of the starting line once that warning is given as close as possible to that 10 minute interval without going over. A yacht timer works by giving you a clear visual indicator of how much of that 10 minute period has passed. On the Frederique Constant version of this modified chronograph, the wearer sees a series of circles at the top of the dial change color (twice). Ten minutes are up when the cycle ends.
This type of timer, while closely associated with something prohibitively luxe for most of us, is actually fairly practical on a day to basis. Just think of all the times you give yourself 10 minutes to do something – now you have a perfect, purpose driven timer just for that. And this iteration of the Regatta Countdown is likely better suited to those everyday tasks than the original versions, which came in gold toned cases that link the watches more closely with a type of aspirational luxury that this type of complication often represents. The dial here is a utilitarian gray (with a handsome guilloche pattern), and the case is simple stainless steel, with some nice transitions between brushed and polished surfaces.
At 42mm in diameter and with a stainless steel bracelet, this version of the Regatta Countdown makes a lot more sense as a sports watch than the rose gold, leather strapped version we saw last year. A watch like this is an interesting proposition for chronograph fans who just enjoy different facets of that complication, and find a solid use case in timing events less than 10 minutes (and without precision to the second).
The new Yacht Timer Regatta Countdown is available now from Frederique Constant with a suggested retail price of €3,495. Frederique Constant