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Best Watches for Sailing: The Regatta Timer Explained

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All You Need to Know about Regatta Timers in Sailing Watches

All You Need to Know about Regatta Timers in Sailing Watches

With the passion for watches often connected to the spirit of history and tradition, it naturally makes sense to link such emotion to one of the oldest forms of human and mechanical competition - competitive sailing. Thought to date back to the Netherlands in the 17th century, sailing races (collectively called a regatta) are steeped in tradition including the start sequences that generated the need for a yacht timer.

Starting a Race

Unlike an auto race, or even a foot race, a sailboat can neither stand still on a starting grid nor can it accelerate quickly from a stop.

regatta timers

Instead, yachts will be in motion well before the starting line. One could think of it like a foot race where you are allowed to get a running start. The key to a proper start is crossing the starting line as soon as the starting signal sounds (but not before) and while moving as fast as possible on a good heading.

regatta timer yachtmaster

Unique Needs of a Sailing Watch

The starting procedure of a sailing race involves a series of flags and horns, but in essence, it is a 5-minute countdown (in some rarer instances 10 minutes). For that reason, most regatta timers have timing countdowns of five minutes or increments of five.

yachtmaster watch bands

Here is the breakdown of a start:

5 minutes to start: A flag and horn to signal the start of the countdown. Engage your regatta timer on a five minute countdown.

4 minutes to start: A second flag and horn sounds. This is both a second timing reminder as well as a flag displaying starting rules of the race. If one didn’t start their 5-minute countdown, they can begin a 4-minute countdown now.

1 minute to start: Flag change and final preparatory signal.

0 minutes to start: Starting flag and signal. 

As a member of a sailing crew is likely extremely busy both positioning for a start as well as navigating around other yachts, most regatta timers are designed with high visibility in mind. Looking at both current production and vintage timers, you are likely to see high-visibility color combinations.

rolex watch bands

Why the Yachtmaster II

Unlike the standard  Yachtmaster , the Yachtmaster II features a unique regatta timing movement which improves upon the process. Our team covered the process of setting a Yachtmaster II in a  previous article .

What makes the Yachtmaster II unique is the “sync” button. Let’s use the 5-minute starting process described above as an example.

5 minutes to start: Let’s say that the designated timer on the boat was currently adjusting a sheet at the time of the signal. By the time they hit the start button on the timer, 10 seconds has elapsed. With a traditional regatta timer, your options are limited and most likely they would just try to mentally adjust the offset.  However with a Yachtmaster II, they can synchronize at the 4-minute mark.

4 minutes to start: The second horn sounds. The wearer presses the sync button, and the YM II jumps  to the nearest minute, thereby putting their yacht on the exact countdown time as the race director.

1 minute to start: They are still in sync.

0 minutes to start: You cross the starting line right as the starting horn sounds.

I Don’t Own a Boat, Do I Still Need a Regatta Timer?

If you’re expecting us to talk you out of a watch purchase, you are clearly in the wrong place. If you need a practical use, we might recommend timing a steak on the grill and thinking about 400+ years of nautical heritage. But first you have to decide: steel or two-tone?

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Yachting Timers & Watches

At worn&wound we’ve long been fascinated by watches that were designed specifically for individual sporting events. This is part of a series on these unique timepieces.

Yacht timers – also referred to as regatta timers, yachting chronographs, or sailing watches – are watches specially designed and made for the countdown to the start of a sailing race. As you can imagine, starting a race on water, with entrants powered by the wind, is not as easy as lining up on a grid, Formula 1 style, or lined up like sprinters at a track meet, waiting for the starting gun. As we just saw in the recent America’s Cup races in San Francisco, the yachts (we use the term loosely in the case of the America’s Cup boats) are already at speed as they approach the starting line. The trick for the skipper is to NOT cross the starting line before the starting gun goes off. If they do, they’re penalized quite heavily (how and how much depends on the rules in effect for the specific race).

Daniel Hall 2

So some sort of a count-down timer is useful to the pilot and tactician. Horns signal the start of the countdown period and a skipper can start his yacht timer by the audible signal. He then has an on board measurement of progress to the start of the race, and can sail his yacht accordingly – hopefully to reach the starting line, at speed, just as the starting gun sounds.

Over the decades there have been numerous yacht timers and specialized chronographs produced by the world’s watch companies. Perhaps the most well-known yachting timer today is the Rolex YachtMaster, but there are others, past and present. Current and recent pieces include those from Tutima, Alpina, Atlantic, Omega, Panerai, and IWC, as well as electronic offerings from TAG Heuer, Suunto, Tissot and others.


But the vintage timepieces – the regatta timers of old – are what really get our juices flowing. Sailing chronographs like the Heuer Autavia Skipper, the Regate (sold under three different brand names – Aquastar, Heuer, and Tissot), Heuer’s Yacht Timer (both wrist-mounted and stopwatch form factor), the Breitling Chronomat and SuperOcean (both in regatta timing trim), the Memosail (two are on eBay as we write this), Lemania’s self-branded Regatta Yacht Timer in handheld stopwatch format, and the wonderfully busy Wakmann.

Regatta timers have various ways of indicating the countdown time. There’s typically a multi-colored or numbered disc rotating beneath the dial with the colors or numerals showing through windows similar to a date disc. Five vari-colored dots – usually blue followed by red (Alpina, Regate), numerals against colored backgrounds (Memosail), or a separate chrono hand coupled with colored zones on the watch’s bezel (Tutima, Bretling, Heuer) or indicating time remaining to the start via a separate scale within the dial (Rolex).

Heuer’s Autavia Skipper was part of the legendary Autavia line in the 1970s. It featured the Autavia’s classic tonneau shaped case, a red, white, and blue countdown sub-dial at 3 o’clock, a small seconds at 10 o’clock, and date at 6. Chrono pushers were in the classic locations at 2 and 4, but the crown was positioned at 9 o’clock. The watch featured a 60 minute rotating bezel, and examples are often see with a blue dial & bezel combination.


Heuer’s Yacht Timer from the 1960s came in both a wrist-mounted version and a handheld stopwatch form factor. Color-wise, regatta timer dials are never shy, and the Heuer is no exception. This watch was basically a fifteen or thirty minute stopwatch (there were at least two versions) with a multi-colored dial formatted and printed for the countdown function.


Aquastar’s Regate, also branded and sold as Heuer, Tissot and other brands such as “Racing”  in the early 1980s, used a Lemania movement with a classic five-dot/ window format, with a tri-colored rotating disc beneath the dial. five windows for five minutes, and once the timing started the colored wheel would progressively show thru the windows, changing them one at a time from blue to red to white (or silver).


In the 1960s and early 1970s, Breitling produced watches in regatta timing trim in both the Chronomat and SuperOcean lines. The Chronomat featured a center mounted minute with a multi-colored inner chapter ring. The SuperOcean used the center-mounted totalizing hand with a multi-colored bezel. These black-cased watches featured Venus 178 or 188 movements, modified to handle the unique needs of a yachting chronograph.


Lemania’s self-branded Regatta Yacht Timer is another handheld stopwatch format timer. The timing function is the familiar series of five windows with a colored disc beneath, but with the letters S-T-A-R-T replacing the third color (similar to the Memosail).

The Wakmann , yet another 1970s piece, looks almost too nice to have been a working watch. To us, it looks more like a dress watch for the Yacht Club awards banquet (but then, so does the current Rolex Yachtmaster II). The timer’s motor is a Lemania Caliber 1341 automatic with hour sub-dial at 6 o’clock and running seconds at 9 o’clock. Countdown chrono minutes and seconds are indicated by center mounted hands with orange tips. The display has a lot going on, with a date window at 3 o’clock, a white stationary chapter ring with days of the month, a multi-colored chapter ring with days of the week (moveable via a secondary crown at 10 o’clock – line it up with the correct day of the week for the current month), and a third multi-colored chapter ring outside the first two, this one with 15 countdown minutes in the first quadrant and a tachymeter over the following three quadrants. We’d be concerned about reading this in the heat of racing battle. That said, we love this watch for its center minutes totalizer, its unique display of day of the week and month, and it’s cool 1970s cushion styling.


With ultra-modern quartz-based timers available (TAG Heuer produced what was effectively a dedicated smartwatch, specifically to be worn by members of the America’s Cup Team Oracle, which relayed real-time data stream of boat performance to each crew member), and the inevitably harsh conditions of sailboat racing, these wonderful vintage racers have probably seen their heyday (one can’t imagine a skipper actually wearing a Rolex Yachtmaster II in a modern race). But their unique styling, and sheer mechanical timing abilities are works of wonder in any age. We’d wear one, even if it’s only to sail our desk into next week.

by Ed Estlow

special thanks to our friends at for lending us the Wakmann

and Francesco B for use of his Racing Regatta images

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How Does A Yacht Watch Work?

Watches and sports have always gone hand in hand. Whether a particular brand is the official timekeeper for a tournament or a particular model is designed with an athlete in mind, the two have been a longstanding pair, which comes as no surprise, since most sports rely on accurate timing.

The Sailing World Cup

But nothing quite compares to the precise timekeeping required in sailing. Unlike other sports that begin with a simple serve or starting gate, a regatta begins in the elements: on the water and at the mercy of the wind. The moments leading up to the start of a regatta are nerve-racking – each yacht attempts to hold its position in the water at an imaginary starting line, all while enduring the force of the wind. First, a horn signals the countdown to the start of the race, typically around ten to fifteen minutes. Skippers must maintain control of their sailboats until the official starting gun fires or else they can be penalized severely for prematurely crossing that invisible starting line.

What Is a Yacht Watch?

Over the years, countless watch brands have created their own version of a yacht timer with specific functions designed for the needs of the sailing community. Watchmakers recognize how crucial it is for the skipper to be able to measure and anticipate the interval leading up to the start of the regatta, and that’s where the yacht watch comes in.

The key feature of a yacht watch is a display indicating that critical countdown time. From more widely known models, like the Rolex Yacht-Master II, to vintage models, like the Heuer Skipper, most regatta timers share the same basic functions. However, various models have different ways of illustrating this interval, often using a combination of colors and numbers.

The Rolex Yacht-Master II

Rolex Yacht-Master II

The Rolex Yacht-Master II features a countdown function in a horseshoe shape on the interior of the dial at the 12-o’clock position. The display illustrates a ten-minute timer with a red chronograph seconds hand and a flyback function. With the push of a button, this allows the regatta timer to sync with a reference clock to the nearest minute.

To set the regatta timer, unscrew the crown, turn the rotating bezel ninety degrees counterclockwise, and press the pusher at the 4-o’clock position. Next, rotate the crown clockwise to set the timer to the desired interval, anywhere from one to ten minutes. Once you’ve selected the corresponding number of minutes before the race starts, rotate the bezel back ninety degrees clockwise to its initial position. You’ll know you’ve done it properly when the pusher at the 4-o’clock position pops back into its original place. Screw the crown back in to ensure the watch remains watertight. Now the timepiece can be operated like any standard chronograph. Press the pusher at the 2-o’clock position, and the red chronograph seconds hand will begin counting down.

Heuer’s Regatta Timers

Heuer also produced two notable yacht watches back in the 1960’s and 1970’s, which display the countdown feature in a different format.

Heuer Skipper

The Heuer Skipper features a colored and numbered subdial at the 3-o’clock position, which serves as the regatta timer. In this model, the countdown subdial houses a fifteen-minute counter divided into three five-minute segments, each of which is indicated by a different color: red, white, or blue.

Heuer Regatta

The Heuer Regatta illustrates the countdown with five indicator dots at the 12-o’clock position. Each dot represents one minute, clocking five minutes total. Time is measured as the dots change color, typically from white to red or red to blue.

This summer, whether you’re following the Sailing World Cup or enjoying a race at your local yacht club, you’ll have a better understanding of those critical moments leading up to the starting gun’s fire and why it’s worth measuring with a yacht timer. And if sailing isn’t your sport, the countdown function on a yacht watch could be handy in a variety of other ways, and honestly, it just makes a nice-looking watch with slightly different style.

Images ©: Header, 2-4; Crown & Caliber. 1; Sail-World . 

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Yacht Timer

A yacht timer is a specialized feature found on some watches, especially those designed for yacht racing. It is a function that allows sailors and regatta participants to accurately time the countdown to the start of a yacht race. Yacht timers are designed to help sailors synchronize their boats and make precise maneuvers to cross the starting line at the optimal moment.

Key features and functions of a yacht timer in a watch may include:

  • Countdown Timer: The yacht timer provides a countdown feature that allows users to set a specific amount of time (usually minutes and seconds) until the start of a race. This countdown can be adjusted to comply with the race’s rules, which typically specify the length of the countdown.
  • Audible Alerts: Many yacht timers come equipped with audible alarms or signals to notify the user when the countdown reaches zero. These audible alerts can help the sailor time their maneuvers accurately.
  • Easy-to-Read Display: Yacht timers often have large, easily readable displays to ensure that the countdown can be monitored with precision, even in the midst of a busy race.
  • Regatta Features: In addition to countdown functionality, some yacht timer watches include regatta-specific features, such as the ability to program multiple countdowns for different stages of the race, synchronization with official race signals, and other race-related functions.

Yacht timer watches are particularly popular among sailors and competitive regatta participants who require precise timing for the start of a race. These watches are designed to provide the necessary tools for strategic race preparation and ensure that sailors can cross the starting line at the exact moment the race begins. They are often equipped with water resistance and other features suitable for nautica l activities.

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OnTheDash ®

Heuers on the sea — 25 years of yacht timers (1959 to 1984).

Although today’s enthusiasts associate Heuer most closely with motorsports, over the years Heuer developed and marketed a vast array of stopwatches and chronographs for timing all sorts of sports events.  Glancing at Heuer’s 1970 /71 catalog of timers and chronographs, we see timepieces for over 40 sports, ranging from bobsledding to boxing, and from and rodeo to rugby.

Many of Heuer’s stopwatches and chronographs were designed for specific sports.  For example, for track and field, Heuer recommended a stopwatch with 1/100 second indication, with split action (show, below left).  By contrast, the parachutist had far simpler requirements, being well-served by a simple 60 second stopwatch, that is highly legible and reliable in low temperatures.  Indeed, the parachutist had no need for even the simplest feature, the time-in and time-out button to stop and restart the watch.  The waterski-slalom timer (Reference 403.632) indicates the motorboat’s speed over a measured distance, while the rowing timer (Ref 403.414) shows strokes per minute.

Heuer made split second stopwatches to time the differential between two runners, two horses or two cars, flyback timers to check lap times, and even a chess clock will keep track of the times of the players’ moves.

The Challenges of Yacht Timing

Heuer developed special timepieces for many types of competitions, but yacht races (regattas) presented some unique challenges.  First, while timing the race itself is important, the countdown to the start of the race may be even more important.  The competitors have a set time before the start of the race (usually 10 minutes), to plot their course / develop their approach to the start line, and the boat that gets to the start line in the best position will be at a significant advantage in the race itself.

Bouncing on the waves, with the sun and spray obstructing the view, legibility will be critical. Bigger will usually be better, especially for the captain reading the countdown to the start of the race.  In the minutes before the start of the race, the deck will be a busy place, so simplicity in the design and functions of the watch will also be critical.  Of course, let’s not forget that the ideal yacht timer must be waterproof and shock resistant.

This Survey

In this posting, we will survey the yacht timers that Heuer offered over the years from 1959 through 1984. Rather than examining the timepieces themselves, we will review the timepieces that Heuer presented in its catalogs and brochures.  We point out that Heuer made certain yacht timers that never appeared in its catalogs.  Still, a review of the catalogs provides a good overview of the history of these timepieces.

Our review of Heuer’s regatta timers begins in 1959, with a catalog that shows only two stopwatches.  The Reference 33.712 stopwatch counts down 5 minutes on a central minute register, with a 60 second countdown on the outer track.  The Reference 3912 stopwatch takes a different approach, counting down 10 minutes on a small recorder at the top of the dial and counting down 60 seconds on the outer track.  The Ref 33.712 has a hoop for a lanyard; the Ref 3912 attaches to a wrist-strap.  [Click HERE to see this 1959 catalog.]

Heuer’s 1961 catalog continues to show two yacht timers, both of them on wrist-straps.  The Reference 33.512 stopwatch (successor to the 33.712) counts down 5 minutes on a central dial; the Reference 3912 stopwatch counts down 10 minutes (divided into two 5-minute segments) on a small recorder at the top of the dial.  [Click HERE for the entire 1961 catalog.]

In this two-sided sheet (circa 1962), we see three countdown stopwatches for yacht timing, References 912/5, 912/10 and 912/15.  The 5, 10 and 15 designations refer to the number of minutes counted down on the small recorder at the top of the dial.  For $2.00, Heuer offers a separate rubber cap, to protect the timers from shock and the water.

Introduced in the late 1940s, the Solunar wristwatch has a colorful dial that indicates the times for the high and low tides for a specific location.  In this sheet, we see Heuer positioning the Solunar for the yacht racer.

In Heuer’s 1963 catalog of timers and chronographs, we see the same three countdown stopwatches as on the sheet from 1962 — References 912/5, 912/10 and 912/15.  The “W” in the Reference 912/15W indicates that this stopwatch comes in a waterproof case.  The Ref. 33.512 continues as the 5 minute countdown yacht timer worn on a wrist strap.  [Additional pages of this catalog are HERE .]

In Heuer’s 1968 catalog, the Reference 503.512 has replaced the Reference 33.512 as 5-minute countdown yacht timer worn on a wrist strap.  Whereas the older models looked like stopwatches with hoops attached, the new model looks like an oversized wristwatch.

Heuer had been making dashboard timers since the 1930s, with the Master Time (8 day clock) and Autavia and Monte Carlo (12-hour stopwatches) usually directed to the car racers.  In this catalog we see the Navia — essentially a Master Time clock fitted in a new waterproof case —  being offered as a yacht timer.

This 1968 catalog offers two stopwatches for yachting.  The Reference 403.615 uses a small register at the top of the dial for a 15-minute countdown; the Reference 503.615 uses a central register to show a 15-minute countdown, with this register divided into three 5 minute segments.

Headquartered in Bath, England, with branches in Zurich and New York, Chronosport was one of the largest suppliers of specialty timepieces in Europe.  Chronosport’s 1969 / 70 catalog featured specialty timepieces for automobile racing, aviation, boating and watersports, and industrial and scientific timing.  The catalog included a broad range of chronographs, stopwatches and dashboard timers from Heuer, as well as specialty watches and chronographs from Breitling, Desotos, Enicar, Seiko and Sicura.

The catalog includes two Heuers in the yacht racing category  — a Skipper chronograph and the Reference 503.512 yacht timer.

Introduced in 1968, the Skipper chronographs featured a 15 minute countdown register, that took the place of the customary 30 minute recorder.  The first Skippers were housed in Carrera cases, with the 15-minute countdown divided into green, blue and orange segments.  The Skippers soon moved to the Autavia cases, however, because of their better waterproofing, and the 15-minute countdown register used red, white and blue segments.  This Skipper shown in this catalog uses the same snap-back “compressor” case as Heuer’s Reference 7763 Autavia.

This 1972 brochure (below) shows a Reference 503.512 Yacht Timer on a wrist-strap, and a Skipper chronograph (Reference 73464) that has moved from the late-1960s style “compressor” case to the 1970s style screw-back case.

The 1972 chronograph catalog (below) shows an automatic version of the Skipper, Reference 15640, powered by the Caliber 15 movement.  [Click HERE to see the entire 1972 Chronograph catalog.]

The timeline in Heuer’s 1973 Stopwatch catalog tells us that Heuer has developed the Supersport, a wrist stopwatch “in an attractive shape” that uses a central register for the minutes, to offer improved legibility.

Inside the catalog, we see four models of the SuperSport (below, on the left-hand page).  The Reference 775.915 SuperSport is specifically designated as a Yacht Timer, with a central 15 minute register, marked to count down the minutes in three 5-minute segments.  The Reference 775.901 M is a standard 60-minute stopwatch, but the rotating minutes bezel is marked for countdowns.  The Supersports operate in an unusual fashion:  The crown on the left is for winding the watch.  The pusher at 3 o’clock is a three-function crown, that starts, stops and resets the timer on consecutive pushes.  The small button on the top right corner (at 2 o’clock) allows the user to resume timing the event (restart), after the watch has been stopped.

Heuer’s 1973 Stopwatch catalog shows another innovation — water-resistant stopwatches in 62 millimeter fiberglass cases (below, on the right-hand page).  The Reference 403.915 and Reference 503.915 are larger versions of older models; the Reference 542.912 stopwatch has a jumping disc to countdown the minutes.

[Click HERE  to see more of Heuer’s 1973 Stopwatch catalog (in German).]

We saw the 1950s version of the Solunar watch included in a 1962 listing of Yachting Timers , and this 1976 brochure shows the new version of the Solunar, Reference 279.603.  The Solunar from the 1970s is very different from the Solunar of the 1950s, as it shows the tides over a 14-day period, rather than the previous 2-day period.  You can see the Instructions for the Solunar  HERE .

Alongside the Solunar, we see the Supersport Reference 775.915 yacht timer, featuring a central 15-minute countdown timer, with 5-minute segments marked in the white-blue-red sequence of the regatta flags.

[Click HERE to see the entire Heuer 1976 brochure.]

Heuer’s 1977 catalog of Stopwatches for Sports Timing features one new stopwatch for yacht timing, the Reference 603.315 (below, top row).  This stopwatch has a 15-minute scale toward the center of the watch, with three 5-minute countdown segments.

Heuer’s 1978 chronograph and stopwatch catalog featured three waterproof Yacht Timers.  The Reference 503.915 (top row) is in the 62 millimeter fiberglass case, while the Reference 775.915 (bottom row, left) provides the central 15-minute countdown in the Supersport case.  As usual, we see one Yacht Timer on a wrist-strap, the Reference 503.512 (bottom right).  [Click HERE to see the entire 1978 brochure.]

In this 1980 brochure, we see a change in Heuer’s basic Yacht Timer worn on a wrist-strap.  The steel-cased Reference 503.512 stopwatch has been replaced by the fiberglass Reference 203.512 stopwatch.  Notice that the smaller Reference 603.615 stopwatch, in a metal case, is listed as an “Economy” model, while the larger Reference 503.915 stopwatch, in a fiberglass case, is described as a “Professional” model.

Heuer’s 1982 Stopwatch catalog shows us a new line of Yacht Timers on wrist-straps.  The Reference 203.505 Yacht Timer offers a 5-minute countdown, while the Reference 203.510 (“Surfer” model), provides a 10-minute countdown.  The catalog tells us that the central 10-minute register on the Surfer has been designed according to the new International Windsurfing Regatta rules.

The Reference 790 Anemometer measures the speed of the wind, with the catalog telling us that it will be useful for yachting, windsurfing, glider flying, kite flying, track and field, ski-jumping, model airplanes, etc.  It incorporates four scales — m/s, km/h, knots and the Beaufort scale.

Heuer’s 1983 “Time for Action” catalog features 10 timers for yachting — three chronographs and seven stopwatches.  In both the chronographs and the stopwatches, we see the return of a feature from Heuer’s yacht timers of the 1960s — colored balls to count down the minutes to the start.

In the mid-1960s, Heuer distributed the full line of Aquastar chronographs, including the Aquastar “Regate” chronograph.  The Aquastar Regate used five cut-out circles and colored discs for the 5-minute countdowns, to start the race.  Aquastar co-branded these timers for Heuer, so that we saw the Heuer shield at the bottom of the dial with “Aquastar Geneve” across the top.   Two decades later, the 1983 Heuer catalog shows two different styles of Regatta chronographs that use these same cut-out circles and colored discs for the countdown.  The smaller Ref 134.505 Regatta is in a stainless steel case and the larger Reference 134.601 Regatta uses a PVD-coated borrowed from the Autavias.

In this 1983 catalog, we also see what would be the final version of the Skipper.  This Skipper, Reference 15640, borrows its case from the Reference 11063 Autavia, measuring 42.5 mm across the dial and 21 mm between the lugs, with a uni-directional rotating bezel.

The Supersport stopwatches are no longer in the line-up, but Heuer still shows seven stopwatches for yacht timing, four for the wrist and three handheld models.

The Reference 202.515 and 685.915 stopwatches used the same system of cut-out circles and a colored disc for the countdown as we see on the Regatta chronographs.  Red circles appear during the first five minutes, white circles over the next five minutes, and the letters S-T-A-R-T over the last five minutes.

The five other stopwatches included in this catalog are continuations of models shown in previous catalogs.

[Click HERE to see more of Heuer’s 1983 Time for Action catalog (in French).]

The Time for Action catalog shows only watches and chronographs, rather than stopwatches and other styles of timers.  Accordingly, there are only two types of regatta chronographs, the Reference 134.500 and 505 models (in the smaller cases) and the Reference 134.601, 602 and 603, which use PVD cases, borrowed from the Autavias.  All these chronographs use colored discs to countdown the 5-minutes sequences. [See more of the 1984 Time for Action catalog HERE .]

With the 1984 catalog, we have completed our tour of yacht timers offered by Heuer over the 25 years, from 1959 through 1984.  Of course, dive watches became the mainstay for TAG Heuer in the 1980s, and the company also continued with its yacht timers, with the next 25 years including a great variety of yacht timers.

The Movements

From the moment I started this page, I was determined that I would keep it simple — no photographs of actual watches, no historical research, no digging into the movements, no discussion of anything other than the catalogs themselves, etc.  In other words, if it isn’t found within the four corners of the catalog, then I wasn’t going to present it in this posting.

I remained true to this plan until a couple of days prior to publishing this posting, when I found myself in a conversation with Hans Schrag, about Heuer’s heritage in the yacht timers.  Hans asked whether I had included information about the movements; I replied that the posting was limited to the catalog images . . . and within one hour, Hans had provided the following information:

I hope that readers will find this information about the movements useful, even if it takes away from the simple survey of the catalogs.

Additional References

The following are recommended for additional information on Heuer’s yacht timers (regatta chronographs):

  • covers the Heuer Skipper chronographs in full detail, but also includes a very good section on the Heuer Yacht Timers .
  • Regatta Yachttimers — a website that covers the history and variations of regatta yachttimer watches.  The site covers approximately 20 brands of yacht timers, including Heuer and TAG Heuer .
  • TAG Heuer Sailing Watches , a posting on
  • An excellent article, in Revolution  magazine — Racer’s Edge, The Evolution of the Regatta Chronograph , by Jack Forster
  • On his Heuerville blog, Stewart Morley has written an excellent review of his Heuer Regatta, Reference 134.601 (in black PVD).  Stewart also provides minute-by-minute photos, showing how the countdown works (August 25, 2014).
  • On his blog, Henrik has added a posting covering Heuer’s use of the “5 Dots” countdown display, on its yacht timers.

In the Sea, By the Sea and On the Sea.

I have been collecting Heuer timepieces for 15 years, but it was only in compiling this survey that I realized the great variety of stopwatches and chronographs that Heuer made for yacht timing and the depth of Heuer’s engagement in the sport.

This survey confirms that in addition to the unique tide watches that Heuer made from the 1950s through the 1970s (the Mareographer and Seafarer), and the amazing array of dive watches that TAG Heuer made starting in the 1980s, Heuer was a dominant producer of timepieces that were used “on the sea”, to time yacht races.  Just as we see Heuer in every aspect of motorsports, from the driver and navigator, to the pit crew, to the officials managing the race, so too we see Heuer timing just about everything that happens at the sea — from the tides, to the dives and now to the racing yachts.

Once again, the more we learn about Heuer’s heritage in sports timing, the more impressive that heritage becomes.

Jeff Stein August 17, 2014 (updated August 26, 2014, to add additional references)

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yacht timer function

Frederique Constant 2020 Yacht Timer Regatta Countdown

F ollowing up on the launch of a Yacht Timer Regatta Countdown timepiece in 2019, Frederique Constant has added a new variation for 2020.

Highlighted by an anthracite gray Clous de Paris guilloché dial, the regatta countdown complication uses 5 circular apertures — that can change between gray, white, and orange — to indicate the 10-minutes before the start of a yacht race.

2020 Frederique Constant Yacht Timer Regatta Countdown

First, you push the button at 1 o’clock, and after 1-minute the first dot individually turns from gray to white, then each subsequent circular indication (representing 1-minute) begins to change, and once the first 5-minutes is up (and all the dots are white). Then the second set of colored dots automatically begins counting down and changing from white to orange every minute. After 5-minutes the process is finished and the race begins.

2020 Frederique Constant Yacht Timer Regatta Countdown

The reason for such countdown is because yachts cannot idle at the start line like with cars, for example. And so they need to approach the start line as close as they can without crossing before the starting buzzer, or else risk a time penalty. The regatta yacht timer helps quickly visualize this two-part 10-minute countdown process — on the wrist.

2020 Frederique Constant Yacht Timer Regatta Countdown

Like the existing models from 2019, the 42 mm diameter stainless steel case is finished with a mixture of polished and brushed surfaces. A tall box-type sapphire crystal protects the dial. Water-resistance is rated to 100 meters.

2020 Frederique Constant Yacht Timer Regatta Countdown

Driving the hours, minutes, seconds, and regatta yacht timer countdown function is an outsourced ETA 7750 (or Sellita) — modified with a regatta countdown timer function in place of the typical chronograph functionality. The automatic movement beats at 4Hz, has 25 jewels, and a power reserve of 48-hours.

This gray dial version is available with the stainless steel bracelet as shown or a rubber strap and the retail price is $3,495.

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Posted by: Jason Pitsch

Jason is a writer, photographer and is the founder of Professional Watches.

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Rolex Yacht-Master II: How to Set the Countdown Timer

yacht timer function

Deciding that you want to wear a Rolex Yacht-Master II is easy. It looks fantastic, it’s powered by the impressive Caliber 4161 movement, and it offers insane and highly-specialized functions. However, figuring out exactly how to use the Yacht-Master II may not seem as easy. So, here we’re going to break it down for you.

Now, at first glance, it may seem like a lot of steps, but don’t be fooled; Rolex has engineered this process to be quick and simple, despite the watch itself being a technologically-advanced mechanical masterpiece. After the first couple of times, you’ll remember these steps offhand and will be able to take full advantage of its complex functionality. Additionally, while this watch is designed to time the countdown for the start of a regatta, you can use the Rolex Yacht-Master II to do everything from timing a boiled egg to keeping track of your kids’ time-out. Get creative!

Rolex Yacht-Master II How to Set Countdown Timer 116680

Setting the Countdown Timer on the Rolex Yacht-Master II

You’ll need to set your Rolex Yacht-Master II up before the regatta to initiate the countdown and set yourself up for the race itself.

  • First, make sure that your countdown timer is stopped. If it’s not, simply press the top pusher to stop the timer’s seconds hand.
  • Next, rotate the bezel counterclockwise a quarter of a turn (as far as it will go; until it clicks into place).
  • Next, you’re going to push the lower pusher, which will stay depressed. This will reset the countdown seconds hand back to zero (12 o’clock) and the countdown minutes hand will reset itself back to the previous countdown time that was set. This will also block the top pusher from being able to be pressed in.
  • Now you’re going to set the countdown duration by unscrewing the crown and turning it clockwise until it hits the countdown minute you need.
  • Once the countdown duration has been set, turn the bezel clockwise a quarter-turn (as far as it will go; until it clicks into place). This unlocks the top pusher and releases the lower one.
  • Lastly, don’t forget your crown! Push in your winding crown and screw it securely back down to the case to ensure that your watch remains water-resistant while in use.

Rolex Yacht-Master II How to use timer guide 116681 Everose

Using the Countdown Timer on the Rolex Yacht-Master II

Now that your countdown is set, this is how you’ll put it to use.

  • Just like other Rolex watches with traditional chronograph complications (like the Daytona), the top pusher will start and stop the countdown timer on the Yacht-Master II, while the bottom pusher resets it.
  • However, unlike a traditional chronograph watch, the adjustable countdown timer on the Yacht-Master II features flyback and fly-forward functionality meaning that you can reset the timer to the nearest minute with a single push of a button, without having to stop or restart the timer at all.
  • To use the flyback (or fly-forward) function on the Yacht-Master II, simply press the bottom pusher while the countdown timer is running. The countdown timer will reset itself back to the nearest minute, and then keep running again, allowing you to immediately start measuring your next countdown duration without skipping a beat.

Rolex Yacht-Master II How to Set regatta Timer 116689 Platinum

Using the  Rolex Yacht-Master II  During a Regatta

Now that your countdown is set, this is how you’ll put it to use during a regatta

  • If you don’t know how a regatta begins, it is usually a starting gun and a flag that signals the official countdown. When this happens, press the upper pusher to start your countdown timer, which is already set to the appropriate number of minutes of the countdown. The seconds hand for the timer will start moving around the dial indicating elapsed time, and every 60-seconds, the minute hand will jump to the next number until it hits zero – aka the end of your countdown.
  • At some point, you may need to reset the countdown timer to synchronize with the official race clock. This allows you to ensure that you’re on-time with the official race clock, even if you do not start the timer at exactly the right time. To do this, all you need to do is press the lower pusher when you hear the second (or third) preparatory signal. What this does is reset the seconds hand to zero and synchronize the countdown minute hand to the nearest minute. This allows you to coordinate your watch’s countdown timer to the official race clock to give you the most accurate countdown to the official start of the race.
  • The race begins! Your countdown has reached zero and you’re now on your way. To reset the countdown timer back to its original setting, simply press the upper pusher to stop the regatta timer, and then press the lower pusher to reset the countdown back to the last setting that you programmed into the Yacht-Master II’s mechanical memory. With the boat race now underway, you are done! (at least until next time).

Rolex Yacht-Master II Countdown Timer regatta tutorial 116681 two-tone everose rolesor

About Paul Altieri

Paul Altieri is a vintage and pre-owned Rolex specialist, entrepreneur, and the founder and CEO of - the largest and most trusted name in luxury watches. He is widely considered a pioneer in the industry for bringing transparency and innovation to a once-considered stagnant industry. His experience spans over 35 years and he has been published in numerous publications including Forbes, The NY Times, WatchPro, and Fortune Magazine. Paul is committed to staying up-to-date with the latest research and developments in the watch industry and e-commerce, and regularly engages with other professionals in the industry. He is a member of the IWJG, the AWCI and a graduate of the GIA. Alongside running the premier retailer of pre-owned Rolex watches, Paul is a prominent Rolex watch collector himself amassing one of the largest private collections of rare timepieces. In an interview with the WSJ lifestyle/fashion editor Christina Binkley, Paul opened his vault to display his extensive collection of vintage Rolex Submariners and Daytonas. Paul Altieri is a trusted and recognized authority in the watch industry with a proven track record of expertise, professionalism, and commitment to excellence.

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Yacht-Master II

Created for competition

The Yacht-Master II is the only chronograph in the world featuring a programmable countdown with a mechanical memory. An essential tool for skippers to gauge their best course of action.

Ring Command system

Rolex achieved perfection when it turned its attention to redefining the purpose and functionality of the bezel. Typically, a bezel operates independently from the internal mechanism; however, the Ring Command bezel in the Yacht-Master II regatta chronograph operates in conjunction with it.

As a mechanical component linked to the movement, the bezel literally acts as the key to the programmable countdown, allowing it to be set and synchronised to the sequence of race start times. Complex in design, but simple in use, it is functionally beautiful.

The countdown’s sophisticated functions were designed to be easily set and operated. The preliminary programming of up to 10 minutes is accessed, and then locked, via the rotatable bezel thanks to Ring Command, a patented system of interaction between the bezel, the winding crown and the movement, developed by Rolex. A technical feat made possible by the brand’s in-house mastery of the entire watch design and manufacturing process, from the case to the movement.

A distinctive aesthetic

The Yacht-Master II’s countdown can be programmed for a duration of between 1 and 10 minutes. The programming is memorized by the mechanism so that at a reset it returns to the previous setting. Once launched, the countdown can be synchronized on the fly to match the official race countdown.

On the right-hand side of the middle case, the Yacht-Master II sports two countdown pushers, specially designed to suggest winches, the manual winding gear on a sail boat. The Yacht-Master II is always fitted on an Oyster bracelet with a Oysterlock safety clasp, equipped with an Easylink comfort extension link.

The Yacht-Master II measures 44 mm in diameter, its large size contributing to the optimal legibility of the dial in all conditions.

Cerachrom bezel insert

The blue monobloc Cerachrom bezel insert of the Yacht-Master II is made of an extremely hard, virtually scratchproof ceramic whose colour is unaffected by ultraviolet rays, seawater or water that is chlorinated. In addition, thanks to its chemical composition, the high-tech ceramic is inert and cannot corrode. The numerals and inscriptions are moulded in the ceramic and coloured with gold or platinum using a PVD (Physical Vapour Deposition) process.

Oyster bracelet

The Oyster bracelet is a perfect alchemy of form and function, aesthetics and technology, designed to be both robust and comfortable. It is equipped with an Oysterlock folding clasp, which prevents accidental opening and the Easylink comfort extension link, also exclusive to Rolex. This ingenious system allows the wearer to increase the bracelet length by approximately 5 mm, providing additional comfort in any circumstance.

Complex in design, but simple in use, the Ring Command bezel is functionally beautiful.

Calibre 4161 Superlative movement

The Yacht-Master II is equipped with calibre 4161, a self-winding mechanical chronograph movement entirely developed and manufactured by Rolex. Its architecture, manufacturing quality and innovative features make it exceptionally precise and reliable. This abundance of Rolex technology includes a patented function – a programmable countdown with a mechanical memory – and comprises some 360 components. Some of them are made by UV-LiGA, a micromanufacturing technology entirely mastered in-house by Rolex.

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The Yacht Timer: the most utilitarian complication

Adrienne Faurote

Of all the functions available in mechanical watches today, few are as indispensable as the yacht timer. The most important part of a yacht race unfolds in the 10 minutes before it begins, when sailors need to wangle their vessels into the best start position without barging the line (facing steep penalties) or hitting another boat before the final gun. In an America’s Cup race, a mistake like this could cost millions.

Essentially, the regatta watch is a modified chronograph that, rather than measuring intervals of time, counts down the starting sequence for boat races, usually 10 minutes. Few brands keep a yacht timer in their collections for very long; most are issued as limited editions, often in association with a single race, and it is perhaps because of this that regatta watches typically do very well on the secondary market. The industry standards are the Rolex Yacht-Master II and the Panerai Luminor 1950 Flyback Regatta, but several other brands have issued noteworthy versions from time to time, including Bulgari, Hublot, Omega, Louis Vuitton and Girard-Perregaux. The classic regatta watch shows a highly legible scale counting down in sync with either the 10 minute or the 5 minute starting gun. The Yacht-Master II is distinctive in that it starts the countdown at the 10-minute gun but can also be re-synchronized to the five-minute gun for greater accuracy. A perusal through the brands introducing new models next week in Basel reveals only one that highlights a new yacht timer: Alpina, for whom the regatta watch is something of a specialty. But that doesn’t mean there won’t be others. Sailing buffs, stay tuned.



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Frederique Constant Yacht Timer Regatta Countdown and Yacht Timer GMT

Sailors and travellers ahoy frederique constant gets shipshape with an unusual regatta countdown model and a practical gmt..

Frederique Constant Yacht Timer Regatta Countdown

Affordable luxury has become the byword at Frederique Constant proving that you can have your horological cake and eat it too. Dispelling a lot of snobbery regarding the price of a well-made watch with complications, Frederique Constant demonstrates that you don’t have to flog a kidney to enter the complications market. We’ve recently seen the new and improved FC Perpetual Calendar retailing for under EUR 8,000 and today we will be looking at two new candidates in the rechristened sporty-chic Yacht Timer collection: the Regatta Countdown, a rather niche product designed for sailors, and a more conventional GMT for travellers.

Frederique Constant Yacht Timer Regatta Countdown

The Call of the Sea

As any professional skipper knows, the start of a sailing regatta is a crucial, extremely tense moment. Trying to hold your position on an imaginary start line as you are being buffeted by the wind awaiting the signal flags and horn blasts to indicate the remaining minutes before the start of the race is no easy task. With a standard countdown time of 10 minutes, regatta racers need to be able to see the remaining time at a glance.

yacht timer function

One of the most graphic and legible 10-minute countdown timers was the regatta calibre 1345 made by Lemania for Aquastar in the early 1970s. The movement was later taken on board by Omega, Heuer and Lemania itself. The beauty of Lemania’s automatic countdown chronograph was the colour-coded visual time remaining system with five large circles in the top sector of the dial changing from blue to red.

Frederique Constant Yacht Timer Regatta Countdown

Essentially a reverse chronograph, Frederique Constant has adopted this five-circle countdown layout for its new Yacht Timer Regatta Countdown. This is not the first time a regatta watch sails into FC’s line-up, there was a family of Yacht Timers back in 1997 but with quartz engines.

Legible countdown

Admittedly a niche product, the latest Frederique Constant Yacht Timer Regatta Countdown model features a built-in timer for the critical 10-minute countdown displayed in five apertures on the dial. The pusher on the top side of the case activates the regatta countdown in two steps. The first 5-minute countdown turns the colour behind the apertures from white to blue and then proceeds to the second and last 5-minute countdown as the five circles gradually turn orange.

Frederique Constant Yacht Timer Regatta Countdown

Well-dressed on land and sea

Apart from the countdown function, these Regatta Countdown models do not have any details that suggest their nautical vocation. Ok, the chronograph pushers indicate a sporty function, but the overall look of the watch, with its “guilloché-style” dial and rose-gold plated hour markers, is dressier than any regatta countdown watch on the market today – check out this Panerai Luminor Regatta or the classic Rolex Yacht-Master II to get a feel for what countdown watches tend to look like.

Frederique Constant Yacht Timer Regatta Countdown

The case is available in three different finishes: stainless steel with a silver dial; rose gold-plated steel with a silver or navy blue dial; and a two-tone steel and rose gold-plated model with a silver dial. As you can see, we had the steel/white dial and the rose gold-plated/white and blue dial models for our hands-on session.

Frederique Constant Yacht Timer Regatta Countdown

The diameter is 42mm, perfectly sized for a sports watch but with plenty of elegant, polished accents over the brushed surfaces that are slightly at odds with its purported functionality as a regatta watch. The polished finishes give the watch a smart, elegant presence and there are other refined details like the brushed finish on the sides of the rectangular pushers. The case back is open and slightly domed but the lugs are tapered and curved to let the watch sit comfortably on the wrist. Water-resistance is of 100 metres.

Frederique Constant Yacht Timer Regatta Countdown

The silver and navy blue dials all feature the same decoration, similar to the Clou de Paris hand-guilloché you would find on a Breguet dress watch. Naturally, the Breguet dials are hand-guilloché while the FC dials are stamped, but the result is pleasing. The baton-shaped hour markers are rose gold-plated and applied to the dial. The hands are also rose gold-plated and, like the hour markers, are treated with luminescent material to glow in the dark.

Frederique Constant Yacht Timer Regatta Countdown

Another striking element on the dial of the Frederique Constant Yacht Timer Regatta Countdown is the central orange seconds hand to match the colour of the final 5-minute orange markers for the countdown. Although there are features that seem to contradict one another, making you wonder whether this is a sporty dress watch or a dressy sports watch, the overall effect is, I have to admit, quite pleasing. There is a generous sensation of space on the dial and legibility is good.

Chronograph Movement

The FC-380 movement is based on an automatic Sellita SW-500 chronograph movement with a specific module for the regatta countdown function. Beating at 28,800vph, it has a 48-hour power reserve. Industrially finished, the rotor is gold-plated and decorated with Geneva stripes.

Frederique Constant Yacht Timer Regatta Countdown

The steel and rose gold-plated models of the Yacht Timer Regatta Countdown come with a black, navy with white stitching or brown alligator strap and an additional rubber strap. The plain steel model retails for EUR 3,295 while the gold-plated models retail for EUR 3,595 . Although the two-tone steel and gold-plate model is not online, it comes with a matching two-tone metal bracelet and will retail for EUR 3,495 .

Yacht Timer GMT

Presumably, if you are an adept sailor you might even sail into different time zones and the Frederique Constant Yacht Timer GMT comes to the rescue with two new GMT watches. GMT models are not new to FC and have appeared in traditional garb in the Classics family . Although the watches are very different in nature, they share the same automatic movement. Beating at 28,800 alt/h, the FC-350 calibre features an in-house GMT module and has a 38-hour power reserve.

Frederique Constant Yacht Timer GMT

The 42mm case is identical to the regatta countdown model, minus the pushers, and is water-resistant to 100m and has an exhibition case back. The Yacht Timer GMT comes in two finishes: a rose gold-plated steel case and a two-tone steel and rose gold-plated case with an integrated metal bracelet. The gold-plated model comes with a brown alligator strap.

Frederique Constant Yacht Timer GMT

The dial also features the same “guilloché-like” stamped background, in white for the rose gold-plated model and anthracite for the two-tone.  Even the hour markers are identical to the countdown model with the exception of the hour marker at 3 o’clock which has been truncated to accommodate the date window (both with a white background) synched to the local time.

Frederique Constant Yacht Timer GMT

A highly intuitive and easy to consult second time-zone function is featured on an inner 24-hour ring. The central GMT hand has a red-tipped arrow and a touch of luminescence in its centre. Instead of a day/night indicator, the GMT ring features a dark area and a light area to indicate whether it is day or night at your reference time. The price of the model with a steel/gold plate bracelet is EUR 1,995 while the price of the rose gold-plated model is EUR 2,095.

Both the Frederique Constant Yacht Timer Regatta Countdown and Yacht Timer GMT are handsome, well-executed models. The dials of both models have a lot of wide-open space with no sensation of cluttering. A curious addition to the family, the countdown model will appeal to a very limited sector of FC’s customers and probably explains the slightly higher than usual price tag – even though still reasonable. On the other hand, the GMT is a practical and versatile complication for anybody dealing with international clients/travel/trade etc.

The Yacht Timer family is FC’s vision of a sporty-chic collection and it manages to kill two birds with one stone. Both watches are borderline dressy (gold-plated details, guilloché dials) with a tiny twinge of sportiness (countdown function, pushers and the lume on the hands) although you’d be hard-pressed to find any other nautically themed or sporty details. Despite the mixed message and the fact that few owners will use the countdown model in a real regatta, I think the watches work quite well. The GMT model is a cinch to consult – shame the power reserve is so low – and you’re bound to attract all sorts of inquiries about those five holes on the dial of the countdown watch.

More information at

Technical specifications – Frederique Constant Yacht Timer Regatta Countdown and Yacht Timer GMT

2 responses.

Where’s the blue? Where’s the beautifully rolled over bezel like the Lemania? The length of the lugs look to be around 52mm or more? Still a nice piece

I have to say, I really like the simpler version. Interesting but useful.

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Jack Mason JM-N105 Regatta Timer

yacht timer function

Sponsored Post written for aBlogtoWatch by advertiser.

After the success of the JM-D103 on Kickstarter in 2017, the team at Jack Mason, a popular watch company located in the heart of Dallas, Texas, immediately set to work on the next project. We took some time to consider each pillar in our watch collection and dream up what the most fully realized version of those watches could be.

yacht timer function

With all Jack Mason timepieces, the starting point and central goal is function. For this particular project, we wanted to create a more specific product – one with all of the bells and whistles. So, we’re making our return to Kickstarter to present the first watch of our Pinnacle Series, The Regatta Timer.

yacht timer function

Introducing the Regatta Timer JM-N105. With functionality as the central focus for this design, our traditional nautical dial blueprint has been reimagined to prominently feature the regatta countdown timer, an essential part to yachting and extremely accurate timekeeping.

yacht timer function

The case features our first ever bidirectional compass bezel for quick orienteering operation. In the event that you find yourself overboard, this dive quality watch features a depth rating of 20 ATM.

yacht timer function

The Regatta Timer boasts a Swiss movement, another first for Jack Mason timepieces. The precision carried by the “Swiss made” name is consistent not only with yacht timing functionality, but also with the day to day accuracy of the watch function.

yacht timer function

The inspiration for the Regatta Timer was taken from a collection of childhood memories shared with us by a member of our Jack Mason family. The tales of her and her father sailing and racing their many family owned vessels in community regattas inspired us to dig deeper into the history of regatta and the yacht timer. There, we discovered the origin of America’s Cup and the rich history of watches and regatta.

yacht timer function

After meticulous research and before we put pen to paper, we decided to break down the yachting category into four main components from which our designs could be influenced: historic, leisure, casual sport, and professional.

yacht timer function

The goal was to design a watch for the casual sport customer: a weekend enthusiast or even a yachting fan; someone who understands the heritage story and is emotionally connected in some way to the lifestyle.

yacht timer function

With a true sport watch in mind, Creative Director, Peter Cho, envisioned a very specific product, complete with all of the bells and whistles. “When the team started discussing materials and functionality, we decided we needed to create a Regatta Timer that included only the highest quality components – a Swiss movement, sapphire crystal, and a high depth rating. When passion takes the lead on design, it’s pretty amazing to see what comes of it.”

Key Product Specs

  • 42mm Case Size, 22mm Lug Size
  • 20 ATM Water Resistance
  • Screw-down Crown
  • Sapphire Crystal
  • Bi-directional Compass Bezel
  • Swiss-made, Yacht Timer Movement
  • Numbered Caseback Exclusive to Kickstarter Backers

yacht timer function

Right now, you have a chance to own part of the very limited run of Jack Mason JM-N105 watches at a fraction of the eventual cost. As a top-level funder, you will receive the Jack Mason Box Set, complete with the Regatta Timer on a butterfly closure, solid link bracelet, a new rubber strap design in Jack Mason’s standard navy-blue, and the best-selling tan Italian leather strap. Our projected retail on this package is $795 – offered at more than 50% off MSRP! We’re already over 60% funded – don’t miss the boat! Get your Regatta Timer on Kickstarter now !

yacht timer function

Alpina Sailing Yachttimer Countdown

Sailing yachttimer countdown, countdown to the release of alpina’s new sailing yachttimer.

Sleek, sophisticated, elegant, majestic… the yacht is truly the crown prince of the nautical world. They are not the largest vessels to sail the seven seas, not by any stretch of the imagination. Nor are they the fastest; even modest speedboats offer greater pace. Is there any craft, however, which attracts more admiration, respect and even a certain degree of envy than a well-appointed yacht?

When yachts race, the winner is not determined by horsepower, as is often the case with yachts’ motorized “cousins.” Certainly, equipment plays a significant part in any racing contest, but when whitecaps churn, winds whistle and sails are slapping in the breeze, it will be the skill of the crew and the strategy of the skipper which will ultimately decide who will be victorious.

Swiss watchmaker Alpina are proud to announce the launch of a new model which fits perfectly, both on the wrist of the owner and in the world of yacht racing. The Sailing Yachttimer Countdown comes with a host of features that makes it ideal for anyone participating in a test of sailing skill over open water.

yacht timer function

Great looks and impressive features

One glance at the watch confirms it is uniquely Alpina. The wide, 44 mm diameter stainless steel case surrounds the impressive black face, which in turn contrasts beautifully with the luminous white hour and minute hands. And because when you’re racing yachts, it’s the seconds as opposed to the minutes that really count, the Yachttimer Countown’s triangular, fluorescent orange second hand truly stands out and is especially easy to read. The ever-popular clear sapphire crystal case back allows an amazing view of the intricate AL-880 caliber working away inside this mechanical marvel.

Additional features found on the Yachttimer Countdown include—what else—countdown windows. The countdown to the start of any yacht race is the time when pulses quicken, muscles tense and all senses seem to become sharper and more finely focused. The Yachttimer has countdown windows from 10 to 1, leading to the fluorescent START indicator, when the action really begins.

The sapphire compass bezel turns in only one direction, to help eliminate the mistakes that can be caused by bezels which turn in both directions. As you would expect from any Alpina sport watch, the Yachttimer Countdown is water resistant to a depth of 30 atmospheres, or 300 metres below sea level.

With a view to both functionality and style, the black rubber strap can easily be replaced by the optional metal and metal mesh bracelets. It would be fair to say the Yachttimer Countdown is equally at home in a yacht race or in the dining room of the most glamorous yacht club.

yacht timer function

Looking for a great gift for your racing enthusiast?

The Alpina Sailing Yachttimer Countdown would make a wonderful gift for anyone who spends time on or near the water, and would be the perfect present for those who participate in maritime racing. Alpina will present each of these new limited edition (just 8,888 pieces will be produced) watches in a specially designed gift box, which also contains a stunning, miniature Extreme 40 yacht.

Sleek, sophisiticated, stylish…yes. Oh, and the yachts aren’t bad, either!

  • AL-880LBG4V6
  • Delivered in a special gift box with an Extreme 40 boat miniature
  • Automatic with yacht timer function, caliber AL-880
  • PVD Black coated Alpina rotor
  • Hours, minutes, seconds, yacht timer function.
  • Stainless steel case, 44 mm diameter
  • Sapphire crystal, see-through case back
  • Unidirectional turning sapphire compass bezel
  • 30 ATM Water-resistant
  • Black dial, countdown luminous minute indication
  • Coutndown windows from 0’ to 4’, with fluorescent START indication
  • White luminous hands with fluorescent orange triangle second’s hand
  • Black rubber strap (metal bracelet and mesh bracelet available as spare parts

yacht timer function

Regatta Yachttimers

An overview of sailing regatta watches, stopwatches.

Before wrist watches were used as an aid to start a sailing regatta, this was done with handheld mechanical stopwatches. At the beginning of the 20th century, brands like Breitling, Excelsior Park, Leonidas and Le Phare all developed a Yachting movement with a 5 minute counter, and a sweep hand counting the seconds backwards from 60 to zero. These movements were used in various other watch brands as well, eg. Gallet, Heuer and The Paget. Later versions of the Yachting stopwatches had a 10 or 15 minute countdown, and some models could be worn around the wrist with a strap.

Abercrombie & Fitch

In 1892 David T. Abercrombie started a small waterfront shop in New York, USA, under the name ‘David T. Abercrombie Co’. In 1900 Ezra Fith became his partner, and in 1904 the company’s name was changed into ‘Abercrombie & Fitch Co’. From the beginning the company was specialized in outdoor clothing and excursion products, and offered top-quality gear for hunting, fishing, camping, safaris, climbing, driving, flying and other outings, calling itself ‘Greatest Sporting Goods Store in the World’.

Page 29 from the Abercrombie & Fitch catalog, summer 1957.

In the mid 1940’s Heuer began producing watches and stopwatches for Abercrombie & Fitch, mostly with a special feature (of which the Seafarer chronograph is the most well-known). The summer 1957 catalog shows a ‘Yacht Race Timer’ stopwatch with a 5 minute countdown.

Three different versions of a Abercrombie & Fitch yachting stopwatch.

Abercrombie & Fitch, left signed A&F yachttimer, right signed Abercrombie & Fitch Co Yacht-Timer with the Heuer shield added. Obvious these models are related to Heuer.

Aristo / Apollo

Aristo’s history began in 1907, when watchmaker Julius Epple founded the ‘Julius Epple K.G.’  (officially registered in 1936). in Pforzheim, Germany. Later the name changed into ‘Aristo Uhren- und Uhrgehäuse Fabrik’   and again later into ‘Aristo Watch GmbH’ .

At first Aristo used movements from Glashütte and Urofa, but in 1934 the movement factory Maurer & Reiling was taken over and Aristo started to produce their own movements (signed JE for Julius Epple).

Other sub-brands by Aristo that released a Yachting Timer stopwatch were for example Apollo (registered in 1927) and Aristo-Park, both registered by Aristo Import Co. Inc., New York USA, for the American market. You can download page 293 from the 1930’s Sporting Goods Journal Book here , where Aristo Import Co. is offering their Aristo-Park No. 3 Yachting Timer with 5 minute countdown. With a special attention to  the build in box in the movement concontaining 8 useful spare-parts.

Apollo Yachting Timer, 4 different versions with old and new Apollo logo. Third model with a caliber BFG 411 movement, engraved Apollo Import Co.

Balma / Balmaster

Balma Yachting Timer with unknown movement.

Balmaster Sports Yachting, but no countdown. Second one with a countdown of 15 minutes. And a version branded Beauwyn Sports Yachting.


In 1899 Arnold Baumgartner founded his watch-movement factory ‘Manufaktur Baumgartner’ in Grenchen, Switzerland. The company first specialised in producing cheap movements. When both his brothers Ernest and Emil joined one year later, the company name was changed into ‘Baumgartner Frères’ .

After getting several patents in the years to follow, the company became successful and changed to a partnership in 1916, thus changed the name into ‘Baumgartner Frères S.A.’ In 1926, together with some 25 other manufacturers of watch movements (like Landeron, Lémania, Valjoux, Venus), Baumgartner joined the Ebauche S.A. holding company.

As of 1962 the Baumgartner company does stamp their movements with the BFG logo and its caliber number, which obviously makes their age easier to determine. In the years to follow Baumgartner became successful in particular with the production of many Roskopf movements. At least  five of their calibers (410, 411, 412, 417 & 611) were used as Yachting Timers, not only by the bigger brands as described in this overview, but also by numerous smaller watch brands.

Balco Yachting Timer with a 5 min countdown. Probably with a BFG movement.

Berco-stop Yachting Timer (BFG411?).

Chesterfield Yachting Timer, with the BFG 611 movement signed Chesterfield Watch Ltd.

Chesterfield Yachting Timer, with the BFG 611 movement signed Dolmy Watch Ltd – RC167.

Chronosport Yachting Timer (BFG411?).

Two times Commodoor Yachting Timer, with different crown and dial, with a BFG 417 movement. The inside of the caseback is stamped ‘Wakmann Watch Co’.

Degon Yachting and Huntana Yachting Timer (both BFG?).

Dolmy Yachting Timer with a caliber BFG 611. Both the case and movement are engraved ‘Dolmy Watch LTD’.

Dolmy Yachting Timer with a caliber BFG 411, alternatively branded Chesterfield-Dolmy.

Endura Yachting Timer with a 5 min countdown. The inner lid is engraved with ‘Endura Time Corp. – Swiss made’. Movement probably BFG.

SR Eurastyle Yachting Timer with caliber BFG 411, two slightly different dials.

Stadion Super, Presta and Fuldex, all three for Yachting and Rowing, with a ‘strokes per minute’ scale (BFG?).

Hoffritz Yachting Timer (BFG411?).

Itraco Yachting Timer with a caliber BFG 410.

Levrette with a caliber BFG 417.

Luxa Yachting Timer (BFG411?).

Rocar Yachting Timer with an unusual BFG 410 movement. Mind the extra reset pusher at 10 o’clock. It functions both as a reset as a flyback pusher!

Star Yachting Timer, with slightly different dials (BFG411?).

Thalco Yachting Timer, different dials and hands, with a caliber BFG 611 signed E. Schlup – Abrecht.

Tim Yachting Timer with a caliber BFG 611 special movement.

Tim Yachting Timer with slightly different dials.

Velona Yachting, caliber unknown. To be worn around the wrist.

Wakmann Yachting Timer, with a caliber BFG 411 movement. The caseback of this stopwatch is marked Dolmy Watch Ltd.

In 1961 Wakmann registered the brand name Dynameter. Here the Yachting Timer with ref. 209 (BFG411?).

Breitling / Montbrillant

In 1884 the young Léon Breitling, at the age of 24, manufactured his first counter chronograph at his workshop in Saint-Imier, Switzerland. He had founded a small watchmaking firm called ‘G. Léon Breitling’ , and specialized himself to the field of chronographs and timers. These precision instruments were intended for sports, science and industry.

In 1892 Léon Breitling moved the company to La Chaux-de-Fonds to larger production facilities. The company name is then changed into ‘G. Léon Breitling SA, Montbrillant Watch Manufactory’ after the street name Rue Montbrillant of the new location. Due to some disagreements with relatives about Breitling as a brandname, the company used the name Montbrillant as brandname (registered in 1899).

When Léon dies in 1914, his son Gaston takes over. And his son Willy takes over the company in 1932, after Gaston died in 1927. In these years Breitling still focussed on chronographs for sport and military purposes, and especially the chronograph for aircraft was developed.

The Paget 5 minute Yachttimer with an early Montbrillant movement.

Two unmarked yachting stopwatches in the 1923 Montbrillant catalogue.

It was not until the end of the 1920’s that the name Breitling began to appear on the dials, later on followed by serial numbers.

As of the 1930’s Breitling no longer produced movements by their own, but instead the company used calibers from Felsa, FHF, Venus, Unitas, etc. that were refined in their own factory.

Read more about the later Breitling Yachting wristwatches in the Brand list here .

Two versions of a Breitling The Leader with an unmarked Montbrillant movement, resembling the ones in the 1923 Montbrillant catalogue. The second one has the name Breitling on the dial and is probably from around 1925. Both stopwatches have the name Benzie of Cowes on the dial.

Benzie of Cowes, established in 1862 as The Yachtsman Jeweller, still there on 61 High Street, Cowes on the Isle of Wight.

Breitling Tel-Rad ref. 1575 with a red countdown scale for 60 seconds in de center. With a Valjoux 362 movement. Circa 1959.

Yachting Breitling ref. 1509 with caliber Valjoux 321, circa 1960’s.

Yachting Breitling with caliber Valjoux 320, circa 1970’s.

Breitling Sprint Yachting with caliber BFG 411, ref. 1.410, dated 1971.

Breitling Yachting Timer, dated 1972. With ‘Sprint’ (left, ref. 04560) or ‘7 Jewels’ on the dial.  


Chronosport wrist stopwatch with caliber Valjoux 7770, circa 1980.

Chronosport Startmaster with one pusher.

Chronosport Yachting with 15 minute countdown in an ABS case, with different case-backs.

Excelsior Park

The history of Excelsior Park starts in 1866 when Jules-Frédéric Jeanneret and his partner Francois Fallet established their watch company ‘ Jeanneret & Fallet ’ in Saint-Imir, Switzerland. They produced mainly stopwatches and chronographs.

Jules-Frédéric Jeanneret had three sons: Albert, Henry and Constant, who all came to work for the company. When Fallet left the company, it was renamed into ‘ J.F. Jeanneret & Fils ’. But already before Jules-Frédéric died, Albert and his brothers started their own company ‘ Albert Jeanneret & Freres ’ in 1889.

In 1891 the brand name Excelsior was registered by Albert Jeanneret & Freres, as he patented (No 3364) a sports stopwatch under that name showing on the movement side a bridge in the shape of a J (for Jeanneret) which will become a trademark for Excelsior Park later. You can download the Swiss patent No 3364 here .

Two years later, in 1893 Albert left the company to continue with Fritz Moeri, and Henry and Constant went on as ‘ Jeanneret Freres ’. The remaining brothers split up around 1900. Constant started ‘ Constant Jeanneret-Droz ’, and he would later buy Leonidas. Henri started ‘ Henri Jeanneret-Brehm ’, with the brand name Excelsior Park. In 1918 the company’s name becomes ‘ Les Fils de Jeanneret-Brehm, Excelsior Park ’.

In 1922 Excelsior Park patented a small box inside a movement to put spare parts in. That would also become a kind of trademark for the brand. This idea however has been copied by Leonidas and Berna in particular.

In 1923 ‘Les Fils de Jeanneret-Brehm, Excelsior Park’ registered the Park brandname and the ‘Park Watch Import Co’ company for the American market.

From 1918 through 1983 Excelsior Park manufactured a wide range of stopwatches, branded watches and watch movements for Certina, Gallet, Girard Perregaux and Zenith. They manufactured two yachting movements derived from their calibers JB 1 and JB 2, mainly used for themselves and for Gallet. In 1984 the activities stopped as result of a bankruptcy.

Excelsior and Excelsior Park Yachting Timer.

Four times Excelsior Park Yachting Timer, all with a caliber JB166 movement. Three different crowns and slightly different dials; version 4 to be worn around the wrist.

Left: Park Yachting Timer with 5 min countdown. Movement unknown. Right: Dial branded A. Lecoultre, with a JB166 movement marked ‘Park Watch Co”.

Unusual 5 min. Yachting Timer with just one hand counting down the seconds. 300 Seconds in one turn! Movement derived from the JB-1 (see under Gallet).

See here (version 20170502) for an overview of some different Yachting models with an EP movement. And here you can download some pages from the 1950 catalogue, showing the JB 1 and JB 2 movement, specifications on the spare-parts box in the movement, and the various Excelsior Park Yachting Timer models at the time.

Gallet / Security / Select

Gallet is the world’s oldest Swiss manufacturer of timekeeping applications, dating back to 1466 when Humbertus Gallet settled in Geneva as a clock maker. As of then the company went on as a family run business. In 1826 it was officially registered as ‘ Gallet & Cie ’ by Julien Gallet, who moved the company from Geneva to La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland.

Best well known during the 20 th century became its line of MultiChron chronograph wristwatches. On their website they claim to have made the world’s first Yachting stopwatch with a regatta countdown timer in 1915. But I doubt whether this is true (see The Holy Grail section here ).

Gallet MultiChron Yachting Timer, both as hand- and wrist-stopwatch.

In 1911 Gallet started to cooperate with Henri Jeanneret-Brehm, and when he started the Excelsior Park brand in 1918, the Gallet company started to focus on the American consumer using EP movements. Léon Gallet’s sister had married Jules Racine who had settled in New York, where he would represent the Gallet brand.

But as the American market would prefer their own domestically styled brands, new names (37 totally!) were created. For example Security and Select, both using an EP stopwatch movement. In later Yachting models movements of Baumgartner Frères were used.

Gallet ad with two of their Yachting stopwatches, and two wristwatches of a later date.

Gallet Yachting Timer, with a caliber EP 1 movement marked Jules Racine.

Gallet Yachting Timer with 5 minute countdown.

Gallet 5 minute Yachting Timer with only one hand, movement derived from the JB-1.

Gallet Yachting Timer with 15 minute countdown. Left with a different crown and ring, and a slightly different dial. Right with the addition ‘by Racine’ on the dial for the American market.

Gallet Yachting, 15 minute countdown, with a caliber EP 1 movement marked Jules Racine. With a leather strap to be worn around the wrist.

Security Yachting Timer, with 30 minute countdown subdial, movement marked ‘Jules Racine & Co’

Select Yachting Timer with a caliber BFG 611 movement, right with ‘Racine’ on the dial.

  Select Yachting Timer, with a caliber BFG 417 movement, and with ‘Racine’ on the dial.

Racine Select Yachting Timer in an ABS case, caliber BFG 417, probably of a more recent date. Right a version to be worn around the wrist with a strap.

In 1882 Johann Adolf Hanhart opened a watch and jewelry shop in Diessenhofen, Switzerland. In 1902 though, the company moved to Schwenningen in Germany, and so Hanhart became a German manufacturer.

In 1920 his sport-loving son Wilhelm Julius Hanhart took over the company, and a few years later in 1924 he started with the production of cheap mechanical stopwatches together with another watchmaker. This turned out to become a great success. From the 1950’s on the company concentrated on the production of mechanical stopwatches, and even today Hanhart is still selling stopwatches for all kind of sporting events.

Caliber tabel in the 1959 Hanhart catalogue.

In their 1959 catalogue, which you can download here , Hanhart shows a single-pusher Yachting stopwatch with a 5 minute countdown, driven by the Caliber 48/Y movement.

Hanhart Yachting with a 5 minute countdown. Three versions with a different logo on the dial.

Hanhart Yachting with a 10 minute countdown and different crown, and a Hanhart Yachting Sportcraft.

Two times Hanhart Yachting in an ABS case and with a 15 minute countdown and a pusher between 10 and 11 o’clock for reset. The left model has ref. number 1217115.

In the 1960’s Hanhart was the first to produce stopwatches with an ABS case. Today, the ‘Hanhart 1882 GmbH’   company is still in operation, and based in Gütenbach, Germany.

Read about the Heuer history in the Brand list here .

One of the earliest listings of a Heuer Yachting chronograph is shown in the 1936 catalogue ‘Chronographs and Timers’ by Ed. Heuer and Co, to be found at Jef Stein his wesite OnTheDash, see here . Shown here is a Yacht Timer with a 5 minute countdown function, ref. 912.

Heuer Yacht Timer, ref. 912, listed in the 1936 catalogue ‘Chronographs and Timers’.

Heuer Yachting, ref. unknown, similar to the ref. 3912 as in the 1959 catalogue (see below). The movement, equal to the one in the above drawing, is clearly marked Ed.Heuer&Co with the Heuer logo.

Since the 1959 catalogue Heuer Yachting stopwatches are shown on a more or less yearly basis, starting with the reference number 33.712 with a 5 minute countdown and an eyelet for a strand, and the reference number 3912 with a 10 minute countdown and a wrist-strap.

The first one has an A.Schild 1564 movement, the second one an A.Schild 736 movement. Later versions of the Heuer Yachting stopwatches use a Lemania, a Valjoux or a Baumgartner Freres movement.

Adolf Schild S.A. (also known as ASSA) was a Swiss ebauche and watch movement maker operation from the 1890’s throughout the 1970’s. The company became one of the largest movement makers in Switzerland by the 1920’s! In 1926 ASSA combined with A. Michel AG and Fabrique d’Horlogerie de Fontainemelon (FHF) to create Ebauches SA . But the quartz crisis in the 1970’s would hit Adolf Schild hard, and to survive it merched with the ETA group. In 1983 Adolf Schild S.A. disappeared from the market.

For a very comprehensive overview of all the Heuer yachting stopwatches that were released between 1959 and 1986, please check the website by Henrik  here or the website by Jeff Stein  here .

Heuer ad from 1964.

Heuer Yacht Timer ref. 33.512, with caliber AS 1564, circa 1962. Heuer Trackstar Yacht Timer ref. 603.612, with caliber Valjoux 7710, circa 1976. And Heuer Yachting Timer ref. 603.615, with caliber BFG 411, circa 1980.

Heuer ad in magazine Yachting, November 1984. Showing four Yachttimers, three stopwatches and one chronograph wristwatch.

Ilona Yachting with a 15 minute countdown, movement unknown. See one similar model under Stadion.

The Ingersoll brothers Robert Hawley and Charles Henry started their American ‘Ingersoll Watch Company’  in 1882 in New York City. After initially selling low-cost items as rubber stamps, the first Ingersoll watches were introduced in 1892, and were supplied by the Waterbury Clock Company. In 1896 Ingersoll introduced a watch called the Yankee  , setting its price at $1. This made it the cheapest watch available at the time.

In 1904 Ingersoll opened a store in London, Great Britain, and introduced the Crown pocket watch for 5 shillings, which was the same value as $1 at the time. These were produced by a British subsidiary ‘Ingersoll Ltd’ .

Although very successful, the Ingersoll Watch Company went bankrupt in 1921 during the recession that followed World War I, and was then purchased by the Waterbury Clock Company. They sold the London-based Ingersoll Ltd in 1930, making it a wholly British owned enterprise. Eventually this would become the ‘Timex Group USA’ .

Ingersoll Yachtsman with center minute hand and small seconds subdial.

Ingersoll Yachtsman with both minute and second counter from the center.

3 x Ingersoll Yachtsman, branded Henry Jones London EC4, Sowester and Seatimer.

2 x Ingersoll Yachtsman, branded Temsail and Seabord Yacht Timer.

Ingersoll Yachtsman of a bit more recent date.

The brand name Le Phare was first introduced in 1867, when Charles Barbezat-Baillot and Henry Guy started their company in Le Locle, Switzerland, under the name ‘ Guye & Barbezat ’. They produced complicated watches as chronometers, chronographs and repeaters. Guye died ten years later in 1877, and in 1890 the name of the company changed into ‘ Barbezat-Baillot, manufacture La Locloise ’.

 After receiving several awards at international exhibitions for reliable and affordable repeater watches, Le Phare was so successful that the company changed its name into ‘Manufacture d’Horlogerie Le Phare’   in 1903. The same year the company started to produce stopwatches.

The company specialized itself in producing repetition chronographs, and later Le Phare would become the second largest Swiss producer of chronographs. In 1914 the company was acquired  by George Perrenoud, but after the first world war repeater watches became less popular and numerous changes in the management were to follow.

Around 1915 Le Phare has made a regatta movement with a 5 minute countdown, derived from their most popular caliber 114VCC.  An unbranded version of the Yachting stopwatch could have been manufactured by Le Phare themselves, but several versions in different cases where launched by The Paget. As a Swiss brand The Paget was registered in 1897 by Weill & Cie, located in La Chaux-de-Fonds (they had an office in London). The brand was transferred to the same company in 1917.

One unbranded and two times The Paget – Tiffany & Co Yachting stopwatch with a 5 minute countdown, all with a Le Phare 114 Special movement, circa 1915.

See here for an overview of some different Yachting models with a Le Phare movement.

Read about the Lemania history in de Brand list here .

In the mid 1980’s Lemania introduced this 5-dot Lemania Regatta stopwatch, ref. 1002, to be worn on the wrist, and driven by a Lemania caliber F10 6280 movement. The indicator disk changes from blue to red to START, which makes it a 10 minute countdown timer.

The same Lemania F10 6280 movement is used in similar versions by Aquastar, Heuer and Omega.

In the same period, mid 1980’s, Lemania introduced this big size Ø 60 mm hand-stopwatch with ref. 1001, again using the 5-dot countdown system. The indicator disk is equal as in ref. 1002, and changes from blue to red to START. Inside is a caliber BFG 412 movement, which was also used by Heuer for a similar version (ref. 658.915).

Pictures from a Danish watersports brochure.

Lemania 1 ATU. with a 10 minute countdown, and a similar version as Tissot Navigator, with a strap to be worn around the wrist. The access to the movement is possible by taking of the glass. To do so you have to take off the crown, and blow air-pressure in untill it pops out. All as instructed on the case-back. The movement is a Lemania caliber 4100 (labeled as Tissot 4100 in the Navigator).

Lemania Yachting, with a 10 minute countdown. Similar dial as the ones above, and the same instructions for access to the movement with air-pressure shown on the ABS caseback. With unknown caliber.

Leonidas / Sportex / Arco / Clebar

In 1841 the Swiss watchmaker Julien Bourquin opened his workshop under his own name in Saint-Imier. When he died in 1897 his son Ferdinand took over, and renamed the company into Ferdinand Bourquin, Successeur de la Maison Julien Bourquin . Specialised in stopwatches and chronographs, Ferdinand Bourquin registered the Leonidas brand name in 1902.

After Ferdinand Bourquin died young (1903), his widow joined with Constant Jeanneret-Droz, one of the three sons of the Excelsior Park founder Jules-Frédéric Jeanneret. In 1910 the company was renamed in the Leonidas Watch Factory S.A. , and finally Constant Jeanneret-Droz took over completely in 1912. As he brought the necessary know-how Leonidas produced quit outstanding chronograph movements.

Although Excelsior Park first came up with the idea of a small compartment in the movement with spare parts, Leonidas changed the design and registered their ‘invention’ in 1929, see the Swiss patent CH131402 here .

See for an early 5-dot Yachting stopwatch from around the 1950’s in the Holy Grail section here .

In 1964 Leonidas merged with Ed. Heuer and becomes Heuer-Leonidas S.A. with Jack W. Heuer as managing director. But after Heuer became TAG Heuer in 1984, the name Leonidas disappeared completely.

Leonidas Yacht-Timer, ref. 603612 with white dial, and with black dial. Movement probably Valjoux 7700.

In 1944 Leonidas registered the Sportex brandname, using the cheaper Roskopf movements. After the merge with Heuer, Heuer-Leonidas used the better Baumgartner Frères movements and sold the Sportex stopwatches amongst others in the USA. Most likely the brand Danforth was related to Heuer-Leonidas as well.

Sportex Yachting Timer, with a caliber BFG 411, with white or black dial.

Also in 1944 the brandname Arco was registered by Leonidas, and later on in 1958 Clebar.

Arco Yachting Timer, 2 versions with slightly different dials.

Clebar Yacht-timer, movement unknown, circa 1960’s. And with a similar dial Anjax Yachting. No idea where this brand belongs to.

In 1858 the brothers Hyppolite and Charles-Yvon Robert founded the company H. & C. Robert   in Villeret in the Bernese Jura, Switzerland. In 1878 their sons Charles and Georges took over the management and in 1885 also Yvan Robert joined. The company’s name then changed to Robert Frères Villeret . The company began registering several brand names, for example ‘Mercure’, ‘Ariana’, ‘ Tropic’ and ‘Hertha’.

As of 1895 Robert Frères Villeret   began with the production of watch movements and pocket watch cases in nickel and silver versions, and in 1908 with chronographs and stopwatches.

In 1923 the brand name ‘Minerva’ was registered, and the company was renamed to ‘Fabrique Minerva, Robert Frères SA, Villeret’   in 1929. The company named (numbered) each major caliber sequentially, starting with nr 1 and so on, preceded by the size. So their first movement was named 18-1.

Minerva’s caliber 19-14 with a 30 minute counter was used in many sports stopwatches. For the Yachting versions only a small modification was necessary to have it with a suitable timer. Exceptional for some of Minerva’s movements is the use of coil springs, see the above picture of the caliber 19-14. You can download a spare-parts list here .

For economic reasons the Robert family left the company in 1935, and eventually in 2006 Minerva becomes part of Montblanc in the Richemont group.

Minerva Yachting with round crown, in bad condition.

Minerva Yachting, different cases, with later crown.

Minerva Yachting Timer, with additional text ‘The Crow’s nest’.

Read about the Omega history in the Brand list here .

Omega Yachting, with a caliber Omega 9010 movement, 1965.

Omega Yachting ref. 6309, with a manually wound caliber 8010A movement.

Two times Omega Yachting, with a 15 minute countdown.

Seiko Yachting with a Seikosha cal. 9011 (or 1106?) movement. This big size ∅ 57 mm stopwatch has a red (or yellow) canvas strap to be worn around the upper leg. Circa 1960’s.

Smiths Yachting Timer, movement signed Smiths Industries Limited.

Smiths Yachting Timer, another 4 different versions. But the last one shows Made in Switzerland.

Smiths Yacht Timer in ABS case, alternatively branded Sowester.

Stadion Yachting Timer, 3 versions.

Three times Stadion Super with different logo, right with a caliber BFG 411.

Unbranded versions

Unbranded Yachting Timer worn around the wrist, with unknown movement, 1941.

Unbranded Yachting Timer, dial and caseback marked ‘Camerer Cuss – London’, with unknown movement.

Unbranded, Yachting Timer, different versions. Right with caliber BFG 417.

In 2021 Bruce Mackie sent me a couple of pictures of what he claimed to be a very rare unbranded Yachting stopwatch. At first glance it seems like a fairly standard timer with a subdial for 15 minutes. Maybe the only uncommon feature is the nautical tachymetre along the outer edge of the dial, which is in miles per hour when measuring over 1/4 of a mile. Sofar nothing spectacular.

But when you turn it over, there’s no nickel caseback but instead a second face showing a beautiful Yacht timer! And when you start the countdown, this timer actually runs backwards (counterclockwise). Incredible. I fully agree with Bruce, this is definately one of the most rare and uncommon yachting stopwatches I have ever seen.

From the website I copied this picture of two very rare Universal Geneve yachting-stopwatches to be worn with a strap around the wrist (33 mm steel case). Probably around 1930’s. Both have a 5 minute regatta countdown timer.

Rare set of Universal Geneve regatta wrist-stopwatches, with white and black dial.

Yema Yachtingraf.

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This stopwatch section of the website is frequently updated, so please visit again!

  • Many thanks to Bruce Mackie for sending me the pictures and information of your double sided Yachting stopwatch.
  • Many thanks to Sergio, #Rolexman85, for your picture of the Abercrombie & Fitch \ Heuer stopwatch
  • Many thanks to @rehomerelook for permitting to use the picture of the A&F (Heuer like) stopwatch.
  • Many thanks to Ara Boghigian for sending me the pictures of your Heuer Yachting stopwatch.
  • Many thanks to Bob Ryan for sending me the pictures of your Yachting stopwatches.
  • Many thanks to Greg Hamilton for your contribution to my collection.
  • Many thanks to Manfred Zwehn and Joel Pynson for all your information about the Yachting stopwatches.


For avid marine sportsmen who value style as much as function, Citizen’s Promaster Yacht Timer with Eco-Drive technology is the perfect combination of the two.

A perfect timepiece for all the sea lovers that has functions such as yacht racing timer, 99 minute count-down timer, a split lap time and a 1/100 second chronograph measuring up to 24 hours..


A collection inspired by the luxury of yachting that is equipped with a Perpetual Calendar, displays World Time in 30 cities, Dual Time, Universal Coordinated Time (UTC) and has a 24 Hours Time Keeping system.

With features like high-grade stainless steel case with a solid stainless steel bracelet and strong polyurethane strap, hard mineral crystal and 200 meters water resistance, there is no water-based activity this timepiece can’t handle with ease. and what more, the watch is powered by light..


Promaster Yacht Timer is powered by Eco-Drive, CITIZEN’s proprietary light-powered technology. Wherever you go, your watch needs only light to keep on running.


Sean 'Diddy' Combs allegations: Timeline and what to know

Sean “ Diddy ” Combs has been hit with a wave of civil lawsuits in recent months and is now a subject of a federal investigation, sources have told NBC News.

Federal agents this week executed searches of Combs’ properties , where guns were found, and his phones were seized at an airport as part of a warrant issued from the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, law enforcement sources have said.

Since November, Combs has been hit with five lawsuits in New York accusing him of sexual assault, sexual trafficking and engaging in other criminal activity. Combs has denied all of the allegations, calling them sickening.

A source familiar with the matter told NBC News that at least four people have been interviewed about allegations of sex trafficking, sexual assault and the solicitation and distribution of illegal narcotics and firearms.

Aaron Dyer, an attorney for Combs, described the raids this week as a “gross overuse of military-level force.” Neither Combs nor any of his family members have been arrested, Dyer noted in his statement.

Sean "Diddy" Combs house.

Here are the lawsuits that were filed against Combs prior to the raid. Combs has denied all of the allegations individually through statements by his representatives.

November 2023: Cassie and two others file suit

The singer Cassie, Combs’ former romantic partner, shocked many in November when she filed a civil suit against Combs alleging that the music mogul sexually and physically abused her during the course of their relationship. She filed her case on Nov. 16 under New York state’s Adult Survivors Act, which gave adult victims of sexual violence a one-year window to file civil claims regardless of the statute of limitations.

In the suit, Cassie alleged that Combs raped her, beat her in fits of “uncontrollable rage” and exerted a “tight hold over her life.” She alleged that he would force her to engage in sex acts he called “Freak Offs” with other men, often sex workers whom he’d pay to travel with them, while he watched.

The abuse ranged from 2007 until Cassie left him in late 2018, the suit said.

Combs vehemently denied the allegations from Cassie, whose full name is Casandra Ventura. They settled the suit a day after it was filed.

Joi Dickerson-Neal said Cassie’s lawsuit inspired her to come forward and file a suit against Combs on Nov. 23, a day before the Adult Survivors Act was set to expire.

Dickerson-Neal said that Combs drugged her, sexually assaulted her and recorded the assault without her knowledge while she was a student in 1991. She agreed to have dinner with Combs on Jan. 3, 1991, in Harlem while on winter break from Syracuse University, according to her suit.

It was there that Combs “intentionally drugged” her and then took her to a place where he was staying, the suit said. Dickerson-Neal said she “lacked the physical ability or mental capacity to fend Combs off” as he sexually assaulted her.

She later learned from a male friend that Combs had filmed the assault and showed it to other people, the suit said. Combs denied her allegations.

On the last day of eligibility under the Adult Survivors Act, Liza Gardner filed a lawsuit accusing Combs of sexually assaulting her when she was 16 years old.

Gardner alleged that in either 1990 or 1991 she and a friend met Combs and R&B singer Aaron Hall at an event held by MCA Records in Manhattan. After the party, she was invited back to Hall’s apartment with Combs, the suit said, and the two offered her drinks throughout the night.

Combs then coerced her into having sex, the suit said, leaving Gardner “shocked and traumatized.” Hall barged into the room after Combs was done, pinned her down, and sexually assaulted her, according to the suit.

Hall did not return NBC News’ request for comment on the lawsuit. Combs denied Gardner’s allegations in a statement through his representative.

December 2023: Jane Doe says she was gang-raped at 17

Then in December, a Jane Doe filed a lawsuit alleging that she was gang-raped and sex-trafficked by Combs and Harve Pierre, a former longtime president of Combs’ record label. The unidentified woman said the assault happened in 2003, when she was 17 and Combs was 34.

Sean "Diddy" Combs.

According to the suit, she met Combs and Pierre at a lounge in Detroit and Combs convinced her to travel with them on a private jet to New York City. Before they left the lounge, the suit said, Pierre smoked crack cocaine and forced Doe to perform oral sex on him.

Doe was taken to a studio in New York City, where Combs, Pierre and a third defendant plied her with “copious amounts of drugs and alcohol,” the suit said. The three men took turns raping her in a bathroom at the studio after she was too inebriated to consent, according to the suit.

The men allegedly left her on the bathroom floor once they were done and she was flown back to Michigan, the suit said. Combs denied the assault allegations and Pierre called the suit “a tale of fiction.”

February 2024: Rodney Jones accuses Combs of ‘RICO enterprise’

In February, a man named Rodney “Lil Rod” Jones alleged in a federal suit that Combs and his associates engaged in “serious illegal activity.”

Jones worked as a producer on Combs’ latest album, but also lived and traveled with him from September 2022 to November 2023, according to his lawsuit. He alleged that during that time he was sexually harassed by Combs, pressured to engage in sexual acts, forced to procure sex workers for Combs and witnessed Combs giving drinks laced with drugs to people at parties.

The suit said that Combs required Jones to “record him constantly,” which resulted in Jones obtaining hours of footage in which Combs and his staff allegedly engaged in criminal conduct. Screenshots of video clips were included in the suit, described as being from parties in which underage girls and sex workers were present.

Jones alleged that Combs was attempting to groom him into having a sexual relationship with him. The lawsuit said that Combs sexually harassed and assaulted Jones while he lived at Combs’ homes in Florida, Los Angeles and New York, as well as on a yacht Combs rented in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Sean "Diddy" Combs' property.

Jones alleged that he and another man, Brendan Paul, were asked to travel with drugs and firearms on Combs’ behalf.

In amended filings, Jones additionally accused Combs and his son of being involved in a 2022 shooting at a Los Angeles recording studio , which both men denied.

An attorney for Combs said Jones’ “reckless name-dropping about events that are pure fiction and simply did not happen is nothing more than a transparent attempt to garner headlines.”

March 2024: Combs’ homes searched by federal agents

On March 25, agents with Homeland Security Investigations raided Combs’ properties in Los Angeles and Miami. Three sources familiar with the matter told NBC News that firearms were found at his residences, but no additional details were provided.

At the time of the raids, Combs was on his way to a scheduled trip to the Bahamas and was stopped at a Miami airport prior to departure. Officials seized his cellphones, sources said.

Dyer, one of Combs’ attorneys, issued a statement following the raids and said that Combs “was never detained but spoke to and cooperated with authorities.” He described the raid as an ambush, saying there’s been a rush to judgment based on “meritless accusations made in civil lawsuits.”

“There has been no finding of criminal or civil liability with any of these allegations,” Dyer said. “Mr. Combs is innocent and will continue to fight every single day to clear his name.”

Brendan Paul, 25, was arrested at the Miami-Opa Locka Executive Airport at the same time Combs was stopped at the airport. A law enforcement source familiar with the matter confirmed that Paul is a Combs associate. It is currently unclear whether the arrest was related to the raids.

Paul was named as an employee of Combs’ in Jones’ suit, which described him as someone who acquires and distributes drugs and guns on Combs’ behalf. Combs allegedly required Paul and others he paid to carry black pouches that contained drugs such as ecstasy, cocaine, ketamine, marijuana and mushrooms.

A Miami-Dade police report showed Paul was charged with possession of suspected cocaine and suspected marijuana candy, and court records show he was bonded out of custody the next day.

According to the police report, local law enforcement was with agents from Homeland Security and customs officers at the time of Paul’s arrest. The contraband items were found in Paul’s travel bags, the report said.

Paul’s attorney, Brian Bieber, told NBC News, “We do not plan on trying this case in the media — all issues will be dealt with in Court.” A woman who answered the phone at a number listed for Paul hung up on an NBC News reporter.

April 2024: Combs' son, Christian Combs, is accused of sexual assault

Grace O’Marcaigh  alleges in a lawsuit that Christian Combs drugged and sexually assaulted her while she was working on a yacht the elder Combs had chartered for a trip at the end of 2022. The suit also names Sean Combs as a defendant. The assault is alleged to have occurred days before Sean Combs hosted a New Year’s Eve yacht party with  celebrity guests . O'Marcaigh included as evidence transcriptions of audio clips — that were recorded by a producer — of her denying his advances as he gropes her. NBC News has heard two clips of audio transcribed in the suit purportedly from the night of Dec. 28, 2022, but has not verified who was recorded.

Representatives for Christian and Sean Combs did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

CORRECTION (April 2, 2024, 9:40 a.m. ET): A previous version of this article misspelled the first name of one of Combs’ accusers. She is Joi Dickerson-Neal, not Joie.

Doha Madani is a senior breaking news reporter for NBC News. Pronouns: she/her.

yacht timer function

Diana Dasrath is entertainment producer and senior reporter for NBC News covering all platforms.

Andrew Blankstein is an investigative reporter for NBC News. He covers the Western U.S., specializing in crime, courts and homeland security. 


  1. Promaster

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  2. Frédérique Constant Yacht Timer Mark II

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  3. Watch Alpina Sailing Yacht Timer Countdown

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  4. Introducing the Frederique Constant Yacht Timer Collection

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  5. Yacht Timer

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  6. The Frederique Constant Yacht Timer Regatta Countdown Sets Sail Again

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  1. Citizen promaster yacht timer unboxing

  2. How To Use The Rolex Yacht Master II Regatta Timer

  3. How to use the Rolex Yachtmaster II 116680? Easy Regatta Countdown Timer Tutorial

  4. Frederique Constant Yacht Timer GMT

  5. Citizen Yacht-Timer Promaster Marine

  6. Citizen Promaster Yacht Timer Eco-Drive 200m JR4063-12E


  1. What Is the Purpose of a Yachting Timer?

    The Purpose of a Yachting Timer. When competing in a regatta, getting off of the starting line is a bit of a convoluted process. Powered by wind, there is no "mashing the throttle" from a standstill to get things moving. Thus, a running start of sorts needs to be undertaken, which means a countdown takes place as boats jockey for position ...

  2. How To: Use the Yacht Timer Function on the Shinola Mackinac

    Yacht timer watches were carefully and thoughtfully developed to measure this interval. Also referred to as a regatta timer, yachting chronograph, or sailing watch, timepieces like the Shinola Mackinac Automatic feature a yacht timer for the countdown at the start of the race. When the horns signal the starting countdown, a skipper starts the ...

  3. Best Watches for Sailing: The Regatta Timer Explained

    To use the regatta function, you select the countdown interval and synchronize the watch when the audible signal is given to start the countdown. While the manipulations to set the yacht timer may vary, they're often quite simple. Take the Yacht-Master II, to set the regatta timer on this Rolex watch you turn the bezel counterclockwise by a ...

  4. All You Need to Know about Regatta Timers in Sailing Watches

    5 minutes to start:A flag and horn to signal the start of the countdown. Engage your regatta timer on a five minute countdown. 4 minutes to start:A second flag and horn sounds. This is both a second timing reminder as well as a flag displaying starting rules of the race. If one didn't start their 5-minute countdown, they can begin a 4-minute ...

  5. Yachting Timers & Watches

    Lemania's self-branded Regatta Yacht Timer is another handheld stopwatch format timer. The timing function is the familiar series of five windows with a colored disc beneath, but with the letters S-T-A-R-T replacing the third color (similar to the Memosail). The Wakmann, yet another 1970s piece, looks almost too nice to have been a working ...

  6. #TBT Seiko 8M35 Yacht Timer

    The general timer allows for a countdown function of up to 30 minutes and the "Match 0" function allows both hands to be reset to 12:00. A Well Built and Rugged Watch… Using the Seiko 8M35 Yacht Timer is a neat experience.

  7. Frederique Constant's Yacht Timer Regatta Countdown Watches: A Review

    The Frederique Constant Yacht Timer Regatta Countdown, boasting the charming regatta timer complication, is a timepiece meant for the man whose heart belongs to the sea. This particular member boasts a captivating bicoloured stainless steel case and bracelet—a lovely interplay of hues of gold and silver. ₹3,73,700. Check Our Selling Price.

  8. How Does A Yacht Watch Work?

    The Rolex Yacht-Master II features a countdown function in a horseshoe shape on the interior of the dial at the 12-o'clock position. The display illustrates a ten-minute timer with a red chronograph seconds hand and a flyback function. With the push of a button, this allows the regatta timer to sync with a reference clock to the nearest minute.

  9. Yacht Timer

    A yacht timer is a specialized feature found on some watches, especially those designed for yacht racing. It is a function that allows sailors and regatta participants to accurately time the countdown to the start of a yacht race. Yacht timers are designed to help sailors synchronize their boats and make precise maneuvers to cross the starting ...

  10. Frederique Constant Yacht Timer GMT And Yacht Timer ...

    Powered by the FC-350 movement, the Yacht Timer's GMT function is driven by an in-house, dial-side module. The movement is self-winding and has a 38-hour power reserve, an operating speed of 28,800vph, and a useful date function at 3 o'clock. Luminous in low-light conditions and water-resistant to 100 meters, the Frederique Constant Yacht ...

  11. How To Use The Rolex Yacht Master II Regatta Timer

    Here is a quick overview showing how to use the Regatta timer function on the Rolex 116680 Yacht Master II. About the channel:I'm just a passionate collector...

  12. Heuers on the Sea

    This 1972 brochure (below) shows a Reference 503.512 Yacht Timer on a wrist-strap, and a Skipper chronograph (Reference 73464) that has moved from the late-1960s style "compressor" case to the 1970s style screw-back case. ... The pusher at 3 o'clock is a three-function crown, that starts, stops and resets the timer on consecutive pushes ...

  13. Frederique Constant 2020 Yacht Timer Regatta Countdown

    Driving the hours, minutes, seconds, and regatta yacht timer countdown function is an outsourced ETA 7750 (or Sellita) — modified with a regatta countdown timer function in place of the typical chronograph functionality. The automatic movement beats at 4Hz, has 25 jewels, and a power reserve of 48-hours.

  14. Rolex Yacht-Master II: How to Set the Countdown Timer

    To use the flyback (or fly-forward) function on the Yacht-Master II, simply press the bottom pusher while the countdown timer is running. The countdown timer will reset itself back to the nearest minute, and then keep running again, allowing you to immediately start measuring your next countdown duration without skipping a beat.

  15. Yacht-Master II

    As a mechanical component linked to the movement, the bezel literally acts as the key to the programmable countdown, allowing it to be set and synchronised to the sequence of race start times. Complex in design, but simple in use, it is functionally beautiful. The countdown's sophisticated functions were designed to be easily set and operated.

  16. The Yacht Timer: the most utilitarian complication

    Of all the functions available in mechanical watches today, few are as indispensable as the yacht timer. The most important part of a yacht race unfolds in the 10 minutes before it begins, when sailors need to wangle their vessels into the best start position without barging the line (facing steep penalties) or hitting another boat before the ...

  17. Frederique Constant Yacht Timer Regatta Countdown and Yacht Timer GMT

    Admittedly a niche product, the latest Frederique Constant Yacht Timer Regatta Countdown model features a built-in timer for the critical 10-minute countdown displayed in five apertures on the dial. The pusher on the top side of the case activates the regatta countdown in two steps. The first 5-minute countdown turns the colour behind the ...

  18. Jack Mason JM-N105 Regatta Timer

    Advertising Message. Introducing the Regatta Timer JM-N105. With functionality as the central focus for this design, our traditional nautical dial blueprint has been reimagined to prominently feature the regatta countdown timer, an essential part to yachting and extremely accurate timekeeping. The case features our first ever bidirectional ...

  19. How to use the Yachting function

    In view of this condition, line up the white triangle at the 12 o'clock position on the watch with the direction from which the wind is blowing. Sail from one end of the start/finish line to the other, using the white lines marked (at 3 or 9 o'clock) on the watch to site your destination. If the course steered falls on the plus (+) side of ...

  20. Alpina Sailing Yachttimer Countdown

    The countdown to the start of any yacht race is the time when pulses quicken, muscles tense and all senses seem to become sharper and more finely focused. The Yachttimer has countdown windows from 10 to 1, leading to the fluorescent START indicator, when the action really begins. ... Automatic with yacht timer function, caliber AL-880; PVD ...

  21. Stopwatches

    Shown here is a Yacht Timer with a 5 minute countdown function, ref. 912. Heuer Yacht Timer, ref. 912, listed in the 1936 catalogue 'Chronographs and Timers'. Heuer Yachting, ref. unknown, similar to the ref. 3912 as in the 1959 catalogue (see below). The movement, equal to the one in the above drawing, is clearly marked Ed.Heuer&Co with ...

  22. [Question] How does a Yachting timer work? : r/Watches

    A Yacht timer counts down the time to the start of a yacht race. Yachts are given a sequence of flags and/or sounds which indicate the time before boats are allowed to cross the start line. Usually a sequence of flags at 5min, 4, 1, before the actual start gun is fired.

  23. Promaster

    44 mm. Water Resistance. 200 meters. Power Reserve. 4 years. Crystal. Mineral Crystal. Features and Functions. Yacht Racing Timer, Perpetual Calendar, World Time in 30 cities, 1/100 Second Chronograph, 99-Minute Countdown Timer, 24 hrs display, Date display, Day & Month Display, Alarm, Analogue/Digital Time Display, Dual Time, Summer Time ON ...

  24. Sean 'Diddy' Combs allegations: Timeline and what to know

    The lawsuit said that Combs sexually harassed and assaulted Jones while he lived at Combs' homes in Florida, Los Angeles and New York, as well as on a yacht Combs rented in the U.S. Virgin Islands.