Many watch brands choose the glamour of yachting for promoting awareness but some are much more closely linked to the sport, while others still make it a point of honour to develop mechanisms specifically designed to aid skippers.
The Bol d’Or is part of the Vulcain Trophy, a series of yachting regattas held throughout the season on Lake Geneva. Vulcain re-issued a model from 1970 this year that is dedicated to this competition. The Nautical Seventies Vulcain Trophy has the name of the competition engraved on its rather special triple case back, the three layers of which create a resonance chamber that allows the mechanical alarm function to work underwater. In addition to the green dial of the original 1970 model, it also has a hesalite crystal just like the original. It is powered by Vulcain’s famous V-10 cricket calibre, which is manually wound, operates at 18,000 vibrations per hour, offers a 42-hour power reserve and has a 20-second mechanical alarm function.
Louis Vuitton is also a major partner of sailing events, having sponsored the Louis Vuitton Cup that decided the challenger’s for the last America’s Cup race. The brand’s flagship yachting model is a variation in its Tambour SpinTime collection, whose playful means of reading the time debuted in 2010. The SpinTime Regatta models have converted this function to use five rotating cubes to indicate the countdown to the start of a regatta, using the new America’s Cup rule for a five-minute countdown. First launched in 2012, the latest model is the first Louis Vuitton watch to feature a titanium case.
The America’s Cup is considered the pinnacle in yacht racing, pitting the world’s billionaires against each other in competition for the “Auld Mug”, the oldest trophy in sport. The huge investments and even huger egos that are involved in the competition help to constantly drive the technology in yacht racing forward, with the effect rubbing off on the watch brands looking to take a slice of the prestigious event’s marketing cake.
TAG Heuer pushed this perhaps to its extreme in the last edition of the competition, producing a digital watch specifically for Oracle Team USA, which staged a miraculous comeback to win eight consecutive races and win the 34th America’s Cup. Its LED screen displays constantly updated information on the behaviour of the boat and its sails, such as boat speed, foil balance, sail pressure, true wind speed, true wind direction and true wind angle. It will, however, remain a sought-after collector’s piece, since it was not issued for general sale.
Corum’s Admiral’s Cup collection is named after the ocean racing event initiated by Britain’s Royal Ocean Racing Club in 1957, which saw its last race in 2003. This collection includes a unique model with a mechanical complication to indicate the ebb and flow of the tides. The CO 277 calibre is now 21 years old and in its latest guise in the Admiral’s Cup AC-One 45 Tides indicates the moon phase (which determines tidal movements), the strength of the tide and, in a sub-dial at 6 o’clock, the time of the next two tides in the coming 24-hour period. A perfect aid for offshore navigation.