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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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SAVOIR FAIRE Sea change: the evolution of yacht timers

Heuer Aquastar Regate advertising, circa 1964 © TAG Heuer

At TAG Heuer, we’ve always had an intimate connection with the ocean. Our transition into nautical timing birthed some of our greatest stopwatches and timepieces ever. We’ve dug into our archives to uncover the evolution of our yacht timers. From the 1930s to present day, discover a glorious collection of pieces that have inspired both watch collectors and sailing pros.

What is a yacht timer?

To appreciate yacht timers, it’s important to understand that yacht races are defined by one critical moment. The moment when the signal boat blasts a horn and raises a flag to mark the start of the race. There is a 5-minute countdown to the start so the yachts can try to hold a strong position at the start line. This countdown to the start of a race is almost as important as the race itself. If a boat crosses the start line too soon, it is penalized. If it crosses the start line too late, it gives away an advantage to its competitors. 

Under the rules of yacht racing, flags are raised and horns are sounded 5 minutes, 4 minutes, 1 minute before the start and of course, at the start of the race. There may also be important countdowns from the 10 and 15 minute marks. Skippers must be able to control their boats as well as calculate and anticipate the time leading up to the start. By working closely with sailing experts, Heuer developed carefully thought-out yacht timers to measure pre-race intervals, tides and of course, the race.

1930s – stopwatches for yacht timing

Flick through the Heuer archives and you’ll find special stopwatches designed for yacht racing dating back all the way to the 1930s. While the numbers for minutes and seconds on a standard stopwatch count ‘up’, that is they move clockwise from 5-10-15 up to 50-55-60, the minutes and seconds on a yacht timer count ‘down’. Rather than counting up to 60 minutes, the standard yachting timer counts down exactly 5 minutes. The period for the pre-race signals in a yacht race. The numbers for seconds on Heuer’s yachting timers count ‘down’, with the numbers for seconds printed on the dial moving clockwise from 60-55-50 down to 15-10-5.  

Heuer catalogue, 1933 © TAG Heuer

Heuer catalogue, circa 1936-1938 © TAG Heuer

Heuer Solunar Advertising, circa 1940 © TAG Heuer

1949 - the rise of the Solunar

Apart from the countdown to the start of a race, yacht racers also benefit from knowing the times for high tides and low tides. In 1949, Heuer introduced the first wristwatch with a permanent tide indicator. In addition to the three standard hands to indicate the hour, minutes and seconds, the Solunar had a colorful inset disc to show the tide times. Upon arriving at a specific location, sailors, racers, or fishermen could check the local tide charts and use a pusher to set the tide disc. 

This disc then inched forward soon after midnight each day to indicate the times for the high and low tides for the following day. The Solunar laid the groundwork for the development of the Heuer chronographs of the future, which would also incorporate the tide disc.  The origin story of the Solunar is as thrilling as the timepiece itself. You can hear all about it in Season 2 of our podcast A Matter of Time .

Despite its innovative and eye-catching design, our archives suggest that Solunar wasn’t an easy sell. Here’s a quote from a piece of correspondence between Heuer and its then partner Abercrombie & Fitch: ‘This Solunar watch is a big hit, but it also has a big flaw. To sell it you need a “how to set and how to handle it” explanation. Despite a superb color leaflet, the explanation is too complicated, and the sellers in the shops prefer to sell simple watches.’

1950 to 1954 - a new wave of tide chronographs

The Solunar was a three-hand watch (hours, minutes and seconds) with a special tide dial. And it paved the way for a series of chronographs that would incorporate this same type of tide dial in a three-register chronograph, with the capacity to record up to 12 hours. The minute recorder was divided into five-minute segments, making the chronographs especially useful for yacht races. These watches were made over a period of two decades, first as the Heuer Mareograph and Abercrombie & Fitch Seafarer, with the Orvis Solunagraph joining the line-up circa 1970. Each of these chronographs sailed forth to become a collector’s item.

When these chronographs first arrived in 1950, Heuer seems to have felt the need to explain how they worked, so customers could better understand the benefits of owning a watch with a tide indicator. Here’s an advertisement for the Mareograph. It came with two separate sections that explained how you could use the timepiece for yachting as well as fishing and hunting.

1957 - the Ring-Master

While the wristwatches with tide indicators made waves, Heuer introduced an entirely new type of yacht timer in 1957: the Heuer Ring-Master. The Ring-Master stopwatch came with seven interchangeable rings, allowing the owner to quickly install different rings to time different events, like boxing, football and many other sports. Each of the rings were a different color, with different markings. The bright yellow Ring 1 was perfect for yacht racing as it was marked for a countdown of minutes and seconds.  

Heuer Solunar, circa 1950 © TAG Heuer

Heuer Seafarer, circa 1950 © TAG Heuer

Heuer Mareograph, circa 1950 © TAG Heuer

Heuer Ring-Master, circa 1957 © TAG Heuer

1959 - the Giant

Towards the end of the fifties, Heuer made revolutionary changes in its approach to yacht timers. A great example of this is a stopwatch that was listed as ‘The Giant’. First, instead of the five minutes to the start of the race being shown on a relatively small recorder occupying only a fractional area of the dial, the track marking the minutes covered almost the entire area of the dial. This track was marked for five minutes, and each of the one-minute segments was a different color. The case diameter increased from the previous standard 49mm up to 57mm, with the case also having a white enamel coating.  

1964 to 1967 - the Aquastar years

Aquastar was founded in 1962 as a subsidiary of Jean Richard, an established Swiss maker at the time. It became well-known for making watches for use in and on the water. The Regate set sail in 1964 as a watch specifically designed for timing the start of a yacht race. This model’s defining characteristics are five circular apertures across the top of the dial. Graced with a rotating disk, they give the appearance of five red balls that represent the minutes being counted down. The dial on this watch is signed ‘Aquastar’ and ‘Heuer’. Aquastar produced the watch and Heuer distributed it. By 1976 Heuer would have its own branded ‘Regatta’ countdown watches that used the same style of circular apertures. But Heuer’s examples typically timed 10-minute periods, using five red circles and five blue circles.

1964 - for every kind of skipper

Heuer was beginning to harness the potential, and versatility, of yacht timers. The watchmaker began using advertorials to persuade ‘skippers’ from different walks of life to embrace these pieces.

1966 – the Navia goes sailing

Heuer had been making dashboard clocks since the 1930s. The hallmarks of these pieces were their 8-day capacity and rugged cases and movements that could withstand racing, rallying or aviation. Named the ‘Master Time’ in 1958, by the mid-1960s Heuer had modified the dashboard clock to be useful at sea. The ‘Navia’ (referring to ‘naval’ and ‘aviation’) incorporated a waterproof case and offered superb legibility, with Heuer advertising that it was perfect for the open cockpit of a boat. 

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01/11/2023 what’s in a name - the tag heuer monza, 09/02/2021 turning back time with the tag heuer aquaracer, 1968 - the skipper era begins.

We arrive at the historic moment that inspired Heuer to leave a lasting mark on the sailing world: the America’s Cup in September 1967. Heuer supplied timing equipment for the legendary racing yacht Intrepid , including Heuer-Aquastar wristwatches and handheld yacht timers. Not far from the shores of Newport, Rhode Island, the Intrepid stormed to victory. To commemorate skipper Emil Mosbacher’s triumph, Heuer produced an entirely new chronograph, the iconic Reference 7754.  

The first Heuer ‘Skipper’ used a bright blue, green and orange dial. It was given a Carrera case, with the 30-minute recorder of the Carrera replaced by a 15-minute countdown recorder. This timepiece is highly coveted by vintage Heuer collectors and people with a passion for sailing. This first version would live a very short life. Only a few hundred pieces were created. And then the Skipper chronograph would move to the ‘compressor’ case of the Autavia. The name ‘Skipper’ would live on through several other versions through the 1970s and 1980s.

1968 - how to make a strong start

By crafting cutting-edge yacht timers, Heuer enabled teams to not only make a good start, but also a flying finish. Heuer was so dedicated to yacht racing enthusiasts that the brand created catalogs with tips on how to make a good start.

1970 - winning hearts

While the Skipper was making waves for chronograph enthusiasts, Heuer yacht timers continued to be marketed among Heuer’s precision instruments ‘for sports, industrial, scientific applications.’ Here’s an example of an old ad published in The Sunday Oregonian. It highlights the timer’s color-coded central five-minute register.

Heuer advertising, circa 1964 © TAG Heuer

Heuer Skipper 7754, circa 1968 © TAG Heuer

Heuer Yacht Timer advertising, circe 1970 © TAG Heuer

1972 to 1974 - the rise and rise of the Skipper

The design of the Skipper chronograph evolved over the years, as it moved from the Carrera case to a series of Autavia cases. The design of the second Skipper, circa 1970, featured a black dial, an oversized countdown recorder with red, white and blue segments, The Skipper would roll on into the 1970s in the C-shaped cases used by the Autavias, with a variety of manual and automatic configurations, but always with the emblematic 15-minute countdown recorder.

1974 - regulation approved

In 1973, Heuer introduced a new style of wrist stopwatch, called the ‘Supersport’.  The Regatta model, or Reference 775.915 from 1974, was an eye-catching piece, with a bright blue case and the red, white and blue segments on the dial corresponding to the colors used on many of Heuer’s yacht timers. This version of the Supersport was marketed as ‘a wrist speedometer built on the basis of International Yacht Racing Union regulations’. 

Heuer advertising, circa 1976 © TAG Heuer

1978 - style and substance

Crafted to be durable at sea, the Heuer yacht timer Reference 503.915 was housed inside a lightweight shockproof fiberglass case to withstand the elements (and look good doing it). Heuer called this its ‘Fibershell’ case.  At 62mm across the case, this yacht timer was easy to grip (being larger than even The Giant, from 1959), while the unique shape of the case ensured that the sailor would have a ‘safe, sure grip’ under any conditions. 

1983 - regatta royalty

Heuer had offered ‘Regatta’ wristwatches in the 1960s and 1970s, but in 1983 the Regatta moved to a dramatic new series of cases, borrowed from the Autavia. At over 42mm across the dial, the cases were coated in either black, olive or pewter. Each Regatta was graced with colored discs (red and blue) to countdown two 5-minute sequences. The other, even more colorful, wrist yacht timers gaining in popularity were the Reference 503.512 and the Heuer Surfer.

1983 to 1986 - time for action

‘Time for action’ was TAG Heuer’s call to action in the 1980s. The tagline was stamped across several catalogs at the time, showcasing the brand’s wide range of versatile timing equipment that attracted sporting professionals and enthusiasts from across the world. From motor racing to athletics to, of course, sailing. The 1983 catalog featured the final version of the Skipper as we knew it then, housed in a large version of the Autavia case.

TAG Heuer "Time for action" advertising, circa 1986 © TAG Heuer

Heuer Yacht Timer, circa 1978 © TAG Heuer

Heuer Yacht Timer, circa 1982 © TAG Heuer

Heuer Yacht Timer, circa 1983 © TAG Heuer

Heuer Yacht Timer, circa 1984 © TAG Heuer

Heuer Surfer, circa 1984 © TAG Heuer

1990 to 2014

By releasing yacht timers like the TAG Heuer Searacer (in the late 1990s), the Aquaracer Calibre S Regatta (circa 2005) and the limited edition TAG Heuer Aquaracer 500 Meter Countdown Chronograph for Team Oracle USA at the 2013 America’s Cup, the brand continued its steady relationship with sailing.

2023 - a return to the high seas

Today TAG Heuer is once again expanding its horizons and reconnecting with its sailing DNA. Through its new partnership with Flying Nikka – a racing yacht at the leading edge of high-performance sailing technology – the brand is back sailing the high seas at the highest level.

2023 - the comeback king

This year also marks the return of the legendary Skipper . Reminiscent of the unforgettable 1968 Heuer Skipper, this new iteration is yet another exhilarating landmark, further strengthening TAG Heuer’s bond with the ocean. A relationship that began almost 100 years ago, in the 1930s, but will undoubtedly last forever.

CBS2213.FN6002 TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph Skipper

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03/28/2021 Time Out: The new TAG Heuer Formula 1 viewed by Mads Perch

In our landmark new Time Out series, The Edge is asking breakout photographers to showcase a TAG Heuer watch through their world and lens, focused on a theme related to the timepiece itself.

Today, we’re looking back at the evolution of one of our signature timepieces, the TAG Heuer Aquaracer. We dug into the archives to learn more about this special watch, from it’s very first tick to today.

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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):

  • HeuerChrono.com 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 Calibre11.com
  • 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 HeuerChrono.com 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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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.

modern_regattas

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.

heuers

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.

Regate3-4

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).

racing

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.

BretlingSuperOcean

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.

WAKMANN_YACHTINGWATCH_4

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 analogshift.com for lending us the Wakmann

and Francesco B for use of his Racing Regatta images

heuer regatta yacht timer

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Heuer Regatta Yacht-Timer 134.500 Silver Dial Automatic Men's Watch

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This pre-owned Heuer Regatta Yacht-Timer 134.500 is in excellent condition and comes with: original Heuer box and booklet only. The crystal has a few minor marks on it. Max wrist size: 7.25 in.

This watch has passed all of our rigorous quality control tests for authenticity, performance, accuracy and condition by our team of Swiss watchmakers using cutting edge technology and the most modern equipment. The watch is 100% Certified Authentic and comes backed by our Signature Watches 12-month warranty. All photos are of the actual watch in stock.

Specifications

Stainless steel case with a stainless steel bracelet. Fixed stainless steel bezel. Silver dial with black hands and index hour markers. Dial type: analog. Lemania 1345 automatic movement with about of power reserve. Plexiglass crystal. Crown. Solid case back. Case size: 40 mm. Case thickness: mm. Round case shape. Band width: mm. Fold over w/ safety release clasp. Water resistant at 100 meters / 300 feet. Functions: hour, minute, seconds, yacht timer. Heuer Regatta Yacht-Timer 134.500 Silver Dial Automatic Men's Watch.

  • Item No. WP23873
  • Brand Heuer
  • Model Name Regatta
  • Model Number 134.500
  • Gender Men's
  • Movement Automatic
  • Engine Lemania 1345
  • Max Wrist Size 7.25 in
  • Case Size 40 mm
  • Case Material Stainless Steel
  • Case Shape Round
  • Case Back Solid
  • Dial Type Analog
  • Dial Color Silver
  • Crystal Plexiglass
  • Hands Black
  • Dial Markers Index
  • Second Markers Minute Markers around the outer rim
  • Bezel Fixed
  • Bezel Color Silver-tone
  • Bezel Material Stainless Steel
  • Water Resistance 100 meters / 300 feet
  • Functions Hour, Minute, seconds, Yacht timer
  • Features Hour; Minute; seconds; Yacht timer; Stainless steel; Analog; Yacht timer; bracelet
  • Band Type Bracelet
  • Band Material Stainless Steel
  • Clasp Fold Over w/ Safety Release

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Simply put, every watch we sell is 100% certified authentic, and we are so sure of our authentication process that we offer a 110% money back guarantee if your watch is not authentic. This means you receive a full refund, plus an additional 10% of your purchase price.

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Best Watches for Sailing: The Regatta Timer Explained

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heuer regatta yacht timer

Timeline Watch

Heuer stopwatch Yacht Timer

1972 Heuer Yacht Timer wrist stopwatch ref. 503.512.

52.5mm. base metal case, manual wind cal. 7710, white dial with outer blue Arabic numeral seconds countdown track, multi-colored countdown inner minute scale.

Yacht timers are also known as yachting chronographs, sailing watchers, or regatta timers and they were designed for the countdown before the start of a sailing race. The start of a regatta is quite different from a race on the ground: the sailboats are positioned before the starting buoy and when the gun goes off, the countdown begins and the competing boats cross the start line 15 minutes later. So, yacht timers are used on the countdown and they also denote the remaining time of the race.

It all started in 1860, with Edouard Heuer setting up a workshop in Bernese, a predominantly French-speaking area of Switzerland close to the French border, a small town even now with a population under 5000. However, it is no stranger to watch companies, having also been where Breitling was founded and having been home to Longines. Of course, those companies were artisan workshops producing small numbers of mostly silver-cased pocket watches.

In 1914 Heuer made the first wristwatch for men, they used pocket-watch movements and reflected demand for wristwatches that would only increase during the First World War and after.

1920 was the first time in 8 years that an Olympic Games had been held, following the cancellation of the 1916 Berlin events. Heuer had some prominence as a sports timing company by this point and was pleased to be selected as the official timer of the Antwerp games. This was subsequently extended to the 1924 games in Paris and 1928 in Amsterdam: this cemented the brand marriage between timing and sports.

For today’s collectors, the heyday for Heuer really began in the mid-1930s. I think that’s also probably true for many other brands. Heuer began making pilots chronographs in 35. These were used by Air Force pilots primarily, a lot of them in the German Air Force. For most Heuer collectors, these pilot chronographs from around 1935 are the first real survivors that regularly can be found in the market today.

In the 1960s and 1970s, no brand was more prominent in motorsports timing than Heuer.

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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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Written by Crown & Caliber

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The Heuer Skipper Watch & Great Regatta Timing Alternatives

The Heuer Skipper Watch & Great Regatta Timing Alternatives

Al Hidden

Discover more about the iconic Heuer Skipper, the yacht at the heart of its story and a multitude of Heuer Skipper regatta timer alternatives...

It's September 1967. Cunard's QE2 is launched, Bobby Gentry and The BoxTops dominate the US charts and introduction of the Heuer Skipper regatta timer still lies ahead. Meanwhile, near Brenton Reef Light, off Newport, Rhode Island, New York Yacht Club's Intrepid (US-22) beats Australia's Dame Pattie to win the Auld Mug in the twentieth America's Cup. The Heuer Skipper legend is about to begin. Read on for more about this legendary yachting watch and some of its alternatives...

Thanks to links with P. Douglas Grewer, Heuer's US country manager, members of Emil 'Bus' Mosbacher's crew aboard the 12-metre,Olin Stephens-designed Intrepid also made watch-industry history that September. How? Not just by wearing I ntrepid- branded Heuer Aquastar Regate yachting chronographs with their distinctive disappearing-red-balls countdown displays, but because their race success prompted Heuer to introduce a now-iconic sailing watch.

heuer regatta yacht timer

The Heuer Skipper - Image Credit: WatchGecko Online Magazine

To celebrate 1967's victory, Heuer launched a new manual-wind, twin-register yachting chronograph, the Heuer Skipper ref. 7753/54. The first, very rare, version (seemingly, only around 20 exist), with its colour references to Intrepid , featured an adapted Valjoux 7730 movement in a Heuer Carrera case. Later, this prompted the 'Skipperrera' nickname for a watch that now commands auction prices approaching £100k.

Subsequently, the Skipper - now with 40mm 'Waterproof Guaranteed 330 Feet Under Water' compressor case, modified colour scheme and larger, more legible, tri-segment red, white and blue countdown timer - evolved further. In doing so, it became one of the most distinctive, sought-after, sports timers ever.

The most famous yachting chronograph?

https://www.instagram.com/p/B1KZs0YnYR3/

By the early 1970s Intrepid had beaten Australia again and Heuer's Skipper had changed further with a new C-shape case (ref. 73464) and automatic movement (the Cal. 15 powered ref. 1564). Then a 6 o'clock date window came aboard and, with 1972's ref. 15640, a left-hand winder in another modded Autavia case. By 1974, when Intrepid came within one race of being the only three-time defender in America's Cup history, Heuer's Skipper was on course to became, arguably, the most famous yachting chronograph ever.

The importance of yacht timer watches

So what's the big deal with yacht timers, regatta watches, sailing watches or whatever you want to call these specialised maritime tool timepieces? Yacht racing isn't like motorsport, another field of sporting endeavour that delivered so many iconic 1970s timepieces. You see, yachts, whether dinghies, classic 12m America's Cuppers, or massive maxi trimarans, don't start from static grids or Le Mans-style rolling starts. Instead, whether it's two America's Cup contenders or dozens of dinghies, they battle for position all the way to a start line between a committee boat and a buoy. Races are often won or lost by the yacht's timing to that line as the starting signal sounds after, typically, five, 10 or 15 minutes' countdown. Crossing the line just as the signal sounds takes tactical skill, intimate knowledge of your yacht, finely-honed appreciation of wind and tides - and precise timing. To see what's involved, watch Team New Zealand vs. Prada in Race 3 of the Omega-timed 2000 America's Cup .

From Aquastar to TAG Heuer Hodinkee Skipper

To cross start lines perfectly demands accurate countdown timing. Until the 1950s, this was typically done with hand-held or wrist-mounted stopwatches such as Heuer's Yacht Timer range. Later, after early experiments with rotating bezels, specialised yacht timer complications were added to wristwatches.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CEUuoVMloy-/

By the late 1950s, according to Mark Reichardt's Regatta Yachttimers website , Aquastar was 'the most important manufacturer in this [water sports] field.' Then came the Regate, collaboration with Heuer, the America's Cup and the Heuer Skipper. The rest, including recent Heuer Skipper relationships with Hodinkee and Revolution , is yacht timer history. Thought the name no longer features in TAG Heuer's range, the Heuer Skipper legend sails on.

Many brands have offered yacht timer chronographs

Over the years, many watch companies have offered yacht timer chronographs. From Alpina and Atlantic, through Lemania and Piquot Meridien, to Wyler Vetta and Yema, regatta timers' colourful countdown displays have entered many brands' visual vocabularies. Even if, like 'desk divers', they're not used in anger, yacht timers' links with sailing's history, romance and salt-sprayed aura transcends mere practicality. No wonder they're so sought-after by yachting folk and landlubbers alike.

https://www.instagram.com/p/B_mZXKuAazY/

Pre-owned examples of Heuer's Skipper (please note, not to be confused with Atlantic's later Skipper) range in price from a few thousand pounds to £80k-plus, depending on model and provenance. Recalling Intrepid's America's Cup years, here are some interesting alternatives to the Heuer Aquastar Regate or Heuer Skipper from the Intrepid era.

Heuer Skipper alternatives

https://www.instagram.com/p/B7lrshiIt_k/

From 1967, the year of 'Bus' Mosbacher's crew's successful America's Cup defence in Rhode Island Sound, Omega's Chronostop Regatta, Yema's Yachtgraf or Breitling's Ref 7660 Co-pilot Yachting are possibilities. From 1968? How about the Le Phare Regatta Starting Chronograph with its distinctive single countdown window? Or the same year's Keltek Champ Europe 5.5 JI Neuchatel yachting chronograph wristwatch?

Now jump forward a year and check out Tissot's Seastar ref. 40508. Or the rather 'Poguesque' Wakmann 9804 regatta chronograph . It's got enough complications to keep any becalmed skipper amused until the wind picks up.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CE9twumHrZW/

And so to 1970 and Intrepid 's famous second America's Cup defence against Australia's Gretel II. How about a hand-winding Cal. 861, Omega Seamaster Soccer Timer Yachting Regatta Chronograph?

A luxurious and rare regatta chronograph

https://www.instagram.com/p/CEjNpAWHYkX/

It would be 25 years until Omega's first official America's Cup involvement. However, even as the 1970s began, with the quartz crisis just over the horizon, the brand staked a solid claim to a piece of regatta timing history. A couple of years on, Ebauches Electroniques SA had trademarked Memosail and launched its 'Olympic Yachtsman's Chronograph' with manual-wind Valjoux 7737 and two-pusher 10-minute regatta countdown. And Omega had consolidated its yacht watch position with the Seamaster Yachting (ref. 176.010) that Monochrome describes as ' a luxurious and rare regatta chronograph from the 1970s '.

Read more about regatta timers and Heuer's Skipper

These are just some contemporaries of the early Heuer Skipper. For more on everything to do with yachting watches, visit the encyclopaedic Regatta Yachttimers site. For the Heuer Skipper, Henrik Schreiber's HeuerChrono and Jeff Stein's excellent, ' The Voyage of the Skipper ' article in Revolution are essential reads .

The story of Intrepid , the America's Cup and Heuer's Skipper is possibly the most famous tale linking yacht races and watches. However, as the arc of the regatta timer story continues, yacht timers remain part of many brands' ranges. And not necessarily at luxury watch prices either.

Affordable regatta timers

heuer regatta yacht timer

The Rolex Yacht-Master II - Image Credit: WatchGecko Online Magazine

Not all yacht racers are millionaires with the means - or desire - to wear a Rolex Yachtmaster II or £150k Richard Mille RM 60-01 Regatta Flyback Chronograph on the water. From my sailing days in the 1970s, I recall expensive watches - including, on one occasion, a Rolex - being lost in Northern Ireland's Strangford Lough. For yachties wanting accurate start countdowns without breaking the bank, plenty of affordable analogue, digital and smartwatch regatta timers are available. For starters, check out products from the likes of Timex, Casio, ESA Watch, Optimum, Gill (Regatta Race Timer), Tissot (Sailing Touch), Garmin (Quatix), Ronstan (Clear Start), Suunto and Citizen (Marine Yacht Timer). And, of course, whether for a budget regatta timer or luxury automatic yachting chronograph, check out WatchGecko's watch strap and bracelet range for replacement straps.

Luxury watches and yacht racing

That said, the close fit between luxury watches and the glamour of top-level yacht racing is unavoidable. It's no surprise then, that so many brands associate themselves with the sport in general and the America's Cup in particular. They include Zenith, Omega, Bremont, Panerai, Audemars Piguet, Rolex, Ulysse Nardin and France-based MATWATCHES. And, of course, Heuer and, more recently, TAG Heuer, whose Aquaracer 500m Cal. 72 Countdown Chronograph was made until 2015.

The 2021 America's Cup approaches

At the time of writing, March 2021's America's Cup in Auckland draws closer and with it Emirates Team New Zealand's defence against the AC75-class winner of the Prada Cup, January-February's challenger selection series. As the high-tech foiling monohulls do battle, it'll be nearly 54 years since Intrepid 's first America's Cup win and the birth of the Heuer Skipper legend.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CJC12UBrqj9/

Since then, many aspects of yacht-race start timing have changed beyond recognition. Today's perfect starts are as much about GPS and software (such as B&G Sailing Electronics' Deckman, or the SailRacer app) as watching the disappearing red discs or tricolour countdown registers of the Skipper era. Just as Formula 1 timing with Heuer-laden clipboards evolved into computerised timing and telemetry, so battling for regatta starts has become technology-led. Read this article by seasoned navigator Mike Broughton in Yachting World to see what I mean.

Capturing the romance and history of yacht racing

Nowadays, the functionality of racing chronographs, dive and pilots watches is often supplanted by computers. Arguably, the attraction of tool watches is often more about association with the specialist activity prompting their invention than practical use for their original purpose.

Similarly, I sometimes wonder whether the appeal of many regatta watches is now as much - or more - about connecting with yachting's romance and adventure than serious race timing. Regardless of how you'll use yours, alongside desirable vintage watches such as the Skipper, you'll find plenty of new sailing timepieces at all price points. From entry-level to prices more eye-watering than a howling Force 9 gale, there's something out there for you.

You'll need deep pockets for a Heuer Skipper

heuer regatta yacht timer

As we've seen, if your heart's set on a Heuer Skipper, especially rarities such as the Skippererra, your Helly Hansen or Musto yachting jacket may need seriously deep pockets. However, when I looked for a Heuer Skipper for sale, Chrono24 revealed 25 ref. 73463s, 73464s, 15640N Cal. 15s, left-hand-crown Ref. 1163s, 1564s and Autavia 7764s dating back to 1968. The asking prices for these collectable vintage watches, which include several black dial Skippers? They ranged from the price of a new Omega Seamaster to over £20k and the tantalising 'Price on Request'...

More yacht timer alternatives

If you have the budget, but prefer something newer than these vintage Heuers, how about considering a blue dial Ulysse Nardin Marine Regatta 44mm, Bremont's Regatta AC or Corum's Admiral's Cup AC-One 45 Tides. Alternatively, maybe Panerai's Radiomir or Luminor Regatta, Omega's limited edition Seamaster Planet Ocean America's Cup Edition or Breitling's Exospace B55 Yachting?

heuer regatta yacht timer

The Frederique Constant Yacht Timer Regatta Countdown - Image Credit: Frederique Constant

Don't overlook Frederique Constant's Yacht Timer Regatta Countdown either - with its five countdown disks redolent of the Aquastar Regate worn by Intrepid 's 1967 crew. Or, instead of your Rolex Submariner for Cowes Week, how about a YachtMaster II on the marine-friendly stainless steel bracelet that's often preferable to a leather strap at sea?

To end our seafaring tale, and as coda to the Heuer Skipper story, you may be wondering what became of Intrepid , Dame Pattie and their 1967 America's Cup skippers.

Though Emil 'Bus' Mosbacher Jr and Dame Pattie 's Alexander Stuart 'Jock' Sturrock passed away within weeks of each other in 1997, their yachts sail on. Apparently, Dame Pattie now cruises the azure waters of the French Riviera. Meanwhile, you can charter Intrepid , one of the most famous racing yachts ever, out of Newport, RI. Of course, every booking comes steeped in America's Cup history, vintage Heuer significance and the importance of one yacht's unique place in the Heuer Skipper story.

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  • 1 Regatta Watches
  • 2 How A Regatta Timer Works
  • 3 Notable Examples
  • 4 Regatta Models

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.

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.

Vintage models – the regatta timers of old – are not common and highly collectible now. 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, Lemania’s self-branded Regatta Yacht Timer in handheld stopwatch format, and the Wakmann and Wyler .

How A Regatta Timer Works

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).

Notable Examples

Wakmann-Regate-gold.jpg

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.

Another 1970s piece, the Memosail has an almost art deco look with its round lugless design, and wide rounded bezel (another version was cushion-shaped). The dial is easy to read with blue and white concentric rings. The countdown function is a curving window from 12 to four o’clock showing the letters S-T-A-R-T on a rotating ring. When the timer is activated, the minutes 10-9-8-7-6 appear against a yellow background, ticking half a notch every 30 seconds. The final countdown minutes 5-4-3-2-1 then appear against a red background. The internals were a Valjoux 7737, a modification of the 7733.

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 ). This can also be seen on the Wyler version.

Credits - https://wornandwound.com/yachting-timers-watches/

Regatta Models

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Welcome to Heuerchrono.com

The heuer skipper, heuer regatta and heuer yacht timer reference. + much more information about yachting wrist watches from the 60s and 70s., see some amazing collections of yachting watches, like this here from thien @t_chrobar, heuerchrono.com- the #1 reference ressource of heuer skipper, heuer regatta, heuer mareographe and abercrombie & fitch seafarer, heuer solunar and heuer yacht timer and many informations about vintage yachting wristwatches from the 60s and 70s from gallet, yema, seaboard-yacht, breitling etc. etc., heuer skipper overview.

Heuer Skipper 7754 Skipperrera

Heuer Skipper 7754

The very first skipper..

Carrera 7753 case. Built only in 1968. The green, the blue! The GRAIL.

Heuer Skipper 7764

Heuer Skipper 7764

The coolest skipper..

Autavia 7763 compressor case. Built only in 1969. Classic beauty. Autavia Skipper.

Heuer Skipper 1564

Heuer Skipper 73464 1st

Dial beauty skipper..

Manual wind, plexi, Wonderful blue. Balanced dial. Bright orange details.

Heuer Skipper 73464 2nd Exec.

Heuer Skipper 73464 2nd

Another case..

Different case and different order of colors on countdown to the 1st exec. Rare. Cool.

Heuer Skipper 1564

Heuer Skipper 1564

Cal15, plexi..

1563 case Plexi. The automatic and lightweight beauty Skipper.

Heuer Skipper 15640 blue

Heuer Skipper 15640 blue

15630 case Mineral glass. First 11630 Autavia line Skipper.

Heuer Skipper Black

Heuer Skipper 15640 black

Black dial..

15630 case Mineral glass. Black gilt dial. Rare in the 11630 Autavia line cases.

Heuer Skipper Black Late

Heuer Skipper black late

15063 case Bezel inner ring. Mineral glass. Black gilt dial. Last Skipper made by Heuer.

Leonidas Easy Rider Skipper 1st exec

Leonidas Easy-Rider 1st

Green-blue-white.

fibreglass case plexi EB 8420 modified mvt.

Leonidas Easy-Rider Skipper 2nd exec

Leonidas Easy-Rider 2nd

White-blue-red.

white-blue-red regatta register fibreglass case plexi EB 8420 modified mvt.

Heuer Skipper

So – what is a Heuer Skipper?

This site is the ultimate reference website and knowledge collection of the HEUER Yachting and Regatta watches.  The Heuer Skipper is the yachting wrist chronograph made by Heuer from the late 1960s to the early 1980s in various configurations (and some more yachting watches). With the blue and black dial and the colorful regatta-dial and orange hands it is one of the most cool and beautiful watches [...]

heuer regatta yacht timer

Heuer Skipper prices and market – some thoughts

Well well well... whats up with the "market"? Whats up with the Skipperprices? Whats on the market.... 15 pieces on chrono24 last week: 2x 1564 | 2x 73462 1st | 73462 2nd | 8 black 15640 (6 blacklate) - and too crazy prices Skipperreras. credit:chrono24 It shows the "standard market" - the most known are the 11063 case black late Skipper, there are popping [...]

heuer regatta yacht timer

Vintagemodernstuff Collection of Yachtings

  And another member of the watchfam with good taste for beautiful yachtings. Check out here on this collection page covering only the yachting watches he has. AMAZING! Thanks for showing!

heuer regatta yacht timer

The new TAG Heuer Skipper…. my 2 cents

Because not many from the Heuer crowd saying a word about it and some are asking for my feelings about, here are my thoughts. To bring it in the line, first check Jeffs Post about the "Five New TAG Heuer Carrera Chronographs for 2023" here. You will see the series of new Carreras, same dial layouts and case/pusher. Then check the new Skipper. Maybe here: tagheuer.com - [...]

heuer regatta yacht timer

Neutrino14s Collection of Yachtings

  There is a page of @Neutrino14s collection of beautiful yachtings. Check out here on this collection page covering only the yachting watches he has. AMAZING! Thanks for showing!

Habring2 Nautic

Habring2 ChronoSport Nautic – new watch with the charme of a Vintage Yachting

HABRING²  - a young couple, Maria and Richard Habring, started a watchmaker business in 2003 in Austria. Maria was born near Dresden and they met in the Glashütte Watch Valley as Richard works for Lange Watches. The brand was named HABRING² in 2004 and since then they produced many nice watches in very limited number of pieces. credit: habring2.com Habrings build first 2 prototypes for [...]

heuer regatta yacht timer

Heuer Logo Printing Tool for dials discovered – and telling something new!

How amazing is that discovery made by Cenic Watches? A printing tool for printing Logos and lines on dials for Heuer. It seems that the Heuershield, A&F, Meister, Gübelin and Sternzeit Reguliert were printed in the Heuer factory on demand, 40 cliches came with the tool, mostly all that Heuer ever used. How crazy! So whats new? Printing dials for Meister etc and also just plain [...]

Certina Regatta Advertisment

The case is not the burner but with the fancy colorful dial and a Valjoux 72 as a kind of 3 hand design (no no - there are 4 main hands!!) it is one of the coolest 70s Regatta-Rockers. credit: hashtagwatchco.com >>> read more about these funky 70s yachting watch here!

Bezelchanger

How to change a bezel?

Change a bezel on an Autavia or Skipper To replace a bezel is very essy if you follow some tricks: - inspect closely the slot betwesn the lower part of the bezel and the sunburst of the case: usually there is a point where the bezel sits a bit higher and there is a bit of light between them - there I put a thin [...]

Heuer Skipper 7754 "sandy"

The “sandy” Skipperrera

From time to time we see dials with patina. Some patina looks just "no way" but some - like this paintless wonder - looks amazing. Look what a guy from Australia found: a really rare FAB.SUISSE (3 known!) Heuer Skipperrera 7754! Thanks to Clarke for the infos and pictures, this is definitely a watch to wear!

Aquastar Regate

Aquastar Regate 1st exec Service

After found a very rare early 1st execution Aquastar Regate with Felsa 4000N in the "container case" a service was needed. So sent to THE man for these kind of watches - Richard Askham in the UK.  He did all well and tried hard to fix the pusher, that doesn´t switch back to zero not perfect from time to time but he was "beaten by the [...]

Abercrombie & Fitch Seafarer 2446

Amazing 2446 Screwcase Seafarer on Sotheby´s

8 hours to go and this amazing Seafarer is on 75k US$ plus premium on the actual Sothebys auction you can find here. Update: this amazing watch is sold for 94,5k US$ (79k€) plus premium! Dang! One of the crazy value auctions we have seen, the highest value of the 2446 first exec Autavia with full lumen hands is not reached but this auction plays in the [...]

heuer regatta yacht timer

Gallet Black Yachting on eBay

There ended a Gallet Yachting with black dial, an rare bird on eBay last night. Sold for 3.750US$ to a ebay-profile with 0 rating. Aha. Now again on eBay. Soso. Text of the seller " Good size (same 36mm as Heuer Carrera) , solid stainless steel which means it will never brass or or chip. Dial is amazing with very few flaws, from what I can [...]

heuer regatta yacht timer

Many years ago as I started researching the Yachting Wristwatches I met online Hervé, known in the french forums as Dundee, on IG he is @Dundee64. We texted and mailed a lot about the different executions of Yachtingrafs and he sourced some to me as I sourced some to him. Over the years we talked always from time to time about this and that and watches. [...]

heuer regatta yacht timer

Aquastar Regate with Felsa 4000N – found an amazing 1st execution

We know the nice early Aquastar Regate with Felsa 4000N special modified movement as the queen of the 5 dots, branded with Heuer for the 1967 Amercia´s Cup Race with INTREPID. Till now I didn´t recognise that we can see 2 executions of that. Big thanks to Pete, who is writing a book about Aquastar with a chapter for the Regattas. He pointed me on that and [...]

heuer regatta yacht timer

The most rare Skipper? How many Skipper we know in total?

Always asked: how many Skipper are out there? Nobody knows exactly, but here are how many from every execution are known or seen till today. Please - I am not sure about the real numbers, I put all in I have ever seen - without knowing the way they did through a sale or trade etc. So the real number might be slight different and smaller [...]

heuer regatta yacht timer

A crazy rare vintage Skipper 73464 2nd exec in the pool? Yes!

Look at this pic. Abel took a very rare 73464 2nd exec after the service and pressure test in the pool. Crazy but the Skipper is still alive! Thanks for sharing the pic! This is interesting because this 2nd exec 73464 (late) has an early dial installed - not the white-blue-red! All in all a phantastic Skipper in a crazy nice shape for a watch that is [...]

heuer regatta yacht timer

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heuer regatta yacht timer

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Introducing The Frederique Constant Yacht Timer Regatta Countdown

One of watchmaking's most charming complications returns to frederique constant..

heuer regatta yacht timer

In 1997, Frederique Constant introduced a regatta timer for the first time (and until now, the only time) in its collections. The regatta timer may be one of the most specific, if not the most specific, of all complications. A regatta timer is used to count down the amount of time remaining before the competing yachts are allowed to cross the start line during a yacht race; the start line is defined by an imaginary line drawn between two buoys. Sailboats cannot, unlike race cars, simply wait at a starting line, as they are constantly in motion thanks to the wind. Instead, racing yachts maneuver behind the start line, seeking to correctly anticipate the moment that the starting signal is given (traditionally a gun or cannon shot) at which point they can legally cross the line without incurring a penalty for starting too early.

heuer regatta yacht timer

This situation means that one of the most exciting parts of a regatta, are the moments during which the clock is counting down from the warning gun to the actual starting gun, when the yachts are maneuvering for the most advantageous possible position. The warning gun is often fired, by custom, five minutes before the starting gun so when skippers hear it go off, they know they have that amount of time before the line can be crossed. The regatta timer is set up to allow instant and intuitive read-off of the amount of time remaining before the start. Each circle represents one minute, and as the colors change in each circle in succession, skippers can easily see how much time remains, without resorting to the often difficult-to-read sub-registers of a traditional chronograph.

heuer regatta yacht timer

It is a complication whose utility outside the context of a regatta I have always struggled to envision (counting down a five minute egg?) but its very specialized purpose combined with its idiosyncratic design, give regatta timers a unique appeal among complicated watches. There will be three versions of the Yacht Timer Regatta Countdown launched in the US market, which will be a gold PVD model with a blue dial, a steel model with grey dial, and a two-tone model on a two-tone bracelet, with a guilloché pattern. 

The regatta timer is both an easy complication to dismiss, but it's also an easy complication to like, if you give it a chance. On the one hand, if you're not a yacht skipper or a regatta official, there is probably not a whole lot of use you're going to get out it. On the other hand, it is so charming and so visually punchy, and so very much a product of a time when watches were practical necessities, and made to fit every need and budget, that you can't help but fall in love with it a little bit. I have never had the pleasure of owning a regatta timer but I have had a chance to spend some time with several different models, including a vintage Heuer Regatta, and there is something irresistibly watchable about seeing those little circles change color as the minutes count down.

Whether you ever get a chance to use these for their intended purpose, they're great looking watches with a real connection to both horological history, and to Frederique Constant's own history as well. They're also very attractively priced, considering that you're getting an interesting take on an unusual complication – the most expensive (and I think most handsome) version, in rose gold plate, is $3495 ($3195 for the steel model).

heuer regatta yacht timer

Brand: Frederique Constant Model: Yacht Timer Regatta Countdown Diameter: 42mm Case Material: steel or rose gold plated steel; box-type sapphire crystal Dial Color: navy blue or grey, both with hobnail guilloché type pattern Indexes: applied Lume: Super-LumiNova on hands Water Resistance: 10 atmospheres/100 meters Strap/Bracelet: alligator leather, or matching two tone bracelet for the two tone model; extra rubber strap also included

heuer regatta yacht timer

Caliber: FC-380 (ETA 7750 or Sellita equivalent, modified to include countdown function) Functions: hours and minutes, countdown regatta timer Power Reserve: 48 hours Winding: automatic or hand-winding Frequency: 28,800 vph Jewels: 25

Price: blue dial and rose gold plated model, $3495; two tone case and bracelet, $3395; grey dial with steel case, $3195 Availability: available now

See the Yacht Timer Regatta Countdown models at FrederiqueConstant.com.

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heuer regatta yacht timer

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Inspired by the iconic Heuer timepieces worn by competitive sailors at important regattas in the ‘60s and ‘70s, the 42mm "Yacht-Timer" Carrera is a special collaboration between Rowing Blazers, TAG Heuer, Bamford Watch Department and vintage watch expert Eric Wind of Wind Vintage. Limited to just 99 units. The packaging is inspired by the red boxes of vintage Heuer stopwatches (and with a subtle nod to the proverbial "red box" in which Henley Royal Regatta medals come), and is made from recycled ocean plastic. The Carrera also comes with both a bracelet and a nylon strap made to the same pattern as the strap of the vintage Heuer Yacht-Timer that inspired this watch.

Automatic movement. 42mm case. Includes an additional British military-style watch strap.

One size fits most.

Inspired by the iconic Heuer Yacht-Timer worn by competitive sailors at important regattas in the ‘60s and ‘70s, the TAG Heuer Rowing Blazers x Bamford Carrera riffs on the Yacht-Timer’s famous color scheme: a white dial, bright blue text, and hits of red, blue, green, and pale yellow — denoting 1-minute sections on the original Yacht-Timer, and reimagined for the Rowing Blazers Carrera as register colors for the Chronograph. The Rowing Blazers Carrera also adopts the Yacht-Timer’s use of cross-hatching on the colors — an effect reminiscent of the “Ben Day dots” used in comic book art and Pop Art. “I’ve always loved the Heuer Yacht-Timer — both for its sporting origins and its very Rowing Blazers color scheme, but also because there’s something very Roy Lichtenstein about the way the colors are rendered,” explains our founder Jack Carlson, who designed the watch with Bamford and vintage watch expert (and friend of the brand) Eric Wind of Wind Vintage. “Eric loves vintage Heuer stopwatches too, and we’ve dreamed of producing our own watch in the style of these amazing pieces. It's a dream to work with TAG Heuer and Bamford to make this a reality.”

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Regatta Yachttimers

An overview of sailing regatta watches, how it started.

As a young boy I’ve spend the holidays and many weekends on a boat with my parents, exploring the Dutch inland waters. We started with my dad building his own 9 meter motorboat the ‘Lady Dona’, later on followed by a rebuilding of a classic Frisian tjalk ‘Vrouwe Leentje’.

Lady Dona                                                     Vrouwe Leentje

Loving the sailing in my free time, my wife and I bought our first sailing boat in 1980, a 5 meter Foxtrot. This we called our first ‘Yacht’, later to be followed by several others. And over the years I have done some competition sailing with friends. Although this was recreative only, finding the best position at the starting line has always been important. This is how I came in contact with Regatta Yachttimer watches, and soon growing fond of them. That resulted in my first regatta watch, a plastic quartz Casio Yacht Timer . Years later I discovered the vintage models with mechanical movements, as the Aquastar s and the Memosail s.

Casio Yacht Timer and the new Lady Dona at the finish line of the 1999 ’24-uurs van Medemblik’.

I became really fascinated after reading an article ‘zeilhorloges vergeleken’ (sailing watches compaired) in a Dutch magazine in 1992, where 17 regatta-yachttimers were compaired on quality and functionality. If you want to read the article as well, you can download it here . But mind you, it is in Dutch!

Article ‘Zeilhorloges vergeleken’ in the 1992-3 Dutch magazine Zeilen.

This is how I started to collect Regatta watches. At first only the watches, but soon I became interested in their history and the stories behind them. With the internet it became possible to search for information worldwide. This overview of Regatta Yachttimer watches has been compiled by spending many hours, days, even weeks, searching the internet and brochures for information and pictures, and sending e-mails to other watch collectors and watch companies all over the world. Without them I would not have come up with this result.

A special thanks goes to the watchmaker Richard Askham ( The Watch Spot ) in England, who has helped and corrected me in many ways. He also triggered me to start with this website now, in stead of writing a book sometime in the future. Finally, none of this would have been possible without my wife Marian’s support for my hobby!

Mark Reichardt  (The Netherlands).

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heuer regatta yacht timer

Heuer Regatta Chronograph Pewter PVD circa 1980’s

Heuer Regatta ref 134.603 PVD model circa 1980. We admittedly were not previously the biggest fans of this configuration Heuer Yacht Timer. We didn’t care for the oh so prominent round windows display at the top of the dial. Surely very practical and easy to view, but just not the right aesthetic for us!

That said, this pewter PVD version, less familiar than the black PVD version, and in the pristine condition of this example, really changes how we feel about this model!

This Heuer Regatta, or yachting count down timer is entirely original in every respect and appears to have had very little use, and certainly no abuse. No edge wear of the pewter PVD coating, all original tritium lume, retaining the bright fluorescent orange of the constant center seconds hand without any fading, and without nicks, dings, or scratches to the rotating elapsed time bezel or mineral glass crystal. Complete with original Jubilee style bracelet with flip lock deployant clasp, also in pristine condition without wear of the PVD coating.

It is definitely the superb condition, and the unfamiliar and pleasing  “soft” pewter finish though out contrasting with the with sweep hand, that endears us to the appearance of this distinctly 80’s design. In our research, we see other variations of this model, including later versions with a flat link bracelet, that are not as compelling as the version offered here.

Operation: The 5 windows each gradually advance from blue to red in conjunction with the advancing of the constant center seconds hand over 5 minutes. After 5 minutes each of the the windows successively change from red to gray for the next 5 minutes until all the windows appear gray after 10 minutes have elapsed.

Whether you are preparing for the America’s cup, or timing your hard boiled egg, this watch will allow you to carry out this timing task efficiently. And if wearing to a Sunday dockside patio brunch, you are assured to be the center of attention at the table, for at least the first 5 minutes of conversation!

Details of the Heuer PVD Regatta ref 134.603 : 43.mm diameter tonneau shaped cushion case. Powered by Lemania caliber 1345 movement with constant center seconds. Signed Heuer crown. Mineral glass crystal. Original jubilee link style Heuer signed bracelet with deployant clasp and flip lock will fit 7.5 inch wrist. Rotating elapsed time bezel.

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IMAGES

  1. 1972 Heuer Yacht Timer wrist chronograph ref. 503.512

    heuer regatta yacht timer

  2. [Heuer] Regatta Yacht Timer : Watches

    heuer regatta yacht timer

  3. Heuer Regatta Automatic 134.603 Yach Timer Flyback

    heuer regatta yacht timer

  4. Heuer Stop Watch Yacht Timer Regatta

    heuer regatta yacht timer

  5. Tag Heuer Searacer Regatta Countdown Yacht Timer Chronograph

    heuer regatta yacht timer

  6. Heuer ad: $1,286 Heuer Regatta Yacht Timer Stopwatch Rare Lemania 6000

    heuer regatta yacht timer

VIDEO

  1. Tag Heuer Aquaracer Regatta Watches Review

  2. AQUASTAR Heuer Regate

  3. Vintage Heuer Regatta Timer 134.603 Luxury Watch Review

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

  5. Tag Heuer Aquaracer Calibre S Regatta CAF7110.BA0803

  6. FREDERIQUE CONSTANT TUTORIAL ¦ YACH TIMER REGATTA COUNTDOWN

COMMENTS

  1. Heuer

    Later on many stopwatches followed. And with the affinity with sports in general, a regatta Yacht Timer for sailing sports couldn't fail. End 1950's the first models of a Yacht Timer stopwatch worn on the wrist came into sight. Page from the 1961-62 Heuer catalogue with the Yacht Timer stopwatch worn round the wrist.

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

    For that reason, most regatta timers have timing countdowns of five minutes or increments of five. Heuer Regatta Flyback Ref. 134.601 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.

  3. Sea change: the evolution of yacht timers

    Crafted to be durable at sea, the Heuer yacht timer Reference 503.915 was housed inside a lightweight shockproof fiberglass case to withstand the elements (and look good doing it). ... Heuer had offered 'Regatta' wristwatches in the 1960s and 1970s, but in 1983 the Regatta moved to a dramatic new series of cases, borrowed from the Autavia. ...

  4. Heuers on the Sea

    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. ... The following are recommended for additional information on Heuer's yacht timers (regatta chronographs): HeuerChrono.com covers the Heuer ...

  5. Heuer Yacht Timers

    Heuer built handheld and wrist stopwatches without showing time of day for special purposes: racing, running, regatta-sailing, skiing, golfing and some more. They are the "trailblazers" of the Heuer Skipper. First on a cord in the pocket, than as a big yacht-timer on the wrist - and at the end as a full time showing watch with the yachting chronograph function on the wrist. Here are some ...

  6. heuer

    Heuer Yacht Timer (Ref 503.512) Stainless Steel Oversized Stopwatch (Functional) Pre-Owned · Nylon. $650.00. or Best Offer. Free shipping. Vintage 1983 Heuer Regatta 134.601 LARGE Yacht Timer Black Military Men's Watch! Pre-Owned. $3,754.60. Buy It Now.

  7. Yachting Timers & Watches

    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 ...

  8. Heuer Regatta

    Swiss patent CH65942 filed by Berna Watch Co on August 12th 1913 for a 'totalisateur'. credit: Joel Pynson. The patent for the first 5-dots in 1913 was given to BERNA WATCH Co., St.-Imier. It was in 1914 the first sold yachting stopwatch with 5-dots changing the colors for the starting sequence of a regatta.

  9. Heuer Regatta Yacht-Timer 134.500 Silver Dial Automatic Men's Watch

    This pre-owned Heuer Regatta Yacht-Timer 134.500 is in excellent condition and comes with: original Heuer box and booklet only. The crystal has a few minor marks on it. Max wrist size: 7.25 in.This watch has passed all of our rigorous quality control tests for authenticity, performance, accuracy and condition by our te

  10. Best Watches for Sailing: The Regatta Timer Explained

    Take the Yacht-Master II, to set the regatta timer on this Rolex watch you turn the bezel counterclockwise by a quarter. Next you set the countdown hand to a time up to 10 minutes. ... TAG Heuer Aquaracer Calibre S. This hybrid quarts-automatic watch combines mechanical parts with quartz precision. Hands drift seamlessly between regatta (with ...

  11. 1972 Heuer Yacht Timer wrist chronograph ref. 503.512

    1972 Heuer Yacht Timer wrist stopwatch ref. 503.512. 52.5mm. base metal case, manual wind cal. 7710, white dial with outer blue Arabic numeral seconds countdown track, multi-colored countdown inner minute scale. Yacht timers are also known as yachting chronographs, sailing watchers, or regatta timers and they were designed for the countdown ...

  12. - Regatta Yachttimers

    #TBT Seiko 8M35 Yacht Timer - How Seiko replaced a legend Excellent revieuw by Fratellowatches, Michael Stockton, about the Seiko 8M35 Yachttimer. Heuerchrono a reference website by Henrik, for the Heuer Skipper, the Heuer Regatta models as well as the Heuer Yacht Timer stopwatches. Les montres de régate : toujours en vogue…

  13. [Heuer] Regatta Yacht Timer : r/Watches

    The Regatta came in a few different variations. This is my favorite with the silver dial. It's a Lemania movement and they actually modified the date wheel to perform the timing function. Upon pressing the pusher, the timer discs turn blue and then slowly turn orange, one at a time, timing out five minutes in one minute intervals.

  14. How Does A Yacht Watch Work?

    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. The Heuer Skipper features a colored and numbered subdial at the 3-o'clock position, which serves as the regatta timer.

  15. The Heuer Skipper Watch & Great Regatta Timing Alternatives

    To celebrate 1967's victory, Heuer launched a new manual-wind, twin-register yachting chronograph, the Heuer Skipper ref. 7753/54. The first, very rare, version (seemingly, only around 20 exist), with its colour references to Intrepid, featured an adapted Valjoux 7730 movement in a Heuer Carrera case.Later, this prompted the 'Skipperrera' nickname for a watch that now commands auction prices ...

  16. Regatta Watches

    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 ...

  17. Stopwatches

    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). ... OnTheDash collectors website by Jeff Stein with a nice overview of the vintage Heuer regatta models. Racer's Edge The evolution of the regatta chronograph by ...

  18. Home

    heuerchrono.com- the #1 reference ressource of Heuer Skipper, Heuer Regatta, Heuer Mareographe and Abercrombie & Fitch Seafarer, Heuer Solunar and Heuer Yacht Timer and many informations about Vintage Yachting Wristwatches from the 60s and 70s from Gallet, Yema, Seaboard-Yacht, Breitling etc. etc.

  19. Introducing The Frederique Constant Yacht Timer Regatta Countdown

    The Basics. Brand: Frederique Constant. Model: Yacht Timer Regatta Countdown. Diameter: 42mm. Case Material: steel or rose gold plated steel; box-type sapphire crystal. Dial Color: navy blue or grey, both with hobnail guilloché type pattern. Indexes: applied. Lume: Super-LumiNova on hands. Water Resistance: 10 atmospheres/100 meters.

  20. TAG Heuer Rowing Blazers x Bamford "Yacht-Timer" Carrera

    Notes Inspired by the iconic Heuer timepieces worn by competitive sailors at important regattas in the '60s and '70s, the 42mm "Yacht-Timer" Carrera is a special collaboration between Rowing Blazers, TAG Heuer, Bamford Watch Department and vintage watch expert Eric Wind of Wind Vintage. Limited to just 99 units.The pac.

  21. How it started

    Interesting websites. #TBT Seiko 8M35 Yacht Timer - How Seiko replaced a legend Excellent revieuw by Fratellowatches, Michael Stockton, about the Seiko 8M35 Yachttimer.; Heuerchrono a reference website by Henrik, for the Heuer Skipper, the Heuer Regatta models as well as the Heuer Yacht Timer stopwatches.; Les montres de régate : toujours en vogue… A comprihensive article - in French ...

  22. Heuer Regatta Chronograph Pewter PVD circa 1980's

    Heuer Regatta ref 134.603 PVD model circa 1980. We admittedly were not previously the biggest fans of this configuration Heuer Yacht Timer. We didn't care for the oh so prominent round windows display at the top of the dial. Surely very practical and easy to view, but just not the right aesthetic for us! That said, this pewter PVD version, less familiar than the black PVD version, and in the ...