by roberta naas
FROM LEFT CLOCKWISE: Louis Vuitton Tambour Regatta America’s Cup. Rolex, Oyster Perpetual Yacht-Master II. Tissot Sailing-Touch.
With the America's Cup sailing races returning to US waters in 2013, this summer will be the season of prequalifying events among New England's famous regattas. At Marblehead, Nantucket, and Newport, skippers commanding some of the fastest boats in the world turn to high-tech materials and cutting-edge design as they seek function and performance from their boats—and so, too, of their timepieces. Keeping this in mind, watchmakers have stepped up, offering exceptional precision and great new regatta timers.
Such is the case with Louis Vuitton, the official timekeeper of the America's Cup World Series, the Louis Vuitton Cup—the final competition that determines who will race against the defending champions of the America's Cup—and all of the World Series regattas. This year, to celebrate its commitment to the America's Cup, Louis Vuitton unveils two new Tambour Regatta America's Cup yachting watches, including one with revolutionary new technology. The automatic version is the first of its kind to count down the five minutes (instead of the previous standard 10 minutes) before the start of the races. The quartz version is created in an edition of 1,851 pieces, in honor of the birth year of the America's Cup, with regatta functions of a countdown between one and 10 minutes with sound indications.
New technology in the timepiece world, as in the sailing world, goes line in hand with beauty. "We utilized new designs," says Hamdi Chatti, senior vice president of watches and jewelry for Louis Vuitton. "We used a black rubber case with red and blue on the dial in honor of the America's Cup."
Other watch brands that have been involved in sailing for decades and are also participating in the America's Cup include TAG Heuer, which sponsors defending champion Team USA, Oracle Racing; Omega, which sponsors Emirates Team New Zealand; and Corum, sponsor of Energy Team, the French boat skippered by Loïck Peyron, also a Corum ambassador.
Brands participating in Boston-area sailing regattas in the coming months include Rolex, title sponsor of many significant regattas, and Panerai, which sponsors the Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge beginning in Marblehead and culminating in Newport.
The limited-edition 44mm multifunction Louis Vuitton Tambour Regatta America's Cup Quartz watch (approximately $5,750) features a regatta function with an audio indicator, as well as a chronograph and an alarm. Copley Place, 617-437-6519.
From Rolex, the Oyster Perpetual Yacht-Master II ($43,700) is crafted in 18k white gold. The 44mm chronometer regatta countdown watch features a platinum Ring Command rotating bezel and an Oysterlock bracelet. It houses a superlative 42-jewel movement. Lux Bond & Green, 416 Boylston St., 617-266-4747.
The Tissot Sailing-Touch watch ($1,150) features touch-screen technology and a patent-pending strap design. The high-performance watch also offers a regatta function, backlight, two alarms, compass, chronograph, relative air pressure indicator, and two time zones. Long's, 100 Summer St., 617-426-8500.
photography by marshall troy