The new calendar brings with it an interminable wave of tweets, blogs and Facebook posts proclaiming people's new year's resolutions. By and large, these are insufferably dull; after all, quitting smoking isn't exactly lion taming is it? My own resolution is to take up sailing. I realise that may not seem all that impressive, but to add spice to the mix, I can't swim. As with most things, though, I feel looking the part is 90 per cent of being the part, so with that in mind, here are some nifty sailing watches.
Sailing in Hong Kong is growing in popularity and is likely to get bigger this year, as the prestigious America's Cup returns after a three-year break. And to make sure fellow sailors appreciate the cut of your jib, it might be wise to invest in a 2012 Jean Richard Aquascope timepiece (below right). The collection is mainly for divers, so this one is eminently useful if you fall into the deep blue - the water resistance is 300 metres and there's a handy waterproof rubber strap. It looks as good, if not better, on deck though, with an eye-catching sun-burst blue dial. The reassuringly chunky case is made of satin-finished stainless steel, measures 44.5mm and features a bi-directional rotating bezel. The movement is an in-house JR60, which gives a power reserve of 42 hours, a bit on the light side given the lack of features. The watch is priced at HK$22,800.
A timepiece built purely for blue-water sport, however, is the Alpina Extreme Sailing watch. The overtly dramatic title is down to Alpina sponsoring the Extreme Sailing Series, a catamaran race where speeds can hit 40 knots. The pick of the new additions to the collection is the AL-880LB4V6B2 (below left), which comes in a 44mm stainless-steel case, with a rather fetching steel-mesh bracelet. The movement is an automatic AL-880 and comes with a yacht-timer function, so this isn't just for posing. Features are the basic hours, minutes and seconds, but there is also a unidirectional bezel and water resistance to a healthy 200 metres. Priced at HK$27,000, it comes in a special gift box with a miniature of an Extreme 40 yacht.
Last but not least is a watch worth pushing the boat out for. All sailors need a practical and robust timepiece out on the water, but for yacht club socials and dinners something a little more showy is required. The Corum Admiral's Cup Legend Tourbillon Micro-Rotor (above) is an eyeful and a mouthful as well as being steeped in sailing pedigree. A tribute to the now defunct Admiral's Cup series, this watch is sported by four-time Olympic sailing gold-medal-list Ben Ainslie, who will soon receive a knighthood. The 42mm case comes in 18-carat red gold and features a 12-sided bezel design. The classic dial is dominated by the exposed tourbillon at the six o'clock position, which lends the watch an air of sophistication. The movement is a C0 503, gives a healthy 60 hours of power and features a micro-rotor - a gizmo that reduces the weight of the tourbillon. You may not wish to get the brown leather strap wet, but if you do water resistance is 30 metres. The watch is priced at HK$530,000.