Sailing enthusiasts turned their attention to Bermuda in June, when the sport’s fiercest competitors and fastest vessels vied to take home sporting’s oldest trophy as the victor of the 35th America’s Cup match. Meanwhile, watch brands got into the spirit with sporty new nautical designs geared for mariners and landlubbers alike.
Panerai made a big America’s Cup splash by taking over as the event’s official watch sponsor, in addition to partnering with the defending Oracle Team USA and challenger Softbank Team Japan. The development resulted from a conversation between Panerai CEO Angelo Bonati and his friend America’s Cup CEO Russell Coutts. Until then, Panerai concentrated on classic sailing regattas featuring vintage sailboats. The dramatic move lifted the brand to the sport’s equivalent of Formula One.
The new partnership comprises five special-edition watches, including a 47-mm Luminor 1950 Regatta Oracle Team USA 3 Days Chrono Flyback Automatic ($15,300, left, in black ceramic; $17,900 in titanium). The flyback chronograph used for timing will stop the elapsing seconds hand and instantly return it to zero to begin timing a second event without first stopping the chronograph. The regatta countdown function ticks down a 15-minute interval before competitors are allowed to cross the start line, with the final five-minute scale in red. A tachymeter scale around the flange calculates speed in knots.
Ulysse Nardin, sponsor of the Swedish Artemis Racing team, also has a new regatta watch with a sweep countdown timer at the center of the dial that can be set for between one and 10 minutes. The bidirectional seconds hand moves counterclockwise as it ticks down to the start, and then instantly changes direction to start timing the race with elapsed time tracked on a sub-dial at 6 o’clock. Ulysse Nardin developed the patent-pending movement with input from renowned yachtsmen Loïck Peyron and Iain Percy, brand ambassadors and Artemis Racing team members. The Marine Regatta comes with a white or blue lacquered dial ($15,900, center), while a limited-edition Artemis Racing version features a special champlevé enamel dial ($29,800).
Louis Vuitton, which is the race’s title partner, developed an America’s Cup fashion collection that includes a colorful red, white and blue Tambour Navy Chronograph ($6,800). The jaunty design subtly features the tricolor Gaston V—a century-old insignia used by Gaston-Louis Vuitton that also appears in the new America’s Cup logo—at 12 o’clock on the dial and on the Damier Cobalt canvas strap. With its rounded drum-like case the eye-catching 46-mm stainless steel Tambour looks shipshape even if you are only navigating city streets this summer.