The annual regatta at your local yacht club may not be the America's Cup, but it can be just as cutthroat, so when you hoist the cloth at the starting line, you want to wear a watch that gives you all the competitive advantage you can get. The Aquaracer Calibre S Chronograph from Tag Heuer is a watch no captain should set to sea without, but the ease with which it changes from stopwatch functions to standard time makes it handy for landlubbers as well.
The Calibre S, an updated version of Tag Heuer's original Aquaracer series, has been eagerly anticipated (especially by China Team, which will wear it during the 2007 America's Cup) since its prototype debuted in 2005. It displays standard time and elapsed, plus is has features like a regatta countdown.
All three functions are read using the central luminescent hands and indexes on a dial that measures 41 millimeters in diameter (which Tag Heuer says makes it the world's easiest-to-read chronograph) and incorporates two semicircular sub-dials with bidirectional hands located at five and seven o'clock on the face. When the watch is in time mode, the hour, minute and second are displayed, and the two sub-dials are a perpetual calendar.
By clicking the top button on the crown, you can switch effortlessly to watch, chronograph or regatta mode. The central hands automatically set to starting position, with the right sub-dial keeping time to one-tenth of a second and the left indicating that you are in chronograph mode, to avoid any possible confusion. Clicking the bottom button on the crown sets the stopwatch in motion. (When the watch is switched back to standard time, it resets to the correct time.)
Two clicks of the top button send the watch into regatta countdown mode, an invaluable tool for the competitive sailor. In most races, a crew has a number of minutes to steer its vessel into starting position. When those are up, the race begins. The countdown (which can be set to 10 or 5 minutes) is indicated by a counterclockwise rotation of the hour and second hands. When the time has elapsed, the watch shifts to chronograph mode and begins counting from zero.
Priced at $2,295, the Tag Heuer Aquaracer Calibre S is water-resistant up to 300 meters and is available in blue or anthracite.