There are few places where man is so brutally exposed to the vagaries of nature than when attempting to control 510kg of carbon fibre through rough seas. This is the world of competitive yachting, where world class sailors, America’s Cup heroes and former Olympic champions use intense tactical skills and teamwork to power their high-performance specifically designed M32 catamarans to victory. It is a test of intelligence and skill, bravery as well as brawn; it is the purest and most demanding form of seafaring, and, when you’re this close to the elements, you need a watch that won’t let you down.
It was with this in mind that the craftspeople at Spinnaker started to design its watches. Named after the particular type of sail designed for sailing off the wind – its bowed triangle shape is instantly recognisable even to a diehard landlubber – these rugged, solidly-made timepieces have been created to be part of your tool kit whether you’re riding the waves or diving below them.
All the watches are seaworthy to a minimum of 100m – though the Overboard goes to a lung-busting 1000m – and are inspired by the worlds of yachting and diving from the colourful “ciao Bella” stylings of the Amalfi to the fume-dialled vintage delights of the Hull.
Despite the retro looks of many of the designs, every Spinnaker is made using the best of modern watchmaking, such as sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating, Swiss SuperLuminova and marine-grade stainless steel for the cases. All the movements, including the automatics, are sourced from Japan which allows Spinnaker to offer their collections at prices that don’t require you to plan a bank robbery in order to buy one.
Just because these timepieces are designed to take everything the elements can throw at them and still come out unscathed, doesn’t mean they don’t work on dry land as well. A diving watch is one of the cornerstones of a man’s watch wardrobe, namely because they are so versatile. It also helps that this season’s looks seem to err towards the outdoorsy. Make no mistake, these are substantially sized so they probably won’t fit under a shirt cuff, but they would look right at home paired with the coat du jour – the shearling. If that feels a bit Del Boy for you, then work with the nautical and opt for a chunky large-weave knit and pea coat, sturdy denim jeans and hiking boots. But maybe leave the sou’wester at home.
Stunning New Watches From Spinnaker
Croft New Extension
Named after the US diving instructor and first person to free dive beyond 200ft, Robert Croft, this watch is instantly recognisable as a vintage diver. Its chubby hands and round indices immediately call to mind many of the renowned Swiss names regularly breaking records at auction; something many of the modern diver designs are riffing on today. With a marine-grade stainless steel case that clocks in at 43mm, it’s certainly not a delicate timepiece, however details such as the ombre finish to the dial and the offset seconds sub dial blunt the brutishness to give it a masculine elegance; think the horological equivalent of Daniel Craig’s Bond.
As this is a watch intended for the deep, it is easy to read with the indices and bezel having had the SuperLuminova treatment. Powering this muscular machine is a Japanese Miyota automatic, which can be seen through the sapphire caseback and in true diving watch style, this new version has a bracelet with an extender attachment so you can easily transform it to fit over a wetsuit.
The Croft is one of those rare finds – it’s a great-looking watch that will certainly leave you stirred but, thanks to the amazing price, definitely not shaken.
Cahill New England Edition
Also taking its name from a notable Scuba diver is the Cahill. James Cahill was credited with bringing this form of diving to the USA and was the first man to scuba the waters off New England. In homage to Cahill’s Massachusetts roots, the Cahill Diver has been re-designed to give it a more utilitarian aesthetic. The Mercedes hands remain but the dot indices have been replaced with Arabic numerals, a cross-hair marking adorns the dial and the bezel markings are more refined.
The 43mm marine-grade constructed case now comes with anti-reflective and scratch-resistant sapphire crystal and an exhibition caseback. Despite its size, the case has been specifically carved to sit low on the wrist giving it a more sophisticated feel, something which is enhanced by the decision to do away with option of Nato straps in contrasting colours and stick with vintage stitched leather in complementary shades instead. The resulting update is a more muted affair that takes the Cahill aesthetic and lends it an air of elder-statesman poise.
That move into more refined territory makes this the ideal diver to add to any wardrobe – one that goes the distance as a tool watch but that doesn’t have to be retired when the wetsuit gets taken off and the business suit goes on.
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