There are few scenes that conjure up summer more than white sails against a blue sky, whether you’re cruising in a 12-meter out of Newport, rounding buoys in a Laser at your lake’s weekend regatta, or just sitting on the beach watching the action. Sailing is so much a part of our country’s lore and style, entire clothing lines (and brands) have been designed around the sport. Boat shoes have been a fashion staple from Portsmouth to Peoria for decades. Watch companies haven’t ignored the nautical theme either. While a dive watch would do perfectly well on the wrist of any skipper, the arcane starting procedure of regattas, the movement of tides, and the phases of the moon have provided perfect opportunities for watchmakers to flex their horological muscles.

So even if the closest you come to a boat all year is your company’s annual booze cruise, you can still channel a little bit of the maritime vibe and look like an old salt. But please, skip the sailor’s cap and opt for a more useful emblem of the high seas. This year’s fleet of nautical watches can do everything from count down the start of a regatta to predict the weather, and all are suitable for skippers and landlubbers alike.

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timekeeping-promo-logo-gear-patrolThis article is part of GP's fresh new face to TIMEKEEPING, a weekly chronicle on the utility, design, tradition and innovation of watches.