I recently ripped the Frederique Constant Yacht Timer Regatta Countdown a new you-know-what. It’s ugly and expensive, based on a patently ridiculous complication that doesn’t even do what its cheaper, more reliable quartz predecessor did (provide variable countdown intervals). Hodinkee’s Jack Forster knows I’m right. To paraphrase, T-Swizzle, a pimp’s gotta pimp, pimp, pimp . . .
It is a complication whose utility outside the context of a regatta I have always struggled to envision (counting down a five minute egg?) but its very specialized purpose combined with its idiosyncratic design, give regatta timers a unique appeal among complicated watches.
Unique. Heh. Like when your wife comes down the stairs in a hideous dress and asks you what you think. A perfect analogy. With its authorized dealer watch sales and watch co-productions, Hodinkee is married to the watch industry. Is it any wonder Hodinkee pimps the Frederique Constant Yacht Timer?
The regatta timer is both an easy complication to dismiss, but it’s also an easy complication to like, if you give it a chance. On the one hand, if you’re not a yacht skipper or a regatta official, there is probably not a whole lot of use you’re going to get out it.
On the other hand, it is so charming and so visually punchy, and so very much a product of a time when watches were practical necessities, and made to fit every need and budget, that you can’t help but fall in love with it a little bit.
I have never had the pleasure of owning a regatta timer but I have had a chance to spend some time with several different models, including a vintage Heuer Regatta, and there is something irresistibly watchable about seeing those little circles change color as the minutes count down.
True! If you’re high. Otherwise there is nothing irresistible about the Yacht Timer. Unless you’re paid to think so.