I’m a watch geek. The more functions a watch has, the more I like it. These days, however, some of my favorite watches have been spending more time on my dresser than on my wrist. The reason? I’ve found a new watch to love, Optimum Time’s OS (Optimum Sailing) 463. As with all of my favorite timepieces, it’s really, really large, in fact, it’s so big that one of my friends describes it as an “ashtray with a wristband.” Optimum Time has a different way of describing the 463, declaring it “fashionably oversized.” Like any good watch designed specifically for racing sailors, the 463 not only tells time, but provides a countdown timer pre-programmed with the ISAF 5-minute, 4-minute, 1 minute, start sequence, with audible warning signals and a repeat option, a sync button for instant synchronization should you miss a gun, and a timer that counts either up or down for handicap racing. In addition, the 463 has a tide calculator with an easy-to-understand graphic display [and the ability to show tide for three separate regions], and an electronic compass with variation adjustment. All the standard bells and whistles are there, too; alarm, 12 or 24-hour display, shock and water resistance, and a calendar. OS 463 Pros and ConsPros: The 463 has a great user interface, an easy to understand manual, extremely large and visible numbers on the display, a fantastic backlight for nighttime viewing, and it’s lightweight. Better yet, it passed the “Oh crap, it’s Daylight Savings Time and I have to re-set all my watches” test with flying colors. Cons: It’s probably just me, but I hate rubber wristbands. They feel sticky and restrictive, and, in my mind, they’re no match for metal bracelet or Velcro and fabric bands. The 463’s compass may not like the metal bands, so I’ll probably end up swapping out the rubber band for a Velcro band. The 463 is one of 17 watches in the OS series, which includes watches you’ll only wear on the boat, like the OS 367, which at 2.5 inches in diameter, is a full inch larger than the 463. There are styles for men and women, and enough different shapes and features to satisfy anybody’s taste and needs. Optimum Time is an English company, which you can find on the Internet at www.optimumtime.co.uk. The watches are being represented in the U.S. by my fellow gadget freaks at Annapolis Performance Sailing, www.apsltd.com.
“Gear Up” from our October 30 /SW eNewsletter/.