Racing Watches Guide

Richard Mille RM011

You don’t have to race professionally to appreciate the beauty and precision of a racing watch. There’s no doubt that they can come in handy in a number of situations even if you never set foot on a race track. Among the best racing watches, you will find makes and models that are ideal for wearing every day as well as for special occasions. If you’re in the market for buying a racing watch, here are some suggestions that will help.

1. What is a Racing Watch and How is it Used?

2. Essential Characteristics to Look For

3. Features That Appeal to the Traditionalist

4. What the Weekend Warrior Wants

5. The Everyday Racing Watch

6. Setting Price Points

1. What is a Racing Watch and How is it Used?

While a lot of people are familiar with the concept, there’s not any set rules that help to define what constitutes a racing watch. Instead, there are certain features or characteristics that set this type of watch apart from the rest.

Even so, there is a broad definition that can be used to define a racing watch. It’s a watch designed to measure speed and to keep accurate time. Measuring speeds may have to do with automobiles, boats, go-carts, or even running in marathons. The point is that the watch will include all the basic functions of any watch while including features that make it easy to accurately measure speed as well as time.

2. Essential Characteristics to Look For

With that definition in mind, it’s easier to see how a racing watch would be slightly different from other types of sport watches. If you really want this kind of watch, make sure that these essential characteristics are present:

*A dial that provides high contrast: this feature is important if you’re the one that’s doing the racing, since the contrast makes it easier to read the watch face even if you’re moving at high speeds.

*A two or three register chronograph function: this allows you to record times with a high rate of accuracy. In some applications, you can also use this feature as a stop watch.

*A tachymeter bezel scale: this aids in measuring the rate of speed of a vehicle during a race.

*Case orientation that’s angled slightly: the idea is to make it easier for you to read the time and other functions without having to remove your hand from the steering wheel or bend the arm at an angle that might reduce your control of the vehicle.

*The right type of strap: for a racing watch, comfort matters as much as durability. Leather or some form of rubber are material choices that are less likely to chafe. Something that allows plenty of air flow is also helpful.

It’s possible to find affordable racing watches that include all these features plus a few more. One example to consider is Hublot Classic Fusion Racing Grey Chronograph. The dial is organized for easy reading while the band can easily be adjusted for a snug but comfortable fit.

3. Features That Appeal to the Traditionalist

There are some elements of a racing watch that may not be essential, but they do help to conjure up images of traditional drag and other types of races. For example, you may like color schemes that remind you of past races that you enjoyed or that you participated in as either a driver or a member of the pit group. To your eyes, they speak of more than speed; they also lead you to think of the fast-paced lifestyle of a professional racer.

While embellishments do appeal to the traditionalist, there’s also the need to ensure that those watches have the features needed to work in a racing environment. The purist in you requires that the following be present:

*A simple and fully functional two-register chronograph setup: designed for quick reference as well as accurate tracking, this allows you to keep up with speed and distance with ease.

*A dial that is simple and can be read at a glance: this is another must if you want to check the timing scales without having to take much attention off the track.

*Casing that has the classical look and size: this does help create more of a feel of being a racer, but the size is also practical in terms of allowing you to read the data with ease.

*A design that works well with multiple types of straps: depending on the event, you may find one type of strap more helpful than another. If the case makes it easy to switch straps, that adds versatility to the racing watch.

*Movement that requires little movement but keeps working: this is a sign of a sturdy watch that will hold up well to just about any type of setting one can imagine.

Along with new watches, there are a number of vintage racing watches that will provide you with all of these benefits. One that you may want to consider is the Rolex Daytona. Featuring a chocolate dial and an engraved bezel, the watch is versatile enough to work with different straps. You can also read the information with ease, even at high speeds.

4. What the Weekend Warrior Wants

Maybe you’re someone who enjoys racing as a hobby. When the weekend comes, you head out to the local track and try your hand. The type of racing watch you want is one that offers the right functionality but also looks good later on when you mingle with the other weekend warriors. To that end, make sure the watch you choose includes the following:

*A full tachymeter scale: you’ll find this to be invaluable while the racing is underway.

*A dial with high contrast: black on white is a good choice, but it’s not the only one. As long as there’s plenty of contrast, you will have no problem reading the dial.

*A slim case that fits snugly but comfortably on the wrist: it will be a plus while driving but also be a pleasure to wear when the race is over.

*The right heft: you want a watch that is relatively light in weight so that it doesn’t create additional drag on your arm or inhibit movement.

*Durability: you may be planning on only wearing the watch while at the track, but make it one that will last long enough to pass on to the next generation.

Consider a racing chronograph watch like the Rolex Cosmograph Daytona with a champagne dial. The contrast is there, as is the ease of reading. The fact that you can switch straps with ease is also a plus. You’ll also find the size and weight to be excellent for your purposes.

5. The Everyday Racing Watch

Maybe you want a racing watch that’s suitable for more than the track. In your case, it will also serve as your everyday watch. There are plenty of watches that will serve this purpose. All you need to do is make sure the following features are present:

*Excellent movement architecture: Quality watchmakers update their proprietary movements on a regular basis. Make sure that what you have is either a traditional one that has withstood the test of time or is considered one of the most accurate of the latest generation of watches.

*Two-tone case construction: this feature makes it easier to adapt the watch to whatever you’re doing that day. It’s versatile enough to be worn to work and equally appropriate for a night on the town.

*Exchanging the Strap for a Metal Bracelet: if you need to dress the watch up a little, a design that allows you to change out the leather or rubber racing watch strap for a metal bracelet is a smart move.

*Decent level of water resistance: go for one that will allow you to get into water that’s at least 100 meters (328 feet) without running the risk of damage.

A Rolex Daytona with a black dial works well for everyday wear. The styling is classic enough to work in most settings while still being an excellent choice for the track.

6. Setting Price Points

How much are you willing to pay for a racing watch? That’s something only you can answer. Take the time to get an idea of what kind of price range you can afford.

To give you an idea, there are Hublot Classic Fusion designs that will set you back anywhere between $5,000 USD and $25,000 USD. A Richard Mille RM011 will run around $275,000 USD. If a Rolex is what you want, racing watches will start somewhere around $15,000 USD and go upward to around $100,000 USD.

Balance the price with the features that you want. Consider how you will use the watch off as well as on the track. Doing so will help you find the watch that serves you well no matter where you happen to be.

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