The watches of the 2017 America's Cup
It is said that in August of 1851, upon watching the schooner "America" win the Royal Yacht Squadron 100 Pound Cup at the America's Cup, Queen Victoria inquired as to which boat came in second place—to which the reply was simply, "Your Majesty, there is no second." And so the demand for excellence began, inspiring tycoons, corporations, luxury goods companies, and world-class athletes to compete for top honors—and the oldest and most prestigious trophy in international sports.
The race itself has more in common with aeronautics or even Formula 1 than traditional water sports; these catamarans are more like rocket ships with breathtaking liftoffs at speeds of up to 50 knots (that's about 58 mph for you landlubbers). This year, five teams—from Japan, Great Britain, France, New Zealand, and Sweden—are looking to unseat tech billionaire (and defending champion) Larry Ellison's Oracle Team USA in Bermuda from May 26 to June 27.
Incredible technology goes into achieving these remarkable results—boats feature advanced elements like carbon fiber hulls, rigid wing sails, and high-tech computer and hydraulic systems that help them reach record-breaking speeds—and the watches worn by many of the boats' operators are no less impressive. These timepieces, beloved by both America's Cup enthusiasts and watch collectors, are rare limited editions that often sell out faster than the race itself.
With America's Cup fever about to hit full force, here's a look at the best watches from this year's official timekeeper, Panerai, as well as the overall race sponsor, Louis Vuitton, and individual watch brands representing the different teams.