Gill Race Watch Review

Gill Race Watch Review

The first thing you notice when you get your Gill Race Watch in the mail and free it from its post-pack is the no-nonsense box in which it is presented. If you expect your packaging with a velvet lining and gold lettering then this is not the watch for you.

Through the transparent lid, the sporty-looking watch face is looking up at you as if to say, “get me out of here and let’s go sailing…”

It is clear from the very start that the price-point of the Gill Race Watch makes it a practical device more so than a piece of jewellery. This watch is built for a purpose but still, it doesn’t compromise on aesthetics with a contemporary and durable look and feel.

The watch comes in different colours and together with the one-size-fits-all band, makes it “gender fluid”. With a bold modern appearance, large digital display and big buttons, the Gill Race Watch is designed to be used in adverse conditions. 

Gill Race Watch Blue
Gill Race Watch Black Red
Gill Race Watch Red
Gill Race Watch Black
Gill Race Watch Yellow

Basic (what time is it) display

The display is clear and tells you what you need to know in an instant. It shows the abbreviated day of the week and the date in the DD/MM or MM/DD format depending on which continent you are from. Below the date is the time which takes up the bulk of the watch face real estate. It displays the time in either am/pm format or as 24 hours military time. Below the hours and minutes, you find the seconds.

Everything is easy to read and at night the watch face can be lit up by using the middle left button which will illuminate the display for 4 seconds.

Setting the time was relatively easy to do after quickly browsing the manual and getting familiar with the 3-mode system driven by 5 buttons. 

Gill Race Watch Review Basic Display
Gill Race Watch Review SS Back


The body of the Gill Race Watch is constructed from carbon-reinforced Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) plastic and has a stainless steel backplate.

The watch is held on to your wrist by a Thermoplastic Polyurethane (TPU) strap that is oil, grease and abrasion resistant with an overall look and feel of comfort and durability.

Water-resistant to 3 ATMs (30 meters), the Gill Race Watch comes in at what I would consider the minimum level of water resistance required to be used “on” the water.

Gill Race Watches are powered by a simple CR2032 battery. To maintain your 3 ATM water resistance rating, I highly recommend that you change the battery at the jeweller or a professional watch repair shop. Batteries are consumables and not covered under warranty. In the interim, use the handy power-saving function to preserve power.

cr2032 battery


A watch’s functions are only as good as your ability to use them. In most cases, it can be said that the more functionality the watch offers, the more complex it is to use it.

The Gill Race Watch strikes a good compromise between functionality and user-friendly operations. This is driven by 5 large buttons that control what you are looking at.

Underpinning the system is the “Mode” button that lets you select from 3 different modes. The other buttons’ functionality varies depending on what mode you are in… 

  1. Real-Time Mode shows you the time and lets you set the time, date and other time-related functions,
  2. Daily Alarm Mode shows you the time the alarm will go off and lets you set the alarm and other alarm related functions, and
  3. Timer Mode is used for things like displaying and setting the countdown as well as other timing functions.

Mode Button

  • This Mode Button (bottom left) is simply used to toggle through the 3 main modes. By pressing the button the next mode will appear.
  • When setting any of the functions, this button is utilised to select the function you require.

Light Button

  • The Light Button (middle left) provides a 4-second backlit illumination.
  • The light will work irrespective of what mode you are in.

Set Button

  • The Set Button (top left) is used for entering the desired setting by holding it down for 2 seconds or shorter to exit the setting.
  • So to set your time, you would start by selecting the “Real-Time Mode” after which you will hold the set button down for 2 seconds to access the screen where you can set the time, date etc…

Lap and Sync Button

  • In the Timer Mode, the Lap and Sync Button (top right and the only yellow button) is used to start or synchronise the timer.
  • In Daily Alarm Mode, it will test the alarm sound when depressing this button.
  • When setting data, the button is used to increase the setting by pressing it or holding it down to increase the setting more rapidly.

Stop / Reset Button

  • In the Timer Mode, the Stop / Reset Button (bottom right) is used to stop or reset the timer by pressing the button or holding it down respectively.
  • In Daily Alarm Mode, this button is used to switch the alarm time on or off.
  • When setting data, the button is used to decrease the setting by pressing it or holding it down to decrease the setting more rapidly.

The Countdown

The Gill Racing Watch has some real connections to the sport of sailing and this is confirmed with 4 pre-set countdown times. 3 are hardcoded into the watch (5, 4 and 1 minutes) and the 4th can be set by the user. It is not a coincidence that these warnings are pre-set as they adhere to Rule 26 of The 2017 – 2020 Racing Rules of Sailing (RRS) of World Sailing

The watch clearly counts down and gives an audible beep every minute on the minute. When getting within one minute of the start time it increases the beep frequency and beeps on every second for the last 10 seconds so you can keep your eyes on the start line and the boats around you.

Perhaps in the next bios update, Gill could make the 1-minute beep sound longer so it aligns fully with the sound signals of the racing rules prescribed by rule 26.

Gill Race Watch Review – Conclusion

The Gill Racing Watch is a no-nonsense solidly built workhorse that has not compromised on its aesthetic value; something that we have come to expect from the Gill line of watersport products. As an entry-level watch, I simply like it a lot and wouldn’t hesitate in calling it a “sailingwatch because of its specific sailing timing functionality and its ruggedness. It looks good, it is easy to read and use. Within its price bracket, the Gill Race Watch gives you great value for money.

RRP $145


Disclaimer – The Gill Race Watch was provided by Gill free of charge in order to facilitate this review. The author has no affiliation with Gill and the sample watch will be gifted through a raffle.

Gill Race Watch Give-a-way...


Winner: Craig Martin

Gill Race Watch

Gill Race Watch

March 6, 2021

Had it for a few years now. Works well but the audible alarm could be a bit louder. Easy to use!

Bill Anderson

2 thoughts on “Gill Race Watch Review”

  1. Georgie MacDougall

    The Gill Race Watch looks the part for me. Unisex and stylish a necessity on the start line ! I am often asked
    If I have a watch for the start, my phone doesn’t suffice when ‘all hands are needed on deck’ !
    Will I be so lucky

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