Eukaryotic genomes are replicated in a reproducible temporal order; however, the physiological significance is poorly understood. We compared replication timing in divergent yeast species and identified genomic features with conserved replication times. Histone genes were among the earliest replicating loci in all species. We specifically delayed the replication of HTA1-HTB1 and discovered that this halved the expression of these histone genes. Finally, we showed that histone and cell cycle genes in general are exempt from Rtt109-dependent dosage compensation, suggesting the existence of pathways excluding specific loci from dosage compensation mechanisms. Thus, we have uncovered one of the first physiological requirements for regulated replication time and demonstrated a direct link between replication timing and gene expression.