The Rolex Yacht-Master was first introduced in 1992, a development of the Sumariner: it has the same sort of aesthetics, but it is not a diving watch, and so it has a bidirectional bezel, and a water resistance of 100 metres. As the name suggests, its theoretical audience is for yachtsmen rather than divers.
The new references presented at Baselworld 2015 have a couple of important developments. They are 40 and 37-mm watches, in Everose gold and black. They have straps that look and feel like rubber, but in actual fact are made with a titanium blade core coated in synthetic elastomer. This system provides the durability and toughness of metal, above all where the strap connects to the lugs, with the comfort and flexibility of rubber. The strap is made in a range of sizes, and the Rolex retailer measures the customer’s wrist and chooses the correct strap accordingly. The bezel is in satin and bright ceramic, and, for the first time for the Yacht-Master, it matches the dial colour. The Yacht-Master is now made with the same superlative chronometric performance as the other new models introduced this year, with the usual COSC chronometer certification performed on the movements, and then additional testing performed by Rolex on the case-up watches to guarantee a precision of +2/-2 secs/day, a precision double that of the COSC parameters.
Case and dial
The new Yacht-Master has an Oyster case in polished 18 ct Everose gold, with a bidirectional rotating bezel fitted with a Cerachrom insert in black ceramic with polished raised numerals on a matt background. The bezel can therefore be used to approximately measure elapsed times or countdowns. The dial is matt black, so matching the bezel, the first time for the Yacht-Master. Hands and hour markers are coated with Chromalight luminescent material that emits a blue glow: according to Rolex, this proprietary material keeps glowing in the dark for as many hours as it was exposed to sunlight, and has a longer functional life with respect to SuperLuminova. The case has all the characteristics of the Oyster: waterproof to a depth of 100 metres, a middle case continuous with the crown guard machined from a solid block of Everose gold. The crown has the Triplock triple waterproofness system, and it screws down against the case. The watchglass in sapphire has a Cyclops lens at 3 o’clock for easy date reading. The screw-down caseback has Rolex fluting so that it can be opened only by authorized Rolex watch repairers with the right tool.
The 40 mm Yacht-Master is powered by the calibre 3135, and the 37 mm version has the calibre 2236. Both are automatic, entirely developed in-house. They are chronometer-certified by COSC. The balance spring of the 3135 is in blue Parachrom,while the calibre 2236 has the Syloxi silicon hairspring introduced in 2014, with better anti-magnetic properties. Power reserve is about 48 hours.
References and prices
Rolex Oyster Perpetual Yacht-Master, 40 mm version, reference 116655, £16,750 circa.
37 mm version, reference 268655, £14,750 circa.