The Rolex design teams never intended to deliver us a new line when they set to work in the early 1990’s, but admirers of the Yacht-Master will be eternally grateful for the eventual result of what started out as a redesign of the Submariner. Rolex ultimately decided that the iconic Submariner was too sacrosanct to be updated with the new design, so decided to launch the Rolex Yacht-Master as a separate, more luxurious line instead.
In 1992, this distinctive new model, the Yacht-Master, was brought to market. Its striking similarities with the Rolex Submariner were clear for all to see. The Rolex Yacht-Master 16628 is a 40mm watch produced only in 18ct gold with a white dial, 3135 calibre movement and Triplock crown. Unlike the Submariner, the Yacht-Master is only waterproof to 100m, meaning it’s not aimed at divers, and instead marketed as a racing watch.
The success of the Yacht-Master saw Rolex introduce additional models to the range in 1994, with the 68628 35mm Rolex Yacht-Master midsize, and the 69628 29mm Rolex Yacht-Master ladies going into production. These were originally exclusively available in 18ct gold, but now options of a white or a blue dial are also available.
In 1999, Rolex introduced to us a stainless steel and platinum versions of the Rolex Yacht-Master, which they referred to as ‘Rolesium’. Rolesium is a term patented by Rolex in the early 1930s, and now has become exclusively aligned to the Yacht-Master. The case and bracelet of the Yacht-Master Rolesium are produced in 904L stainless steel, however the bezel itself is formed of 950 platinum. This unique combination could be found on models 16622 (40mm men’s), 168622 (35mm midsize), and 16922 (29mm ladies) watches.
Following on from the Rolesium models, the final addition to the Yacht-Master family was the two tone, steel and gold Rolex Yacht-Master ‘Rolesor’ 16623. This was available with a variety of dials including blue, white, mother of pearl, champagne, brown and silver.
Current Rolex Yacht-Master Overview
Currently, there are six models produced in the Rolex Yacht-Master range. These are made up of two different material options, in three different sizes, as follows: -
Men’s 40mm Rolex Yacht-Master Rolesium (Stainless Steel and Platinum) – 116622
Men’s 40mm Rolex Yacht-Master Rolesor (Stainless Steel and Gold) – 116623
Midsize 35mm Rolex Yacht-Master Rolesium (Stainless Steel and Platinum) – 168622
Midsize 35mm Rolex Yacht-Master Rolesor (Stainless Steel and Gold) – 168623
Ladies 29mm Rolex Yacht-Master Rolesium (Stainless Steel and Platinum) – 169622
Ladies 29mm Rolex Yacht-Master Rolesor (Stainless Steel and Gold) – 169623
All Rolex Yacht-Masters in the series feature a bi directional bezel. This is designed to measure elapsed time between two points (for example between two buoys in a Yacht race). They also all have the Triplock Winding Crown system, guaranteeing the watches to be waterproof to a depth of 100 meters. They also all come within an Oyster case, and sit on the Rolex Oyster bracelet (with an Oysterlock folding clasp and the easy-link comfort extension link). This allows a simple adjustment of 5mm on the bracelet. Each has the blue Parachrom hairspring, which has been developed to be insensitive to magnetic fields and highly shock-resistant, ensuring the ongoing durability and accuracy of the timepiece.
The 40mm versions of the Rolex Yacht-Master feature the calibre 3135 movement, whilst the 35mm and 29mm Rolex Yacht-Masters feature the calibre 2235 movement. Both are mechanical self-winding movements and are certified Swiss Chronometers by the COSC.
With the original Rolex Yacht-Master origins being born out of a relation to a diving watch in the Rolex Submariner, there was little if any distinct functionality that related it to the Yachting world. In 2007 though, with the introduction of the Rolex Yacht-Master II, this all changed. The all new Rolex Yacht-Master II featured Rolex’s patented ‘Ring Command’ system with a 90 degree rotatable ceramic bezel.
This feature enables the setting of a regatta countdown period of up to 10 minutes. In yachting, you are given a countdown timer of up to 10 minutes before a starting gun sounds. Once this starting gun sounds, the racers are allowed to cross the starting line. The countdown functionality of the Rolex Yacht-Master II countdown timer can be synced with the starting gun countdown to enable the racer to manoeuvre their vessel into the best possible position, ready to cross the line as soon as possible after the starting gun sounds.
The initial release in 2007 saw the Yacht-Master II become only available in as a gold watch, available in either 18ct yellow gold (116688) or in 18ct white gold with Platinum bezel (116689). Other additions to the range came in 2011, with the Rolex Yacht-Master II 116681 Stainless Steel & Everose gold. Finally, the set was complete in 2013, with the addition of the Yacht-Master II 116680 stainless steel version.
Below are all Rolex Yacht-Master II watches which are still in production:
Rolex Yacht-Master II 18ct Yellow Gold – 116688
Rolex Yacht-Master II 18ct White Gold, with Platinum Bezel – 116689
Rolex Yacht-Master II Stainless Steel & 18ct Everose Gold – 116681
Rolex Yacht-Master II Stainless Steel – 116680
The Yacht-Master II is noted for its size, at a significant 44mm across all models. Although earlier models contained a calibre 4160 movement, this has now been updated to the similar calibre 4161 movement. Both movements support the Yacht-Master’s unique ring command complication with a 90 degree rotatable bezel 10 minute countdown. As with the original Rolex Yacht-Master, all Yacht-Master II’s have the Triplock Winding Crown system, guaranteeing the watches to be waterproof to a depth of 100 meters. They all come within an Oyster case, on the Rolex Oyster bracelet, with an Oysterlock folding clasp and the easy-link comfort extension link. Each also come complete with the blue Parachrom hairspring, as with the original Rolex Yacht-Master.
16622, 16623, 16628, 18622, 68623, 68628, 69623, 69628, 166233, 168622, 168623, 168628, 169622, 169623, 169628
116680, 116681, 116688, 116689
A wide range of Rolex Yacht-Master models are available at Global Watch Shop. You can view all that we have available by visiting our dedicated section.