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Model Spotlights, Rolex Watches

History of the Rolex Yacht-Master

The Rolex Yacht-Master is a relatively new model for the famous Swiss watch company, launching the first model (the 18k yellow gold 16628) in 1992. With its sporty features, this solid gold Rolex Yacht-Master became an instant success. More options were soon made available and Rolex subsequently produced a two-tone, stainless steal, and mid size Rolex Yacht-Master models.


Rolex Yacht-Master
Left: Model 16628 Yellow Gold
Middle: Model 16623 Yellow Gold & Steel
Right: Model 16622 Steel & Platinum


Yacht-Master Features

Primarily designed for sporting activities, the Rolex Yacht-Master is extremely durable and water submersible up to 30 feet.

Other features of the Rolex Yacht-Master include the 31-jewel chronometer Rolex movement and the special time-lapse Rolex bezel, a tool used to measure an elapsed amount of time in sports, such as sailing. This feature is also seen on other Rolex sport and diving watches so that a diver is able to measure the amount of air used or time that is spent under water.


Yacht-Master Aesthetics

Aside from its practical functions, the Rolex Yacht-Master is nothing short of stunning. Made and engineered by Rolex to work perfectly, one will not be unsatisfied to own the attractive and commanding Rolex Yacht-Master. The full-size men’s Yacht-Master is measured at 40mm, however, the time-lapse bezel is quite fat and gives the Yacht-Master a larger, heavier look. This aesthetic feature is also true of the 29mm Lady Yacht-Master and 35mm mid size; you definitely get a lot of bang for your buck with the Yacht-Master if you are looking for an “oversized” sport style watch.

Since 1992, there have been no major changes in design or mechanics for the Yacht-Master. The same 3135 automatic movement (or 2235 automatic movement in the Lady Yacht-Master) is used and the original aesthetics have stayed intact. The use of tritium on the dial markers have now been excluded and the eventual upgrade of inner bezel engraving in the late 2000s is the only significant change.


Rolex Yacht-Master 116622 Update

In 2012, Rolex introduced the “updated” design of the 40mm Yacht-Master. Tagged with the model number 116622, the Yacht-Master’s 904L stainless steel seems a bit heavier and more solid – giving this already large watch an even more oversized feeling. The most significant change is that the stainless steel version is now available with the blue sunray dial, whereas before the 16622 model was only available with the platinum dial. The new blue sunray dial has been well received and fits so well with the aesthetic and story of this watch. The 116622 is a welcome update for the Yacht-Master.



Rolex Yacht-Master 116622 Steel
photo courtesy of watchchest.com


Rolex Yacht-Master II History

In late 2007, Rolex introduced the Yacht-Master II and is only loosely based on its predecessor; sporting a massive 44mm case, an all-new 4161 automatic movement, and 90 degree rotatable ceramic Ring Command bezel. The Yacht-Master II was designed specifically with the professional sailor in mind. To provide synchronization at the starting sequence of a yacht race, this new model is a regatta chronograph and features the first ever programmable countdown with a mechanical memory.


Rolex Yacht-Master II 116688 Yellow Gold
photo courtesy of watchchest.com

4161 Automatic Movement

The calibre 4161 movements is the all-new, self-winding mechanical regatta chronograph spawned and manufactured by Rolex. This is the first movement to introduce a regatta countdown, designed to be used to countdown the time of a race’s starting procedure. The mechanism can be programmed to count down from 1 and 10 minutes; this process involves rotating the ceramic bezel, which is one of the first watches in the world to work in conjunction and linked with the movement.


Rolex Yacht-Master II 116689 White Gold
photo courtesy of watchchest.com


The Rolex Yacht-Master II is available in solid 18k yellow gold (model 116688), 18k white gold (model 116689), and 904L steel & 18k Everose gold (model 116681). The Yacht-Master II is waterproof to 10 meters and features a screw down triple-lock crown to ensure this water-resistance. The Oyster bracelet is fitted with a folding Oysterlock safety clasp and Easylink 5mm comfort extension link.


Rolex Yacht-Master II 116681 Everose Gold & Steel
photo courtesy of watchchest.com

Introduced in 2015: Rolex Yacht-Master 116655

Rolex introduced a stunning 18k Everose gold version of the Yacht-Master at the 2015 Baselworld. Available in 37mm and 40mm, this new model features the Cerachrom bezel in black ceramic with raised numerals and the new innovative Oysterflex bracelet fastened with the folding Oysterlock safety clasp. This sporty bracelet is bound to become a staple for the sport Rolex models, as it resembles a rubber strap but has the durability and resistance to that of a metal bracelet. This is a great alternative to a metal bracelet: Rolex boasts it’s more comfortable without neglecting aesthetics or reliability. I hope to see this outfitted on more models so that if you are wanting a rubber strap, you won’t be forced to always turn to aftermarket.

Still keeping true to the function of the Yacht-Master, it is waterproof to 100 meters with the Triplock waterproofness system and gorgeously sporty.


The New Rolex Yacht-Master 116655 on the Oysterflex Bracelet
screenshot from Rolex.com


While still a relatively new model for the Swiss watch company, Rolex has outdone myself by proving once again that these watches are truly for the professional in their industry or sport. The pinnacle movements and designs engineered by masters of their craft –  creating beautiful, functional art.

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1 Comment

  • Avatar
    Reply Mark VanSschuyver May 26, 2016 at 9:36 am

    Has the clap been updated on the new Model 16623 Yellow Gold & Steel Yacht Master. Is it now the same as the clasp on the platinum bezel all steel version?

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