Introduced in 1992, the Rolex Yacht-Master was the first professional model in the Oyster collection to come in three sizes… above all, however, it was the first Rolex specially designed for sailors.
Rolex and sailing
Rolex’s official connection with the world of sailing began in 1958 when it signed a sponsorship agreement with the New York Yacht Club (NYYC), which, together with the Royal Yacht Squadron (RYS) from Great Britain, was the driving force behind the oldest regatta in sailing – the America’s Cup. Today Rolex is a sponsor of some of the most prestigious regattas and sailing races in the world.
The Rolex Oyster was predestined as an instrument for navigation because of its precision and guaranteed watertightness. Sextant and a Rolex Oyster Perpetual Chronometer were important navigation instruments of the famous one-handed sailor Sir Francis Chichester. The Briton made sailing history in 1966/67 when he was the first to sail around the world on the fastest east-west route alone with his ketch “Gipsy Moth IV“.
Among other things his message became known “After the capsize in the Tasmansee needs die Gipsy Moth IV an overhaul, but the Rolex is still ticking away”
For a long time, the Rolex Submariner, which was actually designed as a diving watch, was regarded as the sailors’ favourite watch – no wonder, as it was known for its precision, coupled with its waterproof robustness. For 25 years, in addition to the coveted Cup, it was naturally presented as the winner of the legendary America’s Cup. Until a Rolex sail chronograph was constructed according to their model…
The Yacht-Master models
Although similar to the Rolex Submariner, the Yacht-Master (whose rotating bezel can be rotated on both sides, however) has been in a higher price range right from the start and was initially manufactured exclusively in a gold case. The first model from 1992 came in a 40 millimeter housing, followed in 1994 by two smaller versions with 35 and 29 mm housing diameters.
Over the years, various material variants of the Yacht-Master have of course been added, which are now only available in 40 and 37 mm housings. In 1999 it was introduced in “Rolesium”, Rolex’s own mix of stainless steel and platinum. With a price of 10 200 Euro, the Rolesium version of the current Yacht Master 37 is also the cheapest yacht master model.
At Baselworld 2015, Rolex presented the Yacht-Master in its most sporty form to date: the new Oysterflex strap and a black Cerachrom bezel. The price for the current Yacht Master 40, with Oysterflex strap and Everose gold case (see illustration above), was 21,650 Euro at its launch – meanwhile it is 22,700 Euro. Most recently, an exceptionally exclusive and colourful variant was presented at Baselworld 2017:
The Yacht-Master 40 is powered by the manufacture caliber 3135, which offers a power reserve of approx. 48 hours. The 37mm version of caliber 2236 has a power reserve of approx. 55h. Both Rolex plants are COSC certified and offer maximum precision and reliability.
In 2007, Rolex introduced the Yacht-Master 2, a professional regatta chronograph.
Equipped with the calibre 4161, which Rolex developed on the basis of the Daytona 4130 chronograph movement, the Yacht-Master 2 has an exclusive function developed by Rolex: an adjustable countdown with mechanical memory, which is easy to operate despite complicated technology and thus enables precise timing during the regatta.
Rolex recently presented a revised Yacht-Master 2 with improved dial and hands at Baselworld 2017. The cheapest version of the Yacht-Master 2, the stainless steel version, costs 17,000 Euro, while the white gold/platinum version costs 43,700 Euro.