Rolex Yacht-Master 40 and 37: As per usual, every year speculation is rife about what Rolex will introduce and of course this year was no different, but just like previous years, everybody was way off the mark. Though this doesn’t mean that Rolex didn’t surprise us all. This year Rolex have introduced something a little different but is it a sign of things to come? Not only have they been experimenting with materials and different combination but also more subtle improvements have been made to the movements and as noted by fellow watch site Hodinkee in their extensive Rolex manufacture visit, this is not something they tend to announce too often. For me, the Yacht-Master has always been the more versatile sibling of the Submariner that I could never really quite take too – until now!
The new Rolex Oyster Perpetual Yacht-Master 40 and 37 is a somewhat risqué attempt from Rolex to freshen things up a little in the current Yacht-Master range and as you may have guessed from the names of these two timepieces the numerals denote the diameter of the timepiece in millimetres. As a first for Rolex, they’ve surprised us by using a rubber bracelet which they’ve dubbed the Oysterflex. It is an alternative strap to the usual Oyster bracelet and in doing so gives the Yacht-Master – as if it didn’t already have one, a much sportier look. Though it also plays a second role in giving it an almost customised look.
The new 18-carat Everose gold Yacht-Master features a new Cerachrom insert in black ceramic with polished raised numerals on a matte background. This finish creates a balanced contrast between the Everose gold case and the black Oysterflex bracelet, matte dial and Cerachrom bezel insert. The case of the Yacht-Master is of course guaranteed to a depth of 100 metres (330 feet). The centre case in crafted from a solid block of 18-carat Everose gold.
The Yacht-Master’s new Oysterflex bracelet, developed and patented by Rolex, offers a sporty alternative to metal bracelets without compromising robustness, waterproofness or reliability – it also features two inner spring-like rubber fins to aid comfort. The bracelet is attached to the watch case and the Oysterlock safety clasp by a flexible titanium and nickel alloy metal blade.
The use of material – high performance black elastomer – is resistant to environmental effects, thus making sure the strap remains black. So while it feels and looks like rubber it is in fact something new for Rolex. It was also interesting to learn that the Oysterflex strap cannot be adjusted, however, a precise Rolex measure is used to make sure the strap is tailored to fit your wrist perfectly.
The 40mm version of the Yacht-Master is equipped with the in-house self-winding caliber 3135 and the 37mm, with the caliber 2236, and like all Rolex movements, are chronometer certified and boast a power reserve of 55 hours. The caliber 3135 makes use of a blue Parachrom hairspring patented and manufactured by Rolex in an exclusive alloy, while the calibre 2236 is fitted with the new Rolex developed Syloxi hairspring in silicon introduced in 2014; offering greater resistance to magnetic fields, inherently making it more accurate. As you may be well aware by now, all current Rolex movements are COSC certified but Rolex themselves carry out further testing with the movements cased and simulate daily wear, with even stricter tolerances, making sure deviation is no more than +/- 2 seconds per day. I must say, it would be interesting to see if Rolex ever develop their own certification as other watch brands have done over the years?
Of course lovers of Rolex and collectors will immediately liken the new Yacht-Master to that of the bespoke Rolex brands and this by no means is a bad thing for Rolex. The Rolex bespoke market has been around for years and now Rolex themselves have decided to tap into that world – personally I like it, but of course the question is; will this new direction be accepted by Rolex aficionados and collectors alike?
The 18-carat Everose gold Yacht-Master 37 (ref. 268655) and 40 (ref. 116655) model, will retail for £14,750 and £16,650 respectively. For more information on the new Yacht-Master’s, visit the official Rolex website.