As per usual, every year speculation is rife about what Rolex will introduce and this year was no different. The Yacht-Master has always been the more versatile sibling of the Submariner, in my humble opinion, and has never been a piece of interest to me – until a few years ago when Rolex introduced the new 37mm and 40mm models on an Oysterflex bracelet, which is not rubber but acts and feels like said material.
This year Rolex introduced the new 42mm Yacht-Master, though at a glance of said piece, you may be forgiven for thinking it isn’t a new watch – to be honest when I first saw it at Baselworld this year I didn’t think it was new until it was presented to us during our meeting. Rolex did surprise us a few years back when they first introduced this bracelet which looks like rubber but isn’t rubber, named the Oysterflex. It’s an alternative strap to the usual Oyster bracelet and gives the Yacht-Master – as if it didn’t already have one – a much sportier look.
The new 18-carat white gold Yacht-Master features a Cerachrom insert in black ceramic with polished raised numerals on a matte background. This finish creates a balanced contrast between the white-gold case and the black Oysterflex bracelet, as well as the black matte dial and Cerachrom bezel insert. The centre case in crafted from a solid block of 18-carat white-gold and is guaranteed to a depth of 100 metres (330 feet).
The Yacht-Master’s 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 directly to the watch case and the Oysterlock safety clasp by a flexible titanium and nickel alloy metal blade, that has been coated in a high performance black elastomer – that is resistant to environmental effects, thus making sure the strap remains black. So, while it feels and looks like rubber, Rolex have made sure it has better longevity than said material. That said, it is important to note 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 (something note too dissimilar from the Aquanaut).
The 42mm Yacht-Master is equipped with the in-house self-winding calibre 3235 and like all of Rolex movements, is chronometer certified and boast a power reserve of 70 hours. The calibre 3235 makes use of a blue Parachrom hairspring patented and manufactured by Rolex in an exclusive alloy, as well as a Chronergy escapement, which offers 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?
The new 42mm 18-carat white-gold Yacht-Master, retails for £21,400. For more information on the new 42mm Yacht-Master, visit the official Rolex website.