Bursting onto the scene in 1992, the Rolex Yacht Master was designed seize upon the success of the brand’s first sailing watch, the Submariner. Whilst this initial release was focused on the rigors of sailing, acting more as a tool than a timekeeping device, the Yacht Master would be a more luxurious and aesthetically focused product.
In fact, the first Yacht Master model was a kind of fresh take on the Submariner, although the watch looks very similar to early styles of the highly successful Daytona. Key elements of the first Yacht Master included an etched bezel insert fixed to the bezel, big hands and maxi-markers as well as a more seamless, rounded shape.
With the Yacht Master, Rolex took gorgeous aesthetics and added their signature strength to the mix, making it water resistant to 100 meters. In addition, the first Yacht Master was crafted 18 ct gold whilst the 40mm size was much larger than usual, adding a lick of luxury to the piece.
Clearly, the idea of making the Yacht Master a luxury version of the more practical minded Submariner has been achieved with aplomb.
Different Rolex Yacht Master Styles
In 1994, Rolex released a smaller 35mm version of the now extremely popular Yacht Master. Rolex also created the 29mm female iteration of the Yacht Master that year, with Reference 69628. As well as an improved men’s 40mm version, these new products were the first Yacht Master watches to use the classic maxi-markers and big hands of the first version two years before. Once more, Rolex used only premium materials and precious metals for the new release, ensuring that the Yacht Master remained one of the most premium options on the market.
Little changed in the Yacht Master’s design until 2012 when the cobalt blue sunray dial was introduced to massive fanfare, with enthusiasts praising the introduction of more colour to the legendary line of watches.
These days the Yacht Master is as luxuriously athletic as ever, with the Oyster Perpetual Yacht Master a better representative of the indelible link between Rolex and sailing than perhaps any watch ever created. Available in 40mm, 35mm and 29mm variants, the Yacht Master uses mother of pearl blue dials that compliment the classic oversized hour markers and thick hands. Crafted from 18 ct gold or 950 platinum, the watch possesses a 60-minute graduated bezel that provides the ability to read sailing time.
With an innovative winding crown, Rolex’s patented Triplock technology, the watch pushes into the casing as so tight that Rolex named this the Oyster case, another famous patented technology from the brand. In addition, the Oyster bracelet is as safe and strong as any on the market, making accidental release a near impossibility whilst always looking sleek and luxurious on the wearer’s wrist. In addition, the current version of the watch is waterproof up to 300 metres, a vast improvement on past versions of the product.
The current version of the Yacht Master benefits from a blue Parachrom hairspring. So named because it is thinner than a single hair, it is created using a super strong paramagnetic alloy that utilises niobium and zirconium. Untouchable by magnets, the material is truly a game changer in terms of strength and shock resistance. Naturally, the Yacht Master uses Rolex’s cutting edge caliber 3135 self winding mechanical movement, an industry leader in the field.
The avant garde Parachrom hairspring is ideal for keeping the high technology capabilities of the watch ticking over in even the most rigorous of sailing conditions, whilst the use of a graduated bezel make the Yacht Master one of the most easily readable sailing time-keepers on the planet.