The Watch Of The Open Seas: History Of The Rolex Yacht-Master

Rolex Yacht-Master 42 White Gold 226629

Instagram: @rolex

In the year 1992, Swiss watchmaker Rolex would debut a new model line at the Baselworld show that was strikingly similar to the already-popular Submariner. It featured the same 40mm Oyster case with a rotating bezel, the same chronometer-certified caliber, and the same Oyster bracelet.

Seemingly the only difference between the two was the white dial of that first Yacht-Master, a style which has never been an option on a Sub, and the inferior depth rating of 100m when compared to the Sub’s 300m.

Yet, the Yacht-Master was well-received upon launch, and with the passing of time, the yachting-inspired model has evolved and pioneered its own path within Rolex’s catalog.

Read on with us as we go back to the beginning and track the catalysts that paved the way for the most recent Yacht-Master release, the Yacht-Master 42 (226659), to become one of the hottest sports timepieces of the year.


History Of The Rolex Yacht-Master

We’ve broken down our overview of the Yacht-Master into the following segments:

  • Release Of The Yacht-Master

The Submariner/Yacht-Master Theory

  • Mid-Size & Ladies’ Yacht-Master
  • Platinum (Rolesium) Yacht-Master

The Maxi Dial Yacht-Master

  • Two-Tone Rolesor Yacht-Master

The Yacht-Master II

  • Six-Digit Yacht-Master

The Oysterflex Yacht-Master

Keep scrolling to read this guide from its beginning, or use the links above to jump down to a specific point.


Browse Bob’s Watches Rolex Catalogue

The Release Of The Yacht-Master

The first Yacht-Master watch was launched in 1992 under reference number 16628. It featured a yellow gold case, a bidirectional graduated bezel, and a matching full-gold Oyster bracelet. Its dial was white with black hour indices, while at center were gold Mercedes hands, and beating inside was the 3135 movement.

Rolex Yacht-Master 16628 Yellow Gold

Rolex ref. 16628. Instagram: @m_j_watches

Previous to the Yacht-Master’s introduction, Rolex had not released a new model line in a quarter century. So, why did they go with the Yacht-Master, a design that risked being a detractor from their existing Submariner? Let’s take a look at the inspiration.

The sport of yachting is one which demands precise timing and extreme coordination of the entire crew for optimal performance, particularly in offshore competitions.

Vintage Rolex Daytona Yacht-Master Prototype

Prototype Daytona Yacht-Master ref. 6239. Image: Christies.com

Rolex believed their waterproof and chronometer-grade timepieces to be more than qualified to handle the knocks of a regatta and keep ticking accurately. The brand is also notorious for their marketing prowess, which led them to act quickly in establishing an association with the sport.

Beginning in 1958 with their first sponsorship of a race, the relationship has endured until today, when the brand sponsors over a dozen international yachting events.

Nevertheless, it’s hard to deny that there exists a large gap between first contact in 1958 and the release of the yacht-inspired timepiece in the early ’90s. Why wasn’t the Yacht-Master released earlier on?

Well, Rolex played around with the idea of yachting chronograph early on, though it never materialized. All that’s left of these trials are an extremely limited number of Daytona ref. 6239 chronograph prototypes with a 39mm case (vs standard 36mm) and modified regatta dials.

Unfortunately, the Yacht-Master concept was scrapped and would not reappear until decades later.

Rolex Submariner With Date Window

When it did return, none of the previous Yacht-Master’s DNA was there. Furthermore, the 1992 Yacht-Master was bizarrely similar to the 16610 Sub of the time.

Interestingly enough, Rolex folklore tells of a time in the ’80s when the brand sought to update their Submariner . What resulted was less of an update and more of an overhaul, manifested as what we know now as the first Yacht-Master.

Apprehensive of the repercussions that making such aggressive design changes to their staple offering could bring, the brand chose instead to release the watch intended to be a new Submariner as the reborn Yacht-Master instead.

The move worked, and the new Yacht-Masters started flying off the shelves. The Yacht-Master was perceived as a more luxurious Sub, though its bidirectional bezel proved useful for on-the-fly countdowns which are critical in sailing competitions. The waterproof nature of the Oyster case further cemented the Yacht-Master as the ideal first mate.

Mid-Size & Ladies’ Yacht-Master

In 1994, just two years after the debut of the 16628, Rolex would introduce the same design but in smaller case sizes. These were:

  • Ref. 68628: Yacht-Master “Mid-Size” in 35mm
  • Ref. 69628: Yacht-Master Ladies’ in 29mm

This marked the first time that Rolex ever offered one of their sports models in a smaller case size; all previous instances of case size changes were increases as opposed to reductions. It has been speculated that the smaller cases were intended for the Asian market.

Rolex Yacht-Master Yellow Gold 16628

Yacht-Master ref. 16628. Instagram: @thewatchcentre

In the same year, Rolex also offered the same 16628 but this time with a deep blue dial. Blue dials tend to make for broadly-liked watches, and coupled with the gold case and bracelet, the new version was once again a hit.

The Platinum (Rolesium) Yacht-Master

The next update to the model line would come in 1999 with yet another home-run: the Rolesium Yacht-Master. The new watch featured a stainless steel case and bracelet with a platinum dial and platinum-insert bezel. Rolesium, a term registered by Rolex back in the ’30s for a combination of steel and platinum in a watch, was finally put to use.

The new platinum Yacht-Master ref. 16622 was not only more accessible than the previous all-gold varieties, it was also more versatile. This would lead the 16622 variety to become the face of the Yacht-Master line.

In fact, many online resources erroneously label it the first Yacht-Master ever; this should offer an idea of how emblematic it is in the watch industry.

The 16622 also presented a new dial and hand style that would mark Rolex as a whole through to the modern day. The new Yacht-Master boasted what is now recognized as the “maxi dial”.

Yellow Gold Rolex Yacht-Master Blue Dial 16628

Rolex Yacht-Master 16628 w/ maxi dial. Instagram: @kellokonttori

The maxi dial is characterized by oversized hour indices as well as larger hands at center. To the untrained eye, the difference may be difficult to spot, though experienced collectors will note the change instantly.

The maxi dial became the style of choice for all modern Rolex sports watches, though it got its start in the 1999 platinum Yacht-Master. A Submariner would first feature a maxi dial in 2003, with the release of the 50th anniversary Rolex Submariner “Kermit” (16610LV).

All versions of the Yacht-Master produced after the introduction of the maxi dial would also feature the new dial design. This included the blue, gold, and white dial versions from years past.

The Two-Tone (Rolesor) Yacht-Master

Six years after the Rolesium Yacht-Master came to be, Rolex would once more put on display their mixed-metal Rolesor style in the two-tone Yacht-Master 16623.

Two-Tone Rolex Yacht-Master Blue Dial 16823

Yacht-Master ref. 16623. Instagram: @v.davidofftimepieces

The 2005 debuts possessed a 40mm steel case, a yellow gold bidirectional bezel, and a two-tone Oyster bracelet. As far as dials, many of the previous styles were also available like the black-on-white, though mother of pearl version were also introduced.

It was during Baselworld 2007 when Rolex would introduce the Yacht-Master’s younger and much larger sibling, the Yacht-Master II. Whereas the original Yacht-Master was very close functionally to the Sub, the Yacht-Master II was completely the opposite.

It can be said that the only overlap between the YM and the YMII is be the name, as the second iteration looks like a whole new watch. This time, though, it’s clear that the watch has been designed with the needs of yachting professionals in mind.

Rolex Yacht-Master II In Yellow Gold

The first Yacht-Master II were marked by a 44mm Oyster case, an Oyster bracelet, a white dial,  and a blue Cerachrom (ceramic) Ring Command bezel. The first two references, 116688 and 116689, were made of yellow gold and white gold, respectively.

Powering the YMII was another innovation – Rolex’s in-house calibre 4161. It features the COSC-chronometer certification and 72-hour power reserve that are today’s standard, though they were industry-leading at the time. Most notable, though, was the 4161 movement’s functions.

The new caliber boasted a “ programmable countdown with mechanical memory and on-the-fly synchronization. ” Naturally, the programming of the movement required the use of the Ring Command bezel, a feature which had also never been encountered on a Rolex watch before.

In later years, Rolex would go on to release Rolesor and full-steel versions of the Yacht-Master II, both of which have been relatively successful. The Yacht-Master II has certainly earned a spot in the brand’s catalog, and is sure to stick around for next couple of decades.

The Six-Digit Yacht-Master

Rolex Yacht-Master 116622 Cobalt Blue Dial j

Yacht-Master 116622

Twenty years after it debuted as the 16628, the Yacht-Master would see in 2012 the modernization that had been sweeping Rolex’s other model families.

Aside from receiving a new six-digit reference number (116622), subtle aesthetic changes were also present, as was an outstanding new dial option – the Cobalt Blue dial.

The case was now a “super case”, which retained the 40mm diameter but was styled differently. The bezel was now completely platinum, where previous versions were made of steel with a platinum insert. The Oyster bracelet had likewise been upgraded.

A platinum bezel / platinum dial option was still part of the collection and therefore received the same upgrades. Unfortunately, this iconic “albino” look would be completely discontinued in 2017.

The subsequent and most recent significant change to the Yacht-Master family took place in 2015, when Rolex first introduced the Everose Yacht-Master 40 ref. 116655.

Rolex Everose Yacht-Master On Oysterflex Bracelet

Rolex Everose Yacht-Master on Oysterflex bracelet

The newest iteration of the YM possessed some new features. The case was made of Everose, and the bezel now boasted a black Cerachrom insert. Securing the watch to the wrist was another Rolex first – the Oysterflex rubber ‘bracelet’.

Before the 116655, no Rolex watch had ever sported a rubber band. The brand still refers to it as a bracelet given the metal elements within the band, but these are not obvious even with the watch in the hand.

This same style of Yacht-Master would receive the next update in 2019, when Rolex introduced the Yacht-Master 42 in white gold.

What’s Next?

With the recent changes that the Yacht-Master line has had, it is clear that Rolex intends to keep this model family alive and well for years to come. Consumers are likewise responding to each new release, offering plenty of feedback with their pocketbooks.

If you’d like to read up on any of Rolex’s other model families, make sure to check out some of our extensive watch guides below:

  • History Of The Rolex Cosmograph Daytona
  • Overview Of The Most Luxurious Pilot’s Watch: The GMT-Master
  • How Did The Day-Date Become The President’s Watch?
  • Review Of Rolex’s Longest Running Watch Model
  • Rolex Watches That Could Become The Investment Of A Lifetime
"I have always been a fan of the Yacht-Master, but I had no idea that it didn't exist until the 1990s. Thanks for the information, and thanks for keeping it entertaining. Well done!"

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what is a yacht master watch


Light and robust, the new Yacht-Master 42, in RLX titanium, is the ally of those who revel in freedom. Especially suited to the demands and pressures of competitive sailing, it delivers exceptional performance.

Rolex is presenting a new version of the Oyster Perpetual Yacht-Master 42. This nautical watch is introduced for the first time in RLX titanium – a particularly strong but lightweight alloy – and is fitted on an Oyster bracelet. The new version stands out for its technical satin finish – a satin finish with a visible grain, a feature of Rolex watches in RLX titanium – which extends to the middle case sides, the edges of the bracelet links and the sides of the clasp cover. The chamfered top edges of the middle case lugs have a high-sheen finish, while the crown guard is polished. With its bidirectional rotatable bezel fitted with a Cerachrom insert in matt black ceramic featuring raised and polished numerals and graduations, the Yacht-Master 42 in RLX titanium remains faithful to the aesthetics of the original model, unveiled in 2019. It is graced with an intense black dial in a fine satin finish, and its Oyster bracelet is equipped with the Easylink comfort extension link. The new version of the Yacht-Master 42 is equipped with calibre 3235, a movement at the forefront of watchmaking technology, enabling it to display the date as well as the hours, minutes and seconds. Like all Rolex watches, the Oyster Perpetual Yacht-Master 42 carries the Superlative Chronometer certification, which ensures excellent performance on the wrist.

what is a yacht master watch

THE CALL OF THE OPEN SEAS Launched in 1992, the Yacht-Master was designed specifically for navigators and skippers. Embodying the rich heritage that has bound Rolex and the world of sailing since the 1950s, this Professional-category watch provides a perfect blend of functionality and nautical style, making it equally at home on and off the water. An emblematic nautical timepiece, it is easily recognized by its bidirectional rotatable 60-minute graduated bezel made entirely from precious metal or fitted with a Cerachrom insert in high-technology ceramic.

Oyster Perpetual Yacht-Master 42 — ©Rolex/JVA Studios

RLX TITANIUM  RLX titanium is a grade 5 titanium alloy specially selected by Rolex. Like all titanium alloys, it is especially lightweight and is noted for its mechanical strength and corrosion resistance. Another characteristic of RLX titanium is the possibility of working it to give a polished or satin finish according to the brand’s specifications. Its high mechanical strength makes it complex to work with, and the decision to use it has required the introduction of special production processes.

Oyster Perpetual Yacht-Master 42 — ©Rolex/Ulysse Frechelin

HIGH-TECHNOLOGY CERAMIC Rolex played a pioneering role in the development of special ceramics for creating monobloc bezels and bezel inserts. Not only are these materials virtually scratchproof, their colours are also of a rare intensity and are resistant to environmental effects. In addition, thanks to its chemical composition, the high-tech ceramic is inert and cannot corrode. Rolex has developed exclusive expertise and innovative manufacturing methods that grant it complete independence in the production of these ceramic components. On the new version of the Yacht-Master 42, the bidirectional rotatable bezel is fitted with a 60-minute graduated Cerachrom insert in matt black ceramic. Its raised graduations and numerals are first moulded into the ceramic and then polished. The first 15 minutes are graduated minute-by-minute to allow time intervals to be read with great precision. The bezel can also be turned with ease thanks to its knurled edge, which offers excellent grip.

Oyster Perpetual Yacht-Master 42 — ©Rolex/Ulysse Frechelin

OYSTER CASE, SYMBOL OF WATERPROOFNESS  A paragon of robustness and reliability, the 42 mm Oyster case of the new Yacht-Master 42 is guaranteed waterproof to a depth of 100 metres (330 feet). The middle case is crafted from a solid block of RLX titanium. Its case back, edged with fine fluting, is hermetically screwed down with a special tool that allows only Rolex watchmakers to access the movement. The Triplock winding crown, fitted with a triple waterproofness system and protected by an integral crown guard, screws down securely against the case. The crystal, which features a Cyclops lens at 3 o’clock for easy reading of the date, is made of virtually scratchproof sapphire and benefits from an anti-reflective coating. The waterproof Oyster case provides optimal protection for the movement it houses. 

Oyster Perpetual Yacht-Master 42 — ©Rolex/Ulysse Frechelin

PERPETUAL CALIBRE 3235  The new version of the Yacht-Master 42 is equipped with calibre 3235, a movement entirely developed and manufactured by Rolex that was released in 2015 and has been fitted on this model since its launch in 2019. A distillation of technology, this self-winding mechanical movement delivers outstanding performance in terms of precision, power reserve, convenience and reliability.   Calibre 3235 incorporates the patented Chronergy escapement, which combines high energy efficiency with great dependability. Made of nickel-phosphorus, this escapement is resistant to strong magnetic fields. The movement is fitted with a blue Parachrom hairspring, manufactured by Rolex in a paramagnetic alloy. The hairspring offers great stability in the face of temperature variations as well as high resistance to shocks. It is equipped with a Rolex overcoil, ensuring the calibre’s regularity in any position. The oscillator is mounted on the Rolex-designed, patented high-performance Paraflex shock absorbers, increasing the movement’s shock resistance. The oscillating weight is now fitted with an optimized ball bearing. Calibre 3235 is equipped with a self-winding system via a Perpetual rotor. Thanks to its barrel architecture and the escapement’s superior efficiency, the power reserve of calibre 3235 extends to approximately 70 hours. 

OYSTER BRACELET AND OYSTERLOCK SAFETY CLASP  The new version of the Yacht-Master 42, made from RLX titanium, is fitted on an Oyster bracelet. Developed at the end of the 1930s, this three-piece link bracelet remains the most universal in the Oyster Perpetual collection and is known for its robustness. The Oyster bracelet of this new version of the Yacht-Master 42 features the Oysterlock folding safety clasp, which prevents accidental opening. It is also equipped with the Easylink comfort extension link, developed by Rolex, which allows the wearer to easily adjust the bracelet length by approximately 5 mm. The Oyster bracelet in RLX titanium also includes patented ceramic inserts – designed by the brand – inside the links to enhance its flexibility on the wrist and its longevity.

Oyster Perpetual Yacht-Master 42 — ©Rolex/Ulysse Frechelin

SUPERLATIVE CHRONOMETER CERTIFICATION Like all Rolex watches, the Oyster Perpetual Yacht-Master 42 is covered by the Superlative Chronometer certification redefined by Rolex in 2015. This designation testifies that every watch leaving the brand’s workshops has successfully undergone a series of tests conducted by Rolex in its own laboratories according to its own criteria, following the official certification of the movements by the Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute (COSC). The in-house certification tests apply to the fully assembled watch, after casing the movement, guaranteeing superlative performance on the wrist in terms of precision, power reserve, waterproofness and self-winding. The precision of a Rolex Superlative Chronometer is of the order of −2 /+2 seconds per day – the rate deviation tolerated by the brand for a finished watch is significantly smaller than that accepted by COSC for official certification of the movement alone. The Superlative Chronometer status is symbolized by the green seal that comes with every Rolex watch and is coupled with an international five-year guarantee.

Oyster Perpetual Yacht-Master II, 42mm, RLX titanium

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Overview of the Rolex Yacht-Master and Yacht-Master II

The Rolex Yacht-Master range encapsulates luxury and precision in a line of nautically inspired timepieces. Introduced in 1992, this Rolex watch borrows heavily from the Submariner series. The original Yacht-Master- the ref. 16628 with a 40mm Yellow Gold case, Cyclops lens over the date, triple lock crown, and Oyster bracelet- was modeled after the first ever Submariner- ref. 16610- which has a 40mm stainless steel case.

They both used the Caliber 3135 movement!

The tool watch gained traction with time, coming in various case, material, and bracelet options, as we shall see shortly. It’s no wonder it’s among Rolex’s most varied pieces in the Professional series.

Meanwhile, Rolex introduced the Yacht-Master II more than a decade later in 2007. It’s a watch tailored to the needs of professional sailors with its innovative regatta chronograph. 

Housed in a more robust 44mm Oyster case, it leveraged Rolex’s expertise in precision and functionality, offering a programmable countdown with mechanical memory for yacht racing. Distinguishing itself from its predecessor, it brought a new level of technical sophistication to the yachting world.

Design Characteristics

The Yacht-Master line portrays the typical design layout of Rolex sports watches, with an Oyster case (that’s water-resistant to 100m), a Twin-lock winding crown on the side of the case for setting the time and date and winding the movement manually, lume-filled Mercedes-style hands and hour markers, and a date function at three o’clock that’s amplified by a Cyclops magnifier lens on the crystal.

On the other hand, the Yacht-Master II takes on a more daring design, featuring a larger Oyster case (water-resistant to 100m) with a Triplock winding crown and chronograph pushers for operating the regatta chronograph, a busier dial with a programmable countdown feature (1 to 10 minutes), and a special Ring Command bezel that’s also present in Rolex’s Sky-Dweller collection .

Interestingly, the Yacht-Master II and Sky-Dweller are some of Rolex’s most complicated watches for now.

Rolex Yacht-Master in different case size (37mm, 40mm, 42mm)

The Yacht-Master comes in various case options, namely 29mm (discontinued), 35mm (discontinued), 37mm (Rolex Yacht-Master ref. 268621), 40mm (Rolex Yacht-Master ref. 126622), and 42mm (Rolex Yacht-Master Oysterflex ref. 226659).

In terms of materials, Rolex has utilized several precious metals in the collection:

  • Yellow Gold
  • Stainless steel and Yellow Gold (Yellow Rolesor)
  • Stainless steel with a Platinum bezel (Rolesium)
  • Everose Gold (a patented proprietary Rose Gold alloy)
  • Stainless steel and Everose Gold (Everose Rolesor)

In contrast, the Yacht-Master II is only available in a 44mm case size. It’s available in fewer material alternatives:

  • Stainless steel with a blue ceramic Cerachrom bezel
  • Stainless steel and Everose Gold with a blue ceramic Cerachrom bezel
  • White Gold with a Platinum bezel (discontinued)
  • Yellow gold with a blue Cerachrom bezel


Rolex Yacht-Master bezel

The two watches have a bidirectional rotatable bezel that’s integral for tracking sailing time intervals. The difference comes in their designs.

The Yacht-Master has a bezel crafted from gold or platinum. This rotating bezel has raised numerals and 60-minute graduations. Plus, it operates independently from the watch’s inner mechanism.

The Yacht-Master offers a more noticeable Ring Command bezel with the ‘YACHT-MASTER II’ inscription and molded 1-10 numerals in varying colors depending on the materials used. The Yacht-Master II’s bezel is connected to the movement, and its wearers use it to operate the regatta chronograph function.

The watches’ dials are well-suited for their respective purposes. 

Rolex Yacht-Master

The Yacht-Master has a simpler dial design, with Mercedes-style hands and round/triangle/rectangle or gem-set hour markers. Rolex has used several luminous materials on these excellent luxury watches over the years:

  • SuperLumiNova
  • Chromalight

Rolex Yacht-Master II

The Yacht-Master II has a more detailed and functional dial with slimmer hands decorated with Chromalight lume, a red arrow-tipped hand, a central chronograph hand, square-shaped hour markers, a countdown function with mechanical memory that gracefully curves from 8 to 4 o’clock, and a running seconds subdial at 6 o’clock.

The red arrow-tipped hand shows how much time is left in the countdown. Meanwhile, the central chronograph hand can fly back or fly forward to its starting position while in motion, and the countdown function allows skippers to sync it on the fly to match the official race countdown (it’s the first in the world, BTW).

Note: The Yacht-Master II had square hour markers and straight baton-shaped hands from 2007 to 2017. 

2017 welcomed several changes: an inverted triangle at 12 o’clock, a rectangular hour marker at six o’clock, and a Mercedes-style hour hand to offer more lume and enable easier differentiation from the minute hand.

Bracelets and Clasps

Rolex Yacht-Master watch with oyster and oysterflex strap

Rolex equips the Yacht-Master with Oyster and Oysterflex bracelets. The three-piece Oyster offers classic luxury and sturdy comfort and is finished with a high polish or brushed look. It also has a secure Folding Oysterlock safety clasp with Rolex Glidelock extension system that ensures the watch remains fastened around the wrist.

As for the Oysterflex bracelet , it’s a black strap crafted from a flexible Titanium and nickel alloy metal blade at its core and is clad in a high-density elastomer. It also boasts a tiered design that raises the timepiece away from the wrist and a Folding Oysterlock safety clasp with Rolex Glidelock extension system.

The YachtMaster II also features an Oyster bracelet, typically equipped with the Rolex Glidelock system, allowing fine adjustments and reflecting its more technical and sporty heritage.

Caliber Comparison

The Rolex Yacht-Master lineup features various movements, with the Yacht-Master 37mm housing a self-winding Caliber 2236 movement, the same movement used in Datejust 36 and Datejust 41 timepieces . It has 31 jewels, a 55-hour power reserve, and a 28,800vph frequency. 

Meanwhile, the 40mm and 42mm watches utilize the Caliber 3235, a well-respected automatic movement recognized for its reliability. This 31-jewel movement operates at 28,800 vibrations per hour (vph) and offers a power reserve of approximately 70 hours. 

In contrast, the Yacht-Master II is equipped with the self-winding Caliber 4161, a chronograph movement specifically developed for this model’s unique regatta countdown function. It has 48 jewels, a 72-hour power reserve, and a 28,800vph frequency.

Technical Details at a Glance

The following table highlights the specifications of both watches discussed above and more:

29mm (discontinued), 35mm (discontinued), 37mm, 40mm, 42mm 44mm
Yellow Gold, Stainless Steel and Yellow Gold (Yellow Rolesor), Stainless Steel with a Platinum bezel (Rolesium), Everose Gold, White Gold, Stainless Steel and Everose Gold (Everose Rolesor)Stainless Steel with a blue ceramic Cerachrom bezel, Stainless Steel and Everose Gold with a blue ceramic Cerachrom bezel, White Gold with Platinum bezel (discontinued), Yellow Gold with a blue Cerachrom bezel
Elapsed Time Bezel, Date, Time with Running SecondsProgrammable Countdown Timer with Mechanical Memory and Flyback/Fly-Forward Functionality, Time with Running Seconds
Bidirectional, Ceramic/Gold/Platinum with 60-Minute ScaleRing Command, 950 Platinum or Nautical Blue Cerachrom with 10-Minute Countdown Scale
Multiple Options, with Luminous Mercedes-Style Hands and Round/Triangle/Rectangle or Gem-Set Hour MarkersWhite, with Baton-Shaped/Mercedes-Style Hands and Square-Shaped Hour Markers
SuperLumiNova, Tritium, Luminova,ChromalightChromalight
Flat, Sapphire, with a Cyclops Magnifier Lens at 3 o’clockFlat, Sapphire
Self-winding Caliber 2236 and 3235 MovementsSelf-winding Caliber 4161 Chronograph Movement
Oyster, Black OysterflexOyster

When comparing the Rolex Yacht-Master and the Yacht-Master II, consumers frequently have questions regarding their differences, pricing, availability, and rarity. The following subsections aim to address these common inquiries.

Terrific in Titanium: The Rolex Yacht-Master 42 Ref. 226627 

Published by samuel colchamiro.

View all posts by Samuel Colchamiro

Rolex doesn’t have much of a reputation for innovation. While many brands push modern designs and flashy novelties, the crown is the master of incremental changes, tweaking its designs every few years in a slow, continuous act of refinement. That said, when Rolex does do something out of the ordinary, as was the case with the new Yacht-Master 42 reference 226627 , it really makes a splash. At first glance just another run of the mill Rolex sport watch, this 42mm 2023 release added the second all- titanium model to the Rolex collection. Let’s take a closer look!


The Rolex Yacht-Master debuted in 1992 as something of a modernized Submariner. Believed to originally have been intended as merely an update to the Submariner, it quickly became clear that the Yacht-Master deserved to be its own model with its own distinct personality. A luxurious, precious metal variant of the classic Submariner tool watch, the Yacht-Master had a unique identity and quickly became a popular staple in the collection. The updated look featured an insert that was permanently affixed to the bezel (as opposed to the floating insert found on the Submariner), the handset was wider, the dial had maxi style indexes, and of course, precious metal was standard.

Since then, the Yacht-Master collection has expanded to include a number of additional references. In 1994, Rolex added a midsize 35mm variant as well as a lady’s 29mm piece. In 2015, Rolex added an Everose gold model paired with an Oysterflex rubber strap, and in 2019, Rolex debuted the modern Yacht-Master, resized to 42mm with an Oysterflex strap. However today, we are talking about the most recent news in the Yacht-Master department, the 42mm titanium Yacht-Master that made its debut in 2023. As its first mass-market titanium watch (yes the Deepsea Challenge came first, but that was a super limited niche piece), the watch was a real surprise coming from the normally conservative brand. 

what is a yacht master watch

Design Details

Beyond the case and bracelet material, this Yacht-Master was designed to remind you of the precious metal Yacht-Masters that Rolex has produced the last few years. This watch features the maxi dial, rounded edges, and overall luxurious feel that the model is known for, and yet, it is a very different animal. The matte look of the brushed titanium paired with a matte black ceramic bezel, black dial, and white lume plots fuse to create a stealth presence on the wrist. The more muted tones of the bezel compared with, say, a Submariner, really set this piece apart. 


While the aesthetics help set the stage for this watch, the feel on the wrist tells a slightly different story. Whereas a 42mm Rolex should be a substantial piece on the wrist, this titanium variant weighs a mere 100 grams – which is a blessing or a curse depending on who you ask. If you’re looking for the reassuring heft of a luxury sports watch, this may not be for you. If, on the other hand, you find a heavy watch imposing or uncomfortable, there is finally an option for you from a brand that hasn’t historically offered much in the way of lightweight pieces (sure, Rolex has the Deepsea Challenge, but few wrists are capable of wielding that thing). 

The bracelet on this watch is the classic Oyster style that we have come to know and love from Rolex, meaning that there’s nothing particularly aggressive or polarizing about the execution. If appreciate titanium, you are going to like this watch quite a bit.


Alongside the other recent releases from Rolex (a Daytona with an exhibition caseback, puzzle and emoji dial Day-Dates, bright colored OPs, etc), a titanium model actually seems fairly subdued. Maybe this is because, as an industry, we are adjusting to a more adventurous Rolex than we were historically used to. Interesting to imagine what else might be in the pipeline…


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Inner Workings

The ref. 226627 Yacht-Master is powered by Rolex’s automatic-winding caliber 3235 movement. The 3235 was introduced in 2015 as Rolex’s updated automatic winding movement with a date and came with an elongated 70-hour power reserve alongside other improvements including a longer mainspring and thinner barrel walls. The movement is accurate within +/- 2 seconds per day and is generally regarded as one of the most robust and easiest to service in the industry. The movement is much higher tech than previous calibers from Rolex and came as a welcome upgrade that brought Rolex watches in line with the standard longer power reserve that is now the norm in the industry. 


Versus the Competition 

There are a number of alternatives to the Titanium Yacht-Master that you should consider if you’re in the market. While the Yacht-Master was originally intended to be a more luxurious model from Rolex, in titanium, it has a much sportier presence. Those seeking the more luxurious feel would likely gravitate towards one of the precious metal variants, like any of the the yellow, rose, or white gold 42mm Yacht-Master’s Rolex offers. Additionally, the brand has a number of special exotic dial variants, including a tiger’s eye Yacht Master that is worth a look. 

what is a yacht master watch

If you are searching for a more affordable titanium diver, the Tudor Pelagos 39 is quite difficult to beat. For a fraction of the price, you gain access to the lightweight tool watch club. The Pelagos is one of Tudor’s most popular watches today and brings all the capabilities of a hardcore diver without breaking the bank. 

what is a yacht master watch

Finally, I’d recommend the hardest core diver that Rolex has produced in a long time, the Deepsea Challenge . Also fashioned from titanium, this monstrous piece supplies a depth rating of not one meter less than 11,000. There’s something reassuring about knowing that you will die long before your watch will. The Deepsea Challenge was Rolex’s first series-produced titanium watch and, coupled with its impressive specs, it makes for a really unique piece that pays tribute to the brand’s origins as a maker of bulletproof tool watches.

what is a yacht master watch


I picture the Ref. 226627 as a weekend warrior. Titanium is a relatively soft material, but the natural oxidation of the surface over time makes small scratches essentially disappear. This unique quality offers a degree of comfort that you don’t necessarily have with other, “shinier” Rolex models. Additionally, this piece has a casual, non-ostentatious appearance to it. The bezel is matte finished rather than high gloss ceramic; the titanium has a robust, utilitarian gray hue to it that stainless steel lacks; the maxi markers look stronger and less delicate. These aesthetic choices add up to a look and feel that is reassuring on the wrist. There’s little concern for how the piece will hold up and it’s clearly a watch that you can put on and forget about. 


Final Thoughts

The ref. 226627 Rolex Yacht-Master is many things. On the one hand, it’s part of the brand’s luxurious diver model family. On the other hand, it’s a titanium diver that packs a 100 meter water resistance and a James Bond, Jason Bourne-esque persona. Rolex as a brand is truly the master of logical paradoxes (luxury tool watches anyone?). A purpose built tool that is constructed with refinement and luxury as core priorities shouldn’t work. And yet, as Rolex has shown time and time again, it does, and effortlessly so. The Rolex Yacht-Master in titanium is just the latest in the brand’s longstanding tradition for crafting luxurious tool watches that deserve a place in your watch roll. 

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A buying guide to most popular Rolex Yacht-Master Models

what is a yacht master watch

Guide To Popular Rolex Yacht-Master Models

Rolex debuted the Yacht-Master watch in 1992 as a luxury sports watch crafted in precious gold yet durable enough for an active life at sea. The nautical-inspired Rolex watch featured a rotating timing bezel, a water-resistance rating of 100 meters, and a time and date dial. The Yacht-Master shared many design traits with the famed Submariner watch—such as a similar dial layout, case silhouette, and bracelet style—but it was a touch more luxurious thanks to its own set of design details. Over the course of its history, the Rolex Yacht-Master collection has expanded into a varied lineup with watches offered in several sizes, materials, and colors. Here’s a guide to some of the most popular Rolex Yacht-Master watches, ranging from discontinued models to current-production ones.

Where it all began:

The very first Yacht-Master model that Rolex released was a full yellow gold version. It sported a 40mm yellow gold case, a yellow gold rotating bezel with raised numerals, and a yellow gold three-link Oyster bracelet. Two years later in 1994, Rolex followed it up with two other yellow gold models—a ladies’ 29mm version and a midsize 35mm version. While Rolex no longer produces full yellow gold Yacht-Master models, they remain popular in the secondary market.

what is a yacht master watch

In 2015, Rolex introduced the very first Everose gold (the brand’s own rose gold pink alloy) Yacht-Master. However, rather than a full gold model, the Everose gold Yacht-Master models (available in 40mm and 37mm) included black ceramic bezels with raised numerals and a brand new black rubber-clad metal band called the Oysterflex bracelet. Dial options include sleek black and lavish diamond-paved. It’s also worth mentioning that there are some rare Everose gold Yacht-Master 40 models furnished with rotating bezels set with multi-colored precious gems (diamond, sapphire, and tsavorite). 

what is a yacht master watch

Here is a flamboyant version of it of the Everose gold Yacht-Master 40:

what is a yacht master watch

Finally, in 2019, Rolex released the first white gold Yacht-Master watch. Not only is this the only white gold Yacht-Master model ever made, but with its 42mm case, it is also the largest. 

Similar to the Everose gold model, the white gold Yacht-Master is fitted with a black ceramic bezel and black Oysterflex bracelet, along with a black dial. 

Prices (current collection):

  • Everose Gold Yacht-Master 37 ref. 268655: $23,250 - 41,000
  • Everose Gold Yacht-Master 40 ref. 126655: $27,300 – 47,150
  • White Gold Yacht-Master 40 ref. 226659: $28,900

what is a yacht master watch

Rolesium Rolex Yacht-Master Models

In 1999, Rolex presented a new metal combination the brand called Rolesium, which brings together stainless steel and platinum on one watch. Like the yellow gold models, the Rolesium Yacht-Master models were offered in 40mm, 35mm, and 29mm versions. 

what is a yacht master watch

Regardless of the size, all the watches include stainless steel cases, stainless steel Oyster bracelets, and platinum rotating bezels with raised numerals. Particular popular versions of the Rolesium Yacht-Master watches are those with sandblasted platinum dials—although discontinued, these platinum dial Yacht-Masters are still widely available in the pre-owned market. 

Currently, Rolex still makes steel and platinum Yacht-Master watches. However, size options have been scaled down to 40mm and 37mm since Rolex stopped making 29mm or 35mm versions of the Yacht-Master around 2015. The Rolesium Yacht-Master 40 offers the choice between a rhodium gray or a blue dial while the Rolesium Yacht-Master 37 only comes with a rhodium gray dial. 

Prices (current collection): 

  • Rolesium Yacht-Master 37 ref. 268622: $11,250
  • Rolesium Yacht-Master 40 ref. 126622: $12,000

what is a yacht master watch

Rolesor Rolex Yacht-Master Models

Rolesor is the term Rolex gives to its models that mix gold and steel details—better known as two-tone watches. The first two-tone Yacht-Master watches, which featured steel cases topped with yellow gold bezels and steel Oyster bracelets with yellow gold center links, were launched in the mid-1990s. However, Rolesor Yacht-Master watches were first only offered in midsize (35mm) and ladies (29mm) sizes. The men’s 40mm two-tone yellow gold and stainless steel Yacht-Master joined the lineup in the early 2000s. Rolex stopped making yellow gold and steel Yacht-Master models a few years back but the brand has replaced them with another Rolesor option—two-tone Everose gold and steel ones. The current-production two-tone Yacht-Master models include stainless steel cases topped with Everose gold bezels and stainless steel Oyster bracelets with Everose gold center links. The Everose Rolesor models are available with 40mm or 37mm cases and both sizes offer the option between a black or brown dial. 

  • Everose Rolesor Yacht-Master 37 ref. 268621: $13,150 
  • Everose Rolesor Yacht-Master 40 ref. 126621: $14,500

what is a yacht master watch

In less than three decades, the Yacht-Master has grown to become Rolex’s most diverse sports watch collection, offering a vast assortment of sizes and styles for both men and women. From the discontinued models to the current-production ones, the Yacht-Master’s distinct combination of luxury and robustness has paved the way for its enduring popularity.

Find out more:

To find out more about which Rolex hold their value you can read more of our guides where we cover all Rolex Nicknames or our classic guide to the Day Date models and our comparision with their sister brand: Rolex vs Tudor .

Subscribe our newsletter for more news related content and find our quick comparitive guides to help you decide which watch you should buy next:

Breitling vs Rolex

Cartier vs Rolex

Audemars Piguet vs Rolex

Tag Hurer vs Rolex

what is a yacht master watch

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Rolex Yacht-Master

  • Yacht-Master
  • Yacht-Master II
  • Rolex 16622
  • Rolex 168622
  • $7,000 to $10,000
  • $10,000 to $15,000
  • $15,000 to $20,000
  • Stainless Steel
  • Yellow Gold
  • 2010 to Present

Rolex Yacht-Master 116681

  • $ 24,495 Buy
  • Get Quote Sell

Rolex Yacht-Master 16622 Platinum Bezel

  • $ 9,195 Buy

Rolex Yacht-Master 126655 18k Everose Gold

  • $ 29,795 Buy

Rolex Yacht-Master II Ref 116680 White Dial

  • $ 21,295 Buy

Pre-owned Rolex Yacht-Master II ref 116680 Stainless Steel

  • $ 21,995 Buy

Pre-Owned Rolex Yacht-Master 268621 Steel & Everose Gold

  • $ 13,595 Buy

Rolex Yacht-Master 126655 18k Everose Gold on Oysterflex Strap

  • $ 29,995 Buy

Pre-Owned Rolex Yacht-Master 126655

  • $ 29,595 Buy

Pre-Owned Rolex Yacht-Master 16628

  • $ 21,495 Buy

Rolex Yacht-Master 169622 Stainless Steel and Platinum

  • $ 7,495 Buy

Rolex Yacht-Master 116622 Dark Rhodium

  • $ 13,995 Buy

Pre-Owned Rolex Yacht-Master II Ref 116680

  • $ 21,595 Buy

Rolex Yacht-Master 169623 Blue Dial

  • $ 8,495 Buy

Rolex Yacht-Master 116622

  • $ 13,295 Buy

Rolex Yacht-Master 226658 Yellow Gold

  • $ 31,995 Buy

Rolex Yacht-Master 268622

  • $ 12,795 Buy

Platinum Rolex Yachtmaster 16622

  • $ 31,495 Buy

Rolex Yacht-Master 35MM 168622 Platinum

  • $ 8,595 Buy

Rolex Yacht-Master 116655 Black Oysterflex Band

  • $ 26,295 Buy

Used Rolex Yacht-Master 268621

  • $ 13,495 Buy

Rolex Yacht-Master 116655 Everose Gold

  • $ 25,995 Buy

Rolex Yacht-Master 268622 Slate Dial

  • $ 12,295 Buy

Pre-Owned Rolex Yacht-Master 268655 Everose Gold

  • $ 23,495 Buy

Rolex Yacht-Master 268621 Steel & Everose

Cash wire prices shown. Prices may be higher if other payment methods are selected.*

The Rolex Yacht-Master made its debut in 1992, designed specifically for sailors and yachting enthusiasts. With its unique features and striking appearance, the Yacht-Master quickly became a symbol of excellence in the sailing world. Over the years, Rolex has continued to refine and improve the Yacht-Master, introducing new materials, sizes, and complications to meet the evolving needs of sailors and watch aficionados alike. To learn more about the fascinating history of this iconic timepiece, explore our in-depth article on the Rolex Yacht-Master history .

Rolex Yacht-Master Features

The Rolex Yacht-Master boasts an impressive array of features that set it apart from other luxury watches. Our Rolex Yacht-Master review dives into the details that make the Yacht-Master a true icon in the world of horology.

At the heart of the Yacht-Master lies a self-winding mechanical movement, ensuring precise and reliable timekeeping. The Rolex Yacht-Master movement is certified as a Superlative Chronometer, undergoing rigorous testing to guarantee its accuracy and performance. With its rigorous testing and certification, the Rolex Yacht-Master movement stands as a pinnacle of horological excellence, meeting the demands of both luxury and performance.

The Yacht-Master features a distinctive bidirectional rotatable bezel, which allows sailors to measure elapsed time and synchronize with regatta starting times. The Rolex Yacht-Master bezel is crafted from precious metals or Cerachrom, Rolex's proprietary ceramic material, offering durability and resistance to scratches and fading. Crafted from premium materials such as precious metals or Rolex's innovative Cerachrom ceramic, the Yacht-Master bezel not only ensures durability but also maintains its pristine appearance over time, making it a hallmark of both function and luxury.

Whether opting for a more understated or commanding presence, there's a Yacht-Master size to complement every individual style and comfort level. The Rolex Yacht-Master size is available in a range to suit different preferences and wrist sizes:

  • Diameter: The Rolex Yacht-Master diameter comes in 37mm, 40mm, and 42mm options 
  • Dimensions: The Rolex Yacht-Master dimensions vary based on the model 
  • Lug to Lug: The Rolex Yacht-Master lug to lug distance is proportional to the case size 
  • Lug Width: The Rolex Yacht-Master lug width is compatible with various strap options 

Complementing its sophisticated design, the Yacht-Master presents a selection of Rolex Yacht-Master band options, ranging from classic Oyster bracelets to supple rubber straps, providing both versatility and refinement to match any occasion or personal style preference. The Yacht-Master offers several Rolex Yacht-Master band options to complement its elegant design:

  • Bracelet: Oyster and Oysterflex Rolex Yacht-Master bracelet options provide comfort and durability 
  • Leather Band: A Rolex Yacht-Master leather band is a sophisticated choice for a more formal look 
  • Rubber Strap: A Rolex Yacht-Master rubber strap is ideal for water activities and a sporty aesthetic 
  • NATO Strap: A Rolex Yacht-Master NATO strap is a versatile and trendy option for a casual style 

The Rolex Yacht-Master dial is available in various colors, including white, black, champagne, and mother-of-pearl. Embodying both style and functionality, the Rolex Yacht-Master dial ensures effortless readability in any environment. The dial features luminescent hands and hour markers for optimal legibility in any lighting condition.

Water Resistance

With a Rolex Yacht-Master water resistance of 100 meters (330 feet), the watch is suitable for swimming, snorkeling, and other water activities. Yacht-Master's water resistance adds to its allure as a trusted companion for seaside escapades. Whether cruising the waves or lounging by the pool, this timepiece combines elegance with durability, ensuring style and functionality in every aquatic endeavor. However, it is not recommended for deep-sea diving.

Yacht-Master Rolex Price

Investing in Excellence The price range for Yacht-Master models varies depending on factors such as size, materials, and complications. Pre-owned Rolex Yacht-Master watches offer an excellent opportunity to own a piece of horological history at a more accessible price point. When considering a Yacht-Master, it's essential to familiarize yourself with the Rolex Yacht-Master model numbers, as they can provide valuable information about the watch's features and production year.

disc. = discontinued

Prices (Approx.)
268655 $41,500 $23,495
268622 $11,500 $12,795
268621 $14,350 $13,595
226659 $30,500 $29,995
226658 N/A $31,995
226627 $14,050 N/A
169628 disc. $13,995
169623 disc. $8,495
169622 disc. $7,495
168628 disc. $12,995
168623 disc. $5,995
168622 disc. $8,595
126655 $28,800 $29,995
126622 $12,300 $14,495
126621 $15,850 $14,595
116655 disc. $26,295
116622 disc. $13,995
116621 disc. $12,595
69628 disc. $11,995
69623 disc. $4,595
68628 disc. $9,995
68623 disc. $7,995
16628 disc. $21,495
16623 disc. $10,595
16622 disc. $8,495

Rolex Yacht-Master Models

The Rolex Yacht-Master collection offers a range of models to suit different tastes and preferences. Let's explore the main Yacht-Master models:

Yacht-Master 37

The Yacht-Master 37 is the smallest model in the collection, perfect for those with smaller wrists or those who prefer a more understated look. Ideal for those seeking a more petite option without compromising on performance, the Yacht-Master 37 offers a perfect blend of elegance and functionality in a compact design. Despite its smaller size, the Yacht-Master 37 retains all the impressive features and functionality of its larger counterparts.

Yacht-Master 40

The Yacht-Master 40 is the quintessential model in the collection, offering a balance between presence and wearability. This model is available in a variety of materials, including stainless steel, yellow gold, white gold, and Everose gold, allowing you to choose the perfect combination to suit your style. Whether navigating the open seas or enjoying a leisurely day onshore, this timepiece embodies the spirit of adventure with elegance and ease.

Yacht-Master 42

Crafted with precision and attention to detail, the Yacht-Master 42 combines luxurious aesthetics with rugged durability, embodying the spirit of adventure on both land and sea. As the largest model in the Yacht-Master collection, the Yacht-Master 42 makes a bold statement on the wrist. With its increased size, the Yacht-Master 42 offers enhanced legibility and a more substantial presence, ideal for those who prefer a more prominent timepiece.

Popular Rolex Yacht-Master Comparisons

When considering a Rolex Yacht-Master, it's natural to compare it with other popular Rolex models and even watches from other luxury brands. Comparing the Rolex serial numbers can also be a helpful way to understand the differences between various models. Let's look at some common comparisons:

Rolex Yacht-Master vs. Submariner

When comparing the Rolex Yacht-Master vs Submariner , both are nautical-inspired watches, but the Submariner is designed primarily for diving, while the Yacht-Master is tailored to the needs of sailors and yachting enthusiasts. Both the Yacht-Master and Submariner exemplify Rolex's commitment to excellence in both form and function, offering impeccable performance and timeless style.

Rolex Yacht-Master vs. Yacht-Master II

In the comparison of the Rolex Yacht-Master vs Yacht-Master II , the Yacht-Master II is a more complex timepiece, featuring a programmable countdown with a mechanical memory and on-the-fly synchronization. The Yacht-Master, on the other hand, is a more straightforward and versatile watch, suitable for both on and off the water.

Rolex Yacht-Master vs. Sea-Dweller

When looking at the Rolex Yacht-Master vs Sea-Dweller, the Sea-Dweller is a professional diving watch with a water resistance of up to 4,000 feet (1,220 meters), while the Yacht-Master is designed for sailing and water activities with a water resistance of up to 330 feet (100 meters).

Rolex Yacht-Master vs. Omega Seamaster

When comparing luxury watch brands, the Omega vs. Rolex debate often arises. While both brands offer exceptional timepieces, the Rolex Yacht-Master and the Omega Seamaster cater to different preferences and styles. Ultimately, the choice between the Yacht-Master and Seamaster comes down to personal preference, with Rolex appealing to those who value tradition and prestige, while Omega appeals to enthusiasts seeking innovation and versatility.

Expert Opinion

"The Rolex Yacht-Master is a striking maritime watch that combines high style and functionality in a single package. The collection features a resilient waterproof case, a clean and legible dial, and a rotatable bezel with 60-minute graduations. With its innovative design and phenomenal performance, the Rolex Yacht-Master is a prime investment for anyone looking for a top-of-the-line luxury watch."

- Paul Altieri, Founder and CEO of Bob's Watches


Nathaniel g..

"I had wanted a Yacht-Master for as long as I could remember, but could never justify the high price of buying new. Once I realized that buying pre-owned might be a smarter option, I searched around the internet, but only Bob's Watches made me feel comfortable with making such a large purchase online. I understood their business model, and past customers' reviews were very positive. The prices were competitive as well, and rivaled those of less-trustworthy dealers. Once I made my choice, there was a slight hiccup in the process to wire funds, but when I called in, the problem was quickly resolved.

I received my watch a few days later, and it looked stunning. When the site says "mint condition," it means it! Bob's was also able to tell me when the watch was last serviced, which (in combination with the one-year warranty) gives me peace-of-mind. As I look to expand my collection of watches, I'm sure I'll be a repeat customer of Bob's Watches."

Review originally published on Trustpilot

"I have been shopping for the Rolex Yachtmaster for the better part of a year. I visited multiple jewelers & brokers in my area. Either they were of poor condition or over priced. Then I found Bobs Watches. The staff was expeditious and courteous. They sent me new photos of the watch upon request with no hesitation. The service, price, and condition of the watch was without compare. I am now a lifelong customer of Bobs Watches, I cannot imagine buying from any other source."

Review originally published on Google

Sell Your Rolex

Unlock the value of your treasured timepiece by selling your Rolex with Bob's Watches. Our expert team handles each watch with utmost care and professionalism. With our seamless and trusted process, we ensure your experience is top-notch. Parting with your luxury watch becomes as effortless and rewarding as the moments it has tracked for you. Get started today by visiting our Sell Rolex watch page.

Why Choose Us

Bob's Watches is a trusted and established purveyor of pre-owned Rolex watches with decades of experience. We promise a 100% satisfaction guarantee, ensuring that customers are fully satisfied with their purchase or they can return it for a full refund. With a team of specialists who authenticate and examine each watch, and fair pricing on a large inventory of models, Bob's Watches is a reliable option for those looking to buy a pre-owned Rolex watch.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a good rolex yacht-master alternative.

While the Yacht-Master is a unique timepiece, some alternatives include the Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra and the Panerai Luminor Yachts Challenge.

How to set date on Rolex Yacht-Master?

To set the date on your Yacht-Master, pull the crown out to the first notch and turn it clockwise until the correct date appears in the window.

How to tell if Rolex Yacht-Master is real?

To ensure the authenticity of your Yacht-Master, it's essential to purchase from a reputable dealer and familiarize yourself with the watch's features. Our guide on how to spot a fake Rolex can help you identify potential red flags.

How to wind a Rolex Yacht-Master?

To wind your Yacht-Master, unscrew the crown and turn it clockwise about 30 times. This will fully wind the mainspring and ensure optimal performance.

Is Rolex Yacht-Master a good investment?

Rolex watches, including the Yacht-Master, have a strong history of holding their value and even appreciating over time, making them a solid investment for watch enthusiasts.

Is Rolex Yacht-Master waterproof?

The Yacht-Master is water-resistant up to 100 meters (330 feet), suitable for swimming and snorkeling but not recommended for deep-sea diving.

Is Rolex Yacht-Master hard to get?

The availability of the Yacht-Master can vary depending on the specific model and demand. Some models may be more readily available than others, but working with a trusted dealer like Bob's Watches can help you find your perfect Yacht-Master.

What is the wait time for a Rolex Yacht-Master?

Wait times for a Yacht-Master can vary depending on the model and availability. However, purchasing a pre-owned Yacht-Master from Bob's Watches can often reduce wait times and provide more immediate access to your desired timepiece.

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How to Set and Use the Rolex Yacht-Master II

Rolex Yacht-Master II ref 116681

Regatta races are an exciting way to test your sailing ability. The Rolex Yacht-Master II has a countdown timer so you can time your regatta race.

Not only does it look fantastic, but its highly specialized functions are powered by one of the most impressive movements Rolex has released to date. Using these functions though can be a frustrating and complicated path.

While there are number of steps to the process, Rolex designed it to be quick and simple once you get to know it.

With this guide, you’ll learn how to set the Rolex Yacht-Master II for a regatta, as well as how to use it during the race.

What is a regatta watch?

First of all, what is a regatta watch? The Rolex Yacht-Master II’s countdown timer is used to time events that involve boats or other competitive pursuits, such as sailing races, chariot races, and even football matches.

The goal of these events is to get from point A to point B in the fastest amount of time possible. To do this, teams will use the count-down timer on their watches to measure their progress and determine whether they should increase their speed or slow down if they are falling behind.

You’re probably wondering why you would need a watch with such an advanced feature if you aren’t partaking in regatta activities yourself. Well, there are plenty of instances where having the ability to time something accurately can be useful. Even everyday tasks like boiling your eggs perfectly or recording the length of timeouts count! The possibilities are endless.

How to Set your Countdown Timer on a Rolex Yacht-Master II

The countdown timer on the Rolex Yacht-Master II is an elegant and useful feature. You’ll need to set it up though before the beginning of the regatta to start the countdown at the appropriate time.

To set the countdown timer:

1. The timer needs to have stopped. If it is still going, push the upper pusher on the right hand side of the dial/case to stop the timer.

2. Once the timer is stopped, you need to turn the bezel to the left, or counterclockwise, a quarter turn. It will stop at a quarter as that’s as far as it can go, and it will click into place for you.

3. Push the bottom pusher on the right hand side of your case. When you push this button, it will stay pushed down. This bounces the second hand to zero or the 12 o’clock mark. The minute hand will also return itself back to wherever you previously had it set. Having the lower pusher depressed blocks you from pressing the upper pusher.

4. Unlock the crown by turning it counterclockwise. The crown is the center knob at the 3 o’clock position on the right hand side of your case. Turn the crown clockwise setting it to the minute that you need.

5. Once you’ve set the duration of your preferred countdown, you’re going to return to the bezel. Turn the bezel this time in a clockwise direction until the click, or a quarter turn. This action unlocks the upper pusher and lets go of the lower one.

6. Push your crown back in and rotate it clockwise until it locks. This ensures that your watch keeps its water resistance.

How to Use the Countdown Timer on your Rolex Yacht-Master II

The countdown timer on the Yacht-Master II is used to display how much time has passed in a race (or other endeavors). Many people use this feature when they’re tracking their own races, but it’s also useful for non-sporting activities.

Here’s how to use it:

1. Your top or upper pusher starts and stops your countdown. This is similar to other traditional Rolex complications like what you’d find on the Daytona . The lower pusher resets the timer.

2. The difference with the Yacht-Master from other chronograph watches is that you can jump forward or backward to the closest minute with a one touch to the lower button. There’s no need to reset the counter, wasting valuable time in a race.

3. To use the fly-back or fly-forward functions mentioned above, while the timer is running, give one quick press to the lower pusher. The timer resets itself to the closest minute while still running. This allows you to instantly start measuring the next duration, with no time lost.

Timing a Regatta Race using the Rolex Yacht-Master II

Ok, so your timer is set, and you know how to run it, but what are you supposed to do with it during a regatta race?

Regatta Racing (photo: Rolex)

1. If you’re unfamiliar with why you need a timer in a regatta, this isn’t unusual. A gun and a wave of a flag signal the countdown to the start of the race. When you see or hear this, then press the top pusher that starts the timer. If you did your job, your timer was set at the needed number of minutes ahead of time. At this point, the second hand is tracking the elapsed time since you started. The minutes hand will move every 60 seconds tracking the time until it hits the finish or zero. End of a countdown.

The Rolex Yacht-Master II in Steel and Everose Gold (photo: Rolex)

2. There may be a point where you’ll have to pause and resync your timer. You’ll want it to maintain sync with the official clock. Being on-time is important in a regatta. This is easy to accomplish. When you hear the second or third prep signals, the official ones, press the lower pusher. This resets the second hand back to the beginning, or zero, synchronizing the minute hand back to the closest minute, thus syncing with the official clock.

3. At this point, the race has begun. Your personal countdown has finished and you’re off. Now you can restart your timer by pressing the top pusher to stop it and then the bottom pusher to reset it to the last programmed setting.

How to Use Your Rolex Yacht-Master II: Final Thoughts

Now you know how to use your Rolex Yacht-Master II in a regatta race. It’s a great watch that will make timing your races much easier and more accurate. Better yet, use your timer for anything you need a countdown for.

On the market for a Rolex Yacht-Master? Check out our wide selection of Rolex Yacht-Master watches at SwissWatchExpo.com.

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Roger Federer Just Rocked One of Rolex’s Coolest Sports Watches

what is a yacht master watch

By Oren Hartov

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Earlier this week, at the New York premiere of his new documentary Federer: Twelve Final Days , tennis icon and Rolex testimonee Roger Federer strapped on the Yacht-Master II ref. 226627—a watch so lightweight that I feared, upon first handling it in Geneva last year, that I might crush it, thus owing Rolex corporate headquarters a check for $14,050 (plus tax).

The ref. 226627 was not Rolex’s first titanium watch—that distinction belongs to the 50mm-wise Deepsea Challenge , which was seemingly designed for James Cameron to wear while plumbing the depths of the Atlantic for sunken ocean liners. The Yacht-Master II, on the other hand, is arguably more exciting: Measuring a more comfortable 42mm wide, it was first spotted on the wrist of skipper (and fellow Rolex testimonee) Sir Ben Aislney back in the fall of 2021. No longer a prototype and now a full production model, it’s crafted from Grade 5 RLX titanium and is available for purchase. ( Theoretically, at least. )

Roger Federer attends the Federer Twelve Final Days Premiere during the 2024 Tribeca Festival

What makes this Submariner-esque watch different from, well, a Submariner ? The two are admittedly similar in design, with a few key differences: There’s the RXL titanium case, of course, but then there’s also the 42mm sizing (as opposed to 41mm on the Sub); a bidirectional timing bezel with a sand-blasted Cerachrom insert (instead of the Sub’s unidirectional dive bezel); the date window (which is only seen on Submariner Date models); and the matching, RLX titanium Oyster bracelet with Oysterlock folding clasp and Easylink comfort extension. (The Sub doesn’t have an available titanium bracelet.)

Other than that, both the Submariner Date and the Yacht-Master II are powered by Rolex’s automatic Calibre 3235 movement with 70 hours of power reserve, and both are made for aquatic use. The Sub, however, is a diver’s watch rated to 300m of water resistance; the Yacht-Master II, on the other hand, is made for sailing and is water resistant to 100m—still respectable, to be sure, but best kept to the deck of a cutting-edge racing craft.

Seeing the Yacht-Master II on Federer’s wrist is more fun than notable—it looks perfectly at home when paired with his dark suit at the photocall, though it's a distinctly sporty piece made to be used and abused. Being a Rolex testimonee, of course, Federer has been spotted in just about every notable Crown offering over the past few years, from the Le Mans Daytona to the Sky-Dweller in precious metals and more. (The man pulls off a dressy 1908 with black tie beautifully, but let’s be real—this is a brand famed for its sport watches, and we’re talking about one of the world’s most renowned athletes.) Having cycled through many of the brand’s most compelling offerings, the only remaining pertinent question is: How do we get Fed into a “Leopard” Daytona ?

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.css-120orm1{font-weight:700;font-size:clamp(1.875rem, 1.25rem + 1.5625vw, 3.125rem);line-height:1.2;margin-bottom:1rem;line-height:1.1;} Yacht-Master 42 .css-18uwo57{font-size:clamp(1.125rem, 1.0625rem + 0.1563vw, 1.25rem);line-height:1.6;font-weight:300;line-height:1.2;text-wrap:balance;}.css-18uwo57 span{display:block;} Oyster, 42 mm, white gold Reference 226659

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Staying on course

The Oyster Perpetual Yacht-Master 42 in 18 ct white gold with a black dial and an Oysterflex bracelet.

The oysterflex bracelet, highly resistant and durable.

The Yacht-Master’s new Oysterflex bracelet, developed by Rolex and patented, offers a sporty alternative to metal bracelets. The bracelet attaches to the watch case and the Oysterlock safety clasp by a flexible titanium and nickel alloy metal blade.

The blade is overmoulded with high-performance black elastomer which is particularly resistant to environmental effects, very durable and perfectly inert for the wearer of the watch. For enhanced comfort, the inside of the Oysterflex bracelet is equipped with a patented longitudinal cushion system that stabilizes the watch on the wrist and fitted with an 18 ct white gold Oysterlock safety clasp. It also features the Rolex Glidelock extension system, designed by the brand and patented. This inventive toothed mechanism, integrated beneath the clasp, allows fine adjustment of the bracelet length by some 15 mm in increments of approximately 2.5 mm, without the use of tools.

18 ct white gold

Commitment to excellence

By operating its own exclusive foundry, Rolex has the unrivalled ability to cast the highest quality 18 ct gold alloys. According to the proportion of silver, copper, platinum or palladium added, different types of 18 ct gold are obtained: yellow, pink or white.

They are made with only the purest metals and meticulously inspected in an in-house laboratory with state-of-the-art equipment, before the gold is formed and shaped with the same painstaking attention to quality. Rolex's commitment to excellence begins at the source.

Bidirectional Rotatable Bezel

Timing the distance.

The Yacht-Master’s bidirectional rotatable 60-minute graduated bezel is made entirely from precious metals or fitted with a Cerachrom insert in high-tech ceramic. The raised polished numerals and graduations stand out clearly against a matt, sand-blasted background.

This functional bezel – which allows the wearer to calculate, for example, the sailing time between two buoys – is also a key component in the model’s distinctive visual identity.

Exceptional legibility

Like all Rolex Professional watches, the Yacht-Master 42 offers exceptional legibility in all circumstances, and especially in the dark, thanks to its Chromalight display.

The broad hands and hour markers in simple shapes – triangles, circles, rectangles – are filled with a luminescent material emitting a long-lasting glow.

More Yacht-Master technical details

Reference   226659

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Oyster, 42 mm, white gold

Oyster architecture

Monobloc middle case, screw-down case back and winding crown

Bidirectional rotatable 60-minute graduated bezel with matt black Cerachrom insert in ceramic, polished raised numerals and graduations

Winding crown

Screw-down, Triplock triple waterproofness system

Scratch-resistant sapphire, Cyclops lens over the date

Water resistance

Waterproof to 100 metres / 330 feet

Perpetual, mechanical, self-winding

3235, Manufacture Rolex

-2/+2 sec/day, after casing

Centre hour, minute and seconds hands. Instantaneous date with rapid setting. Stop-seconds for precise time setting

Paramagnetic blue Parachrom hairspring. High-performance Paraflex shock absorbers

Bidirectional self-winding via Perpetual rotor

Power reserve

Approximately 70 hours

Flexible metal blades overmoulded with high-performance elastomer

Folding Oysterlock safety clasp with Rolex Glidelock extension system

Highly legible Chromalight display with long-lasting blue luminescence


Superlative Chronometer (COSC + Rolex certification after casing)

Learn how to set the time and other functions of your Rolex watch by consulting our user guides.

Yacht-Master 42

Contact an Official Rolex Retailer

Only official Rolex retailers are allowed to sell and maintain a Rolex watch. With the necessary skills, technical know-how and special equipment, they guarantee the authenticity of each and every part of your Rolex and help you make the choice that will last a lifetime.

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