Rolex’s Yacht-Master series are always the most popular watches among other brands. In spite of quite clearly cut from the same mold as the Submariner, it has always set itself apart with its softer, more gorgeous lines and option of materials. The closest you’ll find to the utility of steel here is when it’s being gentrified by the presence of Rolex’s own 18K gold in their Rolesor models or their platinum in the Rolesium versions, a combination that actually made its debut with the first wave of the rolex Yacht-Masters.
Valuable metals don’t come cheap and the YM has consequently not had the same universal mass appeal as some others in the Oyster Professional range, and it has always purposely avoided going too sporty, aiming itself instead at an altogether more elite audience.
Taking the series as a whole in a totally new direction, this new addition seemed to be looking to bridge the gap between opulence and activity, sitting comfortably in the mix amid the dressiness of the Datejust on one side and the functionality of the fake Submariner on the other.
Therefore, it arrived with a look different from anything else in the lineup and quickly developed into one of the most talked about replica watches of the year. Replacing the conspicuous gleam of gold and platinum bezels for the low-key, let’s just say it, sexiness of matte black Cerachrom, along with Rolex’s first ever rubber strap, it became the brand’s poster child for stealth wealth.
While their bezels have always featured embossed numerals, as opposed to the engraved ones favored by the rest of the brand’s catalog, the contrast between the high polish of the three-dimensional markings against that gloriously muted, sandblasted ceramic gives an altogether more dramatic effect. It’s a look that has been echoed across onto the face, the first Yacht-Master to feature a black dial, again replacing what is typically a glossy element on other similarly colored Rolexes.
Today, only a 40mm and 37mm version are available and, the funny thing is, they have two different movements. The small pair is powered by the new generation Cal. 2236, containing the Syloxi hairspring that represents Rolex’s first venture into silicon components.
Inside the 40mm replica watch is the battle-hardened and utterly reliable Cal. 3135. By far their most widely-used caliber, it has been proving its worth as Rolex’s main engine since 1988.