Thursday, June 23, 2022

Yacht-Master 42: A Rolex Fan's Favorite?

Yacht-Master 42

Why the Yacht-Master

Is My Favorite Watch


The reason I believe the Yacht-Master has always been one of the most underrated models in Rolex's collection is because of its name. While "Submariner," "Sea-Dweller," "Explorer," and "GMT-Master" conjure up thoughts of adventures in the deep sea, in the mountains or across the globe, the name "Yacht-Master" makes us feel the watch is for the elite few who, well, own a yacht.

I was fortunate enough to be invited for Rolex's first appointment on the first day of Baselworld. I was essentially the first one to try the new Yacht-Master 42. And I reported it live on Twitter and Instagram. After a few weeks and more time to think about it, I wanted to share my reaction.

When I was given the watch by the Rolex representative to try on, I didn't expect my hand to shake, but it did. The combination of perfect lighting in the Rolex press room, the brilliance and sparkle of the white gold from the case, and the piece's slightly increased size gave it a subtle aura. But enough that it made my hand shake as I held it. That was unexpected but a pleasant surprise.

Is the Yacht-Master designed with yacht owners in mind? If it's 1966 and you decide to be the first person to truly circumnavigate the world completely on your own—West to East via the great capes, in a journey that would take you 226 days, yachting is an adventure. The Yacht-Master is the Explorer of the sea, the Submariner of the surface, and the GMT-Master that crosses the globe not with jet engines, but sails. 

Above, Sir Francis Chichester, whose daring spirit marked the history of yachting for future generations, autographed the picture by writing: "Gipsy Moth IV needs repairs after capsizing in the Tasman Sea, but the Rolex ticks on happily. Francis Chichester."

It's 1966 and there's no GPS. Your navigational instruments include a sextant, the stars and a Rolex watch. 

Sir Francis Chichester departed Plymouth and sailed solo around the world in his yawl, Gipsy Moth IV. The journey took 226 days and handed him the honor of being the first person to truly circumnavigate the world completely on his own. He was 65.

So owning a Yacht-Master is not just for yacht owners; it could be for those who long for adventures on the high seas. Please see Jake's Complete History of the Rolex Yacht-Master

Below: "To Rolex, many thanks for the splendid G.M.T.-Master. Francis Chichester. 19.8.66."

Please indulge me as I add, below, a non-related Rolex picture. My grandpa, who was a submariner during World War II and later became a Navy officer, is seen here with his teenage son, my dad. My dad would earn all his sailing certifications and endorsements. 

I write about my grandpa here, and the Rolex Submariner I own. Now I want to own a Yacht-Master in honor of my dad. 

Four facts about the new Yacht-Master 42:

First time a Yacht-Master is released in 42mm.
First time a Yacht-Master (I) is released in white gold.
First time a Glidelock clasp is on an Oysterflex bracelet.
First and only Professional model offered in three sizes.

What I like most about the Yacht-Master 42: 

The size: While I owned many 40mm-diameter watches and I have a 7-inch wrist, the 42mm size is more modern without being over the top. Many Omega and Grand Seiko divers are at 44 and more. 42, I believe, is the new 40. It is the new perfect size in line with modern fashion. 

The case design: I've owned a couple Maxi case Rolexes, like the BLNR (GMT "Batman") and the LV (Submariner "Hulk"). But I love a thinner lug design like the one of my Air-King and Daytona. The Yacht-Master has a winner lug shape and profile design—all that with a Maxi dial maximizing legibility both by day and night. It reminds me a bit of the uber-popular Submariner "Kermit."

The metal: The 18-karat white gold adds a reflection and luster that can't be matched by steel. And it brings the watch into a luxury range without being too flashy. It is quieter than yellow gold and lighter than platinum. Some say white gold is a secret between you and yourself.

The bezel: I use the bezel function all the time—to time events or just to mark time in the future, like a scheduled departure time. I love bi-directional bezels because they're so quick and easy to operate. While the Yacht-Master is not a dive watch, its specs go beyond the kinds of depth I will ever reach. It's waterproof to 100m. 

A word about the strap and clasp: The Yacht-Master 42 is the first Rolex to be equipped with a Glidelock system on Oysterflex, allowing the wearer to extend the strap length by increments of 2.5 mm up to 15 mm. On the flip size—literally!—it makes the clasp a little bit longer than its 40-mm Everose, non-Glidelock Yacht-Master cousin, which, by the way, will also be equipped with a Glidelock extension and a new movement in 2019. 

But on the wrist the Oysterflex is amazingly comfortable and adds a touch of sportiness. You don’t need to compromise on robustness, waterproofness or reliability though. Resistance and durability are comparable to that of a metal bracelet, according to Rolex, making it the perfect companion for an adventure on the high seas.

Sir Francis Chichester would have approved!