Among the many Rolex sports watches available, the Rolex Yacht-Master collection is by far the most varied. Although the Yacht-Master only made its debut in 1992, in just 25 years Rolex’s nautical-inspired timepiece has quickly adopted a slew of size, material, bracelet, bezel, and dial options. Also during that time, the Rolex watch that underlines the company’s commitment to sailing sport and lifestyle has become one of the brand’s most popular. Let’s consider all the options with a closer look at the Rolex Yacht-Master lineup.
The first Yacht-Master that Rolex launched was the 40mm Yacht-Master in full yellow gold. 40mm remains the gent’s size of the Yacht-Master to this day. Two years after the inaugural Yacht-Master, Rolex added two more sizes to the mix. These are the mid-size Yacht-Master at 35mm, in addition to the ladies’ Yacht-Master at 29mm.
In 2015, Rolex introduced a 37mm version with the Yacht-Master 37 ref. 268655. Today, there are only two sizes available in Rolex’s current catalog—the 40mm and the 37mm. However, the mid-size 35mm and the ladies’ 29mm are of course still available in the secondary market.
The assortment of materials is where the Yacht-Master really flexes its muscles. In fact, the Yacht-Master is available in almost every material Rolex uses.
First up, there are the 18k yellow gold Yacht-Masters, including the 40mm Yacht-Master ref. 16628, the 35mm Yacht-Master ref. 68628, and the 29mm Yacht-Master ref. 69628. Surprisingly, despite the fact that the first Yacht-Master was in yellow gold, Rolex doesn’t currently offer a yellow gold Yacht-Master.
Next are the Rolesor two tone steel and yellow gold versions, such as the 40mm Yacht-Master ref. 16623, the 35mm Yacht-Master ref. 68623, and the 29mm Yacht-Master ref. 69623. Again, the two-tone steel and yellow gold Yacht-Masters are no longer sold by Rolex.
In 1999, Rolex unveiled Rolesium, which is the company’s combination of stainless steel and platinum on a timepiece. The new Rolesium steel and platinum combo showed up on the 40mm Yacht-Master ref. 16622, the 35mm Yacht-Master ref. 168622, and the 29mm Yacht-Master ref. 169622. Rolex then updated the men’s Rolesium Yacht-Master in 2012 with the ref. 116622, which is still currently part of the brand offering.
A few years later in 2015, Rolex presented the Everose gold Yacht-Master in two sizes: the Yacht-Master 40 ref. 116655 and the Yacht-Master 37 ref. 268655. Not only are these new Yacht-Master models available for the first time in Rolex’s patented rose gold alloy, but they also come equipped with the Cerachrom ceramic bezel. Furthermore, the Everose Yacht-Master watches debuted the innovative Rolex Oysterflex bracelet—the company’s version of a black rubber strap.
Finally, in 2016, Rolex revealed the Yacht-Master 40 ref. 116621 in yet another material. This time it was in Rolesor two-tone steel and Everose gold. The smaller version, the steel and Everose gold Yacht-Master 37 ref. 268621, joined the Rolex Yacht-Master collection about a year later.
A signature design detail of the Yacht-Master is its bi-directional rotating bezel. The Yacht-Master’s bezels particularly stand out for the distinct raised numerals. Given the variety of the Rolex Yacht-Master collection, it should come as no surprise that there are several bezel options too.
There are the yellow gold bezels, the platinum bezels, the Everose gold bezels, and of course, the black Cerachrom ceramic bezels. It’s worth noting that when Rolex introduced the steel and platinum Yacht-Master ref. 116622, it updated the bezel to have “120 clicks” and each model that came after that includes the same.
In view of the diversity of the Rolex Yacht-Master collection, you’d be hard-pressed to find a model that doesn’t fit you flawlessly. Whether large, medium or small, full gold or two tone, metal Oyster bracelets or rubber Oysterflex straps, it’s all been smooth sailing for the Rolex Yacht-Master.
The Rolex Yacht-Master is a relatively young model and many believe the Yacht-Master began in 1992 with the introduction of the first 16628. Yacht-Master However, yachting is one of the sports which Rolex has supported through sponsorship for decades (since 1958), and first debuted a “sailor’s watch” in 1965 when a small number of 6239 Cosmograph chronographs were fitted with a special dial which read “ROLEX COSMOGRAPH YACHT-MASTER”. This model was never produced on a large scale however.
It would not be until 2007 with the introduction of the Yacht-Master II that we would see Rolex produce another chronograph Yacht-Master with functions specifically designed for Yacht racing. The Yacht-Master variants produced beginning in 1992 were largely consider dressier, more refined versions of the Submariner but unique in that the Yacht-Master models are offered in full-size (40mm), mid-size (35mm), and ladies model size (29mm) – one of only a few Rolex models to be offered in such size variations.
|1992||Rolex introduces the all-gold Reference 16628 Yacht-Master|
|1994||Rolex adds the mid-size Reference 68628 and ladies size Reference 69628 to the Yacht-Master line.|
|1995||Rolex introduces the two-tone Reference 68623 (35mm) and the Reference 69623 (29mm).|
|1999||Rolex introduces the Yacht-Master in ROLESIUM (stainless steel and platinum) in three size references of 16622 (40mm), 168622 (35mm) and 169622 (29mm).|
|2005||Rolex introduces the two-tone Yacht-Master Reference 16623 in 40mm.|
|2007||Rolex introduces the Yach-Master II in Reference 116689 (white gold) and Reference 116688 (yellow gold).|
|2011||Rolex introduces the Yacht-Master II Reference 116681 in two-tone stainless and Everose gold.|
|2012||Rolex introduces the Reference 116622 Yacht-Master with an updated clasp and a bezel with 120 clicks.|
|2013||Rolex introduces the Reference 116680 Yacht-Master II in stainless steel.|