The Yacht-Master collection is one of the newer lines in the Rolex family of watches. The first model hit the market in 1992, and the reimagined update debuted in 2010. Just like its name indicates, this collection is made up of yacht watches, also known as yacht timers or regatta timers. Rolex created this line to meet the needs of the sailing community. Each watch can help skippers measure and anticipate the crucial interval leading up to the start of a regatta. However, despite the fact that the collection’s advanced technology was aimed at sailors, the line has also become a favorite among Rolex enthusiasts.
The Rolex Yacht-Master
The Yacht-Master was first released as part of the brand’s Professional series with the Ref. 16628. It features a caliber 3135 movement, white dial, moderate 40mm case, triplock crown, and water resistance up to 100 meters. Plus, it was only available in 18-karat yellow gold. Two years later, Rolex created a slightly smaller version with a 35mm case, the Ref. 68628, as well as a ladies version with a 29mm case, the Ref. 69628. It wasn’t until 1999 that Rolex made their first major change to the design of the watch. That year, they unveiled a unique stainless steel and platinum variation, a combination called Rolesium.
The Dawn of a New Age for the Collection
In the new millennium, Rolex continued to develop the design of the Yacht-Master collection. They began offering a wider range of options for the model, including a mother of pearl dial and a two-tone gold and steel iteration. In 2005, they enhanced the line further by expanding the options for dial colors to blue, champagne, brown, and silver. Then, in 2010, Rolex made the most significant update to the collection with the introduction of the Yacht-Master II.
The Rolex Yacht-Master II
The Yacht-Master II is a totally modernized version of the original. It first came in two variations: the Ref. 11668 in yellow gold and the Ref. 116689 in white gold. Just a year later in 2011, Rolex debuted a third version of the watch, the Ref. 116681 in stainless steel and rose gold. Then, in 2013, they issued an all-stainless steel variation of the model, the Ref. 116680.
Differences Between the Yacht-Master I and II
There are a number of key differences between the Yacht-Master I and II. First, the movement. The first three versions of the Yacht-Master II have the Rolex 4160 in-house movement. However, when the brand unveiled the Ref. 116680, they also debuted a brand new movement specifically designed for the Yacht-Master II, the 4161. In addition to the movement, one of the notable differences between the two models is the size. It features a modern yet massive, oversized 44mm case equipped with a 90-degree rotating ceramic bezel. The most important difference between the watches is the update to the regatta timer function. The Yacht-Master II showcases a regatta timer with a first-ever programmable countdown with mechanical memory. With just the push of a button, the regatta timer can sync with a reference clock to the nearest minute.
Although the Yacht-Master line features highly sophisticated functions that are ideal for the sailing community, the sporty aesthetic of the models within the collection have made them popular for everyday wear. As the line has evolved and expanded over the years to include a wide variety of style options, there’s a design to suit anyone’s unique taste.