Rolex Yacht-Master: The superyacht-inspired luxury watch

Luxury watchmaker Rolex is renowned across the world for its iconic selection of watches – desired by all but realistically only attainable by the wealthy.

Rolex is a name synonymous with the sailing industry. Its watches are a staple item for ultra-high-net-worth-individuals (UHNWIs) – and, by extension, superyacht owners. Their eye-catching design and opulence, combined with what they represent, make Rolex watches the perfect piece of statement jewellery for the yachting elite.

It’s no surprise, therefore, that the brand boasts a couple of models inspired by the open seas: Yacht-Master and Yacht-Master II.

Find out everything you need to know about these professional watches and Rolex’s long-standing relationship with the yachting industry.

Man wearing white gold Rolex Yacht-Master watch

What is a Rolex Yacht-Master and Yacht-Master 2?

Yacht-Master and Yacht-Master 2 are leading watch models offered by Rolex. Given their prestige, prices sit comfortably in the five-digit ballpark.

According to the Switzerland-based luxury watchmaker, the models ‘embody the spirit of the sailor’. They are inspired by the ‘rich heritage’ that has connected Rolex with the world of sailing since the 1950s.

Yacht-Master blends function and style while Yacht-Master II brings together the finest in Rolex technology to create a regatta a chronograph built for yachting competition.

The first model initially launched in 1992 and quickly capitalised on the success enjoyed by Rolex with its first nautical-inspired watch, the Submariner.

Yacht-Master and Yacht-Master 2 styles: From then to now

Given the near 30-year history of the line, there have been dozens of Yacht-Master and Yacht-Master 2 watches released over the years.

Upon its launch in 1992, the first Yacht-Master was in 18-karat yellow gold. Two years later, in 1994, a lady’s model and a mid-size model was launched at 35mm, representing the first time in Rolex history that a professional series watch was available in smaller than the standard size case. In 1996, Rolex unveiled two-tone to the lady’s and mid-size line (stainless steel and 18-carat yellow gold).

The next release came in 1997 courtesy of a Yacht-Master made of stainless steel and platinum, wherein the bezel and dial were made from 950 platinum while the case, bracelet and crown, are in stainless steel.

Rolex took the decision to discontinue its two-tone stainless steel and 18-karat gold and replaced it at the start of the 21st century with a brand-new two-tone model. The difference between the two models was the new movement found in the newer watch and its solid 18-karat gold centre links.

The launch of Yacht-Master 2 came in 2007. It became the world’s first watch equipped with a programmable countdown from 1 to 10 minutes using a mechanical memory.

In 2015, Rolex launched the 18-karat Everose gold Yacht-Master. It became the first ever Rolex to come on a rubberised bracelet, which is now known as the Oysterflex. It is available in two sizes – 37mm and 40mm.

Rolex Yacht-Master in official box

In 2019, Rolex introduced Yacht-Master 42, the first Yacht-Master with 42mm case size to boast a date complication. The case, bezel and Oysterlock clasp are made of 18-karat white gold, while the bezel features a matte black and polished Cerachrom material insert.

As of today, the Rolex Yacht-Master is still offered in 37mm, 40mm and 42mm case sizes. All models have a water resistance rating of 100 metres (330 feet) and a triple-locking winding crown system taken from Rolex’s famous family of saturation diving watches.

Rolex’s long-standing relationship with yachting

On its website, Rolex notes that it has forged a privileged relationship with yachting due to a natural affinity with the sport and everything it represents. The relationship stretches back more than half a century, originating via a seminal partnership with the New York Yacht Club. The brand’s involvement in the sport has developed ever since.

Today, Rolex has strong ties with some of the most prestigious yacht clubs, institutions and regattas in the world, ‘sharing the highest standards of excellence with the custodians of yachting’s finest spirit’.

The Rolex name is associated with a number of leading yachting/sailing events, including:

  • Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race
  • Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup
  • Rolex Fastnet Race
  • Rolex TP52 World Championship

Celebrities wearing Rolex Yacht-Master

Football icon Lionel Messi, who is regularly seen enjoying life on board superyachts with his friends and family, made the headlines once again in August 2021 following his departure from FC Barcelona and subsequent mega-money move to Paris Saint-Germain (PSG).

Upon his signing on Tuesday 10th August, Messi was photographed wearing a luxury rose gold Yacht-Master. It's no surprise that a man rumoured to be earning more than €1 million per week across his new two-year deal at PSG is sporting such a luxurious watch. This publicity will only have helped to propel the Rolex Yacht-Master into the psyche of a new audience.

Interested in purchasing luxury jewellery or other high-end goods? Search the Yachting Pages directory to find exactly what you’re looking for.

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