Rolex Yacht Master – Looks and Performance
People tend to think of Rolex watches as luxury items or fashion statements without considering that during the company’s long history of watchmaking, they’ve created a number of great looking timepieces that also included innovative features.
That’s certainly true of the Rolex Submariner, which offers nice styling along with terrific water resistance. It was originally introduced in 1953 as a watch for divers, but quickly became a fan favorite and is now viewed by many as a good all-purpose wristwatch.
The popularity of that model led to the creation of the Rolex Yacht Master in 1992, which offers similar styling without the robust water resistance. It’s a model more suitable to general sports use, rather than deep diving.
Read on for the full Rolex Yacht Master watches review.
The build quality of the Rolex Yacht Master is like the rest of the company’s products – solid and robust. Cases are made using stainless steel, platinum, gold, and steel/gold and steel/platinum and they use hard and scratch resistant sapphire crystal. Water resistance is to 100 meters, which is less than for the Submariner or Sea Dweller, but certainly good enough for most sporting uses.
As with most of the company’s products, this model uses automatic mechanical movements that are Swiss-made and manufactured in-house. Aside from having to either wear it regularly or storing it in a watch winder, it should run well and reliably for years to come.
The Rolex Yacht Master is a descendant of the Submariner, which was created to help deep sea divers keep time at great depths. This model doesn’t need that; it’s more like a yachting watch, as the name would suggest, so it’s really sort of a Submariner-lite.
Water resistance is 100 meters for the Rolex Yacht Master, 300 meters for the Submariner (and a related model, the Rolex Sea Dweller, takes that even further, with 3900 meters of water resistance!) Unlike the Sea Dweller, this model does not include a helium escape valve, as it is not intended for deep sea use.
As this is a sports watch intended for use near or in the water, you’re going to see some basic features that are the same on all models. You’re not going to get one with a leather strap; they all have metal bracelets and numbered bezels. Cases and bracelets are available in stainless steel, yellow gold, white gold and a steel/gold alloy, along with platinum and a platinum/steel alloy.
The Rolex Yacht Master is currently available with either a blue, gold, or white face, and as far as we know, they all include a date function. One of the more unusual features is that it is offered for sale in two different sizes; you can get it in a 40mm case or a 35mm case, for those who would like a somewhat smaller timepiece. This model has inspired the creation of the Yacht Master II, which has additional features not available on the basic model.
As this is a high quality mechanical timepiece, you will need to have some service done on it every five years or so. This involves returning the watch to the company, where it will be disassembled and examined. Worn parts will be replaced, all parts will be cleaned and lubricated, and the watch will be reassembled for thorough testing for both water resistance and accuracy.
Then they’ll polish it up and send it back to you, good as new. Aside from this, you should store your watch in a cool, dry place and rinse it carefully with tap water after exposure to salt water. You should keep it away from strong magnetic fields, and keep it in a watch winder, if possible, to keep it running well and accurately.
The warranty is for two years from the date of purchase against defects in materials and craftsmanship. This is the average warranty in the industry, even among high end luxury watchmakers. As these models are tested thoroughly before leaving the factory, defects are quite rare and you shouldn’t expect to find one.
Prices fall into the middle of the line as the company’s products go, with prices ranging from a low of about $8000 to a high of $30,000 or so. You’ll occasionally seem more expensive models for sale featuring diamonds; these are third-party additions.
Collectors are quite fond of this model, particularly for older versions of it, and you can expect to see high prices paid for vintage Rolex Yacht Master examples, though there really aren’t that many of them, as the model was only introduced some 20 years ago.
As with most producers of high end luxury goods, Rolex controls both the distribution and pricing of their products. Officially, you can find the Rolex Yacht Master for sale only at select authorized dealers, which are usually high end jewelry stores located in major cities around the world. The company does this to keep demand ahead of supply, which keeps prices intact. It is possible to buy a discounted model online; a few retailers on the Web do have the model in stock.
If you like the great looks and performance of the Submariner or the Sea Dweller but you don’t need the super water resistance that those models provide, then you’ll like the Rolex Yacht Master. While it doesn’t have a helium escape valve, a super-thick crystal or the ability to go to the bottom of the ocean, it does have some design options that aren’t available on those more utilitarian models.
You’ll have multiple alloys and different faces to choose from, giving you the ability to have a somewhat more attractive watch. That said, these are beautiful, highly reliable timepieces that will be perfectly comfortable being worn in or near the water or at a fashionable evening engagement, should you so choose. You’ll also have the option to buy the Rolex Yacht Master in a smaller size, which is not available on their other models. This is a great looking timepiece.