Everything you need to know about the Rolex Yacht-Master

The Rolex Yacht-Master is one of the oldest models in the collection and first came out in the early 1990s. When it came out, it was originally designed to replace the Submariner as the new and improved version. However, a last minute decision from Rolex HQ decided it was going to be too much of a change and they released a new line all together.

History of the Rolex Yacht-master

The Yacht-Master certainly shares many elements from the Submariner in that it still has the same calibre 3235 ticking inside of it as the Submariner, they both have a rotating bezel and oyster bracelet. 

When it was first released, It was originally only made out of precious metals and was designed to be worn by those who owned a yacht or luxurious sailing boat who wished to wear a more luxurious version of a Submariner.

The polished centre links, the precious metal material and high polishing finishing made it far more blingy and expensive. The Yacht-Master was an upgrade from the Submariner and was designed to be worn with nice outfits and not going diving with.

Source : Time & TIde

That said, the Yacht-Master had and still does to this day a water resistance of 100m, which if we’re completely honest is definitely more than enough to cope with the majority of peoples water activities. Rolex made the right choice if you ask any watch enthusiast to release the Yacht-Master as a new line since although similar to the Submariner, it is still very different and serves a different purpose.

Moderns modelsof the Rolex Yacht-master

Source : Time & TIde

The modern day Yacht-Master can now be found on either a steel, two tone steel and rose gold oyster bracelet with a platinum or rose gold bezel, or a full rose (126655) or white gold (226659) case with a rubber strap. 

It has the same sporty oyster bracelet found on a GMT or Daytona with polished centre links and a fold over sports clasp with a 5mm easy-link extension for on-the-go adjustment. 

The bezel is made from precious metal and unlike the Submariner, the bezel bi-directional bezel, which useful for quickly realigning the centre of the bezel since it moves in both directions.

For Steel case options, you can either have a beautiful sunburst blue dial with red text and seconds hand or grey dial with light blue text and seconds hand. The two-tone rose gold model gives you the choice of a matt chocolate brown or black dial with rose gold indices and hands. 

The hands and hour markers are now filled with superluminova giving it a long lasting blue glow as opposed to chromolight which did not last a sling and had a green colour to it.

However, if you were wanting the full luxury Rolex experience of a solid gold case, there is always the option of a full rose (126655) or white gold (226659) case with a oyster flex bracelet with either a white or rose gold fold over sports clasp with the same 5mm easy-link. 

This is Rolex at its finest, very high quality precious metal sports watches on a rubber strap giving you the best of both sporty and dressy worlds. This also massively helps to keep the weight of the whole watch down since precious metal weighs a lot more so the combination of a full gold case and clasp with a rubber bracelet keeps the watch balanced.

Source : Monochrome

Source : SJX

Of course, if you’d rather not pay upwards of 25,000 usd at retail (if you can get one at retail) you can always switch out your oyster steel bracelet for a ZEALANDE Yacht-Master rubber strap. This will allow you to wear your watch with the ultimate amount of comfort and durability giving you confidence that your watch will easily hold up against any sporting activity you wish to do.

Not to mention that if you were to wear your watch in a large city where you might not want to have a high polished bracelet on show to attract unwanted attention, the rubber strap sloves that issue. Rubber makes a watch look far less conspicuous and therefore most people wouldn't even give your Yacht-Master a second glance with a rubber strap on but you still get the pleasure of wearing your luxurious Yacht-Master with safety.

Another great thing about the Yacht-Master is the sizes it’s available in, you can either get it in 37mm or 40mm (126622) which is perfect if you have larger or smaller wrists. One thing to bear in mind is that for the full gold cases, they’re only available with a case size of 42mm which might be an issue for those with smaller wrists! 

Just like with a DateJust, you could definitely get a “his and hers” Yacht-Master for each other. If you don’t want a Datejust or oyster perpetual, then you would be out of luck in terms of a model that offers multiple sizes, colours and dials. The Yacht-Master is the dress watch of their marine watch collection and therefore is slowly becoming quite popular with both men and women as a do-it-all watch. 

Given that it's the upgrade on the Submariner, they have designed it with the thought of it benign more versatile than the Submariner, whilst you can of course wear whatever watch you like with your outfit, but when it comes to suits and dresses, a more polished watch does work a bit better than an all brushed watch. 

This is where the Yacht-Master comes in as it combines the sportive aspects of the Submariner but mixed with the elegance of the Datejust to elevate its classy looks.

Source : SJX

Yacht-Master II

Within the Yacht-Master lineup there is another model altogether, the Yacht-Master- II (116680). This is Rolex’ biggest watch to date with a case size of 44mm, you need large wrists to pull this one off. You’re also going to need deep pockets, the full steel model starts at 20,000 usd and the full gold variant (116688) will run you a cost of just under 46,500 usd.

Source : Time & TIde

There is also a two tone rose gold (116681) and solid platinum (116689) one, and you know when a Rolex model is ludicrously expensive when it says “price on request” on their website. The Platinum model retails at 48,150 usd but it will be near impossible to get. These chunky watches in the Yacht-Master line up all feature the same oyster bracelet as the regular Yacht-Master but this time with a ceramic bezel which gives it more durability and scratch resistance. It also features a built-in programmable countdown with mechanical memory and on-the-fly synchronisation and a stop-seconds for precise time setting.

In reality, very few will use any of those features and use more as a statement piece, the large size and precious metals really makes it stand out from the crowd which for some, is all they want from Rolex. 

It’s the largest and one of the heaviest watches you can buy from Rolex so naturally there is less competition for it so if you happen to have a large wrist you would be in luck as they are easier to get compared to other hard to get Rolex sport models. 

Just like with the normal Yacht-Master, the Yacht-Master-II offers a nice range of colours giving you more options which is always nice given that Rolex is known for its strict rules for tradition. In recent years we have seen Rolex become more playful with its colours as we can see from the new 2021 oyster perpetual models, but outside of them, you don’t exactly have too many options. 

Hence, another reason to like the Yacht-Master range is that it provides you with a wide range of choices for a sport model and combines the best of both the worlds of sportiness and elegance.

yacht-master Availability

One year ago and you could have quite easily got your hands on a Yacht-Master from most Rolex AD’ and they were often in the window. Whilst the Submariner was the watch everyone wanted, the Yacht-Master remained unwanted till very recently. Now you would be looking at a waitlist of at least a year before you could get one. 

It would seem that anything Rolex makes in steel becomes near impossible to get. However, compared to a Submariner or Daytona which will easily go for double their retail price, the Yacht-Master is only around 7-12 percent above retail price.

This means that if you buy a Rolex at retail you can easily get your money back if needed and if you wanted to skip the waitlist you wouldn’t have to pay much more than retail to get it. But as we have all seen, each month seems to see a sore in Rolex grey market prices and it probably won’t be long before the Yacht-Master climbs in value.


Today if you see a Yacht-Master in the window of an AD, it most likely has an “exhibition only” meaning you can only look but it isn’t available for purchase. But with the purchase of an Omega, TagHeuer or Tudor, you would probably be able to get your hands on a Yacht-Master in not too long a waitlist. 

But again, you need to play the Rolex game with the AD, so if you really just wanted to get the Yacht-Master you might as well just pay the small premium instead of buying another watch you don’t really want to get the one you do.

The Yacht-Master II can still be found in the display case in AD’ and most of the time is available to buy there and then. There is still a waitlist but this is more down to Rolex producing so few so you wouldn’t need a good purchase history from an AD to get one or get on the waitlist! 

Value retention of an iconic Rolex Watch

If you were buying a Yacht-Master to keep in safe and hope to make profit lieke you would on a Submariner….then you might be right given all the Rolex hype! BUT, compared to the Submariner, GMT, daytona, Sky dweller or blue dial datejust, the Yacht-Master doesn't go for much more over retail. If making money on your watch is more important to you then you might want to reconsider and try and get any of the other watches mentioned before. However, if value retention was important to you then the Yacht-Master tick that box since you would be able to get your money back give or take a bit depending on wear and tear. The Yacht-Master has grown in popularity and Rolex are now finally beginning to advertise the Yacht-Master on their website and Instagram page more.