It’s the yearly watch launch season, and all eyes will be focused on Rolex today as it unveils its 2022 novelties. Among these is the new Yacht-Master 42 in yellow gold. Touted as Rolex’s “watch of the open seas”, the Yacht-Master was launched in 1992 and has become the brand’s luxurious nautical watch. The last evolution of the Yacht-Master appeared in 2019 in a new 42mm case size and a white gold case (ref. 226659). Predictably for a brand that favours slow evolutions over revolutionary changes, Rolex informs us that the 2022 Yacht-Master “in no way alters its course“. Like the 42mm white gold version, the new yellow gold model is fitted with a black bidirectional rotating bezel with a Cerachrom insert, Rolex’s latest-generation automatic movement and a black rubber Oysterflex bracelet.
Yellow gold and black Cerachrom
The 42mm Oyster case of the new Yacht-Master is made from a solid block of 18k yellow gold and is waterproof to a depth of 100m. The distinctive bidirectional rotating bezel features a matte black Cerachrom insert with raised and mirror-polished graduations and numerals. Developed and patented by Rolex, Cerachrom is a hard ceramic material that is practically scratch-proof, corrosion-resistant and impervious to ultraviolet rays. The matte black ceramic has been sandblasted to provide a more technical, contemporary finish and provides the background for the raised black numerals marking 0-60 minutes. The knurled yellow gold edge means the bezel has a good grip, and the hermetically screwed-down caseback with its fine fluting on the edge ensure that only Rolex watchmakers can access the movement. Like all Yacht-Masters, the case is endowed with a Triplock winding crown and the dial protected by a sapphire crystal with a Cyclops lens at 3 o’clock to consult the date.
When Rolex released its Everose ref. 116655 of the Yacht-Master in 2015, the watch received two aesthetic updates that made it sleeker and more contemporary: the black ceramic Cerachrom insert and the high-tech black rubber Oysterflex strap. Although there are two-tone and Oystersteel and platinum versions of the Yacht-Master, the combination of a precious metal case with a black bezel, dial and rubber strap and the introduction of a 42mm case size in 2019 have given the Yacht-Master its distinctive, luxurious contemporary vibe. The lack of luminescent material on the bezel and the solid yellow gold case clearly take the Yacht-Master out of tool watch and professional dive watch waters and redirect it to activities above deck.
The black lacquered dial, which reinforces the sober aesthetics of this Rolex Yacht-Master 42, features applied yellow gold hour markers (triangular, round and rectangular) that are treated with Rolex’s very own luminescent material known as Chromalight that emits a long-lasting blue glow in the dark. The hallmark Mercedes hour hand, the minutes hand and the central seconds hand with its round counterweight are also crafted in gold with the same luminescent treatment as the hour markers.
First introduced in 2015 to replace the long-serving calibre 3135, calibre 3235 is now Rolex’s flagship date-function movement and is protected by no fewer than 14 patents. The most significant innovation is the new Chronergy escapement. Made from anti-magnetic nickel-phosphorous, about half of the robust 70-hour power reserve can be attributed to the newly designed escapement. A Parachrom hairspring fitted on Paraflex shock absorbers, also insensitive to magnetic fields and temperature variations, offers ten times more precision than a traditional hairspring in case of shocks. Calibre 3235 was the first movement to receive Rolex’s own certification as a Superlative Chronometer with a tolerance of just -2/+2 seconds a day (more stringent than COSC).
black Oysterflex bracelet
The matte black elastomer strap that has become a distinguishing feature of the Yacht-Master replicates the robustness and reliability of a metal bracelet with its hidden infrastructure of flexible and curved metal blades. The Oysterlock folding clasp in 18k yellow gold is fitted with a Glidelock extension system allowing for adjustments of 15mm without tools.
The Yacht-Master 42mm, reference 226658 in yellow gold, retails for EUR 26,700.
More information at Rolex.com.