I’ve never thought that my first watch would be a Rolex. Since I got interested in watchmaking world, I’ve always had a strong interest towards technical and complex watches, characterized by the use of innovative and exotic materials; but as my first important watch I decided to buy a “crowned”, in particular a blue dial Yacht Master 126622. With this article I’d like to describe features and peculiarities of the most underestimated sporty Rolex actually available in the collection.
For sake of clarity, every time I’ll refer to a Yacht Master, I’ll imply the 126622 reference without considering gold versions or Yacht Master II model.
Few historical basics
The name “Yacht Master” has been used for the first time in 1969 with the creation of 3 prototypes, then it has been abandoned till the beginning of the 90s. These prototypes were chronographs with oversized 39.5 mm cases and steel bezel based on manual winding Daytona 6239 produced around the end of the 60s.
Hereafter the abandonment of the idea to produce oversized case watches
, certainly greater than 6239 Daytona 36 mm case, Rolex forgot this name for over 20 years up to 1992. During this year it was disclosed the reference 16628, that is the Yacht Master, highly similar to the modern one.
As you can see from the (few) dates reported above, the history of this model is not so long and fundamental for the destiny of the company as it happens for Submariner, but this is not a reason to say that Yacht Master deserves less relevance. On the contrary, it is an extremely underestimated model which owns exceptional details and finishes for a sporty watch.
Yacht Master or Submariner?
Let’s immediately take off this doubt, very often the Yacht Master is mistaken for a Submariner. As far as these watches can be similar on a first gaze, they are completely different one from the other, they are addressed for different customers and the two collections are not superimposable.
If the Submariner is a sporty Rolex born to be used in a marine environment for diving activities (it’s a waterproof diver up to 300 m) with a counter-clockwise monodirectional bezel (to avoid mistakes while timing the remaining oxygen in the tanks), the Yacht Master is earmarked for a nautical application (100 m of waterproofness), on a boat, and it shows up a bidirectional bezel to time different types of events. Due to the different applications, case, bezel, clasp and materials can’t be the same for the two models. In particular:
- The case of the Yacht Master is much similar to the Daytona one, rounded and not straight, without edges, completely polished without satin finishes, with rounded lugs too
- The bracelet has polished central links, interchanging polished and satin finishes
- The Oysterlock clasp is adjustable trough the Easylink and it doesn’t have the Oysterglide mounted on Submariners for fine regulations, fundamental in case the watch is worn on a swimsuit.
- The bezel is made by 950 platinum with polished numerical raised scale and sandblasted bottom.
How the Yacht Master is positioned within Rolex collections?
Between all the Rolex “professionals”, the Yacht Master is the closest one to the concept of luxury (please let’s exclude for a while that on the dial there is Rolex sign). The adopted materials (platinum) and the variation of finishes (polish, sandblast and satin) make this watch remarkably precious, maybe far from professional world, even though it keeps precision, reliability and quality which characterize the collection.
The retail price follows exactly these features, consistently overtaking the threshold of 10’000 €. After the new increase of price lists from January 2020, the Yacht Master 126622 shows a retail price of 11’450€, detaching the Submariner date 116610LN by 2’900€ and positioning itself 1’150€ behind the Daytona 116500LN. Therefore, the customer target this watch is reserved to embraces the ones who want to spend a considerable amount of money (for a time-only) to distinguish themselves waring a Rolex quality watch but much more precious, brilliant and finished.
The most underestimated Rolex
Due to its similarity to a Submariner, for an inexpert and careless observer, and its high price the Yacht Master has never succeed in asserting itself in the dreams of a great audience and in repeating the success of Sub and GMT. Nowadays (and I do not know for how long anymore) you can buy it in a Rolex boutique reasonably waiting for a few months, extremely far from the years required to have a Pepsi, Hulk or Daytona. The price list is of course substantial but you have to consider the presence of exceptional finishes and materials which require higher costs to be handled and worked out.
Why did I choose a yacht Master 126622?
The purchase of the first watch for a passionate like me is an important moment, like the first car for a race car enthusiast. Basically, I was looking for a watch able to let me distinguish, uncommon on people wrists and characterized by unique features, a niche. Therefore, according to my budget the 126622 owns all the features I was looking for, in particular because of its platinum bezel.
Finally, I waited for the launch on the market of the new reference to finalize the purchase because it mounts the new Rolex calibre 3235. The new movement is able to improve the reliable 3135 enhancing the power reserve from 48h to 72h thanks to the use adoption of new optimised and re-designed components with the Chronergy Escapement.
Rolex Yacht Master 126622 is:
- Reliable, thanks to an efficient calibre
- Robust, thanks to the adoption of Triplock Crown and the technical design of Oyster cases and bezels
- Luxurious and beautiful to behold, thanks to the finishes variation and the use of platinum. This watch shines and does not go unnoticed.
- Comfortable, thanks to the rounded case shape without sharp edges
As it happens for all the watches, also this one is not exempt by defects which can be resumed in price and fragility of the finishes. The presence of polishes on almost the entire surfaces of the watch requires a certain care by the owner to avoid scratches and airlines and do not forget that platinum shows a lower hardness with respect to steel, therefore the bezel can be easily ruined.