I never, ever thought my first watch would be a Rolex. Since I approached and became passionate about the world of watchmaking I have always had a strong interest in technical, complicated watches, characterized by innovative and exotic materials; yet as the first important watch I decided to take a “crowned”, in particular a Yacht-Master 126622 with a blue dial. In this article I want to describe the characteristics and peculiarities of the most underrated sports Rolex currently in the collection.
Whenever I refer to a Yacht Master, I will imply reference 126622, regardless of the gold versions or the Master II yacht.
Some historical notion
The name “Yacht-Master” was used for the first time in 1969 with the construction of 3 prototypes and then abandoned until the early 90s. These prototypes were chronographs with an oversized 39.5mm case and steel bezel based on the 6239 Daytona hand-wound produced until the late 60s.
Following the abandonment of the idea of producing watches with a 39.5 mm case, much larger than the 36mm of the Daytona 6239, Rolex forgot this name for more than 20 years until 1992. In that year the reference 16628, that is the Yacht Master with 18 kt yellow gold case and bracelet, white dial and equipped - like the Submariner and the Sea-Dweller - with the Triplock crown.
As can be seen from the (few) dates above, the history of this collection is not more than fifty years old and fundamental for the fate of the Rolex company as it happens for the Submariner, but the Yacht-Master does not deserve less attention for this. On the contrary, it is a very underrated model which has exceptional details and finishes for a sports watch.
Yacht-Master or Submariner?
Let's get rid of this doubt right away, often the Yacht-Master is mistaken for a Submariner. As similar as they may be at first glance, these are two models completely different from each other, intended for different customers and the two collections cannot be superimposed.
If the Submariner is a sporty Rolex designed to be used in a marine environment for diving (it is a diver in all respects waterproof up to 300 m) with the bezel capable of turning counterclockwise only (to avoid making mistakes in timing the oxygen remaining in the cylinders), the Yacht-Master is intended for nautical use (water resistance 100 m), on board a boat, and has a bi-directional ring to be able to time different types of events.
Given the different uses, case, closure and material cannot be the same between the two collections. Particularly:
- La cash of the YM is much closer to that mounted on the Daytona, rounded and not straight, without edges, completely polished and not satin, with rounded lugs too.
- Il bracelet presents the central glossy mesh showing the alternation between glossy and satin finishes.
- La Oysterlock closure it is adjustable via Easylink and does not feature the Glidelock clasp mounted on Submariners for more precise adjustments, necessary if the watch is worn over a wetsuit.
- La bezel is made of 950 Platinum with embossed glossy numerical scale and sandblasted background. There is no trace of the ceramic present on the submariner.
How does the Yacht-Master fit into the Rolex range?
The Yacht-Master, of all the "professional" Rolexes, is the one that comes closest to the concept of luxury (let's take a moment apart from the fact that the Rolex inscription is written on the dial). THE materials used (platinum) and thealternation of finishes adopted (polishing, sandblasting of the bezel) make this watch decidedly precious, almost distant from the professional world, while maintaining the characteristics of precision, reliability and quality that distinguish the collection.
The selling price fully respects these characteristics, consistently crossing the 10'000 euro threshold. Following the new price increases valid from January 2020, the Yacht-Master 126622 presents a retail price of 11 euros, detaching the Submariner Date 116610LN of 2 euros and positioning itself at only 900 euros from the Daytona 1LN. The target of customers to whom this watch is reserved, therefore, embraces all those who are willing to spend a considerable amount (for only one time) to be able to distinguish themselves by wearing a Rolex quality watch that is decidedly more brilliant, precious and refined.
The most underrated Rolex
Due to the similarity, to an inexperienced and careless eye, with the Submariner and the decidedly higher price the Yacht-Master it has never managed to establish itself in the wishes of the general public and to replicate the success of Sub and GMT. Think that today (and I don't know for how long given the market trend) it is still available in the various Rolex boutiques after a reasonable wait of a few months, far from the years required by the various Pepsi, Batman, Hulk and Daytona. The list price is high, but it is necessary to consider the presence of exceptional finishes and materials that require higher costs to be treated and processed.
Why did I choose a Yacht-Master 126622?
The purchase of the first watch is an important moment for an enthusiast, as is the purchase of the first automobile for a racing car enthusiast. Basically, I was looking for a watch that could distinguish me, which is not frequently seen on people's wrists and which has unique characteristics of its kind, niche. According to the available budget, therefore, the 126622 had all the features I was looking for, in particular the presence of the platinum bezel.
Finally, I awaited the arrival on the market of the new reference 126622 in order to finalize the purchase, which, compared to the previous 116622, mounts the new Rolex in-house caliber 3235. This new movement is capable of improving the now tested and reliable 3135 by increasing its precision and power reserve from 48 to 72h thanks to the use of the new Chronogergy escapement.
The Rolex Yacht-Master 126622 is a watch:
- Reliable, thanks to a very efficient caliber
- Robust, due to the use of the Triplock crown and the construction technique of the Oyster cases and bezels
- Sophisticated and very nice to look at, given the alternation of finishes and the use of platinum. The watch shines and does not go unnoticed
- Comfortable, thanks to the rounded case, absent from sharp-edged profiles
Like all watches, this one too is not free from defects, which can be summarized in thehigh price and in delicacy of the finishes. The presence of shiny parts on almost all of the watch requires some care on the part of the user to avoid scratches and airlines and do not forget that the hardness of platinum is lower than that of steel, so the bezel can be easily damaged following a careless use of the watch.
- CASH DESK Oyster, 40 mm, Oystersteel and platinum
- MOVIMENTO mechanical, self-winding CALIBRO3235, Rolex manufacture
- PRECISION -2 / + 2 sec./day, with recessed movement
- DIAMETER40 mm
- MATERIALS Rolesium (combination of Oystersteel and platinum)
- STEADY Bidirectional swivel in platinum 950 graduated 60 minutes with embossed numbers
- CHARGE CROWN Screw, with Triplock triple waterproofing system
- GLASS Scratch-resistant sapphire, Cyclops magnifying glass over the date
- WATERPROOF Waterproof up to 100 meters