Ever since Rolex discreetly revealed the one-off Yacht-Master in titanium made for Olympic sailor Sir Ben Ainslie, enthusiasts have been waiting for the commercially-available equivalent (which got all the more likely after the release of the Rolex Deepsea Challenge last year). And now Rolex has finally done it with the Yacht-Master 42 in RLX titanium. Similar to Sir Ben’s watch but with the addition of a date and matching titanium bracelet, the Yacht-Master 42 is perhaps the most restrained sports watch in the current Rolex catalogue.
Being a long-time fan of the Yacht-Master line, I’m glad to see this has finally arrived. Though large in size, it’s lighter and consequently more wearable. The muted colours and finish give it a no-fuss, contemporary look that sets it apart from the usual sports Rolex, but it retains the recognisable Yacht-Master style with its relief bezel.
Perhaps the recognisable look is the only aspect to critique: the watch is little changed in terms of design from past Yacht-Master models (which were mostly in precious metals). The option of a rubber strap as seen on Sir Ben’s watch, for instance, would have given the Yacht-Master collection some variety.
At CHF13,400, the Yacht-Master 42 is priced reasonably relative to other Rolex sports models. However, compared to the all-titanium offerings from Tudor – the Tudor Pelagos 39 is very, very similar – this is less of a value proposition, but it is still a Rolex.
A more wearable Rolex
The Yacht-Master 42 employs Rolex’s proprietary RLX Titanium for the case and bracelet, making it the second-ever all-titanium Rolex after the Deepsea Challenge in serial production. Described as lightweight and corrosion-resistant, RLX Titanium is a grade 5 titanium alloy that made its debut in the one-of-a-kind watch made for Sir Ben.
The combination of materials and finishes gives the Yacht-Master 42 a low-key appearance that diverges from previous models in the collection, which tended to be in precious metal with lots of polished surfaces.
While the Deepsea Challenge is a whopping 50 mm in diameter, the new Yacht-Master is a wearable 42 mm. Larger than the typical Rolex dive watch, the Yacht-Master has modern proportions that match the material and aesthetic. And the case is matched with a titanium bracelet that features the brand’s proprietary Easylink extension system.
The bi-directional rotating bezel features a Cerachrom insert with relief markings, a trademark feature of the Yacht-Master line. To complete the black ceramic bezel is a dial finished in a matte black, which contrasts sharply with the hour and minute markers and hands filled with luminous Chromalight.
Powering the Yacht-Master 42 is the cal. 3235, one of the brand’s latest-generation calibres that boast most of its recent innovations, including the patented, energy-efficient Chronergy escapement, non-magnetic Parachom Blue hairspring, and a power reserve of 70 hours.
Key facts and price
Rolex Yacht-Master 42
Diameter: 42 mm
Material: RLX titanium
Water resistance: 100 mm
Movement: Cal. 3235
Features: Hours, minutes, and seconds
Frequency: 28,800 beats per hour (4 Hz)
Power reserve: 70 hours
Strap: RLX titanium bracelet
Limited edition: Regular production
Availability: At Rolex retailers
For more, visit Rolex.com.
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