Hands-On With The Rolex Yacht-Master 116621
Although the new ceramic Rolex Daytona 116500 and Explorer 214270 got most attention from this year’s novelties from ‘Das Haus’, the new 40mm Rolex Yacht-Master 116621 – or Yacht-Master 40 as they refer to it themselves – is definitely worth checking out as well.
I’ve been a long-time fan of the Rolex Yacht-Master and had a reference 16622 myself somewhere mid-2000s. I did a bit of trading-up to buy one of my grails, but I some times regret having done so. It was a very nice daily wearer, especially during summer times with its platinum dial, bezel and sporty little red accents on the dial.
At the time, the Rolex Yacht-Master wasn’t the most sought-after time piece and list was somewhere around €7000 Euro and pre-owned price far far less. Even under a Rolex Submariner in stainless steel, despite the use of platinum. I know that Rolex purists are not favoring the Yacht-Master, as it is a bit too round, too smooth and too blingy for a sports watch, but I loved it. Still do.
The Yacht-Master, introduced in 1992 (the version I had in 1999), actually had a long waiting-list at the start. I am not sure whether the new Rolex Yacht-Master 116621 will have one as well given it is a bi-color (Everose and stainless steel), but let’s have a look at it in detail before I make any assumptions here.
Rolex Yacht-Master 116621
Besides all the attraction and fuzz about the new Daytona and new Explorer in 39mm, there was this fellow in Everose gold and stainless steel (904L grade) with a chocolate colored dial on the table during our appointment with Rolex in Basel.
This 40mm Yacht-Master shows no difference regarding dimensions compared to the previous versions, including my old 2004 Yacht-Master 16622. The Rolex caliber 3135 ticks inside and that movement has been upgraded over the years, including Paramagnetic blue Parachrom hairspring (being insensitive for magnetic fields) and movement calibration to -2/+2 seconds deviation (per day on average).
The biggest novelty for the Rolex Yacht-Master 116621 is the use of Everose gold in combination with 904L stainless steel. Rolex calls this combination of materials ‘Rolesor’. The uni-directional diving scale bezel is made of Everose gold as well as the solid center links of the Oyster bracelet on this watch. The previous bi-color Rolex Yacht-Master was reference 16623 (introduced in 2005), and had a yellow gold bezel and center links. The first Yacht-Master reference from 1992, 16628, was full gold and had a gold crown as well. For some reason, Rolex chose the bi-color models, including the model I am talking about today, to have a stainless steel crown.
Strangely enough, bi-color Datejust, Submariner and GMT-Master models seem to have a gold crown. I suppose there is a reason for the Rolex Yacht-Master 116621 to not to have one, but to me it is unclear why this is the case. The strange thing is that Rolex defines Rolesor as follows: “the name Rolesor was patented by Rolex in 1933 and has become a true Rolex signature. The concept is simple: the bezel, the winding crown and the centre bracelet links are made of 18 ct yellow or Everose gold (Rolex’s exclusive pink gold alloy); the middle case and the outer links of the bracelet are made of 904L stainless steel.”. Rolex clearly calls the new Yacht-Master 116621 to be “Rolesor” as well on their website.
Everose is Rolex’ own formula for pink gold. According to Rolex, it is exceptionally durable, polishable (normally, pink gold becomes a bit yellow-ish again after too much polishing) and gives it an everlasting sheen.
The Rolex Yacht-Master 116621 does have gold colored hands and ‘Rolex’ printed on the dial in this gold color as well. The contrast with the chocolate colored dial is very easy on the eyes. The Yacht-Master wording remains to be printed in red. The chocolate brown dial has a sun-ray finish which looks awesome in natural light.
I always loved the bezel of the Yacht-Master watches, and this Everose bezel with embossed diving scale is just awesome. Like all new Oyster bracelets, it can be resized very easily with the screwed links and adjust it up to 5mm with the Easylink system.
The Oyster bracelet remains to be one of the most comfortable bracelets I know, also the most copied one by other brands. Rolex bracelets (Oyster, Jubilee or President) seem to be ‘the reference’ for many people when talking about watch bracelets. Only few other watch brands know how to design and produce well-fitting and easy-to-adjust bracelets. Rolex is King for sure when it comes to bracelets. For now, the Oysterflex bracelet that Rolex showed us last year (click here) has not been shown for this 116621. Perhaps it will become available in the future as an optional bracelet.
Until a few years ago, perhaps even last year, bi-color wasn’t the most demanded combination for materials. Not on a world wide scale, but certainly not in Europe. The bi-color GMT-Master and Yacht-Master always attracted me though, as being a bit gaudy but therefore also fun to have and wear. However, it has become quite popular again recently, as other brands started to introduce bi-color watches in their collections as well again.
I have to admit that my preference is with all-steel or all-gold in most cases, but this bi-color Yacht-Master (and the GMT-Master II as well) are among my favorites of watches that use a combination of gold and steel. Somehow, these Rolex models get away with it pretty well and actually look very nice. It might effect resell value though, as it still isn’t as popular as stainless steel or full gold.
Especially in the Summer, with a nice amount of sun light, this Rolex Yacht-Master 116621 will shine at its best. My own Yacht-Master 16622 was amazing in the sun light, but a bit of a let-down in the office on rainy days with artificial light only. With the chocolate brown dial with sun-ray finishing, it will be less fun than in the sun at the pool (what isn’t?) but still a very handsome and smart looking watch.
The Rolex Yacht-Master 116621 will be priced at CHF 13,400.= Swiss Francs. More information via Rolex on-line.