Why I Bought The Rolex Yacht-Master 16622 (Again)
When I sell a watch from my collection, there’s probably a good reason for it. I don’t have many regrets in that regard, but selling my Rolex Yacht-Master 16622 back in 2009 is definitely one of them.
I bought my Rolex Yacht-Master 16622 in 2007, a pre-owned model from 2004. In my collection were already a GMT-Master II, Sea-Dweller, and Datejust, so I thought the Yacht-Master would be something different. It was a bit of a weird choice and was, back then, regarded as a bit of an unloved watch by collectors.
Rolex Yacht-Master 16622
Even the seller tried to talk me out of it when I was there. Instead, he offered me one of the new GMT-Master II models with a ceramic bezel. But no, I wanted to have that Yacht-Master. It might not have been the typical sports Rolex, but I liked the quirky look and the combination of platinum and steel. At the time, these watches cost something like €4,000. The Rolex Yacht-Master 16622 quickly became one of my most worn watches, yet I sold it two years later.
I regret Selling My Rolex Yacht-Master 16622
I had a good reason though, at the time. For many years, my dream watch was an Audemars Piguet Royal Oak. In 2009, a local watch dealer let me know he had a silvery-white dial Royal Oak 15300 (39mm) for sale. Sure, that wasn’t the “Jumbo” reference 15202 I wanted to have, but it was, nevertheless, an impressive watch. You can’t have it all though, so I decided to sell my Rolex Yacht-Master 16622 to make way for the AP.
The 15300 didn’t stay long either, as my friend Alon from Ace Jewelers called me one day to tell me he had a Royal Oak 15202 “Jumbo” for sale in his boutique. So I traded up and that was that. Now, what I missed most I thought, was having a watch with a nice light-colored dial. I craved silvery-white, or platinum, for example. So one year later, I added the Royal Oak Chronograph 26300 with a silvery-white “Panda” dial. But that one was traded again as well in 2013, to satiate my never-ending hunger for Omega Speedmaster watches.
Speedmaster Rising Sun
That changed a bit when Omega announced their Tokyo 2020 collection of Speedmasters in 2018. The Games that never happened, you could say. One of them, the Speedmaster with the gray dial and red bezel spoke to my imagination the most. I decided to buy it. Actually, three of us at Fratello decided to go after that one and Michael nicknamed it “The Rising Sun” in this article. A wonderfully versatile watch, it reminded me once more of my Rolex Yacht-Master 16622, as the dial looked so similar. The dial of the Speedmaster Rising Sun looks like it’s made of platinum, but it is not. I do love the Rising Sun though!
Fast forward to September 2020. Rolex introduces its new Submariner collection. As one of the world’s most iconic dive watches, the Sub needs no introduction. Through a friendly watch dealer (Van Schaften Horloges), we were able to get our hands on all the new references at once. But the owner also showed me his personal Yacht-Master 116622. I realized that I needed that model in my life.
The difference between the 116622 and 16622 is mainly the bracelet, as the later models come with a more solid clasp. I decided to sell my Rolex Submariner 114060 as I never was in love with it anyway, as soon as I realized the Yacht-Master 16622 is the one for me. Also, I had recently picked-up a tritium-lumed Rolex Sea-Dweller 16600 (again) as well, which I prefer over any modern Submariner. I am not a Rolex collector by any means, and the Submariner and Sea-Dweller are a bit too close to each other anyway.
Now, looking for a pre-owned Rolex Yacht-Master isn’t particularly difficult. I wanted an early model, at least pre-2007, as that’s the year when Rolex changed the dial a little bit. The platinum dial lost that coarse grain and became a bit smoother. I love to see that platinum grain in the summer. However, the tricky part when buying pre-owned Rolex watches over a certain age is that the bracelet might show too much stretch. And, indeed, the first watch I looked for at a watch dealer (although listed as “mint condition”) had a bracelet with way too much stretch. He also had a second Yacht-Master 16622 for sale, but without the proper box and paperwork. I reckoned that for my budget of €8,000, I should be able to find a complete one.
Amsterdam Vintage Watches (although the Yacht-Master can’t be considered vintage), seems to have a weak spot for the Yacht-Master as well, also due to its quirkiness, I guess. They offered a 2009 Yacht-Master for a very fair price, but it was gone before I could get over to Amsterdam. They work on a first come first serve, no reservation possible basis. That’s a pity, but no worries, there were quite a few available. The problem is that The Netherlands is a small country and most of the European offered Yacht-Master watches were offered from Germany and Italy.
And as I wrote earlier, I don’t mind ordering a watch online, but I also want to check the bracelet and condition of the watch in person. Buying outside Europe is not an option here, as all the shipping companies are happy to register your watch with customs for you (they get a kickback fee from the Dutch tax authority) and that means I can add at least 25% to the price I paid. Now, I don’t mind paying taxes (it means things are going well I guess), but I also don’t want to sponsor them more than necessary.
A 2004 Rolex Yacht-Master 16622 (again)
I continued my hunt on Chrono24 and noticed that Juwelier Burger had a Rolex Yacht-Master 16622 for sale as well. One that dates to 2004, just like my first Yacht-Master and complete with box and papers. The owners, Alfred & Monique, are super friendly and I’ve known them for a long (long!) time. Before ordering, I asked them if the bracelet was OK. Their boutique is a 5-hour round trip so Alfred told me he would have the watch shipped to me, so I could check it myself.
The next day the Rolex Yacht-Master 16622 arrived in my office and I didn’t have to think long, the watch is in great condition. Not only for its age, but in general. No stretch, no damage, everything complete. Perfect! It almost fitted the budget, so I couldn’t be happier.
Not A Daily Wearer
Now, the Rolex Yacht-Master 16622 is not a daily wearer for me. I wear my Speedmasters, Ploprof, or Globemaster most of the time. If I make an exception to those, it is my Fratelloris or Grand Seiko. There’s also the hassle of getting watches from (and bringing them to) my safe, which is external. However, the Rolex Yacht-Master 16622 does get more wrist time than my Sea-Dweller or Datejust, when it comes to Rolex.
The Yacht-Master 16622 is an under-appreciated and therefore underrated watch, in my opinion. I don’t like how Rolex treats its customers today, but enough has been said about that in previous articles. The same way goes for how Rolex authorized dealers are treating their clients, as some of them sell these watches as “pre-owned” (1 week old, you know it makes “sense”, I guess) in their shops with a truly stunning premium. The fact that the Yacht-Master 16622 is not popular makes it a perfect purchase for me. I also noticed the new Yacht-Master references are not a victim of hype also.
Platinum and Steel
The Yacht-Master was first introduced in 1992 as a full gold watch (reference 16628), but the 40mm Yacht-Master Rolesium was presented in 1999. One of the main attractions for me is the Rolesium. Rolex’s own definition for the use of stainless steel and platinum. The bezel of the Rolex Yacht-Master 16622 is made of platinum. Additionally, this 16622 has a dial made of platinum as well.
Platinum adds a bit to the weight of the Yacht-Master 16622. And is considerably heavier than a steel GMT-Master or Submariner of that era. The platinum dial has been discontinued a while ago for the Yacht-Master, so the current ones are only available with rhodium or blue dial. As written above, the Yacht-Master 16622 watches prior to 2007 have a coarser-grained dial. Watches from 2007/2008 onwards also have their rehaut engraved with Rolex and the serial number.
The 40mm diameter Rolex Yacht-Master uses the in-house produced 3135. Rolex used it for other watches with a date as well. Like the Datejust, Sea-Dweller, or Submariner Date, for example. A chronometer-certified movement with a power reserve of 48 hours, 31 jewels, and an operating frequency of 28,800vph. It is a rock-solid self-winding movement, and my watchmaker keeps telling me he can drink while servicing it. I don’t think he means for it to sound as concerning as it does…
Bi-directional platinum bezel
The Rolex Yacht-Master is not a dive watch. You will need the Submariner or Sea-Dweller to serve that purpose. The Yacht-Master is a boating watch. This means it’s a luxury watch you need to wear while sipping your favorite drink on a teak deck. Rolex has used the Yacht-Master name before its official introduction in 1992. Some of the prototype Cosmographs also had this name on the dial. The Yacht-Master looks similar to the Submariner but has a bi-directional bezel (instead of uni-directional). The hands are relatively wide and it features big hour markers. On the dial, you’ll find the use of Super-LumiNova (Rolex introduced their own “Chromalight” only in 2008). The screw-down Triplock crown and Oyster case warrant a water resistance of 100 meters, of course.
Buy What You Like
The reason that a watch is affordable, cheap, or under-the-radar is not a reason for me to buy one. I made that “mistake” in the past and I ended up with a box labeled “Watches I never wear”. And, to be honest, I can’t afford to have such a box. In this case, the good thing is that I love the Rolex Yacht-Master like Gerard likes his weird Air-King and it is a nice coincidence that not many others do.
At least not in the same number that seeks Submariners, GMT-Masters, Daytonas, etc. I am not very vulnerable to peer pressure, so I couldn’t care less if my Instagram feed is not as cool as yours. Buy and wear what you like. I think that will give the most satisfaction in the end. I am happy that the Yacht-Master is back in the collection, and here to stay. Why not tell us about the ones that got away from your collection but found their way back in the comments below!