As you’ve probably read by now, Rolex introduced this new version of the Yachtmaster (we did an overview on this relatively young Rolex collection a while ago). While I wasn’t really overwhelmed during Baselworld this year, Rolex – as always – did create three neckbreakers for their 2015 collection. I am talking about their new line-up for 39mm Oyster Perpetual watches, the new Day-Date 40mm collection and this Rolex Yachtmaster ref.11655 in Everose gold with its new Oysterflex bracelet.
I’ve had a 2004 Rolex Yachtmaster in my personal collection at some point, which I really cherished as well, but somehow became the victim of one of those up-trading swaps for another watch. I know how much some hard core Rolex fans, especially those into vintage Rolex watches, used to frown upon my stainless steel and platinum Rolex Yachtmaster model ref. 16622. The case was too round-ish, the dial to flashy with that platinum grain and the platinum bezel too soft (scratching a platinum surface is no fun as this material is very ‘sticky’) and last but not least the polished center link in the bezel was too blingy.
Well, the Rolex Yachtmaster was never intended to be a real tool watch (the Yachtmaster II is a different story with its regatta timer). One could debate whether a sailor should wear a watch at all, as you could easily hurt your hand when your watch get stuck in ropes or something. I loved my Yachtmaster and although that’s probably not a very watch purist thing to say, I especially liked the platinum dial and bezel. I think that the new Rolex Yachtmaster ref. 116655 in 18 carat Everose gold is not much different compared to the rest of the Yachtmaster collection. It isn’t meant to be a toolwatch, but the watch surely has this nautical theme of course.
What’s different from the other Yachtmaster watches, is the use of the 18 carat Everose gold for the case as well as the Cerachrom insert in black ceramic for its gold rotatable bezel. The black dial is something I had to get used to when seeing it, as it makes the watch a bit mysterious. Where platinum and blue were the dial colours associated with this watch before, the new Rolex Yachtmaster ref. 116655 has a totally different appeal due to the new materials and colours. In short, this watch was a bit awkward to me at first. Being unmistakeably a Rolex Yachtmaster but with its black, gold and rubber elements something totally new and different as well.
The raised numerals on the Cerachrom insert are very Yachtmaster-ish, as the platinum and gold editions also have this feature. Where my old Yachtmaster ref.16622 with platinum bezel got some scratches on and between the numerals, chances are very small this will happen to this Cerachrom insert. Another very cool feature, at least I think it is, is the gold printing on the black dial. It perfectly matches the material of the case, bezel and folding clasp.
This all changed when I got the opportunity to get hands-on with the Rolex Yachtmaster ref.116655 in Everose gold in the Rolex booth at Baselworld. Besides the warm colour of Everose gold and the use of black elements for its bezel and dial, the Oysterflex bracelet – as Rolex calls its new strap – was the first thing I studied to be honest.
The new Osyterflex is a wonderful alternative to their metal Oyster bracelets and is perhaps also Rolex’ answer to the 3rd party rubber straps out there. Although chances are very small that Rolex is really bothered with these aftermarket straps. Slipping on the Rolex Yachtmaster ref.116655 watch is a pleasure, the Oysterflex bracelet is amazingly comfortable. According to Rolex, this black elastomer strap is very durable, robust and of course resistant to (salt) water. Looking at the inside of the strap, and this is what makes the Oysterflex bracelet so comfortable on the wrist, is the patented cushion system. The cushions on the inside of the strap make the watch being very stable on the wrist and you get the idea that the strap isn’t really touching your skin. Like a floating strap. The Oysterflex bracelet comes with an 18 carat Everose gold Oysterlock folding clasp that is attached to the strap using a flexible titanium and nickel alloy metal blade. The same attachment system is used to connect the strap to the watch itself.
The Rolex Yachtmaster ref.116655 in Everose is something I could get used to, especially since it is relatively versatile for a gold timepiece. You can wear it during formal occasions, despite the Oysterflex bracelet I think but also when you are travelling or spending your holiday on the beach of the Côte d’Azur in France. The watch comes in 40mm and in 37mm, where I believe the 37mm version will be mainly bought by women but isn’t marketed as a ladies watch per se. The 37mm version has reference number 268655. Besides the size of these watches, also the movement is different. The 40mm Rolex Yachtmaster ref.116655 uses the good ol’ caliber 3135 while the 37mm version uses the caliber 2236 movement.
The movement is – as always – hidden under a solid case back, in this case made of 18 carat Everose gold.
The Rolex Yachtmaster ref.116655 in Everose gold and with its Oysterflex bracelet has a CHF 23,800 Swiss Francs price tag. More information can be found on the official Rolex Yachtmaster web page.