The New Rolex Yacht-Master 42 In Titanium Brings Relevance To The Reference
Perhaps the new Rolex Yacht-Master 42 in titanium has been the worst-kept secret since Ben Ainslie was spotted wearing a perceived prototype back in 2021. Now, though, it’s finally here in production form as reference 226627, and it’s a great addition to the lineup. From a tool-watch perspective, the lightweight material finally gives this model some purpose. Hooray!
I’ve always thought that the Yacht-Master was one of the oddest sports watches in the Rolex fleet. It is ostensibly made for sailing with its bidirectional external bezel, but it comes off as more of a luxury piece. With today’s new titanium Yacht-Master 42, Rolex ups the purpose-made focus of this watch by a large degree and I think it really works. Finally, for me at least, this is a Yacht-Master worth considering.
The Rolex Yacht-Master 42 ref. 226627 in titanium
The new titanium Rolex Yacht-Master is now the second production watch from the brand using the lightweight material (2022 saw the introduction of the massive Deepsea Challenge). It’s a material that has been in use for well over 50 years, but it is only now just hitting its stride with Rolex. Then again, the Tudor brand has happily been using it for well over a decade in the Pelagos. Regardless, Rolex found a reason to incorporate its RLX Grade 5 titanium into the Yacht-Master due to the intense demands of competitive sailing. When we speak of this, we’re not talking about taking a Hobie Cat into the bay. No, we’re talking about proper high-end America’s Cup competitions where every gram counts. Furthermore, Rolex tells us that the corrosive saltwater environment makes titanium the perfect choice.
Size and details
Interestingly, the new Rolex Yacht-Master in titanium is an addition to the lineup. In other words, this watch isn’t replacing any of the steel or precious-metal variants that existed before today. It comes in one size — 42mm — and is only available on a matching RLX titanium Oyster bracelet with Oysterlock and Easylink wetsuit extension. The bezel is black Cerachrom and features polished details in relief. An interesting detail is the chamfers on the lugs. These are becoming somewhat of a calling card for the material (the Deepsea has them as well). I welcome them as it brings back memories of vintage Rolex sports models.
Rolex is sticking to brushed surfaces for much of the titanium Yacht-Master. Even though Grade 5 titanium is employed here, this watch will still scratch more easily than steel. Still, you can see some polishing at work around the crown guards and within the bezel knurling.
Despite its far more serious looks, the general specifications remain the same as other watches in the line. The titanium Yacht-Master has a 100m water resistance rating, and it uses the chronometer-certified 3235 automatic movement with a 70-hour power reserve. Expect this watch to glow like a lighthouse beacon with its large gold-surrounded indices filled with Chromalight.
Pricing and thoughts
If you expected the new Rolex Yacht-Master in titanium to come in at a low price, you’ll need to adjust those expectations! The retail price is set at €13,800, and that brings about an interesting “in-house” comparison. The relatively new Tudor Pelagos 39, which comes in titanium, is chronometer-certified and has 200m water resistance. Even the normal Pelagos stacks up incredibly well. Of course, neither is a true Rolex, which many will want. Personally, I’ve spent years looking at the Yacht-Master from afar. I like the precious models on their Oysterflex bracelets, but they’re way too luxurious to even consider the risk of scratching via contact with gear. This watch, while still expensive, truly looks like it’s ready to be put to the test.
For more information on the Yacht-Master 42 in titanium, visit the official Rolex site.