The Unusual Suspects: The Rolex Yacht-Master 37 Ref. 268655 In 18K Everose Gold Is A Tough Little Gem
Once again, I’ll try to swing the spotlight onto what I feel is a secret hidden in plain sight. This series is not based on bargain hunting, as your eyebrows might be raised already. It is simply a personal take on the impossibly narrow algorithms of Instagram and Facebook. Rolex is a perfect example of this. While we lament the impossibility of acquiring a Submariner or even a Tiffany-esque-blue 36mm Oyster Perpetual at its retail price, it is our own fault. Rolex has a substantial catalog of non-Submariner goodness, so dig deeper, and you might find a hidden treasure.
Perhaps Rolex could ramp up production of the Submariner, but will it ever? I understand the brand just as much as I question the madness of an all-out focus on the black-bezeled diver’s watch. Yes, Rolex has other models, most of which are fairly unavailable, but how about this? The pink tinge of Everose gold might not seem stealthy, but ironically, it is. In a world of thugs ripping off tourists’ Submariners at gunpoint, a rose gold gem on black rubber is safer. But that is not the point of this story, nor is it a particularly good value. It is simply a perfect example of juxtaposed delights in a comfort-sized case.
The Yacht-Master 37 is a sweetheart
At just below $24,000 from your local AD, is the Rolex ref. 268655 a bargain? Well no, but I’ve already told you that this is not the point. With prices on Chrono24 starting at around $27,000, this is an expensive Rolex, and above retail. But with the robber-magnetic and fairly ubiquitous steel Submariners selling for close to double retail at $15K to 17K? This presents decent value. And no, a mass-produced Swiss be-crowned watch selling for more than its retail price pre-owned is still not a good thing. Yet, here we are, and in this age of new normal, I’d like one of these. For one thing, it is not pretending to be a full-on diver’s tool when nestling under a suit jacket. This is Everose gold bling of the highest degree but on a rubber strap. And to me, this is what makes it magic.
The contrasts that make the Yacht-Master 37
The matte-black ceramic bezel of the Yacht-Master 37 makes the watch. Back in 2015, this detail along with the Oysterflex proved one thing: for once, Rolex had the idea of doing some actual market research. The young-moneyed crowd with $1,000 Supreme hoodies and limited Air Jordans for $2,000 wanted casual bling. Hublot Big Bangs with ceramic-and-gold cases came to the fore on comfortable rubber straps. Gold with rubber, the insanity of it all! And it stayed with us, as did the brilliance of the Oysterflex bracelet. No, it’s not a strap, and yes, for once I agree with the marketing cheekiness of Rolex. The bracelet’s metal insert and engineered complexity deserve it. With the inner winglets and its stiff curved shape, it might just make you re-calibrate your rubber-strap senses. And boy, does it make that warm glow of Everose even more delicious.
Outclassing the Sub for comfort
There is no denying the impact an Oyster bracelet in warm 904L steel invokes. Its intense sense of detail and finish makes for wrist perfection. But the bold-lugged 41mm case is not small by any measure. This, however, is Goldilocks-sized in a similar case. This weighty gold nugget sits warm on the wrist, and the 37mm case will make it ever-so discreet under a shirt or merino jumper. Soft 18K Everose alloy is scratch-prone and this is an all-polished case, but perhaps, it’s just honest. Even if you enjoy the stories of Pan-Am pilots and deepsea divers, a Rolex these days ain’t no tool watch, just like those $2000 high-top sneakers from Dior don’t belong on a basketball court. This is the genius of the Yacht-Master 37. The almost ironic vibe to its matte tool bezel and rubber somehow makes the gold even more precious.
One of the best Rolex dials
To some of you, I’m already way off track here, but you can tell I really like this 37mm sweetheart. Yes, it is equally cool at 40mm, but I prefer my gold in small packages. To me, the dial is one of the draws of this reference, encompassing all that’s good about Rolex, both past and present. The gilt look of the super-matte Cerachrom black with rose-gold-framed chunky indices is a strong statement. It might be busy with text, but there is an inherent balance. I do love the bright red capitalized YACHT-MASTER logo and only have one tiny quibble. Imagine how gorgeous it would be without the date. That would perhaps be a big step for Rolex. Here, the white date window and Cyclops look at home, but on any other watch, they would look off.
A cool 18K gem that stays off the radar
The white gold 42mm version might be the king of stealth wealth, but I want this small gem on my wrist. Granted, it’s still got the caliber 2236 from its launch, but it’s a solid movement. With a Syloxi hairspring and Paraflex shock absorbers, it runs an accurate ±2 seconds per day, and it’s tested after casing. To sum it up for me, check #rolex on Instagram. Yes, there are 24.8 million of them. Scroll down for about a minute, and be bombarded by bussed-down, iced-out Daytonas, colored OPs, Lamborghinis, and fakes. But this 18K baby? Nope. Call me a contrarian, but its gilt dial with a touch of red, delicious Everose case, and smooth rubber Oysterflex awakens my desire. And this even without mentioning the hashtag crowd’s belief that this is a ladies’ model. It isn’t. And neither is it pretending to be a tool watch. It’s actually not particularly nautical either, but that’s for another story for Yacht-Masters.
Do you have another unsung hero in the Rolex catalog, or did I awaken your desire for small-sized perfection? Let us know in the comments, and stay tuned.
Find me and follow me at @thorsvaboe