Without a doubt, the Rolex Yacht Master is the most versatile sports watch in the Rolex collection. Neither a hardcore diver like the Submariner nor a complication like the GMT or Daytona, the Yacht Master offers a judicious blend of dress watch elegance and sports watch toughness. As Rolex sports watches go, the Yacht Master is a relatively new addition to the Rolex family having arrived at Baselworld 1992. But this model has gained a strong reputation for value and utility during its short existence.
This evening’s program focuses on the Rolex Yacht-Master 40mm in stainless steel and platinum. While the regatta timing bezel is platinum, the remainder of the watch and bracelet is comprised of 904L stainless steel, and that’s reflected in Rolex reference 116622’s $12,000 price point. Although the rotating bezel is designed for timing races between yachts, it’s also useful for cooking on the grill, waiting for sunblock to take effect, or counting down to an Independence Day fireworks display. 100-meter water resistance ensures that the Yacht Master lives up to its name while taking the beach and swimming pool in stride.
The latest Rolex Yacht-Master 126622 includes an upgraded automatic caliber 3235 with 70 hours of power reserve. Rolex’s movement is a “Superlative Chronometer” that has passed the COSC Swiss chronometer test before achieving higher thresholds of accuracy in the fully assembled watch. An antimagnetic Breguet overcoil hairspring and a robust architecture ensure that the caliber 3235 is as tough as it is precise.
Both Rolex Yacht Master 116622 and 126622 are available at prices near or slightly higher than the current model’s retail price of $12,000. Used Rolex prices for this model range from about $12,000 for a blue dial 116622 to $14,000 for the latest dark rhodium dial 126622. For the purposes of tonight’s show, mid-size, 42mm, Yacht Master II, and full-gold Yacht Master models will not be discussed.
Rolex’s sister brand, Tudor, has introduced several new versions of its Heritage Black Bay for 2021, but the Black Bay Ceramic is the latest and most technically ambitious. Aside from one-off auction watches, the BB Ceramic is the first ceramic Black Bay model, and its price of $4,725 undercuts rival Omega by thousands of dollars. With a ceramic bezel insert and a unique “Master Chronometer” METAS certification, the Black Bay M79210CNU-0001 represents a huge advance in features and refinement. For good measure, Tudor backs its new ceramiv dive watch with a five-year warranty.
Aside from the scratch-resistant ceramic case, the newest Tudor Black Bay retains the formula that made earlier modes smashing successes. A no-date dial, no-guard case, big-crown profile, and “Snowflake” hands combine elements of 1950s and early 1960s Tudor and Rolex Submariners. The 200-meter diving depth remains as before, and the movement specifications have not changed. Tudor automatic caliber 5602-1U retains the chronometer certification, 70-hour power reserve, and silicon hairspring of the 5602, but a new black coating has been applied to the bridges and plates in order to match the stark appearance of the ceramic case.
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