With the introduction of a chocolate dial and Everose Rolesor case on an Oyster bracelet, the Rolex Yacht-Master 40 adds another option to the line after last year’s model. A year ago at Baselworld 2015, the Rolex Yacht-Master arrived with a brand new Oysterflex strap, 40mm case, and caliber 3135 movement. It also came in an 18kt Everose (Rolex’s pink gold alloy) case and is now joined by this steel and gold Rolex Yacht-Master 40 model. There will also be a new all-steel model which we should have a look at for you in the coming days.
Many people, including myself honestly, aren’t experts on the Rolex Yacht-Master line, so I wanted to explain that this watch is simply a new color scheme in the Rolex Yacht-Master 40 line, and not a new piece altogether. There are several two-tone Rolex Yacht-Master 40 watches, but since this is the first new one since last year’s model, I think it’s more interesting to talk about this watch and what it means for the line moving forward. So yes, there are other Rolex Yacht-Master 40 watches already out there, but for all their merits they’re not providing the novelty of a new chocolate dial.
Offering a distinctly softer look than the matte-black dial and bezel of its older sibling, there is a case to be made that this Rolex Yacht-Master 40 watch might have some success as a full-sized Rolex diver that appeals to women as well as men. The Oyster bracelet in place of the sporty rubber (what Rolex would insist you call “Elastomer”) strap would likely help make that sell, also. That being said, this is certainly a unisex watch, even though I much prefer the black to the Everose look.
The Rolex Yacht-Master 40’s bidirectional rotating bezel has polished raised numerals and graduations that stand out against the matt, sand-blasted surface of the 18kt Everose gold bezel. This softens the look of the Rolex Yacht-Master 40 watch by having two warm tones of Everose gold. On the black dial version with a matt, sand-blasted black ceramic bezel, the polished, raised numerals and graduations maintain a brooding look. Here, it’s softer, brighter, and way less masculine.
Ditto with the dial, where the chocolate color gets that great sun-ray finish. Instead of a matt-black dial with a relationship to light like that of a Transylvanian count, the new model of the Rolex Yacht-Master 40 welcomes it. The hands and hour markers are unchanged, with 18kt Everose gold and luminescent Chromalight appliqués. Oh, and the cyclops over the date window remains. The Rolex Yacht-Master 40’s Everose Rolesor (that’s 904L steel and 18k Everose gold) Oyster bracelet with Oysterlock folding safety clasp looks great and is timeless. The Oysterflex is certainly not for everyone, especially when you consider the fact that you are kind of stuck with whichever one of six size options you choose.
If you haven’t heard about it yet, Rolex is has replaced COSC certifications for their movements with a new in-house Rolex Superlative Chronometer certification (which you can read about here) that ensures accuracy within -2/+2 seconds per day. The new Rolex Yacht-Master 40 has the same caliber 3135 movement as last year’s model, and it has the new “Green Seal” approving it as Rolex Superlative Chronometer-certified.
While I loved the red font indicating the watch’s name on the black-dial version, I’m not sure it works as well here. It looks a little out of place, and I can only hope Rolex at least considers some other options. Then again, the first Rolex watch on a strap followed up by a standard Oyster bracelet model that also removed the bold red font from the dial would really look like Rolex having too much fun with their fans and enthusiasts.
Also announced at Baselworld this year is the 39.5mm gold-cased Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean 600M Master Chronometer “Chocolate” watch, which Omega has interestingly decided to market as a ladies’ watch. Personally, I am not the world’s biggest fan of the chocolate dial, but I know several people, both men and women, who I can say would love to wear it any day. It will also be interesting to see how the upcoming steel model is priced, but maybe we’ll see a lot more Rolex Yacht-Master watches out in the wild when you cut almost half from the price of the gold-case black dial model. Price on this Rolex Yacht-Master 40 watch reference 116621 is 13,400 CHF. rolex.com