The new Oyster Perpetual Yacht-Master 42 continues to celebrate Rolex’s long-standing relationship with the world of yacht clubs and regattas.

SINGAPORE (May 13): Rolex’s affinity for sailing transcends the official 60 years of its involvement in the elite world of yachting.

Over a century ago, in 1914, Rolex introduced the observatory-certified precision of the marine chronometer clock in the wristwatch, a technological breakthrough in watchmaking history. By 1926, it had invented the world’s first waterproof wristwatch, aptly named the Oyster, and in 1931, the first self-winding wristwatch with a free rotor called the Perpetual was introduced. These two crucial developments form the foundations of today’s Oyster Perpetual Yacht-Master and Yacht-Master II, a regatta chronograph with an innovative mechanical countdown timer.

Then, in 1958, came the company’s inaugural yachting alliance, formed with the New York Yacht Club. It saw the birth of the Rolex New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup to reignite the tradition of Corinthian (that is, non-professional) competition between yacht clubs, and marks Rolex’s oldest partnership in the yachting world. Every two years, invited yacht club teams would, and continue to, race identically tuned, one-design IC 37s on Narragansett Bay and Rhode Island Sound.

This core value of friendly and fair competition, on which the partnership was founded, played a significant role in shaping Rolex’s involvement in the sport over the decades, eventually breeding advanced regattas such as the Rolex TP52 World Championship. The watchmaking icon now holds title sponsorship for about 15 major races in the Atlantic, Mediterranean and Pacific basin.

Racing demands mastery, split-second precision, resilience and the finest teamwork, and Rolex’s ­dedicated yachting timepieces meet these exacting standards superbly. In addition to representing the rich heritage of sailing, the timepieces exhibit the elegant, high-performance and innovative qualities that are synonymous with Rolex.

Heritage and style

Since the Yacht-Master range was launched in 1992, the world has served as Rolex’s real-life proving ground for the Oyster’s enduring reliability, even in the most extreme conditions. The first dedicated yachting watch model was initially made of 18-carat gold, its 40mm case designed with adventurous navigators and professional race skippers in mind.

Waterproof up to 100m, its Oyster case features a slightly rounded design to avoid snagging on rigging or sails. The bidirectional rotatable bezel has raised and polished numerals that stand out clearly on a contrasting matt background. Another distinguishing feature of the Yacht-Master is its timer functionality that can be used to read elapsed sailing time, for ­instance, or measure the time between two buoys or waypoints.

Since 2015, the Yacht-Master models have come equipped with Rolex’s patented Oysterflex bracelet, which was developed in-house. Composed of two flexible metal blades overmoulded with high-performance elastomer, it combines the robustness and reliability of a metal bracelet with the comfort, suppleness and aesthetics of a rubber strap.

Another milestone

More recently, the Oyster Perpetual Yacht-Master 42 made its debut as a Baselworld 2019 novelty, heralding the introduction of a 42mm diameter as well as 18-carat white gold version to the Yacht-Master range. For the first time, the new model’s Oysterflex bracelet is fitted with the Rolex Glidelock extension system — an ingenious toothed panel mechanism under the clasp cover that allows for fine adjustment of the bracelet’s length, without the use of tools. This enables the bracelet to be easily adjusted in 15mm increments of about 2.5mm, while offering all the same qualities of comfort, suppleness and reliability that the Oysterflex innovation is known for.

The Yacht-Master 42 comes equipped with the new self-winding calibre 3235, featuring a Chronergy escapement that combines high energy efficiency with great dependability such that it is twice as exacting as those for an officially certified chronometer. With a total of 14 patents, the calibre’s power reserve extends to three days, owing to the escapement’s superior efficiency and a new barrel architecture. At the heart of the watch is an oscillator with an optimised Parachrom hairspring, which is also up to 10 times more precise than a traditional hairspring in case of shocks.

Like all other Rolex watches, the Yacht-Master 42 carries the Superlative Chronometer certification, a designation testifying that it has successfully undergone a series of tests conducted by Rolex in its laboratories according to its own criteria. The Superlative Chronometer status is evident on the dial inscription as well as in a green seal that comes with every Rolex watch, and is coupled with an international five-year guarantee.