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yacht master ii

Rolex Oyster Perpetual Yacht-Master II Hands-On

yacht master ii

The year is 2011 and this conversation is overheard in a Rolex boutique.

“Good morning.” “Good morning, sir, how may we help you?” “I’d like a large Rolex.” “That’d be the Rolex Oyster Perpetual Yacht-Master II. Here you go, sir.” “I’ll take that, thank you. Bye.” “Bye!”

yacht master ii

All images by David Bredan

The Large Rolex

For the longest time, and I’ll take the blame for this, I couldn’t see the Yacht-Master II as nothing more than  The Large Rolex . The 44mm wide Yacht-Master II was the go-to large Rolex, with a massive gap in size between it and the 40mm Sea-Dwellers, Submariners, and others. Debuted in 2007, the Yacht-Master II was followed just next year by the absolutely massive Deepsea that had the same width at 44mm but was considerably thicker, so it both appeared and wore much, much larger than the YMII, placing it far off the map for most.

yacht master ii

The Sky-Dweller made its debut in 2012, and while it also looks and wears large, until 2017 it was exclusively available in solid gold cases, rendering it about 40% more expensive than the two-tone YMII that had already been available by 2012. I did look these things up – wouldn’t want to pose as someone who remembers all this. No wonder then, that the Yacht-Master II became The Large Rolex worn by premiership ballerinas footballers, celebrities, and… basically everyone who wanted in on the large watch craze with a Rolex, but didn’t like or couldn’t afford the Sky-Dweller. The fact that Rolex took so long and only debuted the larger, 43mm wide Sea-Dweller in 2017 is just Rolex being its usual cautious self that caused it to nearly miss the boat on the large watch trend – but that’s for another discussion.

yacht master ii

Stars aligned and I ended up in a Rolex boutique with a camera in one hand and the Yacht-Master II in the other – welcome to watch blogger life. It was only there that I realized I should have cared about the Yacht-Master II because my goodness, it is a truly impressive piece of watchmaking. It’s the Bentley of watches: big, brash, and showy, bought by a demographic that people not part of are keen not to be associated with… But beyond all that lies a deeply impressive, well-made, uniquely cool product.

yacht master ii

I am realizing now that it might as well just be my boredom with the Submariners and Datejusts speaking, but as I was reviewing my images on the spot on the camera’s screen (not even a larger, better display) I realized the many intricate and well-made details of the Yacht-Master II. It’s proper Rolex through and through – you’d never ever mistake the entire watch or any of its details for anything but a Rolex – but at the same time its functionality, layout, as well as its case and dial design are all refreshingly unique.

yacht master ii

Yes, that’s what got me. The weird, piston-style pushers (that need not be screwed down), the weird, but strangely beautiful proportions of the lugs and bezel, the incredible quality of the blue ceramic bezel and its laser-etched, PVD-coated numerals, the weird arch of the dial that resembles (in my mind at least) a gauge of a submarine, and the ADD-curing tactile feel of the Ring Command bezel. These make the Yacht-Master II not only unlike any other Rolex, but unlike any other watch. How did this happen?

yacht master ii

Whether or not Rolex had the large watch trend on its mind when designing the Yacht-Master II, we’ll never know. I have no hopes in receiving a definitive “yes, we did” or “no, we didn’t” answer from them. The Yacht-Master II was designed with a programmable fly-back regatta chronograph ( ooooh, just writing that down felt strangely satisfying ) and it was also the watch to debut Rolex’s Ring Command rotating bezel system that was later also used in the Sky-Dweller.

yacht master ii

We’ll look at how it all works soon but for a second imagine the amount of R&D time and effort that must have gone into designing what is now called the Manufacture Rolex Calibre 4161 “with some 360 components.” What the heck, even Rolex appears to be proud of this movement as this, I believe, is the only movement they proactively communicate the exact component count of. It is known that the 4130 chronograph in the Daytona has 201 parts, but Rolex officially only ever said they managed to reduce the chronograph’s component count by 60%, without providing the total 201 count – and as far as the other movements are concerned, no exact component figure is ever shared.

Give or take the large watch trend, the Yacht-Master II is also something else: it’s Rolex’s love letter to one of its obscure, but long-standing passions, yachting. Worry not, I’ll spare you the long, teary-eyed story of all that’s exciting about yachting. That’s partly because I’ve never been on a racing yacht and partly because it’s irrelevant in this discussion – you either already are a skipper at heart, or if you’re not, my measly few words won’t get you started. Rolex has produced a number of longer videos on the topic, so if you can take 24 minutes of “uplifting-instrumental-music.mp3” and are desperate to learn more about yachting, then I suggest you watch the video above. But only then.

yacht master ii

So, looking at it strictly as a watch, without its implications, customer base, or inspiration, what do we have with the Rolex Yacht-Master II? From my time with it, I came away with a new-found admiration for its many impressive feats starting with its mechanical engineering and ending with its countless neatly executed details. The Rolex Yacht-Master II was specifically designed for regatta yacht races where the starting procedure of the race requires each yacht to be positioned as best as possible when a given time limit expires. From what I understand this time limit before the actual start varies between 5 and 10 minutes and so skippers need a regatta timer watch with a countdown timer (i.e. a reverse chronograph) that can be programmed to count down from a pre-set time between 5 and 10 minutes. When the officials give a signal, the countdown begins, the pre-set regatta chronographs are started, and the maneuvering begins.

Rolex Yacht-Master II Oystersteel White Dial Men's Watch 116680-0002

Rolex Yacht-Master II Oystersteel White Dial Men's Watch 116680-0002

yacht master ii

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Rolex Yacht Master II

  • Yacht-Master II
  • Yacht-Master
  • Rolex 116688
  • Rolex 116689
  • $7,000 to $10,000
  • $10,000 to $15,000
  • $15,000 to $20,000
  • Stainless Steel
  • Yellow Gold
  • 2010 to Present

Rolex Yacht-Master 116681

  • $ 24,495 Buy
  • Get Quote Sell

Pre-owned Rolex Yacht-Master II ref 116680 Stainless Steel

  • $ 18,695 Buy

Pre Owned Rolex Yacht-Master II Ref 116689

  • $ 28,495 Buy

Rolex Yacht-Master II Ref 116680 White Dial

  • $ 18,495 Buy

Rolex Yacht-Master II Ref 116681 Steel & 18k Everose Gold

  • $ 24,995 Buy

Pre-Owned Rolex Yacht-Master II Ref 116680

Cash wire prices shown. Prices may be higher if other payment methods are selected.*

About Rolex Yacht-Master II

The Rolex Yacht-Master II was released in 2007 and has since become a pillar of the Big Crown’s maritime-inspired collection of timepieces. The Yacht-Master II was developed for yacht racing and includes a programmable countdown mechanism that can be adjusted from 1 to 10 minutes. The Yacht-Master II's regatta chronograph is also another noteworthy feature, allowing seafarers to time their maneuvers with the utmost accuracy.

Rolex Yacht-Master II Key Features

Rolex prefers to only produce the purpose-driven Yacht-Master II with a simple and clean white dial. Additionally, all Rolex Yacht-Master II dials have legible hour markers and hands, making the watch an ideal tool for all maritime activities.

The Rolex Yacht-Master II is powered by a highly complex mechanical movement famous for its unparalleled precision and dependability. The watch currently features Rolex's in-house caliber 4161, which is an automatic mechanical movement with an extraordinary power reserve of 72 hours. Additionally, the Rolex Yacht-Master II movement boasts a programmable countdown timer and a regatta chronograph function, making it a favorite among regatta and sailing enthusiasts.

The Rolex Yacht-Master II sizes is one of the largest models in the portfolio, at 44mm in diameter. While quite large by Rolex’s standards, the 44mm case is necessary to house the complex movement and sophisticated Ring Command bezel. Collectors who prefer a watch with a more robust size and weight will appreciate the distinctive Yacht Master II in 44mm.

The Rolex Yacht-Master II is crafted with superior materials that are both durable and timeless. The collection is sold in a handful of material options, including stainless steel, gold, and a combination of steel and precious metals like Everose Rolesor or white gold and platinum. Additionally, the watch has a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal and a highly resilient Cerachrom bezel made from ceramic.

Rolex Yacht-Master II Price

The Rolex Yacht-Master II is a prized collector’s item, and its value has steadily grown over the years due to demand and inventory. The watch's complex design, trailblazing technology, and premium materials add to its price and make it a sensible investment. While prices differ depending on influences such as model, condition, and availability, the Yacht-Master II is overall considered a luxury item with an appropriate price tag to reflect its status. Below is a pricing table for the Yacht-Master II models:

disc. = discontinued

Prices (Approx.)
116689 disc. $28,495
116688 $43,500 $29,995
116681 $25,400 $24,495
116680 $18,700 $18,695

Popular Rolex Yacht Master II Comparisons

Rolex yacht-master ii 116680 vs 116681.

The Rolex Yacht-Master II 116680 and 116681 are both remarkable timepieces in their own right, highly regarded for their distinctive features and design. The primary difference between the two Rolex watches is their metal finish; the 116680 has a stainless steel finish, while the 116681 features a combination of steel and Everose gold, called Everose Rolesor. Ultimately, choosing between the two Yacht-Master IIs comes down to personal preference and style.

Rolex Yacht-Master II 116688 vs 116689

The Rolex Yacht-Master II 116688 and 116689 are two outstanding precious metal luxury watches coveted by collectors and Rolex devotees alike. The major difference between the two models is their metal finish, with the 116688 being crafted completely from 18k yellow gold, while the 116689 pairs white gold with a platinum bezel. Both Yacht-Master IIs are equipped with advanced watchmaking technologies like a programmable countdown timer and a regatta chronograph function, making them perfect for boating and other maritime activities. Ultimately, the choice between either model comes down to personal preference, cost, and style.

Rolex Yacht-Master II Stainless Steel vs Two-Tone

Classic stainless steel Yacht-Master II exudes a timeless and sporty elegance. Its robust 904L stainless steel construction offers exceptional durability and resistance to corrosion, making it an ideal choice for those who lead an active lifestyle or frequently engage in water activities. On the other hand, the two-tone Yacht-Master II models harmoniously blend stainless steel with the warm luster of 18k gold, elevating the watch to a new level of luxury and sophistication.

Rolex Yacht Master II References

The Rolex Yacht-Master II is a cult favorite with a versatile selection of reference models to accommodate different preferences and styles. The most sought-after reference models are the 116680 and 116681, which sport stainless steel and steel and Everose gold metal finishes, respectively. The 116688 and 116689 are made completely from precious metals and are ideal for those in the market for a more extravagant wristwatch.

Learn more about the collection by visiting our Rolex Yacht-Master II buying guide .

Available in an array of colors, designs, sizes, and precious metals, the Rolex Yacht-Master II collection offers a plethora of options to cater to individual tastes and preferences.

  • Rolex 116680
  • Rolex 116681
  • Rolex Men's Yacht Master II
  • Rolex Yacht Master 2 White
  • Yachtmaster 2 Gold
  • Yacht Master 2 Stainless Steel
  • Yacht Master 2 White Gold
  • Yacht Master 2 Yellow Gold
  • Two Tone Yacht Master II

Popular Nicknames

The Rolex Yacht-Master II has earned a few well-known nicknames since coming to market among Rolex enthusiasts and avid luxury watch collectors. Some of the most popular monikers are the "Regatta Timer" or simply "Regatta" because of its programmable countdown timer function, which was developed for nautical competitions. It is also often called the "Big Yacht" due to its robust size and polarizing design. Finally, some collectors refer to it simply as the "Yacht 2."

Why Choose Us

Bob's Watches is a trusted and dependable seller of luxury certified pre-owned Rolex watches. With over 20 years of combined expertise, we have earned a stellar reputation for our knowledge, customer service, and devotion to authenticity. Each watch is subjected to a rigorous authentication and servicing process, and Bob's Watches includes a 1-year warranty on every watch sold, giving customers peace of mind and confidence in their investment.

Sell Your Rolex Yacht-Master II

Unlock the value of your treasured timepiece by selling your Rolex with Bob's Watches. Our expert team handles each watch with utmost care and professionalism. With our seamless and trusted process, we ensure your experience is top-notch. Parting with your luxury watch becomes as effortless and rewarding as the moments it has tracked for you. Get started today by visiting our Sell Rolex watch page.


Nathaniel g..

"I had wanted a Yacht-Master for as long as I could remember, but could never justify the high price of buying new. Once I realized that buying pre-owned might be a smarter option, I searched around the internet, but only Bob's Watches made me feel comfortable with making such a large purchase online. I understood their business model, and past customers' reviews were very positive. The prices were competitive as well, and rivaled those of less-trustworthy dealers. Once I made my choice, there was a slight hiccup in the process to wire funds, but when I called in, the problem was quickly resolved.

I received my watch a few days later, and it looked stunning. When the site says "mint condition," it means it! Bob's was also able to tell me when the watch was last serviced, which (in combination with the one-year warranty) gives me peace-of-mind. As I look to expand my collection of watches, I'm sure I'll be a repeat customer of Bob's Watches."

Review originally published on Trustpilot

"I have been shopping for the Rolex Yachtmaster for the better part of a year. I visited multiple jewelers & brokers in my area. Either they were of poor condition or over priced. Then I found Bobs Watches. The staff was expeditious and courteous. They sent me new photos of the watch upon request with no hesitation. The service, price, and condition of the watch was without compare. I am now a lifelong customer of Bobs Watches, I cannot imagine buying from any other source."

Review originally published on Google

Expert Opinion

"The Rolex Yacht-Master II is a true masterpiece of engineering and design . The programmable countdown function is amazingly useful for avid sailors and sailing enthusiasts, and the regatta chronograph is both precise and dependable. The watch exudes a sense of opulence and prestige, and it's easy to understand why it's one of the most coveted pre-owned Rolex watches on the market today."

- Paul Altieri, Founder & CEO of Bob’s Watches

Frequently Asked Questions

Does the yacht-master 2 hold its value.

The Rolex Yacht-Master II is infamous for holding its value long term. Due to its outstanding craftsmanship, groundbreaking features, and refined design, it is a popular watch among avid Rolex collectors and aficionados. As a result, the Yacht-Master II usually to hold its value well and might even appreciate over time, making it a solid investment for those in the market for a high-end timepiece.

Is the Rolex Yacht-Master 2 being discontinued?

There are currently no signs that the Rolex Yacht-Master II will be discontinued any time soon. Rolex is known for fostering the continuity of its staple collections, and the Yacht-Master II has been a massively successful model since its release in the mid-2000s. In fact, Rolex continues to make changes to the Yacht-Master II collection, which suggests that it is still an important part of the brand's portfolio.

Why is Rolex Yacht-Master so expensive?

The Rolex Yacht-Master is an expensive watch because of its extraordinary quality, innovative design, and use of high-end materials. Rolex is known for its rigorous quality control and tireless pursuit of perfection and precise craftsmanship, which produces a watch that is enduring, accurate, and reliable. Additionally, the Yacht-Master offers the wearer a range of groundbreaking features and functionalities, including a programmable countdown timer and regatta chronograph function, which also contributes to its premium and demand among collectors and enthusiasts.

How much does a Rolex Watch Master II cost?

The cost of a Rolex Yacht-Master II can vary depending on factors such as the specific reference model, material, and condition. On average, pre-owned Yacht-Master II prices range from around $15,000 for stainless steel models to over $40,000 for solid gold versions.

yacht master ii

Hands-On – The Updated Rolex Yacht-Master II (and a look back at its great features)

Rolex Yacht-Master II 116680 - 2017 Version

Using the term ‘update’ when describing the “new” Rolex Yacht-Master II is almost an exercise in irony, as the changes made by the “Crown” to its Regatta watch are minimal. However, the reality is that we indeed have a new iteration of this niche model, although there has been no change to its reference number ( Ref. 116680 for the steel version ). Sounds like a good opportunity to look back at the Yacht-Master II and its great functionality.

The Updated Rolex Yacht-Master II

To keep things brief, the update concerns the dial only. In fact, details of the dial. The main objective of Rolex was to increase the legibility of this professional watch, in order to make sure that no confusion can possibly arise – and probably give it a bit more of Rolex DNA. For that, the dial of the Rolex Yacht-Master II now features a triangular hour marker at 12 o’clock and a rectangular hour marker at 6 o’clock for more intuitive reading of the watch – instead of square markers all around the dial. 12 and 6 markers are now clearly distinguished from the rest of the dial.

Rolex Yacht-Master II 116680 - 2017 Version

The hands have also been updated. Before this facelift, the YM II featured rather thin baton hands (blued on the steel version, or matching the case on gold versions) with a splash of luminescent material. As of 2017, the Yacht-Master will rely on the iconic “Mercedes” hand for the hour, with a large luminescent disc, clearly distinguishing it from the minute hand -which is still a baton shape, however it now features a cut-out section so as not to obstruct the view of the Regatta countdown. This configuration is available for all Yacht-Master II models: in steel (Ref. 116680), in Everose Rolesor version combining steel and 18k Everose gold (Ref. 116681), in 18k yellow gold (ref. 116688) and in 18k white gold with platinum bezel (Ref. 116689).

Rolex Yacht-Master II 116680 - 2017 Version

For the rest, the Rolex Yacht-Master II remains unchanged. It still relies on its 44mm case water-resistant to 100m, an Oyster bracelet with Oysterlock folding safety clasp and Easylink 5mm comfort extension link (the center link of the bracelet remains polished, while the rest is satin-finished), a Triplock winding crown, protected by a crown guard that is an integral part of the middle case, screwed caseback (plain, no sapphire crystal) and a blue ceramic bezel with platinum- or gold-PVD numerals and inscriptions (with the exception of the white gold version, which keeps it sold platinum bezel).

Inside, is the impressive calibre 4161, a mechanical chronograph movement with column wheel and vertical clutch exclusive to the Rolex Yacht-Master II ( very different from the 4130 of the Daytona ), with automatic winding in both directions, 72-hour power reserve, antimagnetic Parachrom hairspring and large balance wheel with variable inertia. This complex movement is, as is every Rolex calibre, certified as a  Superlative Chronometer,  having satisfied a series of tests conducted by Rolex in its own laboratories according to its own criteria, which exceed the COSC standards and which applies to the fully assembled watch, after casing the movement. This results in a a -2/+2 sec/day accuracy and a 5-year warranty.

The Rolex Yacht-Master II in Action

The Rolex Yacht-Master II is a chronograph, however a very special type of chronograph, also called a Regatta watch or a Skipper watch. Indeed, don’t expect it to measure intervals of time, like most chronographs. For that, you should take a look at the iconic Daytona , a watch made to measure speeds (or anything else from one instant of time to another). The YM II is different. It features a programmable countdown with a mechanical memory that can be synchronized on the fly. This watch, as we said in the intro, is very niche , answering to the specific needs for precise timing during the crucial starting sequence of a regatta.

While this might sound complex at first, and while the display of its dial is rather unique, the Rolex Yacht-Master II is, on the contrary, an extremely intuitive watch. This watch is all about man / machine interaction and natural use of the commands, thanks to one clever feature, the “ Ring Command Bezel ” (which is now also used in the Sky-Dweller ) and refers to a bezel that is not there to keep track of events but is integrated in the chain of actions and interacts directly with the movement.

Rolex Yacht-Master II 116680 - 2017 Version

Because the crown and the two pushers were already utilized to set time / wind the movement or act on the start / reset of the chronograph functions, Rolex had to imagine a new way to set the countdown, without adding a third pusher on the case (which in Rolex’s minds would have been heresy). The idea was to create a bezel that interacts with the movement. Rotating the bezel 90° gives access to the programming function of the countdown duration, which is set via the winding crown. Turning the Ring Command bezel back in the other direction then locks and memorizes the programming.

How does it work in real life – or at least during a regatta? Unlike racing cars, regatta boats can’t stand immobile on a starting line. Thus, they sail around the starting line, waiting for the departure, which means it’s crucial to know the exact moment of the departure. The starting procedure of a regatta generally unfolds in three stages, marked by sound and visual signals. This preparatory phase lasts from 5 to 10 minutes according to the type of regatta. This where you start to use the Rolex Yacht-Master II for what it is.

Rolex Yacht-Master II 116680 - 2017 Version

The procedure in details:

  • Phase 1 – programming – The skipper programmes a countdown duration of up to 10 minutes on his Yacht-Master II according to the regatta rules. For that, he just needs to rotate the bezel 90 degrees, set the right duration with the crown and the central red arrow hand on the dial will position to the right timing. Once programmed, the countdown duration is mechanically memorized so that when the countdown is reset, it automatically keeps exactly the same setting. Rotating the bezel back to its initial position locks and memorizes the programming.
  • Phase 2 – launching the countdown – a gun shot and a flag signal the start of the regatta countdown. The skipper launches the countdown by pressing the pusher at 2. The centre seconds hand starts running and indicates elapsed seconds in the same way as a traditional chronograph. The red arrow hand indicates the remaining minutes on the 10- to 0-minute countdown scale on the dial.
  • Phase 3 – Synchronization – Race officials give a first preparatory signal by firing the gun a second time and hoisting another flag. The skipper has an opportunity to synchronize the watch countdown with the official countdown – to make sure his timing session is precise . For that, he’ll just have to press the pusher at 4 that acts like a flyback. The second hand (and only that hand, the countdown hand still runs) reset on the fly and it runs again as soon as the pusher is released. The countdown minute hand is automatically synchronized to the nearest minute to compensate for any premature or delayed launch of the chronograph at the first signal.
  • Phase 4 – Synchronization 2, one minute before the start – A second preparatory signal is given with a blast of a horn, and the lowering of a flag. The skipper can check at a glance that the countdown of the Yacht-Master II is properly synchronized with the official timing.
  • Phase 5 – start of the race – A last gun shot and lowering of a flag indicates the start of the race. If the skipper managed to use the Yacht-Master II correctly, it will accurately indicate the departure time to the closest second. With this, he or she will benefit from the advantage of knowing exactly what time the race has officially started.

Rolex Yacht-Master II 116680 - 2017 Version

As you’ve seen, the Rolex Yacht-Master II is a complex watch, with a proper purpose-built concept behind it. Of course, it shouldn’t be reduced just to the regatta use, however this function remains very restricted outside of this context. The Yacht-Master II is a often seen as a statement watch, as the largest proposition in the catalogue (together with the Deep-Sea), with the exclusivity of being available in various materials, including precious ones. Rolex.com .

Technical Specifications – Rolex Yacht-Master II 2017

  • Case: 44mm diameter – steel / steel and 18k rose gold / 18k yellow gold / 18k white gold – ceramic bezel or solid platinum bezel – sapphire crystal on the dial side – 100m water resistant
  • Movement: calibre 4161, in-house – Superlative Chronometer certified – automatic – 72h power reserve – 4Hz frequency – hours, minutes, small second, regatta chronograph with programmable regatta countdown with mechanical memory, retrograde minute hand and central second hand
  • Bracelet: 3-link Oyster bracelet with Oysterlock folding safety clasp and Easylink 5mm comfort extension link
  • Steel – 116680 – EUR 17,150
  • Steel and Rose gold – 116681 – EUR 23,050
  • Yellow gold – 116688 – EUR 39,900
  • White gold / platinum – 116689 – EUR 44,100

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Discover in 360°

Staying on course

The Oyster Perpetual Yacht-Master 42 in 18 ct white gold with a black dial and an Oysterflex bracelet.

The oysterflex bracelet, highly resistant and durable.

The Yacht-Master’s new Oysterflex bracelet, developed by Rolex and patented, offers a sporty alternative to metal bracelets. The bracelet attaches to the watch case and the Oysterlock safety clasp by a flexible titanium and nickel alloy metal blade.

The blade is overmoulded with high-performance black elastomer which is particularly resistant to environmental effects, very durable and perfectly inert for the wearer of the watch. For enhanced comfort, the inside of the Oysterflex bracelet is equipped with a patented longitudinal cushion system that stabilizes the watch on the wrist and fitted with an 18 ct white gold Oysterlock safety clasp. It also features the Rolex Glidelock extension system, designed by the brand and patented. This inventive toothed mechanism, integrated beneath the clasp, allows fine adjustment of the bracelet length by some 15 mm in increments of approximately 2.5 mm, without the use of tools.

18 ct white gold

Commitment to excellence

By operating its own exclusive foundry, Rolex has the unrivalled ability to cast the highest quality 18 ct gold alloys. According to the proportion of silver, copper, platinum or palladium added, different types of 18 ct gold are obtained: yellow, pink or white.

They are made with only the purest metals and meticulously inspected in an in-house laboratory with state-of-the-art equipment, before the gold is formed and shaped with the same painstaking attention to quality. Rolex's commitment to excellence begins at the source.

Bidirectional Rotatable Bezel

Timing the distance.

The Yacht-Master’s bidirectional rotatable 60-minute graduated bezel is made entirely from precious metals or fitted with a Cerachrom insert in high-tech ceramic. The raised polished numerals and graduations stand out clearly against a matt, sand-blasted background.

This functional bezel – which allows the wearer to calculate, for example, the sailing time between two buoys – is also a key component in the model’s distinctive visual identity.

Exceptional legibility

Like all Rolex Professional watches, the Yacht-Master 42 offers exceptional legibility in all circumstances, and especially in the dark, thanks to its Chromalight display.

The broad hands and hour markers in simple shapes – triangles, circles, rectangles – are filled with a luminescent material emitting a long-lasting glow.

More Yacht-Master technical details

Reference   226659

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Oyster, 42 mm, white gold

Oyster architecture

Monobloc middle case, screw-down case back and winding crown

Bidirectional rotatable 60-minute graduated bezel with matt black Cerachrom insert in ceramic, polished raised numerals and graduations

Winding crown

Screw-down, Triplock triple waterproofness system

Scratch-resistant sapphire, Cyclops lens over the date

Water resistance

Waterproof to 100 metres / 330 feet

Perpetual, mechanical, self-winding

3235, Manufacture Rolex

-2/+2 sec/day, after casing

Centre hour, minute and seconds hands. Instantaneous date with rapid setting. Stop-seconds for precise time setting

Paramagnetic blue Parachrom hairspring. High-performance Paraflex shock absorbers

Bidirectional self-winding via Perpetual rotor

Power reserve

Approximately 70 hours

Flexible metal blades overmoulded with high-performance elastomer

Folding Oysterlock safety clasp with Rolex Glidelock extension system

Highly legible Chromalight display with long-lasting blue luminescence


Superlative Chronometer (COSC + Rolex certification after casing)

Learn how to set the time and other functions of your Rolex watch by consulting our user guides.

Yacht-Master 42

Contact an Official Rolex Retailer

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Rolex Yacht-Master II Introduction

The Yacht-Master II was released in 2007 with its signature regatta timer complication. It is the younger, bolder sibling of Rolex’s Yacht-Master that debuted in 1992. While the original Yacht-Master displays similarities to the ever-popular Rolex Submariner , the Yacht-Master II is in a class of its own, both visually and mechanically.

Rolex Yacht-Master II History

The Yacht-Master II was purpose-built for competitive sailors. The tool watch’s boldly designed case houses a programmable countdown timer that is controlled by rotating the bezel. Large and attention-grabbing, the Yacht-Master II presents a design aesthetic that pushes the boundaries of what a Rolex can be.

Rolex Yacht Master II 116688.

First introduced in 2007, the Yacht-Master II was offered in yellow and white gold variations under references 116688 and 116689, respectively. An Everose gold/steel two-tone Rolesor version (ref. 116681) was added in 2011, followed by the stainless steel reference 116680 two years later. With a case size of 44mm that rises 13.9mm on the wrist, the Yacht-Master II commands attention on the wrist both from owners and observers. The bold bezel houses a platinum- or gold-filled blue Cerachrom ceramic insert with a 10-minute scale above the words “Yacht-Master II.” This was no ordinary bezel, however.

Rolex Yacht Master II 116681.

Deemed the “Ring Command” bezel by Rolex, it is directly connected to the watch’s mechanism to program the Yacht-Master II’s 10-minute countdown timer. During the 10-minute interval leading up to the start of a regatta, sailors jockey to position their crafts as close to the starting line as possible. Precision is key since crossing the line early results in a penalty and being too far out puts the boat at an immediate disadvantage. The exclusive Yacht-Master II complication allows a sailor to program the countdown, store it in the mechanism and synchronize to the official race countdown on-the-fly

The Yacht-Master II’s characteristics have been relatively stable since the watch debuted. Its case is free of sharp edges and perfectly cradles the Triplock crown and subtly detailed pushers. The matte white dial offers outstanding legibility for contrasting elements. Hours are marked by luminous rectangular shapes with a triangle marker at 12 o’clock on models produced after 2017. With that refresh, Rolex also updated the straight hour hand with the familiar Mercedes style that appears on other Rolex Professional watches. A small second register at 6 o’clock and the countdown timer indices that arc gracefully from approximately 8 o’clock to 4 o’clock complete the look.

Rolex Yacht-Master II Features

The Yacht-Master II’s power is produced by Rolex’s in-house designed and manufactured calibre 4161 COSC-certified automatic movement. Comprised of roughly 360 individual components, the Cal. 4161 features a 70-hour power reserve, flyback and fly-forward chronograph functionality, anti-magnetism and shock-resistance and, of course, Rolex’s patented 10-minute countdown timer.

The watch is unapologetically large with a 44mm case that measures a massive 57.4mm end-link to end-link. Details include a screw-down case back and protected Triplock crown flanked by delicately etched pushers. The Oyster case is water resistant to 100 meters. The Yacht-Master II’s Oyster bracelet is a classic Rolex three-piece design with polished center links, satin sides and Oysterlock safety clasp. An Easylink extension allows a rapid 5mm adjustment to the bracelet length without the need for tools.

Yellow Gold

White gold + platinum, two-tone rolesor (everose gold + steel).

The Yacht-Master II’s color palate and design evoke nautical themes that are inspired by the presence of red and blue accents. In the dark, luminescent Chromalight hands and markers glow with a vibrant blue that lasts up to eight hours. The timer markings, however, do not have lume.

The Yacht-Master II is available in four materials: yellow gold, white gold + platinum, two-tone Rolesor (Everose gold + steel) and steel. All are topped by a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal that is surrounded by the Yacht-Master II’s Ring Command bezel in solid platinum or with a blue ceramic insert.

Rolex Yacht-Master II Value and Collectability

The Yacht-Master II is a bit of an outlier in the Rolex family. It is visually imposing and technologically advanced, but Rolex purists opine that it does not deliver the classic Rolex experience of more traditional sports models like the Submariner, Sea-Dweller or Explorer. For collectors and enthusiasts seeking a rare timepiece that stands out from all other Rolex designs, the Yacht-Master II is an excellent choice. Retail prices for new Yacht-Master II models range from approximately $19,000 for steel to nearly $50,000 for the luxe white gold/platinum edition.

Pre-owned Rolex Yacht-Master IIs in gold or platinum with original papers and boxes typically sell well below retail, though prices on used steel versions trend just slightly below new. Many Rolex aficionados consider the Yacht-Master II to be undervalued in the used Rolex marketplace and firmly expect that it will emerge as a highly prized collectors watch.

Rolex Yacht Master II.

Watchmaker’s Perspective

The regatta countdown timer function on the Rolex Yacht-Master II is a fascinating feature that gets a lot of attention. And the Caliber 4161 movement used to power the Yacht-Master II is extremely complex, with over 360 parts. But how are those parts made? From the watchmaker's perspective, the manufacturing technology used to create such a complicated movement is especially intriguing.

For the Caliber 4161, Rolex made extensive use of LIGA technology. LIGA is a German acronym meaning Lithographie, Galvanoformung, Abformung (Lithography, Electroplating and Molding). The LIGA process allows parts to be manufactured that would have been nearly impossible with traditional methods, due to their shapes.

The LIGA process is closely related to semiconductor manufacturing and uses similar tools. A patterned mask is used to project UV light onto photosensitive resin at a very high resolution. This creates a micro-mold, which is then used to grow parts inside of. When the metal parts are completely grown, an acid strips away the photosensitive resin, leaving the finished part. This technology is opening up new avenues to watchmakers—one example is the fantastically complex Caliber 4161 in the Rolex Yacht-Master II.

Silver Rolex watch with black face and silver markings

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  4. Official Rolex Website

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  9. Official Rolex Website

    Official Rolex Website

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    OYSTER PERPETUAL YACHT-MASTER II. er Perpetual Yacht-Master II isa unique regatta chronograph dedicated to both yachting enth. siasts and experi-enced sailors. It features a countdown function with a mechanical memory programmable from 1 to 10 minutes and which can be synchronized on the fly - a function that responds to the need for precise ...

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