The Rolex Yachtmaster hit the market in the 1990s as a lifestyle watch dedicated to life on the sea. The initial model was made almost completely of gold, setting the tempo for an adventurous watch line that now spans different case sizes, precious metals, and dial colors.
With a rotating bezel and minute markers, a screw-down crown, and a sturdy Oyster bracelet, it’d be easy to make the comparison between the Yachmaster and the Submariner. However, there are differences between the two that go beyond styling and design.
Since the Yachtmaster isn’t designed for diving and doesn’t need to time the life-and-death activity of depending on an oxygen tank for air, its bezel is bi-directional and is much more decorative than the utilitarian now-ceramic bezels of the Submariner and Sea-Dweller. That opens the Yachtmaster up to different metal combinations that include rose gold, yellow gold, and white gold. There are also models offered on Rolex’s excellent Oysterflex rubberized bracelet.
Though it looks identical to the Sub, the Yachmaster’s case is slightly smaller at 40mm. Rolex makes a smaller “midsize” configuration that measures 37mm as well, so there’s a Yachtmaster for people that need a size for people with less robust wrists.
If you’re searching for a Yachtmaster, you have a few options. The latest generation watches feature a six-digit reference number and a choice of metals. Like other Rolex models from more recent times, they have an engraved rehaut and come on a bracelet with an Easy Link extension clasp. The previous generation Yachtmaster had a five-digit reference number and were also offered in various metals. The main differences here are in the clasp, where Rolex’s old-style stamped clasp is in place. There’s nothing wrong with the older models at all, but the bracelet and clasp of newer six-digit models are much more substantial and feel sturdier.