“We’re gonna need a bigger boat,” Sheriff Brody famously uttered after getting a glimpse of the shark in Jaws. Rolex apparently recognized a similar sentiment among fans (and potential fans) of its nautical-themed sports-luxury timepiece, the Yacht-Master, because at this year’s Baselworld the brand launched a new Yacht-Master with larger proportions than its predecessors, not to mention a host of other sporty details and upgrades. Here’s a brief cruise through the highlights of the new Rolex Oyster Perpetual Yacht-Master 42.
Up front, the Yacht-Master 42 is notable for featuring the first white-gold case in the Yacht-Master collection, as well as for being the first in the family to be outfitted with the self-winding manufacture Caliber 3235. The middle section of the Oyster case measures 42 mm — larger than existing models in 37-mm and 40-mm sizes — and is milled from a solid piece of 18k white gold, while the bidirectional bezel, with a knurled edge for easy gripping, is fitted with a Cerachrom insert, with a 60-minute graduated scale in the style of a classical diving watch, in matte black to match the look of the black lacquer dial.
The dial is shielded under a virtually scaratch-proof sapphire crystal, with the familiar Cyclops lens to magnify the date display at 3 o’clock. The broad hands and prominent hour markers are made of 18k white gold and treated with Chromalight, a Rolex-exclusive luminous substance whose glow last longer than that of Super-LumiNova. The watch’s 100-meter water resistance — substantially less, it should be noted, than the 1,000-meter water resistance offered by previous versions of the Yacht-Master in the smaller cases — is ensured by the screw-down winding crown, which is equipped with Rolex’s Triplock waterproofness system.
The movement, the same as that used in the recently revamped Rolex Sea-Dweller (whose new steel-and-gold “Rolesor” version debuted alongside the Yacht-Master 42 at Baselworld 2019) has a 70-hour power reserve and has passed the stringent criteria of Rolex’s “Superlative Chronometer” precision tests. Like all Rolex in-house movements since 2015, the self-winding Caliber 3235 uses the patented Chronergy Escapement, made of magnetism-resistant nickel phosphorus that renders the movement both highly energy efficient and extremely durable. The oscillator uses a blued hairspring, made of a Rolex-exclusive paramagnetic alloy called Parachrom, which resists shocks better than a traditional hairspring and thus, according to Rolex, increases the timekeeping precision by a factor of 10. Also as of 2015, the battery of tests that a Rolex watch must undergo to earn the coveted “Superlative Chronometer” designation are more than twice as stringent as those required for the more widely used COSC certification: in other words, each watch is tested to a precision of -2/+2 seconds per day.
The Yacht-Master 42 comes mounted on Rolex’s patented Oysterflex bracelet. Though at first glance this wristlet very much resembles a more-or-less traditional rubber strap, Rolex insists on categorizing it as a bracelet due to its interior “longitudinal cushion” system — made up of titanium-nickel-alloy blades overmolded with durable, high-performance elastomer — which Rolex says gives it the suppleness and comfort of a strap along with the tough resistance and stability of a bracelet. The watch fastens to the wrist with Rolex’s Oysterlock bracelet and safety clasp with an added Glidelock extension system that allows the wearer to adjust the bracelet length in 2-mm increments up to an additional 20 mm. The price is $27,800.