Although it does not have the same cachet as its more low-key sibling, the Submariner, the Rolex Yacht-Master has always had a dedicated fan base among those looking to dress things up a bit. Designed specifically for skippers, this nautical timepiece is one of the later models in the Swiss watchmaker’s portfolio, but despite being purpose-built as a sailor’s watch, the Yacht-Master was seldom bought or used as a tool watch thanks to its frequent use of precious metals and overall showier aesthetics than the Submariner. At Watches and Wonders 2023, the House of Wilsdorf changed this perception by releasing the Yacht-Master 42 in the brand’s proprietary grade 5 ‘RLX Titanium’, making it incredibly light, robust, and visually understated, and distinctly a tool watch.
However, Rolex has made sure that the new watch has enough depth in its appearance despite its overall restrained appearance. Since RLX Titanium lends itself better to various kinds of finishing, the Yacht-Master 42 sports a brushed satin finish with visible grain on the case sides, bracelet link edges and the sides of the clasp cover. Adding contrast and visual layers, chamfered top edges of the middle case lugs get a high-sheen finish, as does the crown guard. The watch is fitted with a bidirectional rotatable bezel Cerachrom insert in matt black that is graduated for 60 minutes. The numerals and graduations on the bezel are raised and polished, offering a pleasing contrast to the overall matte look of the Yacht-Master 42. The dial has an intense black hue and gets a fine satin finish.
Powering the titanium Yacht-Master 42 is the calibre 3235, which was released in 2015 and has been doing service in this model range since 2019. Like all movements from the brand, this one is also a certified Superlative Chronometer ensuring optimum accuracy on the wrist.
The Oyster bracelet, also crafted in RLX titanium, comes with an extension link and a folding safety clasp. Inside the links of the bracelet are patented ceramic inserts that will help improve its wearability and longevity.