For the longest time, and I’m going to blame it on this, I think the Yacht-Master II is nothing more than The Large replica Rolex watches .The 44mm wide Yacht-Master II is the first choice for the Large Rolex, and there’s a huge size difference between it and the 40mm Sea-Dwellers, Submariners, and other hulls. The Yacht-Master II, which debuted in 2007, is closely followed by the absolutely massive Deepsea, which is the same width at 44mm, but quite thick, so it looks and wears much more than the YMII, by far.
The Sky-Dweller debuted in 2012, and despite its great look and wear, until 2017 it was only sold in solid gold cases, which made it 40% more expensive than the two-tone YMII already on the market in 2012. I did read these things – didn’t want to impersonate all the memories. No wonder then, the Yacht-Master II became the “big Rolex” watch worn by Premier League ballerinas and celebrities… basically, everyone who wanted to be passionate about big watches with Rolex but didn’t like or could not afford the sky-high price. It took Rolex a long time to debut the larger 43mm wide Sea-Dweller in 2017, and that’s just Rolex’s usual cautiousness that made it almost miss out on the big watch trend – but that’s another discussion.
Odd piston pushers (no tightening required), strange but beautiful proportions of lugs and bezel, incredible quality of blue ceramic bezel, its laser-etched PVD-coated numerals are oddly dial arching (at least in my opinion) similar to submarine specs, and have the ADD-curing touch of Ring Command bezels. These make the Yacht-Master II not only different from other Rolexes.
Whether Rolex had the large watch trend in mind when designing the Yacht-Master II, we’ll never know. I don’t expect to get a clear “yes, we do” or “no, we don’t” answer from them. The Yacht-Master II was designed with a programmable flyback regatta chronograph (oh, just write that down and feel weird), which was also the first watch to debut Rolex’s Ring Command rotating bezel system, and later used on the Sky-Dweller.
We’ll look at how this all works and then think about the amount of R&D time and effort that must now go into designing a Rolex 4161 movement with 360 parts. I believe this is even the reason Rolex is proud of this movement, as it is the only movement where they actively communicate the exact number of parts. It is known that the Daytona 4130 chronograph has 201 parts, but Rolex officials have only said that they managed to reduce the number of parts in the chronograph by 60 percent, without providing a total of 201 marks – in the case of other movements, no exact component diagrams were ever shared.
Regardless of the trends in large watches, the Yacht-Master II is a love letter from Rolex, its unassuming but long-established yacht.