The one thing that any horologist or Rolex fan will notice about the Yachtmaster-II is how starkly different it is from any other watch in the Oyster family. It’s as wide as a Deepsea, as sleek as a Daytona and has a Sky-Dweller like aesthetic. In many ways, the Rolex Oyster Perpetual  Yachtmaster-II (116681) has a lot in common with the Deepsea - they’re both designed for similar aquatic environments, both 44mm in size and both designed with very specific purposes in-mind. Like the Deepsea, which has been designed to resist insanely-high atmospheric pressures, which only a few people that own them will encounter, the Yachtmaster-II has an equally specialist purpose - sailing regatta timing.


How does the timer work?

The regatta timer function has been achieved thanks to Rolex's own in-house designed 4161 movement, that sports a mind-blowing 360 parts and massive 72 hour power-reserve (much bigger than the industry standard 42 hours). Though it will seldomly be used in its intended environment, the regatta timing feature is truly a beautiful complication that has to be seen in-person to truly understand. Nevertheless, we’ll try and explain it here. Fundamentally, the complication functions as a 10 minute countdown timer for counting down to race start times. To set the timer, you first have to set the crown to the winding position, then push in the lower chronograph pusher. This in turn allows you to set the bezel all the way back to the 10 minute mark, before you select your desired countdown time. You then reset the bezel accordingly, causing the lower chronograph pusher to release and off you go (remember to screw the crown back if you want to keep your pride and joy leak-free). Still with us?  Even if you’re not a sailor, there are multiple uses for a 10 minute countdown timer in day-to-day life, whether it’s sporting or merely boiling an egg.


Around the dial

The movement aside, the Rolex Yachtmaster-II dial is a real showstopper, featuring 18 carat everose gold, luminescent hour markersgold 60-second subdial and a nautical blue and red regatta timer. Though it might seem a little complicated at first, once you understand what everything does, the dial is super easy to read. The most noticeable and remarkable feature of the 116681 is the striking blue cerachrom bezel in everose gold, that beautifully matches the crown and chronograph pushers and as we’ve established, it’s not just there to look nice - it has a functional purpose as well.

The case and bracelet have been finished to a very high standard by Rolex’s artisanal polishing team - just make sure you and everyone else around you are wearing sunglasses if you take this out on a sunny day. Comprising a mix of 904L stainless steel and 18 carat rose gold which runs all the way through the high-polished centre links and even through the clasp (no expense spared). The clasp itself closes like a bank vault, with a satisfying click that assures you your investment is nice and safe on the wrist. Like other Rolex sports models, the Yachtmaster-II bracelet has the option to micro-adjust, allowing for 5mm either way as your wrist expands or contracts with use.

Where can you get yours?

As we’ve said, at 44mm it’s a beast of a watch, but it really sits well on the wrist and wouldn’t be out of place as a dress watch, given it’s only 14mm thick (very much unlike the Deepsea). Even if you’re not nautically-minded and don't often sit on the deck of your own super-yacht, the Rolex Yachtmaster-II is still a beautiful example of the brand’s ability to create superlative timepieces and would take pride of place in any collection. This very model (116681) is in-stock and available today at Time 4 Diamonds priced at £15,725. Don’t miss your chance to own a future classic - call 020 3893 2331 or email today.