Rolex Yacht-Master vs Yacht-Master II: A Guide

Rolex Yacht-Master vs. Yacht-Master II

Among Rolex watches, the “II” designation or second edition usually signals an evolution of the existing model. This isn’t the case with the Yacht-Master and Yacht-Master II.

While both were made for the sailing community as their name suggests, the two watches are actually very different – and perhaps their name is the only real connection they have.

Below, we’ll take a brief look at their history, and explain why the Yacht-Master and Yacht-Master II, are special in their own ways:



The Rolex Yacht-Master and Yacht-Master II lines are two of the newest models from the Rolex portfolio.

There was much excitement when the Yacht-Master was launched in the early 90s, as it was the first new model to emerge from Rolex, since the Daytona’s launch in 1964.


Yachtmaster Midsize
Rolex Yacht-Master Midsize Steel Yellow Gold and full Yellow Gold

1992 – Rolex launches the Yacht-Master line. While it looks like it was inspired by the iconic Rolex Submariner, it was promoted as a luxurious, nautically-themed watch, as opposed to a tool watch.

Whereas, the Submariner was actually suited for diving, the Yacht-Master with a water resistance of only 100m, was best suited to the decks of yachts or lounges of yacht clubs. Regardless, the Yacht-Master had a successful debut and enjoyed a continuous production run.



Yachtmaster 40
Yacht-Master Watches from left: Rolex Yacht-Master 40mm Steel Platinum Blue Dial, Yellow Gold Mother of Pearl Diamond Sapphire Serti, and Steel Everose Gold Chocolate Dial Watches.


2000s – Rolex continued to push the limits of luxury design with the Yacht-Master. They came up with a beautiful mother of pearl dial, as well as Rolesor designs that combined steel and gold.

Still, aside from the inherent 100m water resistance, there were no features on the Yacht-Master that were made especially for boating or regatta racing.

2007 – Rolex introduces the Yacht-Master II, a professional regatta watch. Not only was it a departure from the Yacht-Master, but from Rolex as a whole.

It became the most complicated watch from the brand; and its bold colors and massive case really stood out from the rest of the portfolio.



Yachtmaster II
Yacht-Master II Watches from left: Rolex Yacht-Master II Stainless Steel 18K Rose Gold, White Gold Platinum, and 18K Yellow Gold Watches.





Unlike other Rolex watches with “II” designations, it doesn’t take much to notice the aesthetic differences of the Yacht-Master and Yacht-Master II.

SIZE  the Yacht-Master was the first in the Professional Range to be offered in 3 sizes. It came in a men’s 40mm case, a midsize 35mm case, and a ladies’ 29mm case.

These would later be discontinued, leaving just the 40mm case and a 37mm case. In 2019, Rolex launched the 42mm model.

Meanwhile, the Yacht-Master II only comes in a massive 44mm case, which makes it the one of the largest watches of Rolex, apart from the Sky-Dweller and Deepsea.


White Gold Platinum Yacht-Master
Rolex Yacht-Master II Regatta Chronograph White Gold Platinum Watch

DESIGN – the Yacht-Master follows the design DNA of Rolex sport watches and one may describe it as a more luxurious looking Rolex Submariner.

The Yacht-Master II on the other hand, has a look that caters to its specialized functions.

Its bright blue, Cerachrom insert bezel has large 0-10 scale numbers and the Yacht-Master II name. On the dial is a smaller version of this countdown. Together, these work to allow the wearer to select a countdown interval of anywhere from one to ten minutes.




– The function of the Yacht-Master is pretty straightforward. With a traditional 3-hand display, 60-minute graduated bezel, and 100m water resistance, the Yacht-Master was really designed for those who want the ruggedly elegant aesthetic of Rolex sport watches, without the highly-specialized functions they usually have.

– It also makes a great daily-wearer, with its flatter case back that wears comfortably. It runs on the same movement as the latest Submariner, the proven and reliable Caliber 3135.


Yacht-Master II White Gold Platinum
Up close: the Rolex Yacht-Master II Regatta Chronograph White Gold Platinum Watch


– The highly specialized Yacht-Master II was created as a professional regatta watch and can also be used as a chronograph.

– At the center of the regatta function is the Ring Command Bezel. Whereas, watch bezels are usually used separately from the rest of the watch, the Ring Command Bezel works in conjunction with the movement.

– By using the Ring Command Bezel with the crown, the wearer can accurately sync the watch with the starting sequence of a yacht race.

– The Yacht-Master II was originally equipped with the Caliber 4160, which is based on the Rolex Daytona’s Caliber 4130 movement. In 2013, Rolex introduced the Caliber 4161, built especially for the Rolex Yacht-Master II.


Despite their similar names, the design and functionality of the Yacht-Master and Yacht-Master II cannot be more different. The Yacht-Master fits the mold of classic Rolex sports watches; while the Yacht-Master II has pushed the boundaries of what regatta watches can do.

In looking at the two watches, one cannot be better than the other. Both are excellent luxury watches that can suit your lifestyle. It all depends on whether you’re looking for an elegant sports watch or a top-notch tool for yachting.




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