How to Set and Use the Rolex Yacht-Master II

Rolex Yacht-Master II ref 116681

Regatta races are an exciting way to test your sailing ability. The Rolex Yacht-Master II has a countdown timer so you can time your regatta race.

Not only does it look fantastic, but its highly specialized functions are powered by one of the most impressive movements Rolex has released to date. Using these functions though can be a frustrating and complicated path.

While there are number of steps to the process, Rolex designed it to be quick and simple once you get to know it.

With this guide, you’ll learn how to set the Rolex Yacht-Master II for a regatta, as well as how to use it during the race.

What is a regatta watch?

Rolex Yachtmaster II White Gold Platinum Steel Everose GoldThe Rolex Yacht-Master II in White Gold and Platinum and in Steel and Everose Gold

First of all, what is a regatta watch? The Rolex Yacht-Master II’s countdown timer is used to time events that involve boats or other competitive pursuits, such as sailing races, chariot races, and even football matches.

The goal of these events is to get from point A to point B in the fastest amount of time possible. To do this, teams will use the count-down timer on their watches to measure their progress and determine whether they should increase their speed or slow down if they are falling behind.

You’re probably wondering why you would need a watch with such an advanced feature if you aren’t partaking in regatta activities yourself. Well, there are plenty of instances where having the ability to time something accurately can be useful. Even everyday tasks like boiling your eggs perfectly or recording the length of timeouts count! The possibilities are endless.


How to Set your Countdown Timer on a Rolex Yacht-Master II

Rolex Yachtmaster II Rolesor EveRose Gold Steel Mens Watch 116681The countdown seconds hand is the red hand with the small arrow, while the countdown minute hand is the red hand with the large arrow

The countdown timer on the Rolex Yacht-Master II is an elegant and useful feature. You’ll need to set it up though before the beginning of the regatta to start the countdown at the appropriate time.

To set the countdown timer:

1. The timer needs to have stopped. If it is still going, push the upper pusher on the right hand side of the dial/case to stop the timer.

2. Once the timer is stopped, you need to turn the bezel to the left, or counterclockwise, a quarter turn. It will stop at a quarter as that’s as far as it can go, and it will click into place for you.

3. Push the bottom pusher on the right hand side of your case. When you push this button, it will stay pushed down. This bounces the second hand to zero or the 12 o’clock mark. The minute hand will also return itself back to wherever you previously had it set. Having the lower pusher depressed blocks you from pressing the upper pusher.

Rolex Yachtmaster II 116680The Rolex Yacht-Master II in Stainless Steel 116680

4. Unlock the crown by turning it counterclockwise. The crown is the center knob at the 3 o’clock position on the right hand side of your case. Turn the crown clockwise setting it to the minute that you need.

5. Once you’ve set the duration of your preferred countdown, you’re going to return to the bezel. Turn the bezel this time in a clockwise direction until the click, or a quarter turn. This action unlocks the upper pusher and lets go of the lower one.

6. Push your crown back in and rotate it clockwise until it locks. This ensures that your watch keeps its water resistance.


How to Use the Countdown Timer on your Rolex Yacht-Master II

Rolex Yachtmaster II Rolesor EveRose Gold Steel Mens Watch 116681Rolex Yacht-Master II in Steel and Everose Gold 116681

The countdown timer on the Yacht-Master II is used to display how much time has passed in a race (or other endeavors). Many people use this feature when they’re tracking their own races, but it’s also useful for non-sporting activities.

Here’s how to use it:

1. Your top or upper pusher starts and stops your countdown. This is similar to other traditional Rolex complications like what you’d find on the Daytona. The lower pusher resets the timer.

Rolex Yachtmaster II Omega ConstellationThe Rolex Yacht-Master II in Yellow Gold and the Omega Constellation in Sedna Gold

2. The difference with the Yacht-Master from other chronograph watches is that you can jump forward or backward to the closest minute with a one touch to the lower button. There’s no need to reset the counter, wasting valuable time in a race.

3. To use the fly-back or fly-forward functions mentioned above, while the timer is running, give one quick press to the lower pusher. The timer resets itself to the closest minute while still running. This allows you to instantly start measuring the next duration, with no time lost.


Timing a Regatta Race using the Rolex Yacht-Master II

Ok, so your timer is set, and you know how to run it, but what are you supposed to do with it during a regatta race?

A Regatta Race

Regatta Racing (photo: Rolex)

1. If you’re unfamiliar with why you need a timer in a regatta, this isn’t unusual. A gun and a wave of a flag signal the countdown to the start of the race. When you see or hear this, then press the top pusher that starts the timer. If you did your job, your timer was set at the needed number of minutes ahead of time. At this point, the second hand is tracking the elapsed time since you started. The minutes hand will move every 60 seconds tracking the time until it hits the finish or zero. End of a countdown.

Rolex Yacht-Master II Steel Everose Gold

The Rolex Yacht-Master II in Steel and Everose Gold (photo: Rolex)

2. There may be a point where you’ll have to pause and resync your timer. You’ll want it to maintain sync with the official clock. Being on-time is important in a regatta. This is easy to accomplish. When you hear the second or third prep signals, the official ones, press the lower pusher. This resets the second hand back to the beginning, or zero, synchronizing the minute hand back to the closest minute, thus syncing with the official clock.

Regatta Racing Rolex

Regatta Racing (photo: Rolex)

3. At this point, the race has begun. Your personal countdown has finished and you’re off. Now you can restart your timer by pressing the top pusher to stop it and then the bottom pusher to reset it to the last programmed setting.


How to Use Your Rolex Yacht-Master II: Final Thoughts

Now you know how to use your Rolex Yacht-Master II in a regatta race. It’s a great watch that will make timing your races much easier and more accurate. Better yet, use your timer for anything you need a countdown for.

On the market for a Rolex Yacht-Master? Check out our wide selection of Rolex Yacht-Master watches at

Rolex Yachtmaster 40 Rose Gold Black vs Pave Diamond Dial 116655

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