When you think of Rolex, the immediate suspects always comes to mind. On the right, you have your classic dress pieces such as the Datejust and Day-Date and on the left the ever-popular sports models such as the Submariner, GMT-Master and Daytona. For a long time, the Rolex Yacht-Master was the unloved and unappreciated model of the Crown’s lineup, perhaps because they weren’t that attractive, to begin with. This was the case until 2015- when Rolex decided to revamp the model and introduce what you see here today- The Yacht-Master 116655.
This was one of the biggest announcements in BaselWorld 2015 and rightly so as it featured big changes in Rolex. As you may or may not know, Rolex is a hugely conservative brand and they have become known more for evolution rather than revolution, slowly tinkering and improving their watches over decades of research and development. In fact, for example, with all things considered, a Submariner today looks pretty damn similar to the first-ever Submariner released in the ’50s with its black bezel, black dial and stainless steel case.
Moving back onto the topic, the new Yacht-Master 116655 featured one thing that everyone was talking about- the Oysterflex. Using rubber bracelets was nothing new in the watch industry but when Rolex did it- people went nuts. This model was the first ever by Rolex to feature a rubber bracelet and with Rolex being Rolex, it was hugely over-engineered and the technology and quality behind it was truly impressive.
Rolex calls this a bracelet and not a strap because inside the rubber are titanium and nickel inserts with ridges moulded inside of the bracelet for a perfect fit. On the wrist, I’m not even surprised to say that this is the best rubber strap ever. Period.
On top of this, the 116655 featured a new design language, with an 18k Everose case, a black ceramic bezel instead of the usual platinum one and black maxi dial. It has a water resistance up to 100m and a matching 18k Everose clasp.
On the wrist, it really does feel like a luxury sports watch, with the Everose gold and black rubber bracelet juxtaposing to work amazingly well. It is one of the underdogs of Rolexes line up and slowly but surely, the Yachtmaster line is finally getting recognition.