CRUISE CON­TROL

Rolex’s new Yacht-Master is dis­creet with just a touch of luxe.

Esquire Malaysia Watch Guide - - 10 Watches of 2015 - Words by Aaron De Silva

HERE’S THE THING: we like root­ing for the un­der­dog—David over Go­liath, Ap­ple over Mi­crosoft (in the old days) and small batch roast­ers over cof­fee chains.

At this year’s Basel fair, as ev­ery­body oohed and aa­hed over Rolex’s new Chronergy es­cape­ment in the new Day-Date 40, or fawned over the rain­bow-dipped, bling-tas­tic Date­just Pearl­mas­ter 39, we qui­etly ad­mired a slick, more dis­creet num­ber that was al­most eclipsed by the other more prom­i­nent nov­el­ties.

This time­piece that caught our at­ten­tion—and held it—was the up­dated Yacht-Master, strik­ing in a new blackand-rose gold getup. Black ce­ramic and 18-carat Everose gold, to be pre­cise. In most cases—say in in­te­rior dec­o­ra­tion or fes­tive set­tings—the use of black and yel­low gold are still clas­sic and classy. But it can ap­pear a lit­tle dated on time­pieces, hark­ing back to the ’80s and early ’90s when many watches sported this com­bi­na­tion. The fu­sion of black and rose gold, on the other hand, of­fers a stylish, up­dated look that is con­tem­po­rary and chic.

A chic vibe is ex­actly what you’d hope to cre­ate when tak­ing your cruiser out for a spin—and there could be no bet­ter watch to em­body this stylish en­ergy. The Yacht-Master oc­cu­pies a unique po­si­tion in Rolex’s port­fo­lio, some­where be­tween a pow­er­ful tool and a stylish dress watch. Among the Oys­ters, it’s nei­ther as util­i­tar­ian as the Sub­mariner or Day­tona, nor as dressy as the Pres­i­dent. De­signed for cap­tains of cruise ships as much as for cap­tains of industry, it can af­ford to be dandier than its more sober, func­tional cousins, but more ro­bust than its black-tie-ready coun­ter­parts.

In that sense, the Yacht-Master’s new liv­ery is per­fect—much more so, we feel, than the pair­ing of blue and Role­sium (Rolex’s pro­pri­etary steel and plat­inum al­loy), or the grey and Role­sium com­bi­na­tion of ear­lier ref­er­ences. While stately and ro­bust, they some­how lack that oomph that the new ver­sion seems to dish out in spades.

Ma­te­rial change aside, what’s also note­wor­thy is the new Oys­ter­flex bracelet, com­posed of a flex­i­ble blade made of ti­ta­nium-and-nickel al­loy, and then over-moulded with black elas­tomer. This high-per­for­mance rub­bery ma­te­rial is more re­sis­tant to the ef­fects of sun­light, sea­wa­ter, wind and per­spi­ra­tion than steel, and also less prone to scratches. The black ce­ramic bezel also af­fords a fur­ther level of pro­tec­tion, while the raised and pol­ished nu­mer­als con­trast with the matte sur­face for easy read­abil­ity.

The watch comes in two sizes—40mm and 37mm. Beat­ing at the heart of the larger model is Rolex’s trusty Cal­i­bre 3135, which also pow­ers the Date­just, Deepsea, Sea-Dweller 4000 and Sub­mariner. At the core of the smaller model throbs Cal­i­bre 2236, which was in­tro­duced last year in the Date­just Pearl­mas­ter 34. If you re­call, Cal­i­bre 2236 was noted for its use of a Sy­loxi hair­spring, Rolex’s first sil­i­con-based hair­spring. (All other cal­i­bres em­ploy the Parachrom hair­spring, an al­loy com­posed of nio­bium, zir­co­nium and a small per­cent­age of oxy­gen.)

How­ever, both Sy­loxi and Parachrom are anti-mag­netic, and there’s no sig­nif­i­cant ad­van­tage that one has over the other. So while we may be in­clined to think of 37mm mod­els as more suit­able for ladies, there’s no rea­son why this Yacht-Master can’t also be worn by men who are slen­der of wrist, or who sim­ply pre­fer a more dis­creet time­piece ( your cruiser is showy enough, af­ter all).

Top: Pys­ter Per­pet­ual Date Yacht-Master 40.

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