The story in a second:
Only Rolex could steal the show at the world’s largest watch fair by introducing a new bracelet. But the Rolex Yacht-Master replica 116655 is more than a novelty bracelet – it’s perhaps Rolex’s sportiest watch yet.
Anyone who says they predicted a new fake Rolex Yacht-Master 40 at Baselworld 2015 is lying. No one saw this coming. It’s a completely left-field move for a company whose mantra is “evolution, not revolution”, and while the watch is an eminently contemporary update to the Yacht-Master line (the matte black bezel, the matte black dial), it’s the new Oysterflex bracelet that has stolen the show.
So, what’s it like? It’s a surprisingly sporty model – especially for a gold watch. Largely this is due to the strap, though the matte black Cerachrom bezel certainly helps.
What’s also surprising is just how stealth this watch is. A gold sports Rolex usually rates fairly high on the bling-o-meter, but I suspect the Everose nice Rolex Yacht-Master replica will fly under the radar, with only glints of gold from the indices to catch the eye. Matte bezel, matte bracelet and matte dial combine to create the blackest Rolex we’ve seen outside of the (cross yourself Rolex faithful) Bamford Watch Replica Department.That the introduction of a new bracelet is one of the most talked about things at Baselworld is indicative of the power and influence of Rolex, especially in the year of real news. In the year of Smartwatches.
The watch comes in two sizes: not the standard 35mm for the mini Yacht-Master but 37mm (with the new Syloxi equipped calibre 2236) and 40 (calibre 3135). Props to Rolex for resisting the urge to go with bigger case sizes. The other surprise about the watch is how vintage the dial looks: The gold Rolex logo, Chromalight filled applied gold indices and single line red text all combine to create a dial that takes inspiration from the coveted gilt dials and red line references in the world of vintage Rolex.
And while this new Yacht-Master is a breath of fresh, fairly pheromone-rich (come on, this is all a bit sexy) air, to be interpreted by many as Jean-Frederic Dufour stamping his own mark on the brand, the real story and the real surprise is what connects the watch to the wrist.
So why is it important and what’s so good about it?
This bracelet, made from what Rolex are calling ‘Elastomer’ is, not surprisingly, hi-tech. The advantage of Elastomer over traditional rubber is better durability. Embedded in the bracelet are blades of titanium and nickel alloy to give the bracelet shape and strength. And, sorry in advance to other Rolex model wearers wanting to jack this gear, the attachment system of bracelet to watch case is unique to this Yacht-Master, so don’t get your hopes up about fitting one onto your Sub just yet.
Perhaps the most ingenious feature of this bracelet is the cushioning that runs along the inner length of the strap, making it very comfortable, and also reducing how sweaty the strap will get in hot weather. It actually gives the case some ‘lift’ off the wrist. It’s hard to properly explain until you see it. When I saw the Oysterflex through the glass I was sceptical. But now that I’ve had a chance to hold the watch and try it on, I’m actually convinced that this is the best strap of this style currently available.