Rolex Yacht-Master 116622
I take issue with the term ‘guilty pleasure’. It’s frequently used as some sort of social disclaimer, a way of gauging other people’s opinion of something so you don’t single yourself out as ‘that guy’ who likes the uncool band, the ugly car, or the bad movie. But what I usually find is that the guilty pleasure you’re so reticent to talk about is often cautiously held in similar regard by those around you—and then, all of a sudden, popular consensus makes it ‘okay’ to just admit you liked it in the first place. This is the reaction I always get when I tell people I’m a fan (and always have been) of the Rolex Yacht-Master—and the reference 116622 released at 2016's Baselworld is no exception.
If you listen to the rumour mill, the Yacht-Master is a watch that was always destined to have an uncertain lot in life. It was supposedly created as a sleeker, sexier upgrade to Rolex’s robust and beloved diver, the Submariner. But the design overhaul would have been drastic, and with a legion of Submariner devotees poised to pounce, Rolex purportedly scrapped plans to replace the well-established dive watch at the last minute, and released the Yacht-Master as an entirely new model instead.
Because of this, the watch struggled to find its place in the Rolex line-up. People loved (and still love) the Submariner because of its utilitarian nature; it was a practical tool for the modern mariner. For the Yacht-Master, Rolex instead focussed—as the name might suggest—on luxury boating, using precious metals in the construction of the watch’s case. It was still a sturdy timepiece, with a triple lock crown and a water resistance of up to 100m, but its emphasis on luxury living placed it in horological limbo—somewhere between the practicality of the Submariner and the dressiness of the Day-Date.
Personally, I liked the unusual contrast of opulence and function, but the Yacht-Master didn’t really move from guilty pleasure to flavour of the month until the Yacht-Master 116655 and 268655, released in 2015 (and previously reviewed by us here). The rubber ‘Oysterflex’ strap gave the watch a sportier, more modern quality, and the rose gold case proved to be a handsome complement to the black cerachrom bezel.
Bolstered by this popularity, the 116622 that debuted at Basel 2016 has similarly landed with its own distinct sense of identity. It’s available in steel and rose gold or steel and platinum—but the model with the sunburst grey dial is my stand-out favourite. With just a subtle pop of colour from the blue seconds hand and lettering, it’s a cool and understated watch that says luxury without rubbing your face in it. Powered by the automatic calibre 3135 (which comes with Rolex’s superlative chronometer certification), the watch has all the functionality it always had—and a new sense of self confidence to boot. The Rolex Yacht-Master 116622 is my not-so guilty pleasure—and I’ve a feeling that I’m not the only one.
Want to know what we thought of 2015's Rolex Yacht-Master 116655? Click here to find out.
Watch Spec | Rolex Yacht-Master 116622
Case: Steel and platinum Dimensions: 40mm Crystal: Synthetic sapphire Water Resistance: 100m Movement: 3135, automatic Frequency: 28,800 vph Power Reserve: 48 hours Strap: Oyster Functions: Regular time, date, stop seconds | Shop Now