This year at Baselworld 2017, we saw the release of the Rolex Yacht-Master 40 116695SATS watches done in a gem-set bezel. It’s not a Rolex for the usual fan of the brand but if you’re already someone (like myself) who also appreciates the non-traditional Yacht-Master 40 with the Oysterflex bracelet and aren’t afraid of some flash, then this is an interesting watch to have in a collection. You’ll remember that the Rolex Yacht-Master 40 was introduced back in 2015 and immediately stood out due to the fact that it came on the then-new rubber Oysterflex bracelet. The reaction to the bracelet was, as expected, mixed but has been popular enough with the release of the Rolex Daytona on an Oysterflex bracelet this year.
Also released this year was this Yacht-Master 40 with a remarkably well-done gem-set bezel, which is about the only “typical Rolex” trait you’ll find in this piece. Love it or hate it, its execution and quality are undeniable.
It’s inevitable, but many watch enthusiasts have an unfortunate patellar-reflex response to seeing precious stones or gems on watches. I think there are several reasons for it: the often ugly bejeweled timepiece; crappy aftermarket jobs; an unfortunate desire to distance oneself from anything “bling” (sorry, but comment sections on watch blogs and forums are the only place I still see that word as of the past decade); as well as the fact that there are not many factory-made men’s watches done with gems that aren’t “diamond explosions” or just come off too effeminate. While it’s obvious that this piece is going to be geared towards the mainland Chinese market, I think this can be seen as a viable men’s watch in the Western market as well.
Like the non-gem model, this Yacht-Master 40 comes on the Oysterflex strap Rolex fake watches introduced in 2015. Not technically rubber, the elastomer strap is fit with a titanium nickel alloy “blade” underneath to give it a more secure fit. The strap also has the well-received “fins” underneath, which are designed to create a very small space between skin and the bracelet allowing for some flexibility during hot and cold weather. The dial is slightly different, with Rolex choosing a glossy black finish as opposed to the matte dial on the non-gem model.
Functionality isn’t affected with the functioning bi-directional bezel, it’s still real Rolex dive watches with 100M water resistance. The double anti-reflective coated crystal and Chromalight lumed hands should make for legibility in the dark, as well. As for the movement, we still see the caliber 3135 movement found in models like the Submariner which gets 48 hours of power reserve.