In 2018, we have presented the Rolex Oyster Perpetual Yacht-Master II in Rolesor Oystersteel-yellow gold and 18ct yellow gold variations – it is only right that we now take a closer look at what is certainly one of the rarest variations in the Yacht-Master II collection: an 18ct white gold Oyster bracelet matched to an 18ct white gold case and the special addition of a solid .950 platinum bezel.
Let us begin with what renders this edition of the Yacht-Master II unique among all currently produced Rolex timepieces: it is the only Rolex watch that exhibits a combination of an 18ct white gold bracelet and case with a platinum bezel. Notably, the Yacht-Master 40 and Yacht-Master 37 models are available with a platinum bezel, but matched to an Oystersteel bracelet and case.
This variation of the Yacht-Master II is the only piece that comes not with a Cerachrom ceramic bezel insert, but with the precious metal base material of the bezel fully revealed. The bezel is crafted from a solid block of .950 platinum, which is the most difficult-to-craft material in watchmaking.
It is extremely hard, yet malleable, making both the milling, as well as the decoration and different surface treatment processes a true challenge. Rolex produces the Yacht-Master II entirely in-house, including the machining and decoration of the white gold and platinum external components.
The bezel features raised and polished numerals for the Yacht-Master II's trademark programmable regatta chronograph, as well as for the Yacht-Master II text at the 6 o'clock position of the bezel. Take a closer look and you will see that the periphery of the bezel, as well as the raised letters and numerals are all highly polished, whereas, to create contrast and ideal legibility, their backdrop is matte.
More specifically, the Yacht-Master II in 18ct white gold and .950 platinum is a stellar example. Its 18ct white gold, three-link Oyster bracelet features brushed outer and polished inner links which beautifully complement the matte and polished elements of its platinum bezel. The same theme continues onto the dial: a matte, yet crisp white dial features polished 18ct white gold hands and indices, as a continuation of this balancing act between highlighted and subdued surfaces.
One watch design is – often subconsciously – deemed superior when it displays perfected balance in its proportions, textures and features. Though difficult to explain, great watch designs that keen eyed watch lovers tend to gravitate towards are exactly those with effortless balance to their exterior elements, shiny and matte surface treatments, uses of colors and shapes.
Perfect balance, just like perfect symmetry, the human mind finds tedious and boring – and so all great designs feature at least some brightening and fun elements. The Yacht-Master II adds dashes of red and blue to its dial, in an effort to create ideal legibility and, admittedly, to spice up the exterior's case study in silver. The regatta chronograph's hands are partially red, and so are some of the markers for the programmable countdown timer, while the chapter ring is blue, both as a nod towards the collection's inseparable link to the world of yachting and as a successful attempt to further liven up the overall aesthetic.
To learn more about the bond between Rolex, the Yacht-Master II and yachting, please see our further Yacht-Master articles, about the Yacht-Master 40 here https://www.petitegeneve.com/en/news/2018-05-03-rolex-yacht-master-40, and the Yacht-Master II in Rolesor and 18ct yellow gold configurations here https://www.petitegeneve.com/en/news/2018-05-30-rolex-oyster-perpetual-yacht-master-ii.
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