Produced in extremely limited quantities, this most special edition of the Rolex Oyster Perpetual Yacht-Master 40 comes with a gem-set bi-directional bezel and full-pavé set dial. Today, we have the privilege of bringing you a closer look at the countless intricate and incredible details of this all-factory set piece.
The bezel, which has acclaimed lovely nicknames such as "Haribo" and "Tutti Frutti" from Rolex's most dedicated followers, stands as yet another testament to the immense gem-setting know-how nurtured and utilized within Rolex.
Set with a total of 32 sapphires, 8 tsavorites and 1 diamond, the bezel of this coveted and scarce Yacht-Master 40 exhibits what is among the most challenging gem-setting methods of them all: invisible setting.
The result is a fantastic-looking bezel, the creation of which being one of the most time-consuming processes of all, often taking up to a few weeks! Upon a closer look, you will find that the stones of the same color are indeed that: they have been painstakingly sorted and selected to ensure that they are as exact matches of one another as it is possible: the citrus yellows, oranges, blues and reds of the sapphires, as well as the greens of the tsavorites all match up.
Better still, there is a system to the overall design: the stones situated 180° across from each other are the same color. Just look at the green tsavorite next to the diamond at the 12 o'clock position, and now the green tsavorite to the right of the 6 o'clock marker. And so on and so forth, each color is accompanied by the same color on the opposite side, adding harmony to the overall design.
However, achieving this immensely challenging piece of watch-jewelry entails multiple disciplines and techniques, including the following.
First of all, the 41 stones of the bezel need to be sorted and color-matched.
Second, once the 41-stone range of pieces has been established and assigned to a single bezel, the stones are ready to be cut – with outstanding accuracy –, so that they follow the curvature of the bezel and make for a perfect fit. There is absolutely no room for error or the stones will simply not fit into slots.
In invisible gem-setting, the stones hold each other in place. The "invisible" phrase refers to the fact that one cannot see the prongs that normally embrace the stones, instead, it is just one continuous, an infinite row of gems, which press against each other, one holding the other in place – and so on.
Third, this technique requires a bezel machined and prepared with similarly tight tolerances. The space for each stone need to be prepared within the 18ct Everose gold bezel, creating a groove that will forever securely encapsulate these precious and beautifully cut gems. Although this special edition of the Yacht-Master 40 is available with the Yacht-Master 40's standard black gloss dial, this rarest version we are presenting today features the full-pavé set dial, a fantastic feat in gem-setting unto itself.
The 18ct Everose gold hour markers, as well as the Rolex logo, appear to float like precious islands in this infinite sea of precious diamonds. All sorted, brilliant-cut, set and secured by master gem-setters, the resulting dial pairs outstanding legibility with a feat for the eyes – up-close as much as from afar.
The sublimely comfortable Oysterflex bracelet, the remarkably accurate and reliable Rolex Superlative Chronometer Calibre 3135 and the blue Chromalight display all enforce the modern feel and performance of this incredibly rare Yacht-Master 40.