ON THE WRIST: Rolex Yacht-Master 37
MONDAY MARCH 28, 2022
Made to be the less rugged Submariner, originally debuted in full yellow and never really got the following Rolex intended which is a shame really because not everyone can wear a maxi case. I wasn’t pleased with Swiss watches back in 2018 and wrote an article on which Rolex would I go for if I don’t already have one. Unsurprisingly, I chose the Yacht Master for all the reasons that make it unpopular. Guess I finally put my money where my mouth is since I brought one home so are there any regrets?
The YM is highly unlikely to be the masses’s ideal Rolex and that’s exactly why I got drawn, one in rose gold paired to an Oysterflex to be exact. The asking price for one of that goes into the holy trinity’s waters so it was quickly forgotten but one in steel has always been in the mind. Everyone who has some interest in watches would have a clue as to how insane the climate is now where a base Daytona will fetch over three times its retail price which is unacceptable in any circumstance. With the help from a certain virus, the madness has spread to every single Rolex.
37 mm Diameter
12 mm Thickness
100m Water Resistance
55 hours Power Reserve
With that out of the way, let’s get back to the Yacht-master. It is pretty clear as to why it does not have a strong following as one doesn’t grab attention like bi-colour bezels or reflect as much light like a fluted one. This steel version has used a precious material that’s usually reserved for the ultimate expression of Rolex watches, platinum. The entire bezel is made of the stuff but as much as Pt is difficult to handle, this addition neither brings about any benefit nor garners anyone’s attention.
YM’s silent clicking bezel is unlikely to come into use other than being played with when the wearer is already done scrolling on the iPhone. Lastly, of all colours in the world this got grey for its dial which I dare say plagues the Yachtmaster 37. Thing is, I have been liking grey in recent years. If I were to buy a Kia Stinger, I would have gone for grey and if I struck the lottery, a grey GT3 hence there was a lot for me going the Yacht Master 37’s direction.
The inception of the Yachtmaster was to up the ante of the Submariner which means something to me because a Sub was what I wanted but ultimately caved in due to its size. Seeing a 268622 for the first time evokes quite a different feeling as smaller watches in this price bracket have a finer look to them. It sat well on my 15 cm wrist and a fun fact is this has a narrower lug width of 17 mm than my 34 mm Air King. Although fit is not as comfortable as things can be, the 37’s proportion looks better with thinner lugs?
It is not wrong to assume that the 37 was put together in a rush to fill a void but Rolex have actually put some engineering into the smaller Yachtmaster because everything is proportionally scaled down from the 40 mm version since no cosmetic bits have been recycled. Without the two of them side by side, they are not all that easy to tell apart.
There’s a reason as to why the Yacht-master is not as popular as the rest of the Rolex sports watches and that is not having a recognisable face. Furthermore, it is more expensive than both the GMT and the Submariner. Adding salt to the wound, the wrist presence of a Yachtmaster is nowhere close to its siblings. Aside from rose gold models, it does not have a ceramic bezel that prevents scuffing so watch out while having one on the wrist. Another reason it may not be appealing is its yesteryear looks especially in pictures.
When it comes to user experience, it wears more top heavy than an Oyster Perpetual as it is heavier yet has skinnier lug width. Surprisingly, the YM 37 has a smaller dial aperture than an OP 34 hence with broad hour markers and a date window squeezed in, telling time is more difficult at a glance. This could be the very reason watchmakers prefer not to reproduce their larger watches on a smaller canvas as there is only so much to work on. As much as I want the Yacht Master to succeed, it does not get my full blessing.
In a world where watches are no longer made for its utilitarian uses, what to like about the Yacht Master is its under appreciation. You won’t be noticed with this watch as it flies under the radar. Call it the Rolex that no one wants, call it the one that doesn’t double when you leave the shops but I am glad Rolex has made a ‘diver’s’ watch for smaller wrists.