March 20, 2019
by David Bredan
At BaselWorld 2019 Rolex has launched the all-new reference 226659 Rolex Oyster Perpetual Yacht-Master 42, available exclusively in 18ct white gold for the time being. Here are all the tech specs, along with pricing and a quick analysis before we go hands-on with it at BaselWorld 2019.
Model: Oyster Perpetual Yacht-Master 42 reference 226659
Dimensions: 42 millimeters wide – other dimensions to be confirmed
Case Material: 18ct White Gold
Crystal/Lens: Sapphire Crystal with AR-coated cyclops magnifier
Movement: Latest generation Manufacture Rolex Caliber 3255
Frequency: 4 Hertz
Power Reserve: Now extended to over 70 hours
Strap/Bracelet: Oysterflex flexible metal blades overmoulded
with high-performance elastomer, Oysterlock folding safety clasp
in 18 ct white gold with Rolex Glidelock extension system
Price & Availability: CHF26,500
Rolex has never been known for its quick, frantic reactions to developing trends in luxury watch taste. The large watch trend has been a thing for nearly two decades now, but Rolex has been taking its time when it comes to introducing larger variations of its much-loved base models. 2017 saw the launch of the 43-millimeter-wide Sea-Dweller, which is now accompanied by this new-for-2019 226659 Rolex Oyster Perpetual Yacht-Master 42 that adds 2 millimeters to the Yacht-Master.
We established that the new Rolex Oyster Perpetual Yacht-Master 42, but the larger case now encapsulates a new generation Manufacture Rolex Caliber 3255. This belongs to the latest evolution of Rolex movements, an evolution that had begun with the Day-Date 40 four years ago and since then has reached select models in select collections. The new movements provide extended service periods (I have heard Rolex ADs quote 10 years for the first movement service), extended power reserve that went from 48 hours to around 3 days or 72 hours. The new movements also feature a more efficient going train architecture paired to a Chronergy escapement for further optimized energy efficiency.
The bezel appears to be crafted in a novel way as well: on the Yacht-Master 42, the bidirectional rotatable bezel is fitted with a 60-minute graduated Cerachrom bezel insert that is now in matt black ceramic. Furthermore, its raised graduations and numerals were first moulded into the ceramic and then polished, making these graduations little islands floating in ceramic.
Price for the new-for-2019 reference 226659 Rolex Oyster Perpetual Yacht-Master 42 is CHF 26,500 ($27,800 USD), a hefty sum for a gold watch on an elastomer strap. Frankly, I am a bit surprised that the jump to the 42-millimeter size is reserved for those ready to purchase an 18ct gold cased watch and is not – well, not yet, anyway – available for others. Stay tuned for hands-on images and analysis very soon. Find out more at the official rolex.com website.