March 18, 2015
by Ariel Adams
New for 2015, Rolex has debuted a very attractive and sporty new version of the Rolex Yacht-Master that now comes on a new type of strap called Rolex Oysterflex. More on that in a second. This reference 116655 Yacht-Master is 40mm wide but there will also be the 37mm wide ref. 268655 Yacht-Master. Unlike the traditional Yacht-Master that has been known for platinum bezels this new 2015 Yacht-Master model will come equipped with a black Cerachrom (ceramic) bezel. We really love this new black and gold theme for the Yacht-Master that is both luxurious but not blingy.
The Rolex Yacht-Master 116655 contains the in-house made caliber 3135 automatic movement while the smaller 268655 contains the 2236 automatic movement. Both are more or less functionally the same being three-hand movements with the date. What is very nice about the new Cerachrom bezel is Rolex’s ability to craft it with the markers in relief – which is a new process that we are interested in hearing about. This adds a new character to the Yachtmaster that we haven’t seen before.
In 18k Everose gold the Yacht-Master case is uniquely matched to another new debut – the Rolex Oysterflex strap. Here is Rolex’s own words to describe this cool new official Rolex bracelet alternative:“Aesthetically and in suppleness and comfort, it resembles a rubber strap, while its resistance is comparable to that of a metal bracelet. The bracelet attaches to the watch case and the Oysterlock safety clasp by a flexible titanium and nickel alloy metal blade. The blade is overmoulded with high-performance black elastomer which is particularly resistant to environmental effects, very durable and perfectly inert for the wearer of the watch. For enhanced comfort, the inside of the Oysterflex bracelet is equipped with a patented longitudinal cushion system that stabilizes the watch on the wrist. The bracelet is fitted with an 18 ct Everose gold Oysterlock safety clasp that prevents accidental opening.”
As you can see the Oysterflex strap is not rubber but meant to feel like it with more longevity and a fit like a bracelet with the metal interior. Of course Rolex will likely make Oysterflex straps/bracelets available on other Rolex models in the future (though what models and when we don’t know), for now if you want one you’ll need to get the new for 2015 Yacht-Master in the 37mm wide or 40mm wide Oyster case (water resistant to 100 meters). Third-party rubber straps for Rolex sport watches have been available for a while and now you get something from Rolex. We can’t wait to try it on.
Rolex has been really catering to the enthusiast audience for a while carefully paying attention to what is popular on the aftermarket and how people are wearing their Rolex watches. They have been keen to preserve brand tradition but also to adapt to changing tastes in terms of sizes, colors, materials, and straps – something we applaud them for. 2015 is also an exciting year for Rolex lovers because they got not only new colors but also new technologies like the caliber 3255 movement and the Oysterflex bracelet.
While it won’t be cheap (we will update the price soon) the 2015 116655 Rolex Yacht-Master watch in 18k Everose gold in the Oysterflex is going to be a desirable model and will likely revitalize interest in Yacht-Master collection. rolex.com
Keep up with our pre-, post-, and live Baselworld 2015 coverage here.