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Rolex and sailing have always had a strong bond. For over 60 years, the brand and the sport have had a special relationship. The high standards of excellence are the predominant link between these two. Today Rolex is supporting the most prestigious sailing clubs, organisations and events in sailing. Partnering with 13 of the world’s most prestigious yacht clubs demonstrates the strength of the bond between the brand and the dynamic sport and its traditional values.

How Rolex and the sailing sport came together

In 1966, Sir Francis Chichester and Rolex laid the foundation for today’s partnership. The British sailor wrote history as the man who first sailed around the globe by himself. For this adventurous project, Sir Francis Chichester chose the so-called "Clipper route". The fastest route pointing in a west-east direction. Departing from Plymouth in Great Britain, it took 226 days to get past the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa, Cape Leeuwin in southern Australia, and Cape Horn at the southernmost tip of Chile. After about 47,600km on sea he and his 16-meter yacht "Ketch Gipsy Moth IV" returned to the port of Plymouth where both celebrated like heroes. During the trip, the adventurer wore his Rolex Oyster Perpetual around his wrist.

Rolex Yacht-Master 116655 with black dial and Oysterflex bracelet

He told the "LIFE" magazine: "During my journey around the world on the Gipsy Moth IV, my Rolex wristwatch was torn off my wrist several times without ever being damaged. I can not imagine a more robust timepiece. It was often used for measurements with the sextant on the foredeck or was washed over by waves, but none of that seemed to bother my timepiece."

With the Rolex Oyster Perpetual, he had a reliable companion on board, who survived the stormy seas and saltwater showers.

Spectacular regattas supported by Rolex

The sailing sport has many young and old sportsman, amateurs and professional enthusiasts. Breathtaking competitions should not be missed, but in the world of sailing yachts, it is divided into many distinct classes. Many different regattas take place across the seas. The most prestigious of them are proudly supported by Rolex.

Black dial of a Rolex Yacht-Master 116655 sailing watch

Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race

The legendary regatta named Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race first took place in 1944 and stretches over 1,163 km. Every year on the 26th of December, the starting signal is fired up for all participants, from 30-foot boats to 100-foot yachts. The extraordinary date in the international sports calendar, just before the New Year, helped to establish the reputation of the offshore regatta as one of the most famous events. The race starts in Sydney Harbor and ends in Tasmanian Hobart. During the event, the continent admires the event with thousands of people following the results of the regatta, whether directly from the water, in front of the television or via internet live stream. Since 2002, Rolex has been the official sponsor and partner of the well-known event.

Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup

The Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup has been held for over 30 years by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda based in Sardinia. The waters around Porto Cervo, with glittering Mediterranean waves, rock prominences and islands, are considered to be some of the most beautiful yet most dangerous sailing areas in the world. So it’s no wonder that for the regatta, Rolex has been its main sponsor since 1985 – precision and excellence are essential for participating. During the one-week lasting event, the best crews meet with the strongest and most modern yachts of our time. The art of sailing is impressively staged here, and every year the shipbuilding technology regatta provides pioneering impulses.

Rolex Yacht-Master II 116680 with blue bezel and white dial

Rolex Swan Cup

The Rolex Swan Cup is held off the coast of Sardinia and held every two years in September. As the name suggests, this regatta is reserved for the owners of Swan yachts. These are passionate sailors with a sense of elegance, followers of "gentleman sailing". The Nautor’s Swan brand has been leading the list of sailing yacht builders and designers for more than 50 years and stands for excellence, innovation and reliability. The same can be said of Rolex, so the perfect cooperation has existed since 1984.

Rolex Fastnet Race

Considered one of the most challenging offshore races for sailing yachts ever, the Rolex Fastnet Race takes place off the British Isles. The regatta takes place every two years at the yachting club "Royal Yacht Squadron" in Cowes, United Kingdom. For about 1,120 km it goes to the southern tip of Ireland, the rock "Fastnet Rock", which marks the turning point. After passing the Isles of Scilly, the final destination is the port city of Plymouth. Since 2001, Rolex has sponsored this iconic race. In 2017, management recorded 362 participating yachts from 29 countries, and in mostly rough seas, even experienced crews and professionals are really challenged. But for them, the Fastnet Race is not just any regatta, for them, it is the epitome of adventure and tradition.

White dial of a Rolex Yacht-Master II 116680 watch with countdown indication

Rolex TP52 World Championship

As a partner of absolute top events in the sports world, Rolex also plays the role of the official timekeeper in the Rolex TP52 World Championship. In this spectacular race, the crème de la crème of the teams, as well as sailing yachts, meet. The TP52 class impresses with attractiveness, safety, reliability and is subject to the so-called "box rule". This specifies a limit on the length, floating depth and sail area of the participating yachts. Since 2017, Rolex has been the main sponsor of this event of top-class high rollers. Since the sailing yachts of this class are largely identical, everything depends on the perfect timing and teamwork of the crews.

Rolex models made for sailing

While sailing, the will and stamina of man and yacht are put hardest to the test. Decisions have to be made within fractions of a second. At all, timing and preparation are the nuts and bolts of this team sport.

The Rolex models Yacht-Master and Yacht-Master II were designed and produced by the Swiss watch manufacturer specifically for the maritime world. Carefully selected materials and useful functions combined with a sensational style make the regatta chronograph an icon for competition on the high seas.

  • Yacht-Master II (Ref. 116680) – The case and strap are made from the well-proven Rolex Oystersteel, a superalloy that is also used in the aerospace industry. It is highly resistant to corrosion and preserves its beauty even under extreme conditions. The white dial with luminous indexes provides perfect readability at first glance, even at night. In addition, a countdown timer is integrated, which can be programmed from one to ten minutes. The countdown can be synchronised via the flyback function with the official countdown of the regatta "in flight" and then counts down to the second. Thanks to this preparation, a perfect start can be achieved. The Yacht-Master II is powered by the COSC-certified Caliber 4161. The mechanic chronograph movement is developed and manufactured entirely by Rolex. The movement consists of 360 individual components and required more than 35,000 hours of development. The bright blue ring inlay of the bezel connects to the inside of the watch, redefining the purpose of a bezel. It is mechanically linked to the manufacture movement and acts as a trigger for the programmed countdown timer. The Yacht-Master II with its 44mm case diameter provides enough space for all important functions. Of course, the model is waterproof – up to 10 bar pressure. The white and blue colour scheme makes it easy to associate the watch with the nautic and offers a high recognition value.

  • Yacht-Master 37 (Ref. 268622) – The 37mm model is the perfect synthesis of style and functionality. Its case and bracelet are also made of Rolex Oyster Steel which makes the watch ready for maritime use. The rhodium-coloured dial ensures excellent readability, a special feature here are the 18-karat gold indices. Because of this, tarnishing can be almost completely ruled out. The function of the date window at three o’clock is undisputedly important, particularly if one spends several days at sea. The bi-directional bezel of the timepiece consists of Rolesium, a Rolex creation dedicated to the yacht-master series. It contains platinum 950, which creates a silvery colour. It gives the watch a lively sheen and a luxurious appearance. The glossy numerals stand out elegantly from otherwise matt bezel. This makes, for example, the reading of the travel time between two tons easier. The Caliber 2236, of course COSC certified, is self-winding and has a date window. It guarantees unparalleled precision and reliability. Qualities that are indispensable in sailing. It offers a power reserve of about 50 hours and the model withstands a water pressure of up to 10 bar.

  • Yacht-Master 40 (Ref. 116655) – The 40 mm rose gold version of the Yacht-Master is a real eye-catcher. The 18-carat "Everose Gold" a gold alloy, developed by Rolex, forms the case as well as many small details on the watch. The dial comes in matte black, which lets the gold alloy to shine even more. The date window is also at three o’clock, something we are used to with Rolex. The bi-directional rotatable bezel with 60-minute graduation shines in a sandblasted, matte black. The polished, black numbers stand out discreetly but are still very legible. The bracelet is a sporty alternative to the Oyster band of the other models: The Yacht-Master 40 offers the flexible Oysterflex band. It consists of a nickel-titanium alloy core. This is coated with a high-quality elastomer, for increased comfort and has an Oysterlock safety clasp. Inside the watch is the COSC-certified Caliber 3135, one of Rolex' most important calibres, incorporating an automatic self-winding mechanism, making the timepiece a true precision watch among luxury watches. Also, this model is waterproof up to 10 bar pressure.

Rolex Yacht-Master II references 116680 and 116680 side by side on reflective surface in front of a sailing boat

Are you looking for a high-quality watch for maritime use?

As the market-leading dealer for certified, used luxury watches, you will always find model variants of the Rolex Yacht-Master or Yacht-Master II in Watchmaster’s online shop. The watches offered by Watchmaster are second-hand, but have been prepared more than thoroughly and comprehensively. A guarantee and the right of withdrawal are for Watchmaster indisputable. You’ll get a certificate of authenticity and a warranty for your new timepiece. Both technically and visually, the used luxury watches can compete with new models, but on another price-level. Thanks to a previous owner, it turns out to be much lower!

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