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The Rolex Yachtmaster 116688

The Rolex Yachtmaster 116688

The Rolex Yachtmaster 116688

As Rolex’s most diverse sports watch collection. The Rolex Yachtmaster 116688 Sports Watch isn’t just available in several case metals. It comes with various bracelet styles and bezel materials. In less than 30 years, the Rolex Yacht-Master collection is home to several references.  Some of which are no longer in circulation. And the nautical-inspired sports watch continues to be a mainstay of the Rolex lineup. 

While the Yacht-Master is a luxurious take on Rolex’s already popular sports watches. The Rolex Yachtmaster 116688 Sports Watch was purpose-built. Built to time out regattas in competitive sailing. Essentially, the Yacht-Master is the kind of watch you wear while lounging on a Yacht. The watch is what you wear if you’re racing one. Nonetheless, Rolex watches are popular, sought-after for their sleek designs and impeccable quality.

With that in mind, if you’re in the market for The Rolex Yachtmaster 116688 Sports Watch. There are some important things you should know about the model before you make a decision. Here, we’ve compiled everything you need to know. Everything about buying The Rolex Yachtmaster 116688 Sports Watch. To make the most informed buying decision. 

History of the Rolex Yacht-Master

The Yacht-Master is a highly complicated watch.

We weren’t introduced to the first Yacht-Master until 1992. Rolex’s history with sailing actually dates back to 1958. That year the Swiss watchmaker partnered with the prestigious New York Yacht Club. By then, Rolex had already garnered a reputation for making great waterproof watches. As a result of the invention of their Rolex Oyster case back in 1926. So, the partnership was actually quite a natural next step.

Rolex sealed its relationship with sailing in 1966 when Francis Chichester. one of history’s most exceptional navigators became the first person to sail the globe on his yacht. The Gipsy Moth IV, with a Rolex on his wrist. His voyage, which spanned from August 1966 to May 1967, took him 29,600 miles around the world. But, the most impressive part is that he only had a few tools. Among which are nautical charts, a sextant, and a Rolex Oyster Perpetual. The Rolex wristwatch chronometer he used was a reliable and steady partner. It helped him keep time amidst rough conditions for 226 days at sea.

Despite the brand’s massive success in creating watches that were great for sailing. Rolex continued to hold back its efforts to create a watch for this category. The brand did briefly dabble with the idea in the 1960s. Releasing a prototype dial for the chronograph with the name “Yacht Master” on it.  But the idea never took hold. Today, only two examples of this prototype Daytona Yacht-Master exist. One belonging to Eric Clapton and one owned by John Goldberger.

Further On The History of Rolex Yacht Master

In 1992, we were finally introduced to the modern Yacht-Master we know and love today. The Rolex Yacht-Master was the first sports watch designed for open seas. To make sure those collectors understood the luxury aspect of this new watch. The very first 40mm model was forged out of solid 18k yellow gold. And featured a matching gold bi-directional rotating bezel alongside a gold Oyster bracelet. Over the next few decades, Rolex has expanded the collection using a variety of materials. As well as adding new sizes to the luxury nautical watch collection.

15 years after the first release of the Yacht-Master. Rolex introduced the Rolex Yachtmaster 116688 Sports Watch made for sportsmen. It was made for them to use while regatta racing. To cater to these athletes, Rolex outfitted the watch with important features. Features like a programmable countdown timer and both flyback and fly-forward functionality. Another key difference is that the Rolex Yacht-Master II is only available in one size. However, there are a variety of alloys available.

Rolex Yacht-Master II Design

The Rolex Yachtmaster 116688 Sports Watch is the “Rolex-looking” Rolex watch ever made. This is the core reason behind why it ruffled so many feathers. Which were among purist collectors upon its release? Its arrival took the brand down before unexplored experimental paths.  A very far cry from the sort of restrained icons present throughout the rest of its portfolio.

The Rolex Yachtmaster 116688 Sports Watch is a hard-working watch. With a lot of information to present and as a result, it has what initially looks like somewhat of a cluttered dial. But, a lot of that is down to a trick of the eye. Which concerns the bezel are 1-10 numerals being mirrored. Exactly around the horseshoe-shaped track on the face. This is obviously the regatta countdown scale. This is designed to help yacht skippers. Help them synchronize their boats’ movements with the race’s starting gun.

What it means for the overall styling is a lot of numbers. Lots of numbers on the watch that you will not be used for the vast majority of the time you wear it. But it may come across as a little jam-packed. This is particularly when you add in the chronograph hand.  Once you get used to it, you can’t help but be impressed with how much Rolex’s technicians have achieved with so little. 

Despite only containing four models. The series actually covers a good range of tastes. The ref. 116688 could be in the running for most showy standard-production. 

The Rolex Yachtmaster 116688 Functions

The Rolex Yachtmaster 116688 Functions

Looks aside, the big talking point around the Rolex Yacht-Master II lies in what it can do. There is a strong argument against calling the watch a genuine chronograph. As it doesn’t so much keep track of elapsed time in the traditional sense? As it does count backward from a specific starting point, up to a maximum of 10-minutes.

How is that useful? It is all down to how a professional regatta gets underway. Due to the nature of wind and water. It simply isn’t possible to get a bunch of yachts all lined up at a particular spot. Instead, the start of a race goes in stages, with each one marked by a gunshot or other audible signal. The first is usually sounded 10-minutes before the start. And the skippers must maneuver their boats back and forth in front of the line without crossing it. Jockeying with the other competitors for prime position.

There follow two further preparatory signals at precise intervals. And crews must coordinate their approach so they are as close to the start point as possible. At the exact moment, the race officially begins. It is that pair of extra signals that call into action one of the party tricks. 

Functions and Usability

What if the watch fall out of sync with the regatta reference clock for any reason? A press of the lower pusher activates the flyback function. Snapping the chronograph hand to the nearest minute to allow the two timers to match up again. Even more, it is the only mechanical watch in the world with programmable memory. Meaning the wearer can reset back to the specified original countdown point at any time.

Giving access to all this engineering virtuosity. This is exactly what Rolex has dubbed its Ring Command Bezel. This was the first appearance of the concept. With the second generation taking control of the Sky-Dweller’s several functions. On both models, the bezel is linked to the internal movement. And on The Rolex Yachtmaster 116688 Sports Watch, it acts as an analog on/off switch. Rotating it 90° unlocks the functionality. 

And thus, it allows for the countdown timer to be set with the crown. Turning it back again locks everything in place, and engages the memory. The watch is then operated as a standard chronograph. With the top pusher activating the starts and stops. And the bottom taking charge of the reset or flyback/fly-forward functions.

Rolex Yacht-Master II Movement

The Rolex Yachtmaster 116688 Sports Watch was powered by the in-house Caliber 4160. At the time, it was the most component-heavy movement the brand had ever created. But it was essentially a heavily reworked version of the Cal. 4130 from the Daytona. The ball-bearing rotor was carried over from the brand’s chronograph.

Obviously, there is nothing wrong with that. Although, the Rolex Daytona movement remains one of the most reliable. And it also remains an accurate mass-produced chronograph caliber of the modern era. Yet, with the arrival of the long-awaited stainless steel Yacht-Master II in 2013. Rolex also unveiled a new mechanism. The Caliber 4161, the product of extra refinements and some 35,000 hours of development.

Made up of over 360 components. This includes those produced via a specialized fabrication process. A process called UV-LiGA, which uses ultraviolet light to build microstructures. This dedicated movement provided a crisper feel to the pushers and greater reliability. With that in mind, both Cal. 4160 and Cal. 4161 benefitted from Rolex advances such as the blue Parachrom hairspring. As well as providing users with a highly-respectable 72-hour power reserve. And most importantly a 28,800vph balance frequency.

Rolex Yacht-Master II Bracelet

At the present time, all the various Rolex Yacht-Master II models are fitted. Even with the three-link Oyster bracelet, as befits a true sports watch. On each version, the inner links have been given a high polish to match the gleaming case. While the outer links receive a satin finish to provide a contrast against the lugs.

As for material, the bracelet is crafted from the same metal as the watch head. Stainless steel, yellow gold, or white gold. With the Rolesor example, the innermost links are forged from Everose gold. Leaving the outer side links in 904L stainless Oyster Steel. Tying it all together is the Oysterlock folding clasp. And is also equipped with the brand’s Easylink extension system. And this allows for approximately 5mm of tool-free bracelet adjustment. This is completely on the fly and without the use of any tools.

The Rolex Yachtmaster 116688 Sports Watch was something of retaliation. Retaliation from Rolex against decades-worth of naysayers criticizing the brand. Criticizing them for the lack of complicated watches in its lineup. 

Rolex’s rebuttal, while not the most all-encompassing looks or utility. Still stands as a significant piece of technical dexterity. Rolex has always produced tool watches. But as the company makes the transition towards being a luxury manufacturer. The tool watches it produces also take on a more luxurious nature. And the Yacht-Master II embodies this. Large and uncompromising, it is the most eccentric model Rolex has to offer. – And it is always happy to take center stage.

The Rolex Yachtmaster 116688 Crown view 

The Rolex Yachtmaster 116688 Functions

Rolex released the next notable upgrade for the Yacht-Master with Reference 116622. While the model retained its 40mm size. It featured an all-new “super case” with different styling. Besides, it boasted an all-platinum bezel. Even as opposed to a combination of platinum and stainless steel. Last but not least, it came equipped with a refined version. A refined version of the Oyster bracelet featuring an upgraded clasp.

Rolex debuted another first for the brand in the Yacht-Master collection. This time, instead of a new metal. They introduced their own designs and tested a variation of the rubber strap. The Oysterflex bracelet marked the first-ever rubber strap for the brand. Ever since it’s become a staple of the Yacht-Master collection.

In the past several years. Rolex has continued to make subtle updates and additions to the Yacht-Master line. One of the latest releases is the Yacht-Master 40 with a multi-color, gem-set bezel. 

Who Wears the Rolex Yachtmaster 116688 Sports Watch?

The Rolex Yachtmaster 116688 Sports Watch is a popular choice. A popular choice among many of today’s top entertainers’ athletes, and chefs. Some of the Yacht-Master’s famous wearers are Ellen DeGeneres and Brad Pitt. Athletes across an array of modalities also appreciate the Yacht-Master. You can find it on the wrist of star players like former pro-footballer David Beckham. Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan, and former World Number One golfer Justin Thomas. Also, the legendary chef Emeril Lagasse is among the Yacht-Master’s celebrity fans.



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