Turn left. In the world of Rolex, the slightest tweaks can make a massive difference, not only to the aesthetics of a watch, but also to collectability. This year, the headline Rolex news is all about the sports watches with a new bezel color for the Rolex Yacht-Master 40 126679 SABR-0002 and a gem-set white gold Yacht-Master 40…
The steel GMT-Master II has been a huge hit, ever since the introduction of the blue and black bezel version, and then the hysteria was turned up to 11 with the launch of the red and blue, or “Pepsi” as it known to collectors. Rolex have now made another steel model with a black and green Cerachrom bezel. The green has been seen before on the Submariner, but the green and black is something entirely new and is sure to create another stampede at authorized dealerships. The twist in this aeronautical story is the fact that the crown is on the left-side of the case. Destro or left-hooker, however you refer to it, it’s a cool look and a broadening of the Rolex tool-watch offer. What seems like a straightforward change has actually made it a necessity to redevelop the COSC-testing equipment to allow for the change in movement orientation. The new GMT-Master II reference 126720VTNR is available with the Oyster bracelet and retains the 40mm Oystersteel case.
There is a story that I remember hearing or reading over a decade ago regarding the original intention for the Yacht-Master. I can’t verify this, but it seems legitimate. The maybe-tall tale involves a proposed redesign of the mighty Submariner at the end of the 1980s, to give the Sub a refresh. And so a new case design that flowed a little more fluidly was designed with a new bezel and other updates to the then almost four-decade old dive watch. However, the new watch was seen as something beautiful, and so it was decided that it would be a new line: the Yacht-Master, which first appeared in 1992 in yellow gold as reference 16628. In 1994, the two-tone reference 16623 was launched and then the steel watch with platinum bezel and dial was unveiled in 1997.
Following a couple of dial refreshes and the introduction of the Yacht-Master II in 2007, it was 2015 before the Yacht-Master was revisited, and it was an Everose watch that also debuted the Oysterflex bracelet. The watch was fitted with a matte black Cerachrom insert, but still in the old-school style bezel ring. In 2017, a white gold Yacht-Master was introduced with a beefed-up 42mm case that was also on an Oysterflex bracelet. This year, Rolex added a 42mm Yacht-Master in yellow gold.
The most eye-catching Rolex Yacht-Master 40 126679 SABR-0002 this year is a new gem-set white gold model, with diamond-set case and diamond and sapphire bezel. Following on from the so-called Tutti-Fruity colored sapphire bezel Everose Yacht-Master, there is a new kid in town in the form of the reference 126679 SABR, a new Yacht-Master 40. The bezel is set with set with eight trapeze-cut diamonds (approx. 0.92 carats), 32 trapeze-cut sapphires — eight pink, eight light blue, eight purple and eight dark blue — (approx. 4.27 carats) and one triangular diamond (approx. 0.15 carats) at 12 o’clock. The watch is also available with a full pavé dial… is there a better watch for summer?
Where the sky meets the ocean and the sun comes up over the water, the new Rolex Yacht-Master 40 ref. 126679SABR creates a powerful combo already nicknamed ‘The Cotton Candy’ by my close friend @ILikeRolexes. If you follow him on Instagram, you then know he’s the king of modern Rolex watch collecting and a watch collector that loves gem-set Rolexes like no one else I’ve ever met. While he is still waiting on a Rainbow Daytona to come his way —not sure why he’s not been assigned one yet—, he confessed to me his love for the new Yacht-Master 40 ref. 126679SABR ‘The Cotton Candy’. Most likely the next Rolex he’ll be getting very soon.
The new Rolex Yacht-Master 40 126679 SABR-0002 is fitted with an Oysterflex bracelet. This innovative bracelet is made up of flexible, curved metal blades overmoulded with high-performance black elastomer. The Oysterflex bracelet on this new version of the Yacht-Master 40 is equipped with the Oysterlock folding safety clasp in 18K white gold which features the Rolex Glidelock extension system, allowing the length of the bracelet to be adjusted easily, and without tools, up to some 15 mm.