Aside from the F-You watch status of the Rolex 226659, what is really new is the 2mm enlarged Yacht-Master 42 case. The broad lugs actually make this watch a bit too large for my wrist, even though I really admire the slightly expanded overall proportions over the standard Yacht-Master 40. Rolex actually updated the entire Yacht-Master 40 collection for 2019, in addition to coming out with the Yacht-Master 42. The entire lineup gets the brand’s latest-generation case-making and finishing processes, and the modern-generation in-house-made caliber 3235 automatic movement. Again, that includes the 40 and 42mm Yacht-Master. Consider this solid 18k white gold Yacht-Master 42 an experiment to test sales of a 42mm-wide case on the Oysterflex bracelet.
Rolex almost always introduces new cases and movements in high-end watches first, in order to trickle them into the market and test them out. It is very (very) possible that Rolex will eventually produce a steel version of the Yacht-Master 42 case somewhere down the road. That really all depends on the success of the model. Rolex has already done pretty well breathing new life into the Yacht-Master by selling the 40mm-wide and 37mm-wide (gold) Yacht-Master pieces available on an elastomer Oysterflex strap. The Rolex Daytona on the Oysterflex strap was also a hit, and again, all of these watches are in gold. It is sort of amazing that in a time of so much variety in the market of high-end sports watches on colorful high-tech straps, Rolex continues to kill it by putting really fancy gold watches on black rubber straps.
Mind you that Rolex quality is enviously impeccable. The Oysterflex strap is no slouch and is among the most comfortable and well-made sport watch straps available anywhere. What people say is that once you start wearing it, the comfort can be so convenient it is hard to go back to anything else (especially if you are coming from wearing a previous watch with an ill-fitting bracelet). Perhaps the most important thing to say about the Oysterflex bracelet is that, on the Yacht-Master 42, Rolex finally added its Glide-Lock micro-adjustment system to the deployant clasp. So, this is really good news for those who have been wearing for that .
My nickname for the Yacht-Master 42 in white gold and black ceramic is the “Yacht-Master Noir” because it reminds me of the stylized moodiness of film noir. Visually speaking, this silver and black watch could easily be mistaken for a Submariner at a glance — save for the different bezel and case shape. The Yacht-Master continues to be Rolex’s only sport watch with a swoopy case shape. The bezel also has markers in relief, but the insert is also black ceramic. It is worth pointing out that, unlike the uni-directional rotating bezel of the Submariner or other Rolex dive watches, the Yacht-Master 42 has a bi-directional rotating bezel (not really sure why). Note that even though the Yacht-Master and Submariner look very similar, the Yacht-Master is water-resistant to 100 meters, while the Submariner is water-resistant to 300 meters.