Rolex and the World of Yachting

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With the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race coming to an end a few days ago, the watchmaker once again cemented their relationship with the sport. Though the Yacht-Master model wasn't introduced until 1992, the watchmaker has been a sponsor of yachting since the 1950s, when they began their relationship with the New York Yacht Club. Today, they sponsor over 15 races throughout the year and around the world and have introduced the robust Yacht-Master II model equipped with a regatta timer complication. 

Rolex Fastnet Race 2009 (photo: Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi)
The relationship between Rolex and the world of yachting began naturally, with yachtsmen wearing Oyster Perpetual watches on the water due to their hermetically sealed Oyster cases and the reliability of the certified chronometers. British yachtsman Sir Francis Chichester wore a Rolex on his voyage around the world in 1966 and later remarked that the watch was ticking happily at the end of the voyage, despite being banged up and splashed with water. 

Since the 1950s, Rolex has tied itself to many yacht clubs and races across the globe. They sponsor the Rolex Fastnet Race out of the Royal Ocean Racing Club in England, photographed above. They are also title sponsors of the Circuito Atlántico Sur Rolex Cup out of the Yacht Club Argentino, the Rolex Middle Sea Race out of the Royal Malta Yacht Club, Les Voilles de Saint-Tropez and the Rolex China Sea Race. 

Perhaps the most visible symbol of the watchmaker's ties to yachting is their Yacht-Master II model introduced in 2007. Featuring on the fly synchronization, this formidable nautical watch allows skippers to keep time in sync with the official race time. The regatta timer functionality is made possible with the 4161 movement, manufactured in-house by Rolex specifically for the YM2. With a case size of 44 millimeters, its display is highly legible with a flair that attracts even those who may never use the skipper's watch on the high seas. 

For more information on Rolex's Yacht-master and Yacht-Master II models and its ties to the yachting world, visit their official website at

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