Rolex Yacht-Master vs. Daytona: Wristwatch Comparison

rolex yachtmaster vs daytona

If you’re in the market for a high-end watch and you’ve settled on the Rolex Yacht-Master or the Rolex Daytona, the reality is that you can’t go wrong—both are backed by the trusted Rolex brand, after all. Nevertheless, each series of watches includes select options and unique features that might give you the edge you’re looking for. Today we are comparing the Rolex Yachtmaster vs Daytona.

From reviewing the specifications and highlights of each watch, on the whole, I prefer the Yacht-Master series—specifically the original Yacht-Master collection (we’ll get to that)—to the Daytona line, on account of its slim, sleek contour and (to-be-expected) reliability. That said, there is much to recommend the later Yacht-Master II and the Daytona, and if you are primarily looking to fill a technical, functional need with your watch purchase, then the original Yacht-Master, the simplest of the three, may not be the best choice.

First things first, choosing a watch from the Rolex line means several certainties: you know you’re getting a reliable and durable chronograph, you know you’re adding a stylish piece of apparel to your wardrobe, and you know that every time you put it on, you’ll have wandering eyes fixated in envy on your classic timepiece.

But this isn’t a decision to take lightly. It’s an expensive investment, and not all watches—even high-end ones—are made equally. In this case, it isn’t just a question of “Are you a sailor (Yacht-Master) or a racer (Daytona)?” The Daytona series has a design optimized for measuring high speeds, while the Yacht-Master provides additional timekeeping functions the likes of which you might find handy during a regatta. Let’s take a closer look at all they can do.

rolex yachtmaster vs daytona

The Rolex Yacht-Master: The Watch of the Open Seas

Official Description

The Rolex Yacht-Master and Yacht-Master II models embody the spirit of the sailor. Inspired by the rich heritage that has bound Rolex to the world of sailing since the 1950s, the Yacht-Master blends function and style, while the Yacht-Master II brings together the finest in Rolex technology to create a regatta chronograph built for yachting competition.

Summary

As the description notes, choosing the Yacht-Master series means making another choice: the original Yacht-Master (debuted in 1992), or the Yacht-Master II (first released in 2007).

The Yacht-Master

The headline model of the Yacht-Master series is the Yacht-Master 40, though Rolex also released a slightly smaller option, the Yacht-Master 37. For the purpose of this review, I will focus on the headline model, but both the 40mm and the 37mm options can be configured to the buyer’s preference in terms of material, color, and dial type.

rolex yachtmaster vs daytona

Specifications

  • Model Case: Oyster, 40mm, 18 ct Everose gold
  • Oyster Architecture: Monobloc middle case, screw-down case back and winding crown
  • Bezel: Bidirectional rotatable 60-minute graduated bezel with matt black Cerachrom insert in ceramic, polished raised numerals, and graduations
  • Winding Crown: Screw-down, Triplock triple waterproofness system
  • Crystal: Scratch-resistant sapphire, Cyclops lens over the date
  • Water-Resistance: Waterproof to 100 meters / 330 feet
  • Movement: Perpetual, mechanical, self-winding
  • Calibre: 3135, Manufacture Rolex
  • Precision: -2/+2 sec/day, after casing
  • Functions: Centre hour, minute, and seconds hands. Instantaneous date with rapid setting. Stop-seconds for precise time setting
  • Power Reserve: Approximately 48 hours
  • Bracelet: Oysterflex: Flexible metal blades over-molded with high-performance elastomer
  • Clasp: Folding Oysterlock safety clasp
  • Dial: Black, with highly legible Chromalight display with long-lasting blue luminescence

Review

The headline model, reference number 116655, is designed with an Everose gold trim, a black watch-face, and the Rolex patented rubber Oyster strap, the first rubber strap on any model of Rolex watch. The Oysterflex strap, branded as a sporty alternative to the typical metal strap, is also hypoallergenic, so allay any concerns you may have in that regard.

The design, though uncommon, is not unbecoming.  It matches the aesthetic of the chic watch face well, and in fact, the slim style of the rubber strap carries its own elegance that matches the rather svelte original Yacht-Master.  Practically, it has the advantage of the ease of use and even more ease in cleaning, should it get muddy or slimy while you bandy about the wet rigging of your sailboat, as the absence of metal links, eliminates a natural trap for dirt or otherwise.

rolex yachtmaster vs daytona

The primary unique feature of the watch–the bi-directional rotatable bezel for recording time (when sailing between two buoys, for example)–is a distinct advantage to those who intend to put their watch to the practical test beyond merely keeping time.  Whether you’re on the high seas or cooking steak in the backyard, any reason to leave your phone untouched (in this case, for the timer), and to put your new Yacht-Master to use, is a good reason.

The original Yacht-Master is an integral watch in the Rolex collection, and the headliner, Everose gold with black Oyster strap, will set you apart as a connoisseur in the timekeeping world.  Whether the occasion calls for formal business attire, or if you’re stretched out on the boat for the weekend, your Yacht-Master will strike the right tone.

rolex yachtmaster vs daytona

The Yacht-Master II

Don’t take the release of a second series of Yacht-Master watches as an indication that the first series didn’t make the grade.  That said, if you opt for the newer option, you will be rewarded with several new features.  Again, this review will focus on the headline watch, reference number 116680, a 44mm watch with a steel plate, but as always Rolex gives you the option to customize your selection.

Specifications

  • Model Case: Oyster, 44mm, 904L steel
  • Oyster Architecture: Monobloc middle case, screw-down case back and winding crown
  • Bezel: Bidirectional rotatable Ring Command bezel. Blue Cerachrom insert in ceramic, engraved numerals and inscription
  • Winding Crown: Screw-down, Triplock triple waterproofness system
  • Crystal: Scratch-resistant sapphire
  • Water-Resistance: Waterproof to 100 metres / 330 feet
  • Movement: Perpetual, mechanical, self-winding, regatta chronograph
  • Calibre: 4161, Manufacture Rolex
  • Precision: -2/+2 sec/day, after casing
  • Functions: Centre hour and minute hands, small seconds hand at 6 o’clock. Programmable countdown with mechanical memory and on-the-fly synchronization. Stop-seconds for precise time setting
  • Power Reserve: Approximately 72 hours
  • Bracelet: Oysterflex, flat three-piece links of 904L steel
  • Clasp: Folding Oysterlock safety clasp with Easylink 5mm comfort extension
  • Dial: White, with highly legible Chromalight display with long-lasting blue luminescence

Review

Let’s start with two mechanical/functional differences from the original Yacht-Master, and we’ll consider the stylistic changes second.  Both watches offer a perpetual, self-winding movement, but this newer watch adds to that the regatta chronograph, a programmable counter for up to ten minutes, ideal for timing the starting sequence of a regatta.  Rolex touts this innovation as the product of nearly 35,000 hours of development, resulting in a complex mechanism that uses some 360 parts.

As a result, Rolex produced one of the first watches with a bezel synchronized to the movement of the watch itself.  The timer can be locked into place beforehand, and the wearer simply toggles the knob on the side of the watch to start, or synchronize the timer with the watch. The new Yacht-Master also has a battery life of approximately 72 hours, compared with the 48 hours of the original.

rolex yachtmaster vs daytona

As for the physical appearance of the Yacht-Master II, the most notable difference is its size, which is 44mm across the face rather than 40mm like the original.  This is a minor difference, but when the watch is clasped around your wrist–which, presumably, it will be–the difference is noticeable, as those additional few millimeters more or less cover the skin that otherwise remains exposed with the original watch.

The additional space also allows for a slightly more embellished watch-face on the Yacht-Master II, most notably the inclusion of a small seconds hand at 6 o’clock.  The additional features do give the impression of a bulkier watch, and really it will be a matter of taste if you prefer the larger or small dimensions.  For my taste, I prefer the slimmer cut.

Finally, the newer Yacht-Master is designed with a metal clasp, rather than the innovative rubber strap of the original.  The metal clasp can be extended by 5mm for comfort.  This is a more classic look for high-end watches, though the rubber strap is far from inelegant, and I have already given the reasons why it adds merit to the Yacht-Master, especially for anyone intending to put the watch to its semi-aquatic intended use.  That said, either watch can be adjusted and configured to your preference of a rubber or metal clasp, so neither watch takes advantage in this regard.

rolex yachtmaster vs daytona

The Rolex Cosmograph Daytona: The Ultimate Chronograph

Official Description

The Rolex Cosmograph Daytona, introduced in 1963, was designed to meet the demands of professional racing drivers. With its highly reliable chronograph and bezel with a tachymetric scale, it allows drivers to perfectly measure average speeds up to 400 kilometers or miles per hour, as they choose. An icon eternally joined in name and function to the high‑performance world of motorsport.

Summary

The Rolex Cosmograph Daytona is one of the classic timepieces of the Rolex brand.  Its durability and lasting favor speak for themselves, as does the lifetime endorsement of Paul Newman, who supposedly wore his original Cosmograph Daytona every day from 1972 until his death in 2008.  This review will look at the 116503 model, but, again, the watch components can be configured to the buyer’s demand.

Specifications

  • Model Case: Oyster, 40mm, Yellow Rolesor – combination 904L steel and 18 ct yellow gold
  • Oyster Architecture: Monobloc middle case, screw-down case back and winding crown
  • Bezel: Fixed, with engraved tachymetric scale, in 18 ct yellow gold
  • Winding Crown: Screw-down, Triplock triple waterproofness system
  • Crystal: Scratch-resistant sapphire
  • Water-Resistance: Waterproof to 100 meters / 330 feet
  • Movement: Perpetual, mechanical, self-winding
  • Caliber: 4130, Manufacture Rolex
  • Precision: -2/+2 sec/day, after casing
  • Functions: Centre hour, minute and seconds hands, small seconds hand at 6 o’clock. Chronograph (center hand) accurate to within 1/8 of a second, 30-minute counter at 3 o’clock and 12-hour counter at 9 o’clock. Stop-seconds for precise time setting
  • Power Reserve: Approximately 72 hours
  • Bracelet: Oyster, flat three-piece links
  • Clasp: Folding Oysterlock safety clasp with Easylink 5mm comfort extension
  • Dial: Black, with snailed small counters

Review

The feature most obvious when observing the Daytona watch is the presence of three small-timers inside the main watch face.  The Daytona is designed for the speedsters of the world, and that means it is precise to the ultimate degree.  The middle counter, positioned at 6 o’clock, is the second hand; the counter on the right records minutes lapsed, and the counter on the left records hours lapsed.  Seconds can be measured to 1/8th of a second.

On the circumference of the watch face, the dials used for the timing mechanisms are designed to screw down into the machine when not in use to ensure the timepiece remains waterproof.  When they are in use, they are designed to be perfectly waited to respond to the wearer’s instantaneous pressure, so as to maximize accuracy in recording matters of great precision, like lap times.

rolex yachtmaster vs daytona

Stylistically, the watch stands up to its reputation.  Despite all the counters and features readily and intuitively available at a glance, the watch face manages to maintain a clean countenance all within a 40mm width.  There are no excess tics or trivialities.  Everything about the watch is designed for maximum efficiency.  And in that delicate push-and-pull between efficiency and style, Rolex settled on the balance you see on the Daytona watch that has enabled it to survive over half a century as a symbol for quality and elegance.  There is little to dislike in this timepiece.

Conclusion – Rolex Yachtmaster vs Daytona

Any time you’re deciding between high-end watches, a large part of the decision will simply come down to personal preference.  Neither the Yacht-Master nor the Cosmographer Daytona will disappoint when it comes to performance, and they’re guaranteed to impress when it comes to style.  With that in mind, if you are looking for a watch that will fulfill a specific function beyond simple timekeeping–that is to say if you are a car enthusiast looking for a watch primed to measure and calculate speeds, or if you need a watch worthy of your own sea legs, or what have you–then your best value will be whichever watch is designed to most closely match your needs.

But sometimes you don’t need a watch suited for high-speed road racing or that can perfect your regatta race.  Sometimes you need a watch that will set you apart at the office and with your clients.  Sometimes you need a watch that will turn heads around town.  Sometimes you just need a watch.  And for my money, if you’ve narrowed your search down to the Yacht-Master and the Daytona: go with the original Yacht-Master.  It’s slim, it’s slick, it’s simple, and in simplicity there is beauty.  The more sober the statement, the bolder the claim.

Rolex Yacht-Master vs. Submariner: Which High-End Watch is Right for You?

rolex yacht-master vs submariner

Today, we’re going head-to-head with two of the most popular watches that Rolex has to offer: it’s the Rolex Yacht-Master vs. Submariner. The Yacht-Master is one of the most polarizing models for the Rolex community, while the Submariner is an iconic timepiece and a historical dive watch. If you have the dilemma of choosing between these two Rolexes, then let me say that it’s a good problem to have. In reality, you can’t go wrong by choosing one over the other.

However, I know that both watches are hefty investments and you want yours to count. One is a regatta countdown flyback chronograph, and the other is the quintessential dive watch. Personally, I prefer the Rolex Submariner for its classic reliability, design, and durability. But that’s just me. Let’s take a closer look at what each model can offer.

Rolex Yacht-Master Review

Rolex Yacht-Master vs. Submariner

The first Rolex Yacht-Master was released as a part of the company’s Professional series with the reference 16628. The watch was released in 1992 and is touted as the sleeker upgrade to the iconic dive watch, the Submariner. However, according to the rumor mill, many Submariner devotees see that the design overhaul is too much and is ready to pounce into the Yacht-Master. Eventually, Rolex decided that the Yacht-Master will be released as an entirely new model instead.

For this review, we’ll be focusing on the Rolex Yacht-Master 40 Reference 116622 but many of the features, design, and construction elements are still applicable to the Yacht-Master versions. Try not to confuse this watch with the Rolex Yacht-Master II which is sequel to the original.

Design

The Yacht-Master Ref. 116622 can only be described as cool, calm and collected. The hint of almost-iridescent blue will likely catch the eye of many Rolex enthusiasts. As far as overall aesthetics go, this Rolex is an absolute stunner. This steel and platinum Yacht-Master comes with a dark rhodium dial and soft blue highlights. Right off the bat, you can see that there’s a subtle affair going on when compared to its more embellished siblings (see Oysterflex and Rolesor versions). The restrained look can be partly attributed to the dark dial.

The watch features a platinum (Pt950) bi-directional bezel which may seem weird at first but the way it’s configured does make sense. The bi-directional design is utilized for yachting purposes like calculating the sailing time between two buoys. The sand-blasted finish and raised numerals look beautiful and are less direct compared to let’s say, a ceramic. Don’t get me wrong, this Yacht-Master doesn’t look pain at all. The polished bezel and glimmering dial allow the watch to pop where it counts.

Rolex Yacht-Master vs. Submariner

And then, there’s the blue highlight. It’s amazing how such a small detail on a line of text and second hand can add so much to the overall look of the watch. The addition of blue highlights to the Yacht-Master gives it so much energy, especially against the dark rhodium dial. This is yet another proof of Rolex’s mastery of attention to detail.

Construction and Wearability

The Rolex Yacht-Master 116622 comes with a stainless steel case with a 40mm platinum bezel. There’s also a 37mm version for the ladies. The case and the bracelet are made from 904L stainless steel while the bezel is made from 950 platinum. This, of course, ensures the highest sense of luxury while keeping the watch tough as nails.

The screw-down crown is equipped with Triplock triple waterproofness system which is great if you’re always around water (like while yachting). Water-resistance is up to 100 meters / 330 feet. The crystal is made from scratch-resistant sapphire which gets the job done.
Rolex Yacht-Master vs. Submariner

All Yacht-Master 40 features the Oyster Bracelet which provides the much-needed balance of aesthetics, comfort, and function. There’s also the standard Oysterlock folding clasp and the Easylink comfort extension, features that are proprietary to Rolex. All of these features ensure the best fit and comfort that you can expect from the Rolex brand.

Timekeeping

Rolex Yacht-Master vs. Submariner
For the uninitiated, Rolex has ditched the COSC certifications for their movements and replaced it with their new Rolex Superlative Chronometer certification which guarantees accuracy within -2/+2 sec/day after casing. This accuracy is guaranteed for five years. This Rolex Yacht-Master is equipped with the same 3135 movement. In terms of timekeeping features, there’s nothing much to be said here except it’s Rolex – expect top-of-the-line accuracy.

Rolex Submariner Review

Rolex Yacht-Master vs. Submariner

Now, let’s move on to an iconic dive watch. Many watch collectors consider the Rolex Submariner as a quintessential timepiece. Introduced in 1954, the Submariner is a cornerstone of Rolex’s stable. Let’s take a look at what this legendary watch can offer. For this review, we’ll be using the No-Date Reference 114060.

Design

The Submariner comes in a 40mm stainless steel case. It is worth noting that the 114060 comes in a slightly squared design, along with thicker lugs. This gives the Submariner a more eye-catching look, although there are still many who prefer the thinner lugs on the older versions. If you prefer a more robust and tougher appearance for your Submariner, this model should not disappoint.

The unidirectional bezel is fitted with ceramic bezel insert. This is quite a notable change since previous models have aluminum ones. However, you’ll be happy to know that the new ceramic bezel makes it more scratch-resistant. I also like the ceramic because it gives off a nice glow under certain lighting conditions. The bezel also has engravings which provide a nice texture and depth.

Rolex Yacht-Master vs. Submariner

The Submariner comes in the instantly recognizable black dial. The indices are larger and are fitted with Chromalight (so it glows in the dark). The markers are outlined with an 18K white gold frame. Overall, the dial looks very crisp and legible which is never a bad thing if you use this bad boy for diving purposes. As far as looks go, this watch is about as classic as it gets.

Construction and Wearability

The Submariner is water-resistant up to 300 meters (1,000 feet). The middle case is made from 904L corrosive resistant steel which is also used in other industries like high technology and aerospace. The 904L steel is also highly polishable so it retains its beauty even after many years of usage. The winding crown is fitted with the proprietary TRIPLOCK triple waterproofness system. The crown is protected by the crown guard that brings the middle case altogether.

Rolex Yacht-Master vs. Submariner

The watch is fitted with the familiar solid-link OYSTER bracelet which is also crafted from 904L steel. The clasp features the proprietary Folding Oysterlock safety clasp with Rolex Glidelock extension system. This enables you to adjust the watch in 2mm increments up to 20mm to achieve the best fit and comfort. Personally, the Submariner is just a timepiece that I could wear at all times without needing to take it off.

Timekeeping

For the timekeeping features, the Submariner doesn’t offer much but more than makes up for reliable and accurate timekeeping. The Submariner is powered by 3135 caliber, a self-winding movement for the timekeeping features and allows -2/+2 sec/day accuracy. Like the Yacht-Master, the Submariner 114060 has the Superlative Chronometer certification (COSC + Rolex certification after casing). All of these components make for a robust and reliable timepiece.

Head to Head

So which one do I recommend, the Yacht-Master or Submariner? Well, if it’s up to me, I will get both because both of these watches do complement each other. But if you just have to choose one, you can’t go wrong with the Submariner. However, I do understand that it can be difficult to choose between the two Rolexes since they’re very similar.

If you’re going to compare both watches side-by-side, you’ll see that the Submariner’s movement gives a thicker caseback, compared to the Yacht-Master which is noticeably thinner. In terms of style, I feel that the Yacht-Master is the dressier of the two. While wearing, the Submariner feels heavier than the Yacht-Master.

Rolex Yacht-Master vs. Submariner

When it comes to the bezel, I noticed that the Submariner feels more solid while the Yacht-Master doesn’t have many clicks in comparison. I don’t really like the 0 to 15-minute marker of the Yacht-Master bezel. The platinum bezel of Yacht-Master will likely collect scratches and dings over time. On the other hand, Submariner’s ceramic bezel is tougher and more resistant to scratches. Just avoid slamming your Submariner into a hard surface.

Another thing that I’m not crazy about the Yacht-Master is legibility. It could take about half a second for the eyes to distinguish the hands against the darker dial. It’s a good thing that the blue highlight stands out well against the rhodium background. The Submariner has better legibility between the two.

Price

Lastly, you can’t really compare these two without mentioning the price. The Yacht-Master is more expensive than the Submariner by approximately several thousand dollars. So is it worth it to get the Yacht-Master with such a huge price difference? I think not but that’s only because both watches are very similar. However, this doesn’t mean that the Yacht-Master is not an excellent watch.

Final Thoughts – Rolex Yacht-Master vs. Submariner

As mentioned, both the Submariner and Yacht-Master are excellent high-end timepieces. Honestly, you really can’t go wrong with choosing either one. However, in my opinion, it’s hard to justify the price difference when both watches are very similar. Although the Yacht-Master is the more luxurious of the two, the Submariner wins for being the tougher and more legible piece. If you’re looking to get your first Rolex and budget is an issue, I highly recommend the Rolex Submariner.