Photography provided by Rolex

In daily life, we encounter few situations that require meticulously timed precision. A minute early to an appointment? Life goes on. Not so in the sport of sailing, where perfect synchronization is fundamental. “At the crucial starting sequence of a regatta, the boats tack back and forth without crossing the starting line,” explains Aaron Talbert, who manages Wixon Jewelers’ watch department. “Each skipper must cross the starting line at the exact moment the signal starts the race. If they cross too early, they are automatically disqualified. If they pass too late, they lose precious time.”

Rolex spent an astonishing 35,000 hours developing its solution to the fascinating challenge of achieving perfect synchronicity between individual watches and official timing. The Oyster Perpetual Yacht-Master II is the only existing timepiece with such unprecedented flexibility. “The watch allows sailors to set a countdown timer 10 minutes before the race begins,” says Talbert. Race officials signal their own countdown at various intervals, like at 10, seven and three minutes. With each signal, the skipper can synchronize his watch on the fly to match the official countdown and thus maneuver to full advantage until the very last second — meaning his team is perfectly positioned to cross the line at the very second the starting signal is sounded.

The aesthetics of the Yacht-Master II are also pioneering for the acclaimed watchmaker. “Historically, Rolex has only produced classic smaller sizes,” Talbert explains. “The Yacht-Master II, with a 44-millimeter case, is the largest watch in the Rolex catalog. It’s sporty and easy to read, as well as water-resistant up to 100 meters.”

This precision timer is useful for sailors and landlubbers alike. For any undertaking that requires accurate timing — from grilling to golfing to hiking — this revolutionary timepiece fits the bill. “Investing in a Rolex like the Yacht-Master II is investing in an heirloom,” says Talbert. “When you pass your watch on to the next generation, you pass on a lifetime of memories.” 

Read this article as it appears in the magazine.