Rolex introduced a new ultra-light titanium version of the Yacht-Master 42 at Watches and Wonders last month.
With the debut of the limited-production Rolex Deepsea Challenge on November 22 in a massive 50 mm x 23 mm (251 grams) case, made from Rolex’s new proprietary RLX titanium alloy — the table was finally set for a regular production Rolex to receive a titanium case.
Ahead of the 2023 Watches and Wonders show, many, including us, predicted a Rolex Submariner could arrive in a first-ever titanium case, especially considering this year is the 70th anniversary of the Submariner. That did not happen. Instead, Rolex launched its first normal production watch in the company’s lightweight grade 5 titanium-based RLX via a new version of the Yacht-Master 42 (the Yacht-Master is currently available in 37, 40, and 42 mm variants).
The new 2023 Yacht-Master 42 RLX (Ref. 226627) is slightly larger than the Rolex Submariner and Rolex Submariner Date references, at 42 mm versus 41 mm. However, the two watches share similar cases, dials, bracelets, watch hands, and utilize the exact same caliber 3235 movements. In a way, the Yacht-Master, which was first launched in 1992, has always been a variant of the Submariner, which dates back to 1953. Though, the current Yacht-Master depth rating is 100 meters, not 300 meters like the Submariner.
Rolex quietly announced a new green bezel hue for the Submariner Date, Green Ceramic Bezel (Ref. 126610LV), which marks the Submariner’s 70th anniversary. That watch is only made in 904L stainless steel, but at $10,800 it’s one of the better values within the Rolex Professional collection. For comparison, the Rolex Submariner Date, Black Ceramic Bezel (Ref. 126610LN) retails for $10,250 and the Submariner with no date and Black Ceramic Bezel (Ref. 124060) retails for $9,100.
Rolex fans wanting a titanium Submariner will have to opt for the Yacht-Master 42 RLX (Ref. 226627) which retails for $14,050, at least for now. However, the fact that Rolex is now testing the market demand for titanium, means there’s a chance we could still see a Submariner in titanium in the near future. In the meantime, the RLX titanium Yacht-Master 42, with its satin-brushed titanium case with minimal polished accents, matte black and polished ceramic bezel, and “intense black” dial makes for an attractive “stealth wealth” alternative to the Submariner.
Photos by Rolex.