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Watch 101

A Rolex Yacht-Master Exclusive: Rolesium

Paul Altieri

Those familiar with Rolex watches will have no doubt heard some of the unique names that the company gives to its materials. There’s Everose, which is Rolex’s trademarked 18k rose gold alloy that blends gold, copper, and platinum for a lasting finish. There’s Cerachrom, which is Rolex’s proprietary scratch and fade resistant ceramic alloy used for bezels. There’s Rolesor, which is Rolex’s term for bringing steel and gold together on one watch. And then there’s Rolesium – which is the label used when combining stainless steel and platinum details on one watch – and it is exclusive to the Rolex Yacht-Master collection.

Platinum Rolex Yacht-Master Rolesium
Rolesium Rolex watches have both stainless steel and platinum components.

The Rolesium Rolex Yacht-Master Was Released in 1999

The Rolex Yacht-Master made its debut in 1992 as an ultra-luxurious sports watch fashioned from solid 18k yellow gold. It shared many design traits with the Submariner, such as the 40mm Oyster case, the Oyster bracelet, a rotating timing bezel, and a dial with Mercedes-style hands and a date window with Cyclops magnification lens. However, the Yacht-Master is not a dive watch but rather, a high-end sporty watch that offers durability, premium construction, and impeccable style.

In 1999, Rolex released another version of the Yacht-Master, in a metal option that the company called Rolesium. The “Rolesium” label refers to the combination of stainless steel and platinum on one Rolex watch. The Yacht-Master ref. 16622 was the first men’s Rolesium Yacht-Master. The watch featured a 40mm stainless steel Oyster case and matching stainless steel Oyster bracelet. On top of the case is a bidirectional rotating bezel made entirely from 950 platinum, comprised of raised glossy numerals against a sandblasted background. Rolex also furnished the Yacht-Master ref. 16622 with a unique sandblasted platinum dial.

To accompany the men’s Yacht-Master ref. 16622, Rolex also presented the midsize Rolesium Yacht-Master with a 35mm case, alongside the 29mm ladies’ version.

Rolex Yacht-Master Rolesium Platinum
The dial on this generation of the Rolesium Yacht-Master is made out of 950 platinum.

The Second Generation Rolesium Rolex Yacht-Master 

In 2012, Rolex launched the updated Rolesium Yacht-Master ref. 116622 to replace its predecessor. While the newer watch retained most of the same design details, like the steel case, platinum bezel, and Cal. 3135 automatic movement, Rolex did add some useful modifications.

The solid end-link steel bracelet includes the significantly updated Oysterlock safety clasp, which is fitted with the practical Easylink extension system to easily lengthen the bracelet by about 5mm when more room is needed. While the Rolex Yacht-Master ref. 116622 still runs on Caliber 3135, it now comes with the blue Parachrom hairspring for improved resistance to temperature variations, shocks, and magnetism.

Furthermore, the dial now houses Rolex’s Chromalight luminescence, which glows blue in the dark rather than green. Finally, in addition to the signature sandblasted platinum dial, Rolex also rolled out other dial color options starting with a rich blue variant with red accents followed by a dark rhodium colorway with turquoise accents.

Rolesium Rolex Yacht-Master Patinum
In more recent years, Rolex has added additional dial colors for the platinum Yacht-Master.

The Newest Rolesium Rolex Yacht-Master Joins in 2019

At Baselworld 2019, Rolex updated the entire Yacht-Master 40 lineup with the new-generation Caliber 3235 automatic movements with an increased power reserve rating of 70 hours. Therefore, the new ref. 126622 has now replaced the previous ref. 116622 as the current-production Rolesium Yacht-Master 40 model.

Interestingly, it seems that Rolex is only offering the new Yacht-Master ref. 126622 with either a blue dial or a dark rhodium dial without the option of the original sandblasted platinum dial.

Rolex has only ever made the Rolesium metal option available within the Yacht-Master lineup. The good news, however, is that there are several sizes to choose from including the discontinued 29mm and 35mm options, along with the contemporary 37mm and 40mm options. So if you’re a fan of the sleek combination of stainless steel and platinum, then look to the Rolex Yacht-Master collection to find the right Rolesium watch for your wrist.

Rolesium Rolex Yacht-Master Watches Platinum
The platinum dial Rolesium Yacht-Master is now discontinued.
Paul Altieri