New Replica Rolex Yachtmaster II Regatta Timer, Ref. 116680

I’m going to be completely honest: I was thoroughly prepared to have a negative reaction to this watch. Let’s face it; it’s a head-scratcher for the average Rolex/Submariner/GMT Master/Day-Date lover. First of all it’s pretty damned big. This is a cheap replica Rolex 44 mm watch; it was born a 44 mm watch and it’ll die a 44 mm watch and that is nothing you or anybody else can do about it. You can have it in four different metals, and therefore, weights, ranging from steel (heavy) to gold/steel (heavier) to solid yellow gold (even heavier) to platinum and white gold combined (Schwarzeneggerian). It has a Cerachrom bezel in an absolutely screaming shade of blue, and it says YACHT-MASTER in giant letters right across the bottom third or so just to remove any lingering shade of doubt in the minds of any small-craft skipper for leagues around that they are in the presence of, well, the Master of a Yacht; it is not an introverted watch by any stretch of the imagination.

On top of everything else, the Yacht-Master II has a complication that pretty much no watch guy or gal ever can remember what do with, or has a perceived need for: it is a regatta timer, which is about as niche a complication as you can imagine. If you get a bunch of watch nuts together there is an excellent chance that you can get a more lucid explanation out of somebody for the Equation of Time than you can for a regatta timer (which is saying something) and it says something about the relative obscurity of the complication in general, and the relative niche-ness of the Yacht-Master II in particular, that when we got it into the office we had five people who live and breathe watches sitting around scratching our heads because no one could quite remember how the darned thing works. You put all those things together and you should have a watch that a dyed-in-the-wool horological classicist should thoroughly disdain. Right?

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Actually, wrong. But let’s back up a bit.

First of all this is technically a very interesting watch and it’s worth your attention just on the level of interesting horological problem solving alone. A regatta timer is used by the skipper of a yacht to determine when their vessel is allowed to cross the starting line. Sailboats can’t just hover at the starting line of a yacht race, so what happens is that the racing committee establishes a countdown period during which the boats have to tack back and forth at the starting line without actually crossing; if you cross early, there is a penalty and if you are too cautious and cross late you will probably cross the finish line behind the boats that made it over the start line ahead of you. The countdown can be anywhere from five to ten minutes depending on the rules and race.

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The Yacht-Master II is a programmable, flyback regatta timer that allows you to select a countdown interval of anything from one to ten minutes; in addition if you have started the countdown early or late, you can synchronize your watch “on the fly” when you hear the second of the two audible signals which are usually given at the start of a race (the signal to start the countdown comes first, and is usually followed by a warning signal closer to the start). Here’s how it works.

To set the countdown timer, you turn the bezel (Rolex calls it the “Command Bezel”) a quarter turn to the left. This locks the lower chrono pusher and engages the setting mechanism for the triangular red countdown hand. You then unscrew the crown to its first position, and set the countdown hand – setting is one-way only but at 10 minutes, if you continue to turn the crown, the countdown hand will fly back to 1 and you can continue until you reach the desired number of minutes. When you’re done, you screw the crown back down, and turn the bezel back to its starting position, and you’re ready to regatta.

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When the first gun (or other audible signal) is heard, you start the countdown . . . and that’s it. Now a really neat trick here is that you may, for some reason, have started your countdown too early, or too late. If that’s the case, all you have to do is wait for the second gun/signal, and hit the re-set button – the seconds hand will fly back to the zero mark and begin running again immediately; and the minute countdown hand will fly back to the nearest minute and likewise start counting down again. It’s the fact that the flyback is to the nearest minute, not to zero, that allows you to re-synch your countdown with the official countdown time, that gives the best replica Rolex Yacht-Master II much of its utility, and much of its technical interest.

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Okay, sure it’s technically interesting – but what about the aesthetics? All I can tell you is that, much to my very pleasant surprise, it was colossally fun to wear in every sense of the word. The fact that it is so unapologetically extroverted is actually the secret to its appeal. The weight isn’t a problem (at least, not for me, and not in steel) and I found I could wear it all day without discomfort despite the overall size – partly thanks to the downward curvature of the lugs, which ensured a comfortable fit on my 7 inch wrist. The sharply contrasting deep blued hands, white dial, and red countdown hand – and, yes, that bright blue bezel – give the whole watch a suitably jaunty, nautical feel and make it a pleasure to look at (and at night visibility is very good; the lume on the hands and dial is almost startlingly bright).

Yes, this is an extroverted watch, but the quality of execution is very clean and very high (as is usually the case with luxury fake Rolex watches) and it’s so much the opposite of what I’d ordinarily wear that having it on gave a feeling almost like a Walter Mitty fantasy coming to life. I felt like a guy who’s worn a blue suit and rep tie and driven a four door Merc his whole life, who somehow one day finds himself in a pair of ripped jeans and a beat up flight jacket, cruising down some winding secondary road on an old shovelhead Harley, and suddenly catches himself thinking, My god, all the wasted years. Ultimately I started to feel that objecting to the over-the-top-ness of the Yacht-Master II was silly, even narcissistic – if you go into a Joss Whedon actioner expecting a Lars Von Trier art-house tearjerker to unspool, you probably have only yourself to blame.

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It is a rationally appealing uitlitarian tool watch? I’m not the one to ask. There is no way for me to evaluate what someone who actually owns a ’36 Herreshoff classic yacht and takes it on the regatta circuit would actually think of the Yacht-Master II, or whether they would find it useful. But I can tell you that it is actually a ton of fun to wear, and a big part of the reason is the very thing many object to at first – that this is a watch that pulls no punches when it comes to being larger than life.

It has that one most essential element for something to be a successful style exercise: the courage of its convictions, and if you think of yourself resolutely as a smaller-than-forty millimeter, tasteful restraint kinda guy, get one on your wrist for a surprisingly refreshing change of pace, and you can feel larger than life too.

The Rolex Yacht-Master II 116680 as shown, $18,750, 44 mm diameter case in 904L stainless steel. Bidirectional rotatable “Command Bezel” with blue Cerachrom insert; water resistance 100 meters/10 bar.

Movement, exact replica Rolex 4161 self-winding programmable flyback regatta timer with mechanical memory and “on-the-fly” synchronization; Parachrom blue antimagnetic balance spring.

Bracelet, Oyster, flat three piece links with Oysterlock safety clasp.

Overlooked Vintage Replica Rolex References

In the world of vintage watches, it goes without saying that some of the most coveted, storied, and documented pieces were originally produced by Rolex. Their iconic and historically significant collections have undisputedly transcended the watch collecting community, and have now surely become household names. Now, while watches like the 6263 Daytona, 5513 Submariner, and 1675 GMT Master may be laudable, beautiful works of functional and durable art, they often overshadow some seriously intriguing and downright gorgeous references. For this edition of Face Off, we’re shedding light on the unsung and underappreciated vintage Rolex references, that you really ought to take a closer look at.

cheap fake Rolex Turn-O-Graph Ref. 6202

First up is a watch that’ll have you checking your glasses, and second guessing yourself: the Rolex Turn-O-Graph (also released in smaller quantities as the “Monometer”), reference 6202. Although it may at first appear to be an early no-crown guard Submariner with a funky looking aftermarket bezel, the truth of the matter is that the 6202 precedes the Sub, and ultimately had a large influence on the dive watch we know and love today. Rolex originally introduced the 6202 in 1953 at Basel World as their first watch to use a rotary chronometer bezel, which was aimed at businessmen wanting something a little more on the sporty side. It would then be overshadowed by the first Submariner Ref. 6204 later on, which was for the most part identical.

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Assessment: It’s an overall more interesting piece than a Submariner, and while it doesn’t share the Sub’s rich history, it’s influence on what is now arguably the most iconic dive watch ever made is astonishing. Today, examples can be had for far less than shockingly similar Submariners, with beautiful details like honeycomb dials. Pictured above is an excellent example from Rolex Passion Market: sale fake Rolex Turn-O-Graph.

Rolex Explorer Ref. 6610

The Rolex Explorer is without a doubt the king of all field watches. With it’s perfect proportions, extreme legibility, and impressive history, you’ve got a recipe for success. When looking into vintage Explorer references, the 1016 (the most well known Explorer reference produced for the longest amount of time) will always surface. It’s a terrific choice, but if you’re after something that little bit rarer and more unique, the 6610 is the one for you.

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Assessment: The 6610 introduced what is now the most recognizable form of the Explorer, and while slightly pricier than a 1016, you’ll getting a much more interesting reference, that you’ll be sure to see less of in the wild. Just be careful if on the hunt for one, as redials and frankens are abundant — stick with the most trusted dealers.

Best Replica Rolex Oyster Perpetual Ref. 6028

Lastly, the popularity of early model Datejusts and Bubblebacks have significantly increased over the past 10 years. Collectors have taken a particular liking to “Ovettone” (Italian for big egg) variants, and have been paying in excess of $20,000 for especially exceptional examples. One reference that is often overlooked is the 6028, and being a no-date reference, it wears extremely well on the wrist, with symmetry, simplicity, and legibility galore.

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Assessment: It may not be as popular as it’s date-bearing cousins, but we here at Wound For Life can definitely see it’s desirability and value increasing down the road. Plus, it’s a watch that will play nicely in nearly any situation, from daily wear to special occasions.

Two Constants in Life: Change and Replica Rolex Watches

In a recent consumer report, Rolex topped the list of reputable brand names and it’s not surprising. Psychologically speaking, there’s an almost instinctive recognition that the longer something is thought to exist, the better it is evaluated. Scientifically, we refer to this as: Existence bias; Social influence; Heuristics; and Status quo maintenance. Qualities which Rolex appear to be innately aware and whether by chance or determined corporate strategy, has tapped upon and evoked a level of desire and devotion rarely seen in another brand (perhaps Omega, but that’s another story for another time).

Understanding the Allure of Rolex

Change is an inevitable consequence of life and it is one which causes us constant consternation. Change is painful because growth is painful, like muscles worked at a gym, the tidal forces of daily living creates the kind of insecurity due to our psychological need to bring clarity into the unknown, we find comfort in what we know.

In addition to the uncertainties, our imagination and human propensity to imagine new frontiers and all the potential outcomes; for the idealist, the desired; for the realist, the worst possible conclusions – but the net result if always fear and trepidation.

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Paul Newman’s personal Rolex Cosmograph Daytona 6263. Picture (C) Charles Tearle

As knowledge of the intricacies of watch culture continues to grow, furious debate over Rolex’s perceived worth has started to grow among the cognoscenti, a perception made worse for the impassive, almost reticent corporate response to inquiry of any kind. But yet, despite or in spite of the snobbish ambivalence, there’s new found appeal in the robust and unchanging collection of well-designed timepieces for one simple reason – it’s a bulwark of constancy in an environment rife with threats to our emotional and physical wellbeing.

Buying a Rolex to advertise your affluence is not the best reason but it’s one which happens to be popular. But for a growing and highly discerning group of fans, affection for the brand keeps building, as if in accordance with textbook hierarchy of Maslow’s needs, replica Rolex watches has grown beyond want and into a primal need for thanks to its immutability.

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The then $300 Rolex Daytona is worth close to $200,000 today but on its debut, it was arguably one of the slowest moving, least popular models in Rolex’s retinue. Then devotion from one of Hollywood’s most unwavering celebrities opened our eyes to the one pleasure we could depend on, a chronograph as certain as the sun’s rise. Actor, director, entrepreneur, environmentalist, social activist, philanthropist and pro-racer, Paul Leonard Newman was the human epitome of what Rolex as a timepiece represented – good repute and unshakable stability. Stunning good looks paired with a portfolio of high profile career credentials made him the object of lust from a myriad of femme fatales but he was a man who never strayed, quipping, “Why go out for hamburger when you have steak at home?” It is this fidelity and faithful service as a timekeeping companion which engenders hitherto more loyalty to the Crown.

Yet, to be immutable does not mean that Rolex has rested laurels when it comes to innovation. A cursory check of held patents have unveiled that in the last 5 years, Rolex has applied for and received 65 patents ranging from “device for controlling functions and/or time indications” to the mind-blowingly esoteric, “wristwatch with atomic oscillator” equipped with a system for detecting beat frequencies obtained by the Raman effect. In this instance, we can infer that cheap replica Rolex is endeavouring to use the more stable scattering of a photon while anticipating potentially disruptive frequencies from incident photons – in laymen terms, as of its 13 September 2012 patent filing, Wilsdorf’s firm has ideas for heretofore unseen wristworn atomic clock!

That said, there are many Rolex innovations and firsts which go un-announced to the public eye. In 1997, Nicholas Déhon, a watchmaker for Rolex birthed Basel 2013’s much lauded Constant-Force escapement. Project E.L.F., by which it was known, was an abbreviation of Échappement (escapement), Lame (blade) and Flambage (buckle) – it was a project which was nursed and developed at Rolex while it waited for the perfect material technology to arrive – silicon.

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Rolex Cosmograph Daytona Ref. 116500 LN.

It needs to be said, Rolex isn’t resistant to change but rather it is corporate philosophy for perfection before implementing specific changes which bequeaths each timepiece its unparalleled reliability. When Nivarox blades didn’t work because the buckled-blade weren’t collinearly attached to the spring frame, Rolex shelved the idea and Déhon restarted the project at Girard Perregaux in 2004 when silicon technology made a collinear one piece blade and frame possible.

Thus, in this scenario, Rolex is for all intents and purposes, one of the most humble of watchmakers where others might have been content to crow over the most perfunctory of new “inventions”. In this aspect, Rolex is reminiscent of the monk in a Zen garden, once the sand is perfectly raked, he starts again anew.

Today, the brand’s iconic stalwarts like the luxury fake Rolex Submariner and other offerings may appear aesthetically similar to their original predecessors but you can be sure that materially, the timepiece has evolved. In October of 2012, Rolex filed for a gold alloy free of nickel and copper, it was the invention of a new white gold alloy which compensated for gold’s vulnerability to nicks and dents together with a means for preparing said alloy, in fact, there’s barely a year which goes by where Rolex has not filed for at least 3 patents even if it relates to the most minute aspect of watch manufacture.

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At this level of dedication, Rolex e is definitively representative of fine watchmaking by any standard- there are no perceptible flaws in their calibres, period. To some watch idiot savants, Rolex might be perceived as overpriced, but if you were to free yourself from the bias, the most cursory of research will show not just the subtle evolution of their timepieces but its overtly inherent timelessness of design. Exposed to the year on year new releases from many watch maisons, Rolex is assuring comfort that some things never change and when they do, it’s imperceptible to all but the most knowledgeable.

Rolex is the essence of things civilized, of unadulterated hope that even when everything around you changes, your exact replica Rolex watches is that one bit of security and a faithful companion on your wrist. If you want prestige, Rolex is but one amongst others; if you want dependability – there’s only Rolex.

A Vintage Replica Watches Rolex ‘Red Submariner’ Watch With An Actual History Of Military Service

As Rolex’s most popular line of watches, the Rolex Submariner gets a fair amount of attention – both from contemporary enthusiasts and vintage collectors alike. Despite having a design that has remained largely unchanged since its initial introduction in 1954, Rolex’s Submariner watches – especially well-preserved vintage references – frequently receive the most attention (and brings in the highest prices) at auction.

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Not all Rolex Submariner references are considered equal, and it is the subtle differences between them that ultimately accounts for tens of thousands of dollars at auction. Collectors generally seek out references that were either the first (or last) to feature a specific characteristic, or references that have some slight variation that helps set them apart and makes them unique. If the watch satisfies both of these requirements, such as the reference Rolex 1680 “Red Submariner,” then it is almost certainly going to be a target for collectors.

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At the heart of the reference 1680 Rolex Submariner beats Rolex’s 26-jewel caliber 1575 movement. The reference 1680’s 40mm stainless steel case offers users 200 meters of water resistance, which is more than adequate for the majority of real-world applications. Some early examples of the 1680 Rolex Red Submariner feature a movement that is stamped as a caliber 1570 on the lower bridge; however, the movement itself is actually a caliber 1575 since it has the addition of a date complication.

For some, the Rolex Red Submariner represents the entry point into serious Rolex collecting. Produced between 1969 and 1979, the cheap replica Rolex Submariner 1680 marks the addition of the date complication and Cyclops magnification lens to Rolex’s Submariner line of watches. A small batch of the very earliest reference 1680 watches featured the Submariner name printed in red ink on the dial, instead of the white ink that can be found on all subsequent models.

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Due to their limited production numbers, Rolex Red Submariners are considered quite rare, and generally sell for significantly more than their equivalents with white text. Additionally, their rarity has only increased over the years, as it was a standard practice for Rolex to replace damaged Red Submariner dials with white-text, service dials when watches were sent in for servicing.

In the years immediately following its introduction, the Rolex Submariner was not regarded as a luxury item, but rather as a precision timekeeping device – one favored by professional SCUBA divers and members of the military. As a result of their tool-watch status, many early luxury fake Rolex Submariners received a fair amount of abuse, and a relatively small number of these watches have managed to keep all of their original parts.

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In 1969, a young U.S. Marine purchased a brand-new Rolex Red Submariner 1680 reference from an authorized dealer in San Francisco, California. That Marine wore his Rolex Submariner during the entire time that he was stationed in the Philippines during the Vietnam War, and it faithfully served alongside him, until his retirement in 1984.

After retiring from the military, the Marine continued to use his Rolex Red Submariner as his primary timekeeping device. For many years thereafter, he used this very same Red Submariner on a variety of sailing and diving excursions, and despite its age and consistent use, the watch itself remained in remarkably good condition and retained the vast majority of its original parts.

Today, that same watch serves as a fantastic example of everything a collector should hope for in a Rolex reference 1680 Red Submariner. The decades of constant use and saltwater exposure have made the black finish on the aluminum bezel insert fade to a lovely, light blue-gray color – one that can only be earned through time and wear. Additionally, the original tritium-based luminous hour markers on the dial have been entirely untouched and allowed to develop a rich, orange-cream-colored patina.

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Beyond the remarkably well-aged, and well-preserved dial and bezel insert, the case and lugs are nice and thick, with zero signs of over-polishing. The knurling on the crown and edge of the bezel is still very well-defined, and it matches the sharp but unpolished lines of the case.

Part of the reason vintage Rolex Submariners are so treasured by collectors is that there are a relatively small number that remain in all-original condition. Historically, Rolex was a manufacturer of premium tool-watches, and many of the earlier exact Rolex Submariners replica watches ended up in the hands of military personnel, or those whose jobs required a durable, and ultra-reliable timepiece.

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Due to the rough life that many vintage Rolex Submariners have lived, the vast majority are no longer in collector-worthy condition. Although their robust design and precision build quality allow them to retain their functionality over the years, many have lost some of their original parts throughout the decades.

The reference 1680 Red Submariner is one of the most iconic Rolex models of all time, and it is arguably the first reference where the Rolex Submariner starts to take its contemporary, date-displaying form. All stainless steel bezel replica Rolex Red Submariners will generate a fair amount of interest among collectors at auction; however, seldom does an example surface with such a complete and well-documented record of the watch’s life and ownership history.

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The story of this Rolex Red Submariner’s military service perfectly illustrates why so few of these watches still remain in all-original condition today. Additionally, the story highlights Rolex’s history as a manufacturer of precision tool-watches, rather than luxury goods, giving additional historical context to this particular watch and its intended use.

A primary reason people choose to collect vintage Rolex references over contemporary models is because of the history that older, pre-owned watches carry with them. Vintage watches bring with them more than just the design and monetary value of the watch itself. Instead, they also represent a snapshot of the entire watch industry – taken from Rolex’s perspective – at a particular point in time.

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The reference 1680 Rolex Red Submariner is among the most desirable vintage Rolex Submariner references for collectors to own, and the extraordinarily well-documented history of this particular reference 1680’s military service has helped make it an entirely unique addition to any serious Rolex collection.

New Replica Rolex OYSTER PERPETUAL DATEJUST 41

Rolex’s Oyster Perpetual Datejust 41 has a new face. Possibly the very model and design that is the most produced in the world, the Rolex Datejust is possibly the most loved and hated collection in the world of Rolex. Released at the latest Baselworld, the ‘new’ Datejust is now in 41 mm with a Rolesor, 2 tone case and cheap replica Rolex Datejust champagne dial.

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A Victim of time

The Rolex Datejust is an icon of modern wristwatches. As with many great icons, the design of the watch has stayed true to its original, with only minor changes along the years. Some features like the fluted bezel and the jubilee bracelet were once unique to luxury replica Rolex watches for sale. However, with its success comes one of the greatest pains of the coveted watch industry. Fakes. The Datejust is easily the most replicated watch in watch history. Be it outright fakes or copied designs on fashion brand name watches, like GUESS or DKNY etc.; the iconic fluted bezel design and jubilee bracelet are great victims of time, and their prestige among its brand’s collections and against the watch industry at large has been dwindling.

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The ‘Old man’s’ timepiece

At one point in its history, the Rolex Datejust was a status symbol, a hip watch for a gentleman. But in recent times, the Datejust, especially the twotone models has been largely seen by the Y generation folks as the “Uncle” watch. Stuck with it is the colloquial connotation of being either old-fashioned or overtly bling.

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A real classic

While many squeal at revived homage watches in the likes of Tudor’s Heritage timepieces, they seem to forget the brand that has been at the forefront of preserving classic designs. If one were to look at Rolex’s collection of timepieces, he will notice that its current production collections are all naturally selected over decades. Its popular sports models aside, the Datejust is possibly the closest to Rolex’s earliest bracelet watches. The evolution of the Oyster case shape and then the fluted bezel and jubilee bracelet have grown alongside major developments in the history of the modern world.

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An undeniably robust timepiece

Perfected over time, the best fake Rolex Datejust watches online may have a classic exterior, but remains an undeniably robust timepiece. Fit with a screw-down, twinlock double waterproofness system, the watch is waterproof to 100 metres / 330 feet. The crystal is made with scratch resistant sapphire, and its movement; the 3235 calibre has a sufficient 70 hours power reserve. Complete with a Superlative Chronometer mark of approval, the timepiece is accurate up to -2/+2 sec/day, after casing. A highly accurate result for a mechanical timepiece.

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Concluding thoughts

The watch is robust, reliable and a Rolex. It has a good movement and a strong heritage. That said, the stigma of having a mass produced timepiece and possibly one of the least significant exact replica Rolex watches models may be hard for some to fathom. While we do not dislike the timepiece, we still prefer the other sports models or a full steel Datejust model.

Replica Rolex Oyster Perpetual Watches New For 2015 Hands-On

If you can imagine Rolex as Ben and Jerry’s, then the Oyster Perpetual is vanilla ice cream. It’s the building block from which models like the Rolex Submariner and Rolex Daytona have evolved. For 2015, Rolex has created a new 39mm version of the cheap replica Rolex Oyster Perpetual watches, offering a slightly larger iteration of one of their entry-level models.

The new 39mm Rolex Oyster Perpetual joins the 26, 31 and 34mm versions that were announced last year. Being the same size as the Rolex Explorer, the 39mm Rolex Oyster Perpetual uses the same movement, Rolex’s calibre 3132. It’s a simple but robust automatic movement offering three hands, no date, and COSC certification.

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The Rolex Oyster Perpetual is a faithful but modern take on the Rolex Oyster model that Rolex launched in 1926. The Rolex Oyster was, quite famously, the first waterproof watch in the world. That lineage can be seen in the Rolex Oyster Perpetual’s straightforward and practical design. Legibility is strong and the dial design offers nothing more than is necessary to display the time.

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The Rolex Oyster Perpetual (reference 114300) can be had in your choice of three dial colors – dark rhodium, red grape, or blue. If it weren’t for the cheap fake Rolex watches red grape and blue options, we would forgive you if you were less than enthused by the Rolex Oyster Perpetual. While I’d assume that the grey dial will be popular, it doesn’t have the same character or presence offered by its more lively and colorful siblings. For my tastes, the blue version is the one to have, with a excellent mix of everyday wearability with a certain added charm. It’s still vanilla, but maybe with a few sprinkles on top.

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Each dial color has its own accent color that flanks the markers with blue accents on the grey dial, red accents on the red grape dial, and green accents on the luxury replica Rolex watches blue dial. For a watch with such a reserved and non-embellished overall design, this pop of color is a welcome addition.

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All three versions come on a solid 904L steel bracelet with a folding Oysterclasp and are priced from 5,400 CHF. In many ways, the Rolex Oyster Perpetual line is the most Rolex model in the modern Rolex line up. Just as there is something appealing in the pure and simple nature of vanilla ice cream, the Rolex Oyster Perpetual’s design is basic, almost elemental. For someone who wants a remarkably well-made but entirely unassuming Rolex, the new fake Rolex Oyster Perpetual watches online offers something its more complicated and embellished siblings cannot – pure everyday Rolex.

When the Empire Struck Black – Our In-Depth review of the Replica Rolex Yacht-Master 116655

Earlier this year we took one of the buzz watches of Baselworld 2015 – the stealthy Rolex Yacht-Master 116655 – for a spin around our local Melbourne environs to see how it fared in landlubber life, far far away from the inclement conditions it was created to endure. And, true to its sport-luxe stylings, we paired it with a weekend-friendly wardrobe. The results were overwhelmingly positive from a swag point of view – the *cough* ‘model’ felt an injection of confidence more commonly associated with several beers – but what about the watch itself, beyond the on-trend, Bamford-banishing aesthetics? Felix digs deep behind this very pretty matte black face…

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Rolex releases an Oysterflex bracelet (comes with new fake Rolex gold Yacht-Master attached). Rolex fans can’t even deal.

Will the introduction of the Oysterflex bracelet devalue Rolex’s luxury proposition, or are they finally catching up with trends?

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The Yacht-Master is Rolex’s view on the perfect luxury lifestyle watch. First introduced in 1992 it’s less frequently seen on wrists than their other lines. This is because the proposition of the Yacht-Master is very specialised. The ideal Yacht-Master customer is literally someone who owns a yacht. Someone who is active but doesn’t necessarily get their hands dirty with fouled rigging, and just as likely to need to suddenly don a dinner jacket as dive into the ocean. For this rare breed of individual the Submariner is a little too functional and the Datejust not quite robust enough.

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As a result of this the Yacht-Master has been perennially stuck between the two worlds of form and function and has never really seemed comfortable in its own skin. The 116655 is set to change this. The combination of Everose case and Oysterflex bracelet that is at the heart of the watch unashamedly and unequivocally declares that this latest Yacht-Master is at home in both worlds.

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The big news here is that the case is hewn from 18ct Everose gold, the first time this metal has been used on the Yacht-Master. Everose is Rolex’s in-house red gold alloy, and it contains a few drops of platinum to ensure that the colour will not change over time. Other than that it’s a standard Oyster case, complete with Triplock crown and a depth rating of 100-metres. The Everose Yacht-Master is actually offered in two variations. Today we’re looking at the reference 116655 that measures in at a genteel 40mm. There’s also a 37mm version available (aimed primarily at ladies) which goes by reference 268655.

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What you really notice about this case design is how much more refined it is when compared to that of the Submariner or GMT. Even though both are 40mm, the softer lines and gentler curves of the Yacht-Master make it a very different watch. The buttery soft Everose only adds to this perception.

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This is where things get interesting. First, let’s talk about the bezel. This black on matte black Cerachrom bezel is something completely new for cheap fake Rolex watches and when I first saw it through glass in Basel, I was in love. Fast-forward a few months and after spending a few days up close and personal with the bezel (which is bi-directional by the way), I’m still into it. It initially surprised me because the matte Cerachrom with high gloss markings in relief somehow feels un-Rolex to me. But this is the Yacht-Master, it’s always been defined by its bezel with raised numerals and markings set against a matte background. It makes sense within this context, even if it’s a little out of place in the wider Rolex family. It’s really hard to capture in pictures the three-dimensionality of the raised details but they add an almost sculptural quality to what is otherwise a very flat watch.

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The bezel also makes the watch look incredibly stealthy. So much so that at new-watches we’ve gone ahead and nicknamed it the #stealthmaster, which was promptly changed by an Insta-follower to #wealthmaster. Also appropriate.

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The bezel is only part of what makes this watch so ninja-luxe (sorry, we just can’t help ourselves). The dial is the other significant factor. It’s the first black dial on a Yacht-Master, and somehow, despite its matte appearance it has a dramatic effect. If it were glossy, like most other black dialled Rolex’s it would look a lot more blingy, especially given the gold case. However, it’s a matte dial and it completely tones down the look. Interestingly the first thing I thought when I saw the dial was ‘wow, Rolex have done a vintage dial’ due to the gilt logo and red line model name. But this isn’t Rolex jumping on the retro trend. The Yacht-Master has always had red dial text (and no depth rating), but the text looks completely different on a black background. For the logo, they could have gone with applied Everose, but I’m glad they decided on gilt printing. The warmth of the text offsets the coldness of the polished Chromalight indices to create a dial that is wonderfully balanced and that always opts out of shouting when it can whisper.

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The real surprise about this watch isn’t the bezel or the matte dial. It’s the brand new Oysterflex bracelet. Trust Rolex to massively over-engineer what, on the surface at least, looks like a simple rubber strap. The Oysterflex bracelet is anything but simple. Rolex tell us that the Oysterflex is as supple and comfortable as rubber, and as durable as a metal bracelet. And I believe them. At the heart of the bracelet is a thin blade of titanium/nickel alloy that forms the shape of the bracelet and also allows it to attach to the case and clasp. So if you were hoping to buy an Oysterflex and attach it to your Sub, you’re out of luck (for the moment) – it’s currently only compatible with this Yacht-Master. Over this alloy blade cheap replica Rolex watches mould the black elastomer, which is (as you’d expect) soft and comfortable. The comfort factor is only improved by the ingenious wings on the inside of the bracelet, which provides some cushioning and helps ventilate the bracelet on sweaty days. Seriously, why has no one else thought of this? Before trying on the Yacht-Master I was skeptical about the Oysterflex bracelet, but now I’m convinced. It’s super comfortable. However it’s not perfect.

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The bracelet has a few limitations. Oddly, the ends do not sit flush with the case. Given that Rolex isn’t in the habit of overlooking the small details I’m sure there’s a good reason for this, but a flush finish would have looked better. The larger issue for me is the lack of flexibility in sizing. The bracelet itself comes in a range of sizes, with the correct size being fitted when you purchase the watch. Beyond this your adjustment is limited to the micro-adjustments on the clasp. Cutting the strap to length (as is common with rubber straps) is not an option due to the bracelet’s metal core. Not earthshattering problems but a pain if I wanted to lend my watch to my small-wristed brother, for example.

Full disclosure – the Yacht-Master I reviewed was a demonstration model, part of a collection of all the new watches that travels around the country taking part in photo-shoots and sales meetings. These watches are identical to the production versions except for one thing – the movement isn’t functional. That’s why the time is always 10:11:31. So I can’t comment on the sweep of the hands or accuracy over time. The movement in the 116655 is the Calibre 3135, the same movement that powers the Submariner, so it’s very much a known quantity. Expect rock-solid reliability and flawless accuracy. The movement in the 37mm 268655 is a little more noteworthy. It’s the Calibre 2236, a movement that debuted last year in the ladies Datejust Pearlmaster. This movement is the first to integrate Rolex’s new Syloxi silicon hairspring, and its inclusion in the 37mm is almost cool enough to make me want the smaller version.

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In a word – comfortable. Even though the gold case adds heft, the new bracelet is a dream to wear, and the size and proportions of the case make it unobtrusive on the wrist. And as I mentioned before the watch is surprisingly stealthy for a solid gold replica Rolex watches. There’s a lot of black going on between the dial, the bezel and the bracelet, which mitigates the flashes of the Everose. Outside of platinum models this is probably the best example of stealth wealth from Rolex we’ve seen in a while. It really is a perfect marriage of sporty and luxury.