The Rolex Yacht-Master is the ultimate nautical watch. Purpose-built for sailing, the Rolex Yacht-Master is an indispensable marine tool and a benchmark in watchmaking. With Rolex pedigree, a rich history, and a glorious reputation, the watch remains immensely sought after.
However, like with any Rolex model, the pricing keeps many away. For instance, a brand new Yacht-Master within the most economical configuration can set you back by over nine thousand USD. Don’t let this worry you though. That is to say, there are many homages and affordable alternatives you can consider instead of the expensive Rolex Yacht-Master.
In this article, we will recommend a list of alternative watches from various brands. Above all, the list will feature models across different price ranges making sure there is something for everybody. Before we look at our alternatives, let us learn more about the Yacht-Master itself.
The history of the Yacht-Master dates back to the 1950s, even before the first Yacht-Master launched. These years mark the early days of professional sailing. One of history’s greatest sailing feats featured the Rolex Oyster Perpetual. In August 1966, Sir Francis Chichester wrote himself into the history books as he single-handedly circumnavigated the globe, with the Rolex Oyster Perpetual on his wrists. However, this epic sail wasn’t the last. Subsequently, many have taken to the high seas wearing a Rolex. Legendary yachtsmen Bernard Moitessier and Sir Robin Knox-Johnston also conquered the seas with a Rolex.
Meanwhile, Rolex purpose-built the Yacht-Master to endure the open sea and everything that comes with it. This included harsh weather, saltwater, damage, shocks, etc. Over the years, the Rolex Yacht-Master became an integral tool in yachting.
Rolex currently offers the Yacht-Master and the Yacht-Master II. The former is available in three sizes – 42, 40, and 37 mm. The Yacht-Master features a bi-directional rotating bezel made of precious materials. The 60-minute graduated bezel with its raised polished numerals and graduations ensures reading in tough conditions. The dial features a date display under a magnifying/cyclops lens. Water-resistant up to 100m, this model is ideal for yachting. In addition, you can also consider the Oysterflex bracelet instead of the conventional metal bracelet. On the other hand, there’s also the Yacht-Master exclusive – the Rolesium.
The Yacht-Master II is a more modern and greatly equipped watch. Measuring at 44mm, the new model features a unique programmable countdown and on-the-fly synchronization. In addition, it also hosts a very distinct bezel with the word ‘YACHT-MASTER’ inscribed on it.
Today Rolex remains an exclusive partnership with many yacht clubs, regattas, and institutions. This is a testament to the model’s stature and reputation. As a result, the watch also costs what it does.
Best Affordable Rolex Yacht-Master Alternatives
NOTE: This article features alternatives to the Rolex Yacht-Master and not the Yacht-Master II.
Invicta Pro Diver 9210
Swiss brand Invicta bears a rich history. Founded in 1837 by Raphael Picard in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland, the brand focused on affordable luxury. Since the brand’s re-establishment in 1991, it remains based in Hollywood, Florida. For this list, we’re looking at Invicta’s Pro Diver 9210 model. This model is almost identical to the Rolex Yacht-Master.
For instance, the overall design of the case and its constituents are just like that of the Rolex. Furthermore, the 40mm stainless steel case hosts a Japanese Caliber NH35A automatic movement and is visible through the clear rear. In addition, the watch is water-resistant up to 200M and is available in different finishes/colors. More importantly, all Invicta models come with a three-year warranty.
You may read about the brand Invicta here.
Davosa Ternos Collection
The Davosa name originated from a collection under the Fabrique d’horlogerie Hasler & Co SA brand in Switzerland. Launched in 1987, the collection gained immense popularity globally and grew to the brand we know of today. The family-owned brand offers its Ternos Collection to consider for the Rolex Yacht-Master alternatives. The Ternos Ceramic, Medium, and Professional offer great alternatives for you to choose from. The three collections offer Yacht-Master like models measuring in different diameters, colors, and price points.
We will specifically look at the Ternos Ceramic Automatic to highlight some features. The 40mm all stainless steel watch runs on the DAV 3021 automatic movement. A ceramic, unidirectional rotating bezel sits around the anti-glare, sapphire crystal. The dial markers and hands are luminous and the watch itself is water-resistant up to 20ATM.
Read our review on Davosa here.
Steinhart Ocean One
German brand Steinhart is another brand to consider for homage models. Founded in 2001 by Gunther Steinhart in Augsburg, the watch brand markets itself as ‘Swiss Made’. The brand’s Ocean One model under the diver’s series offers a good alternative to the Rolex Yacht-Master. Available at a fraction of the Rolex price, the Ocean One features Swiss made ETA 2824-2 movement.
The 42mm case hosts Rolex like hour markers, hands, a date display at 3 under a cyclops lens. A graduated ceramic bezel sits on the case. In addition, the markers and hands remain Superluminova treated and the watch is water-resistant up to 30ATM. The brand offers this model in a host of color and strap options to choose from. Also, you can opt for models without a date display.
Let us now look at a few premia, technically proficient, and luxury alternatives to the Rolex Yacht-Master.
If you like the Rolex Yacht-Master exclusively for its styling, consider this homage brands. These ‘Rolex lookalikes’ by Parnis are available at incredibly affordable prices. Launched in 2005, the Chinese brand Parnis majorly markets in the United States and Europe. The brand remains sought after as they offer homage models to many Swiss luxury watches.
For instance, the Parnis Yachtmaster draws its design entirely from the Rolex. From the bezel ring, the dial design, cyclops lens, hands, and markers, every detail reflects here. Made of 316L steel, the model measures at 41mm. In addition, the hands and hour markers are luminous and the watch itself is water-resistant up to 5ATM.
Another homage brand well regarded for its decent build quality and close design detail is the watch brand Alpha. Established in 1993 and based in Hong Kong, the brand claims all its models undergo tests with ‘sophisticated Swiss instruments’. The watchmaker’s Alpha Yachtsman is a great homage alternative and is available at a fraction of the Rolex price.
The model bears striking resemblance to the Rolex Yacht-Master. This Chinese model hosts a self-winding automatic movement within the 44mm stainless steel case. In addition, it features a date display under a cyclops lens and a bezel just like that of the Rolex. The watch is water-resistant up to 3ATM and comes with a one year warranty. More importantly, Alpha watches are a great value for their economical pricing.
Oris Divers Sixty Five
Founded in 1904 in Hölstein, Switzerland by Paul Cattin and Georges Christian, Oris offers a premium and well-built alternative. We recommend the Oris Divers Sixty Five for this list for its Rolex like design and features. The watch’s retro design reflects the iconic Oris diver’s collection from the 60s. The 40mm anti-corrosive stainless steel watch runs on an automatic movement under the blue dial. The indices and hands on the dial are luminous.
However, unlike the Rolex, the date display is at 6 o’clock instead of 3 o’clock. The bezel bears a close resemblance in design to that of the Yacht-Master. In addition, the Oris Divers Sixty Five is water-resistant up to 10bar. Furthermore, Oris offers a host of configuration options to add to the Rolex feel, making this a good alternative.
Read about the brand Oris here.
Swiss luxury brand Longines traces its history to 1832 in Saint-Imier. The watchmaker remains renowned for their exquisite designs across their collections. The Hydroconquest collection offers great models for divers and watch enthusiasts. In addition, the collection offers an alternative to our list. Specifically, the Hydroconquest L3. 781. 4. 76. 6. This stainless steel and ceramic model looks slightly similar to the Yacht-Master while ensuring it stands out as a Longines.
The 41mm case hosts Caliber L888 Automatic movement under the ‘Sunray Grey’ dial. Underneath the anti-reflective and scratch-resistant sapphire crystal, the dial features Arabic numerals at 6, 9, and 12. In addition, the hands and hour markers remain Swiss Super-LumiNova treated and the date window sits at 3 o’clock. On top, a unidirectional rotating bezel just like that of the Rolex is present for time calculations. Above all, this model is water-resistant up to 30 bar.
Click here to know more about Longines.
Tag Heuer Autavia Collection
If retro or vintage styling is your preference, consider the Tag Heuer Autavia Collection. This luxury Swiss brand took off in 1860 when Edouard Heuer founded the company. Subsequently, in 1985 after a majority purchase by the TAG Group, the name Tag Heuer formed. After that, LVMH, a French luxury goods brand bough the brand. Over the years the Tag Heuer name has gained great acclaim and reputation.
The Heuer Autavia hence makes a good candidate as a luxury alternative. In addition, it boasts of great features. For instance, the 42mm steel and the ceramic watch runs on Calibre 5 COSC automatic movement. The dial hosts retro-themed Arabic numerals and a date window at 6 o’clock. On the case sits a sleek rotating bezel. Furthermore, the watch is water-resistant up to 100m and the collection offers 6 models to choose from.
We’re now approaching the Rolex price tag territory.
Breitling Superocean Automatic 44
If you’re strictly looking at a luxury brand alternative offering a similar watch, it’s worth considering Breitling. Founded by Léon Breitling in Saint-Imier, Switzerland, the company currently sits in Grenchen. The 132-year-old Swiss luxury brand remains globally sought after for its aviation-inspired professional and luxury watches. However, the brand designs equally stunning and capable marine/nautical watches.
Case in point, the Breitling Superocean Automatic 44. Powered by Breitling 17 self-winding mechanical movement, this model measures at 44mm. Breitling also offers the same design in 36, 42, 46, and 48mm. The watch features a unidirectional and ratcheted bezel around the glare-proofed and cambered sapphire crystal.
Underneath, the dial hosts a date display at 3 o’clock along with luminous and hour markers. In addition, the watch is also available in diver friendly rubber straps. Above all, the watch is water-resistant up to 1000m, making it an ideal marine tool.
See our full comparison of Breitling vs Rolex here.
Omega Seamaster 300
Almost as expensive as the Rolex and an equal in every way. Swiss brand Omega remains in the upper echelons of luxury Swiss watch brands. Founded in 1848 by Louis Brandt in La Chaux-de-Fonds, the brand is now a subsidiary of the Swiss Swatch Group. Headquartered in Biel, Omega boasts of a diverse and sophisticated collection.
The Seamaster 300 also takes on a retro design approach. Inspired by the original Seamaster 300 from 1957, the updated version is incredibly desirable. The polished and brushed 41mm stainless steel case hosts the anti-magnetic Omega Master Co-Axial calibre 8400. The workings are visible through the clear rear.
Under the domed, anti‑reflective, and scratch‑resistant sapphire crystal we see rhodium-plated hands filled with ‘vintage’ Super-LumiNova. A unidirectional rotating polished ceramic bezel ring sits on top with a Liquidmetal diving scale. Above all, this model comes with Omega’s five-year warranty and is water-resistant up to 300m.
If you have no limitations financially, treat yourself to the 60th-anniversary special edition version of the Omega Seamaster 300. Part of the 1957 Trilogy set, this specialty watch is a collector’s must-have. Limited to just 557 pieces and measuring at 39mm with a bidirectional bezel, it commands a staggering price.