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Watch 101

Rolex Yacht-Master II: How to Set the Countdown Timer

Paul Altieri

Deciding that you want to wear a Rolex Yacht-Master II is easy. It looks fantastic, it’s powered by the impressive Caliber 4161 movement, and it offers insane and highly-specialized functions. However, figuring out exactly how to use the Yacht-Master II may not seem as easy. So, here we’re going to break it down for you.

Now, at first glance, it may seem like a lot of steps, but don’t be fooled; Rolex has engineered this process to be quick and simple, despite the watch itself being a technologically-advanced mechanical masterpiece. After the first couple of times, you’ll remember these steps offhand and will be able to take full advantage of its complex functionality. Additionally, while this watch is designed to time the countdown for the start of a regatta, you can use the Rolex Yacht-Master II to do everything from timing a boiled egg to keeping track of your kids’ time-out. Get creative!

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Setting the Countdown Timer on the Rolex Yacht-Master II

You’ll need to set your Rolex Yacht-Master II up before the regatta to initiate the countdown and set yourself up for the race itself.

  1. First, make sure that your countdown timer is stopped. If it’s not, simply press the top pusher to stop the timer’s seconds hand.
  2. Next, rotate the bezel counterclockwise a quarter of a turn (as far as it will go; until it clicks into place).
  3. Next, you’re going to push the lower pusher, which will stay depressed. This will reset the countdown seconds hand back to zero (12 o’clock) and the countdown minutes hand will reset itself back to the previous countdown time that was set. This will also block the top pusher from being able to be pressed in.
  4. Now you’re going to set the countdown duration by unscrewing the crown and turning it clockwise until it hits the countdown minute you need.
  5. Once the countdown duration has been set, turn the bezel clockwise a quarter-turn (as far as it will go; until it clicks into place). This unlocks the top pusher and releases the lower one.
  6. Lastly, don’t forget your crown! Push in your winding crown and screw it securely back down to the case to ensure that your watch remains water-resistant while in use.

Rolex Yacht-Master II How to use timer guide 116681 Everose

Using the Countdown Timer on the Rolex Yacht-Master II

Now that your countdown is set, this is how you’ll put it to use.

  1. Just like other Rolex watches with traditional chronograph complications (like the Daytona), the top pusher will start and stop the countdown timer on the Yacht-Master II, while the bottom pusher resets it.
  2. However, unlike a traditional chronograph watch, the adjustable countdown timer on the Yacht-Master II features flyback and fly-forward functionality meaning that you can reset the timer to the nearest minute with a single push of a button, without having to stop or restart the timer at all.
  3. To use the flyback (or fly-forward) function on the Yacht-Master II, simply press the bottom pusher while the countdown timer is running. The countdown timer will reset itself back to the nearest minute, and then keep running again, allowing you to immediately start measuring your next countdown duration without skipping a beat.

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Using the Rolex Yacht-Master II During a Regatta

Now that your countdown is set, this is how you’ll put it to use during a regatta

  1. If you don’t know how a regatta begins, it is usually a starting gun and a flag that signals the official countdown. When this happens, press the upper pusher to start your countdown timer, which is already set to the appropriate number of minutes of the countdown. The seconds hand for the timer will start moving around the dial indicating elapsed time, and every 60-seconds, the minute hand will jump to the next number until it hits zero – aka the end of your countdown.
  2. At some point, you may need to reset the countdown timer to synchronize with the official race clock. This allows you to ensure that you’re on-time with the official race clock, even if you do not start the timer at exactly the right time. To do this, all you need to do is press the lower pusher when you hear the second (or third) preparatory signal. What this does is reset the seconds hand to zero and synchronize the countdown minute hand to the nearest minute. This allows you to coordinate your watch’s countdown timer to the official race clock to give you the most accurate countdown to the official start of the race.
  3. The race begins! Your countdown has reached zero and you’re now on your way. To reset the countdown timer back to its original setting, simply press the upper pusher to stop the regatta timer, and then press the lower pusher to reset the countdown back to the last setting that you programmed into the Yacht-Master II’s mechanical memory. With the boat race now underway, you are done! (at least until next time).

Rolex Yacht-Master II Countdown Timer regatta tutorial 116681 two-tone everose rolesor

Paul Altieri