What do Rolex and Haribo have in common?
Not a whole lot…
So how come the name of a candy company has become associated with Rolex?
Well, the answer is quite obvious.
One of Haribo’s most popular candy is gold bears, and these candies are made in several different colors. As a result, they remind a lot about the bezel of the very unique Rolex Yacht-Master 116695SATS, now nicknamed ”Haribo”. Another nickname that is also sometimes used for this model (and some other multi-colored gem-set Rolex watches) is ”Tutti Frutti”.
But for the 116695SATS specifically, the nickname Haribo is what has stuck the most.
The Rolex Yacht-Master 116695SATS is a very interesting timepiece since it is not part of Rolex’s standard collection. You won’t find it on the Rolex website, and therefore, the Rolex Haribo – and many other watches, tend to fly under the radar for most people.
But interestingly enough, that is exactly what Rolex wants. Every year, Rolex discreetly releases a few new ”masterpiece” watches that are not part of the standard collection. What makes these stand out is that they are usually gem-set with lots of gemstones in a unique way. Firstly, Rolex would likely struggle to produce enough of these pieces if they would have been part of the standard collection. Setting the bezel and finding the correct gemstones is a process that can take weeks, so even if Rolex would have wanted to scale top the production of this watch, it wouldn’t be easy.
In addition, gem-setting is an art, but achieving the level of color perfection of the 116695SATS is even more difficult. Rolex doesn’t just pick any gemstones for its watches. Nor do they take gem-setting lightly.
But most importantly, to maintain the exclusivity of Rolex’s most exclusive watches, the production numbers need to be kept low. This is not an affordable watch, and the clients who decide to spend that type of money want something truly unique that stands out from all others.
Rolex Yacht-Master ”Haribo” 116695SATS
This watch is based on the Rolex Yacht-Master 40 116655 in rose gold. This is interesting because meanwhile, in 2019, Rolex upgraded the Yacht-Master with the new caliber 3235 as well as incorporating the Glidelock system inside the clasp. With that said, It would make sense for Rolex to upgrade the ”Haribo” too.
This may or may happen, but because of the, usually short production periods of its special timepieces, you never know when Rolex will stop or start its production. Regardless, if we would get the Haribo in the new Yacht-Master version, expect it to carry the reference 126695SATS instead.
The Haribo is produced in highly limited numbers and is mostly available to order for special clients. This is a timepiece that you’ll rarely see standing in the shop window at an official Rolex retailer since most of the time, the watch is sold to a client before it is even ordered.
At its core, this watch is identical to the classic 116655, the only difference is the striking gem-set bi-directional bezel that makes it stand out from the ordinary.
Whilst Rolex is perhaps not the brand you’d think of first when it comes to diamonds and gem-setting, Rolex takes it very seriously and has dedicated a whole department to the gem-setting process and tries to highlight it through its special timepieces. The gem-set Haribo bezel of the Yacht-Master works as a testament to Rolex’s know-how and expertise in the art of gem-setting, and with that, they succeed very well.
Achieving a colored gem-set bezel requires careful sorting for the perfect gems.
But it’s not just the fact that it has lots of gems on it that are cut to perfection. The real challenge is sorting the gemstones and finding ones that are the same color. Unlike certain other gem-set watches that Rolex has created, the bezel of the Yacht-Master Harbo isn’t color-coded like a rainbow. Instead, the bezel is identical on each opposite side at 180 degrees. This requires finding gemstones that are identical colors to achieve perfect symmetry and balance. The color and the consistency of this bezel really stands out, which is because the sorting is done by hand. A tedious and time-consuming job indeed, but that is what it takes for absolute perfection.
If you look closer, you’ll notice a seamless setting, meaning it does not have the ordinary ”holders” which are normally used when setting gemstones. The gems are perfectly aligned and sit against each other with nothing separating them, requiring an extraordinary precision.
The bezel, which certainly is the star of this show is set with 32 sapphires, 1 diamond at 12 o’clock, and 8 tsavorites (An emerald-green variety of grossular garnet). This creates a bezel that stands out from the ordinary, a true piece of craftsmanship that requires incredible expertise.
What’s more, as if the bezel with a black dial wasn’t unique enough, Rolex has also made another version of this watch with a full paved diamonds dial. Perfect for those who want an even flashier watch. The pave diamond dial version is even rarer and made in even more limited quantities.
The 116695SATS features a 40mm 18ct rose gold. It is powered by the Rolex Caliber 3135, but if and when Rolex upgrades the reference to 126695SATS, it will use the caliber 3235.
It is fitted on a black Oysterflex rubber strap with a rose gold clasp. What is so interesting about the Yacht-Master ”Haribo” is that in a sense, it is a bit contradictory. On one hand, you have a seriously sporty timepiece that looks masculine and robust. On the other hand, you have an elegant gem-set bezel, set with extreme delicacy and precision.
In other words, you have a robust sports watch with a bi-directional bezel, set with gems so that now it is not possible to operate it nor read the time. But that is also the charm. Rolex knows that the owners of these watches will not buy them because they will have to rely on them as crucial tools. Instead, they will work as beautiful pieces of art that will be appreciated for their uniqueness and incredible craftsmanship.
It’s very interesting to look closer at Rolex’s most special and limited timepieces. Seeing that they are not part of Rolex’s standard collection, they tend to fly under the radar for most people. It’s not that Rolex tries to hide them, but the brand realizes the importance of exclusivity.
Rolex realizes that for its most luxurious timepieces, it needs to maintain its exclusivity and uniqueness. These individuals don’t want to be one of many, and if Rolex floods the market with these pieces, then they lose a part of their exclusive nature that makes them special in the first place.
All in all, the Rolex Yacht-Master 40 116695SATS ”Haribo” is certainly a watch that will catch people’s attention. But at the same time, it is a timepiece that you’ll unlikely spot out in the wild. The Yacht-Master Haribo is a true work of art, and only when you understand the complexity of the gem-setting of this watch are you able to fully appreciate what it is and what it represents.