The Rolex Yachtmaster rose gold is a watch that has always appealed to me. It’s sporty, luxurious and beautiful, looks great on men and women, and best of all, it only costs about $20,000. Wait… Did you just say… 20,000… Dollars? American, human dollars?
That’s right. If you’re like me and experienced a bit of sticker shock after seeing the price of this piece, you’ve probably been scouring the internet for some Rolex Yachtmaster rose gold homages. Today we’re going to be taking a look at one of the cheapest Yachtmaster homages in this Parnis Rose Gold Yachtmaster review.
What is Parnis?
Depending on your level of interest in budget or homage watches, you may or may not have heard of Parnis.
Parnis is a Chinese watch brand that sells mainly affordable mechanical homages and has quite an extensive variety.
If there’s a style of luxury watch you like, but can’t afford to shell out the tens of thousands for the real thing, or just want to test out a style, a homage can be a good way to go. But is the Parnis Yachtmaster actually a decent watch for what you pay, or is it just a piece of overpriced junk from China?
After receiving my package in less than a week after ordering from their site to the US, I was very excited to unbox this bad boy. Upon first glance, the watch was rather striking. The 18k rose gold plating looked even better in person than in photos. I was very worried about it coming off as “cheap” looking, like many affordable watches with gold plating tend to.
I certainly wasn’t expecting it to to be able to stand up to some more popular dive watches (I’ve made a list of my favorites, here) but it definitely surprised me.
I immediately and eagerly went to size the bracelet and this is where I ran into my first problem.
For many affordable watches, the metal bracelet is where most brands tend to cut corners in manufacturing to save on cost. Upon first inspection, the bracelet looked half decent. It had the same 18k rose gold plating as the watch itself and a decent looking combination of brushed links on the outside and polished links on the inside. Definitely wasn’t Rolex or even Seiko level of quality in its finish, but it was decent enough that it didn’t look like an awful fashion brand watch, such as Michael Kors.
The solid metal bracelet had solid end links to match, which is a welcome addition. It’s rare to find solid end links on watches at this price, and even a couple of hundred dollars more, so that was rather surprising to see. The links were held in by screws, another “premium” touch, as opposed to pushpins you’d find in cheaper bracelets. You can imagine my surprise when I started trying to unscrew some of the links and started to strip the screw. As a disclaimer, I wasn’t using some top of the line Bergeron watchmaking screwdrivers or anything of the sort, just some cheap small screwdrivers I had laying around. What a big mistake.
Stripped Screws – First QC Issue?
After stripping the first screw, I figured it was probably just a freak occurrence and went to unscrew another, which wasn’t any easier. Eventually, after much frustration, a few screwdriver slips and finger cuts later, I had managed to size the bracelet while preserving just enough screws to size it correctly.
The build quality was alright. It wasn’t terribly uncomfortable, but not comfortable either. The main issue was the clasp at the bottom which felt oddly shaped, one side digging into my wrist. Not to mention there were only 3 micro adjustment holes, but that wasn’t the biggest deal.
To be honest, I knew I was going to be swapping this bracelet out anyway for a black rubber strap to get the full Rolex Yachtmaster Oysterflex to look, so I wasn’t as disappointed as I would have been if I was expecting to wear this watch on its included bracelet.
There was also an option from Parnis for a rubber strap version that looked very much like the Rolex Oysterflex, though from my experience, cheap rubber straps are usually awful, and a quality one is not much more expensive anyway.
I opted to put mine on a Hirsch Hevea strap I had to lay around and had the look I was going for, but it’s more expensive, almost as much as the watch itself.
You can get a really solid Bonetto Cinturini rubber strap on Amazon for much cheaper. I also slapped on a cheap rose gold deployment clasp which really started to bring the entire look and feel of the watch together, creating a much more “luxury” experience than a standard buckle.
Diver Extension Clasp
UPDATE: I was playing around with this watch some more (it’s a fun piece, what can I say?) and I discovered something…
It has a diver’s extension clasp!
This can be used to extend the size of your bracelet by about half a link, without having to use a spring bar tool.
Divers extension clasps are typically used to fit a watch over a diver’s wetsuit, but can also be used if your wrist swells up a bit in warmer weather, or after an unfortunately large meal. 😉
It snaps into place easily and has a rather satisfying click. I don’t know if I’ll ever truly use it, but it’s neat to know it’s there and just adds a little extra layer of functionality. Why not?
The watch itself is absolutely gorgeous. As stated before, the rose gold plating doesn’t look nearly as bad or cheap as I had expected. Featuring fully polished surfaces and a very dark charcoal grey (almost black) sunburst dial, this watch really pops in the sunlight. The large white hour markers are a nice modern touch, even though the lume on them is nonexistent. The hands do have a bit of lume, but it’s not very bright.
The hour markers and mercedes hands are surrounded by more rose gold, along with the brushed inner chapter ring. There’s also a date wheel on the right, with a cyclops that magnifies it pretty well. I prefer the look of a cyclops on a dive watch, especially when it’s executed well and magnifies the date as it’s supposed to. This was a nice touch for me.
The “Parnis” branding at the top of the dial is in plain white text. I think I’d have preferred it written in rose gold also, but the white does help provide a nice balance for the text at the bottom, reading “Automatic. Water Resistant. 21 Jewels.” At least the branding isn’t overdone and frankly, ugly, like some other affordable Rolex homages (cough… Invicta… cough).
The matte black bezel inserts with the polished and serrated Yachtmaster style bezel really help to tone down the “look at me” aspect of this otherwise very flashy piece. I think it works perfectly in conjunction with the black rubber strap I added, giving this watch a very luxurious and delicate yet sporty and masculine feel, all at the same time.
Case, Dimensions and Wearability
Coming in at 41.5mm in diameter and 12.5mm thick, it wears at just about the upper limit of my size preferences for my 7-inch wrist. While similarly sized to a Seiko SKX, at least on paper, it wears a little smaller than that monstrous beast. The sloped bezel helps create a smooth transition between the case and the crystal, and frankly, I much prefer it over the coin edge bezel of the SKX.
The lug to lug measurement is 46mm, but the end of the lugs curve, which is always a nice design queue.
It wears rather comfortably on the wrist, especially once I replaced the stock bracelet for a rubber strap I had on hand and I’ve worn it all day without any wrist fatigue. Choosing the right strap is key.
Bezel Action & Alignment Issues
One small quirk this watch had is that the bezel is ever so slightly misaligned. This doesn’t bother me too much, as I have experience fixing this same exact issue working on some SKX 007 mods in the past. But for the price, it is a little disappointing to see a quality control issue like this being overlooked.
Alignment issues aside, the bezel is bidirectional and is actually very easy to grip and turn. I believe part of the reason is the embossing of the matte black ceramic bezel insert helps you get a strong grip. It’s a 60 click bezel and is actually quite pleasant and satisfying to use, even when compared to other, more established brands. I wouldn’t necessarily say the bezel action is better or worse than a Seiko SKX, but it’s just a slightly different tactile feel. It feels more like it “bottoms out” and each click feels a lot more solid, in a good way. But some may prefer the more “tinny” feeling of the SKX bezel.
While many have reported being able to swim with their Parnis without a problem, I’d be cautious.
The only indication of water resistance written on the watch, or on the website listing says “Water Resistant” on the dial.
I’ve emailed Parnis to inquire about the actual depth rating – here is their exact response:
Most of our watches are water resistant up to 100m and come with a screw down crown. Unfortunately, some clients swim/dive with our watches and forget to screw down the crown.– Email response from a Parnis Watch Co. Technical Support Rep
(This causes water to infiltrate the case, as it would on any watch).
When the crown is not properly tightly screwed down, the water resistance of the watch is void.
Unfortunately, there is no way to prove if the crown was or wasn’t properly screwed down.
For this reason, we simply advertise all our watches as water resistant, and we don’t cover water damages under the 2-year warranty.
Although most clients report swimming with the watches, especially the GMT / Sub-collections, for legal reasons we don’t advertise it, as we don’t provide warranty on water damages.
I’ve washed my hands and have been caught in the rain wearing it, so that shouldn’t be a problem. However, I haven’t swum with this watch, with or without the crown screwed down, but I’ll be sure to update this section with my results if I ever were to.
Sapphire Crystal, Rare at this Price!
One of the things that excited me the most about this watch is the addition of a sapphire crystal. Like many things about this watch, before receiving it, I was a bit skeptical. Even Seiko or Orient don’t include sapphire crystals at this price point. So I was expecting to receive some sort of weird faux-sapphire, or a crystal that just looked like sapphire, but wasn’t as durable as the real thing.
To my surprise, this was not at all the case.
I’ve emailed Parnis to inquire if their Yachtmaster contains any anti-reflective coating. Here is their response:
The sapphire crystal comes with a coating (which is very common amongst the best and some of the most expensive watches in the world).
The coating sits on top of the Crystal and can be scratched (this has nothing to do with the quality of the crystal).
A very famous example is the OMEGA PLANET OCEAN, that has the exact same manufacturing process.
Although it comes with a very high-quality Sapphire Crystal, it scratches very easily (much more than our watches), but it is simply the COATING, not the crystal.
– Email response from a Parnis Watch Co. Technical Support Rep
Now, I’m not going to go ahead and say this anti-reflective is on par with those in Omega watches, but it certainly does seem like it has a decent AR coating applied. Aside from the occasional fingerprints and smudging, the crystal looks clear as day. It’s one of those things, along with the sunburst dial and rose gold case, that make this watch really pop in the sun.
My crystal has not scratched once in the months I’ve been wearing it, which is a good sign, despite their warning that the anti-reflective coating might scratch.
Another thing I was worried about with this watch is how the rose gold plating would hold up. I’ve been wearing this watch heavily and at least aesthetically, it’s managed to hold up well. There are a couple of scuffs and light scratches across the side of the case, with no sign of the stainless steel case being revealed underneath, which is awesome.
Don’t expect to ever polish this watch, as you’ll likely strip the rose gold plating, but if you’re like me, and prefer your watches with some scratches and dings for the added character, it’s no big deal.
It’ll be interesting to see how the gold plating of this watch will hold up over the next couple of months. I’ll update this section if it starts to wear down, or if anything changes.
Miyota 8215 Movement & Accuracy
The movement is a more than adequate Miyota 8215. It has a date wheel and handwinding, a very welcome feature. It doesn’t hack, but that’s not a feature I particularly care for, anyway.
Read more about hacking and hand-winding here.
The specifications of this movement state the accuracy is -20 to +40 seconds per day, but I find mine to run much better, at only -3 seconds per day. I’ve heard similar reports from others with Parnis watches, the movements tend to perform better than their specifications say. It also has a power reserve of 40 hours.
The crown feels a bit gritty to the touch, but it has a pretty good acctuation in that small little movements of the crown turn the minute and hour hands a good amount. Setting the time on this watch is quick and easy.
Mysterious Rattling Noise
One of my biggest gripes with this watch is an unusual rattling noise you hear when winding the watch or just moving it around. I’m guessing it’s a symptom of the rotor powering the automatic movement being loose, and scratching against the case back.
I’ve contacted Parnis support about this, and they didn’t seem to have understood the issue.
At first, the noise was worrisome, thinking something was wrong with my particular watch.
But then I did some digging. It seemed to be the case with a few other people who have similar Parnis models, some of which have still been running just fine for years to come, even with this same issue
I decided to just forget about it, and enjoy my watch as is. I might one day attempt to open up the case back to see if tightening the rotor would help, but as the case back is a bit abnormal, it’d require a special tool which I’d need to order.
But for now, I don’t mind hearing the rotor in my watch, as long as its not causing any damage. It’s a mechanical timepiece, after all, and the noise is just a reminder of that.
Should You Buy The Parnis Yachtmaster Homage?
Not only is this one of the only Rolex Yachtmaster homages I have ever seen, but I’m actually very pleased with its quality and execution for the price. It looks beautiful and offers a decent set of specifications and build quality, considering what you’re paying.
What you’re missing out on is brand heritage, quality control, and a proper water resistance rating. The included bracelet isn’t the best, but that’s the case with most watches at this price point. The quality control issues can be a bummer, but its something that even heritage brands like Seiko have issues with their lower end watches.
Overall, the Parnis Yachtmaster Rose Gold is a good looking Rolex Yachtmaster homage that won’t break the bank. Its lack of water resistance and potential for quality control issues can be a buzzkill for some, but others may not mind and be willing to take the gamble, risking having to go through Parnis’ customer support for a replacement.
You can buy the Parnis Yachtmaster Rose Gold on Amazon here.
If you have any questions about this watch, leave them in the comments below!