Introduction to Rolex GMT-Master II
With nicknames like Pepsi, Coke, Root Beer and Batman, GMT-Master II watches boast an appealing blend of iconic design and everyday practicality. As the next chapter in Rolex’s pilot watch story, the GMT-Master II takes the familiar style of the first GMT model and pairs it with modern enhancements. Pre-owned Rolex GMT-Master II watches are enormously popular in the secondary market, enjoyed by serious watch collectors and casual Rolex fans alike. The Rolex GMT-Master II is one of the most varied sports watch collections from the brand.
GMT-Master II History
In the early-1980s, Rolex unveiled the GMT-Master II model as an evolution of the original GMT-Master dual-time pilot’s watch. The main difference between these two versions is that the two hour hands on the GMT-Master 1 are linked, while they are de-coupled on the newer GMT-Master 2. This meant that the 24-hour hand could be set independently from the traditional 12-hour local time hand, thereby allowing the setting of the second time zone without needing to rotate the bezel.
Rolex manufactured the GMT-Master 1 and GMT-Master 2 concurrently for two decades. However, by 1999, Rolex discontinued the original GMT-Master to focus exclusively on the GMT-Master II.
While the first GMT-Master II watch was only offered in stainless steel and with one bezel color, Rolex expanded the collection over the following decades with more material options, bezel colors and bracelet styles. Rolex even chose the GMT-Master II collection to debut its proprietary ceramic Cerachrom bezel in the mid-2000s.
GMT-Master II Timeline
While Rolex has made numerous GMT-Master II models over the last four decades, they all share the following design details:
- 40mm round Oyster case water-resistant to 100 meters
- Screw-down winding crown
- Bi-directional rotating bezel marked to 24 hours
- Traditional hour hand that makes one full rotation every 12 hours (first time zone)
- Arrow-tipped GMT hour hand that makes one full rotation every 24 hours (second time zone)
- Both hour hands can be set independently from each other
- Date window at 3 o’clock magnified by Cyclops lens
- Dial with round, baton and triangular hour markers filled with luminescence (except for gem-set dials)
- Sapphire crystal
- Automatic movement
The GMT-Master II has been a mainstay of Rolex’s catalog for almost 40 years. During that time, the company has released four generations of the watch.
GMT-Master II Generations
First Generation: GMT-Master II 16760 (1982 – 1988)
- Stainless steel
- Aluminum bezel
- Red and black “Coke” bezel
- Oyster bracelet
- Caliber 3085
Second Generation: GMT-Master II 1671x (1989 – 2007)
- Stainless steel (16710), yellow gold (16718), two-tone steel and yellow gold (16713)
- Aluminum bezel
- Bezel colors: Red/blue, black/red, brown/yellow, black
- Special gem-set dials available, referred to as “Serti dials”
- Oyster bracelet, Jubilee bracelet
- Caliber 3185, 3186
Third Generation: GMT-Master II 11671x (2005 – 2018)
- 40mm Supercase
- Stainless steel (116710), yellow gold (116718), white gold (116719), two-tone steel and yellow gold (116713)
- Cerachrom ceramic bezel
- Bezel colors: Red/blue, black/blue, black
- Special gem-set models available, characterized by gem-set bezels and white or yellow gold cases
- Oyster bracelet only
- Caliber 3186
Fourth Generation: GMT-Master II 12671x (2018 – present)
- 40mm Supercase
- Stainless steel (126710), white gold (126719), Everose gold (126715), two-tone steel and Everose gold (126711)
- Bezel colors: Red/blue, black/blue, brown/black
- Special gem-set models available, characterized by gem-set bezels and Everose gold cases
- Oyster bracelet on precious metal models, Jubilee bracelet on steel models
- Caliber 3285
Although Rolex has retained the 40mm case size throughout all four generations of the GMT-Master II, it’s important to point out that the last two have what is referred to as a “Supercase.” Due to the fatter lugs, wider bezels and thicker profiles, the GMT-Master II watches with Supercases wear larger than earlier models.
The GMT-Master II's Notable Nicknames
One of the defining characteristics of the GMT-Master II is its 24-hour marked bezel, which often combines two colors. These bi-colored bezels have also picked up some nicknames in the watch community:
GMT-Master II Pepsi
- Red & Blue
- Aluminum or Cerachrom
- Steel or white gold models
- Bezel code: BLRO (Bleu/Rouge)
- Ref: 16710, 116719, 126710
GMT-Master II Coke
- black & Blue
- Steel models
- Ref. 16760, 16710
GMT-Master II Batman
- Blue & Black
- Steel models
- Bezel code: BLNR (Bleu/Noir)
- Ref. 116710, 126710
GMT-Master II Root Beer (older version)
- Brown & Yellow
- Two-tone steel and yellow gold models
- Ref. 16713
GMT-Master II Root Beer (newest version)
- Brown & Black
- Everose gold or two-tone steel and Everose gold models
- Bezel code: CHNR (Chocolat/Noir)
- Ref: 126715, 126711
Rolex recommends that its watches be serviced at least every ten years—more if worn daily—to ensure everything is in working order and that the watch remains water-resistant. GMT-Master II watches are water-resistant to 100 meters, so they’re safe to swim with. However, always make sure that the winding crown is securely screwed into the case before getting it wet.
Rolex GMT-Master II Value and
The new Rolex GMT-Master II watches are wildly popular, especially stainless steel GMT-Master II models. As a result, it’s increasingly rare to find the latest Rolex GMT-Master II for sale at authorized retailers and it’s not uncommon to have to turn to the pre-owned market to find them. However, due to their booming demand, pre-owned Rolex GMT-Master II watches from the current generation are priced higher than retail.
The GMT-Master II Batman ref. 126710BLNR and GMT-Master II Pepsi ref. 126710BLRO each retail for $9,700, but they frequently sell for anywhere from one-and-a-half to more than twice that price in the secondary market. Even discontinued used GMT Batman ref. 116710BLNR watches start at around $12,000 in the pre-owned watch market.
In general, all-black bezel versions are less expensive than bi-colored bezel versions. Despite being a type of Rolex GMT-Master II gold model, the cheapest used Rolex GMT-Master II is usually the two-tone ref. 16713 with a black bezel, which starts at just over $8,000.