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Rolex Watches

Rolex GMT Master II has been one of the most popular Rolex watches since its debut in 1983. This watch was introduced as the descendant of the renowned pilot watch GMT Master which was first released in 1954. Evolved from the classic Rolex pilot watch, Rolex GMT Master II featured a quickset hour hand which allowed the wearer to track a third time zone easily.

Over these decades, Rolex GMT Master II has been through a handful of significant modifications with the brand’s technical advancements. The current collection is now housing some of the most desirable models worldwide. These watches are even given nicknames that we could relate at first sight, such as Rolex Pepsi for the model with red and blue bezel and Rolex GMT Master II Batman for the black and blue bezel. 

With its timeless design and modern technologies housed, Rolex GMT Master II is not just a quality tool watch, it has already become an exceptionally demanded piece representing status and taste. 

Rolex has been notable for its professional tool watches and sports watches. One of its popular tool watches must be the Rolex GMT Master.

As suggested by the name, the watch is related to the time zone. The GMT in the GMT Master refers to “Greenwich Mean Time”, which is also known as the Coordinated Universal Time. It is the internationally recognised time standard by which the world regulates clocks and time. Since 1884, the world has been officially divided into 24 time zones. Each 15 degree zone of the meridian is decreed to represent one hour of time ahead or behind for east or west respectively. 

Actually in the 1930s a genius horologist Louis Cottier had already invented the world time mechanism for wristwatches. However it was until the 1950s the first GMT watch to be created by Rolex under the request from Pan Am Airlines. 

The Rolex GMT Master was originally designed for the crews of Pan American Airways on long-haul flights. In order to put the new 707 into full service, Pan Am  company asked Rolex to develop a wristwatch that can allow wearers to tell the time at a glance in both two time zones.

Cooperating with several of the airline’s most experienced pilots, Rolex developed the GMT-Master Reference 6542 in 1954, featuring a rotatable bezel which was first seen in the Rolex Turn-O-Graph of the previous year. The first GMT Master watch featured a 24-hour display fourth hand complication to display the same time zone as the standard 12-hour hand. The GMT hand of the watch allowed the wearer to set the watch to the standard time zone, and to use the rotatable 24-hour scale bezel to set the time of the second time zone. 

The GMT Master 6542 featured a bakelite bezel which was replaced with an aluminum bezel after two years. Throughout five years of production until 1959, several movements had been used on this model including Caliber 1036 movement (1954-1959),  Caliber 1065 movement (1957-1959) and Caliber 1066 movement (1957-1959).

After releasing a few more updated models, the GMT-Master was in production until 1999, which had overlapped with its successor, the Rolex GMT Master II, for more than 15 years. 

Launch of Rolex GMT Master II 

The first Rolex GMT Master II reference 16760 was released in 1983. The biggest differences between GMT Master & GMT Master II lie within its movement. The GMT Master 2 looked almost the same but its movement had been updated with an individual quickset hour hand, which you can set the local time of the watch without messing up the seconds and the minute hand. 

This GMT-Master II also featured a rotatable bezel which allowed the wearer to track a third-time zone easily. The original GMT-Master II is often nicknamed “Fat Lady” or “Sophia Loren” due to its thicker case compared to the original GMT-Master. In addition to its larger case, the GMT-Master II was also equipped with thicker crown guards, while gold indices borders and scratch-proof sapphire crystal. The build of this Rolex watch is very aesthetically appealing. 

The Rolex GMT Master II 16700 replaced the ref. 16750 and the reference 16710 replaced the Fat Lady. The original tritium dials were changed to the Super Luminova. The movements were indeed upgraded to caliber 3175 in reference 16700 and caliber 3185 in reference 16710. 

In the mid 2000s, Rolex began to release the modern GMT Master II series with references in 6 digits.

This generation of GMT-Master II watches is encapsulated with a refined 40 mm Super Case with larger crown guards and broader lugs. The case was also equipped with a more resistant Triplock winding crown.

Another notable change of the GMT-Master II is its transition from aluminum bezels to Cerachrom bezel. It is a tough and proprietary ceramic material that is resistant to scratch and the fading effects of UV light. 

As an iconic Rolex sports watch collection, the GMT Master II houses many highly desirable models. There were other popular references that have been fondly nicknamed by Rolex lovers all across the world, such as ‘Bruiser' or also called ‘Rolex Batman', the ‘Rolex Coke', the ‘Rolex Root Beer’ or ‘Rolex Dirty Harry’ and many others. 

Amongst the new generation, the GMT Master II black model 116710LN has been considered as one of the most iconic Rolex watches. Another popular model GMT Master II Pepsi 126710 BLRO was released in Baselworld 2018. It featured the famous red and blue two-tone color on the cerachrom bezel. This watch was available in Oyster steel along with a Jubilee bracelet. The watch was powered by the new in-house self-winding Caliber 3285 movement with a power reserve of 70 hours.

No matter if you are a pilot or a frequent traveller or now, Rolex GMT Master II is just a perfect pick that will fit and match all your occasions, from your business meetings to your leisure time. Rolex GMT-Master II is definitely worth it to be added to your collection. 

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