Battle Royale: Let’s get ready to rumble! Which is the ultimate Rolex GMT-Master?Thor Svaboe
OK, this was a tough challenge and an ugly battle predictably ensued. Essentially, we which is the ultimate Rolex GMT Master? From classic Coke to the freshness of the Pepsi’s iconic red and blue bezel, we’ll admit that tempers ran hot on this one as the Time+Tide team fought it out.
Luke Benedictus’ choice: The cerachrom bezel Batman, ref. 126710
There’s one overwhelming reason that I’m rooting for the Caped Crusader here. Obviously, it’s got everything to do with the bi-colour bezel and, more specifically, the intersection where the two colours meet. Because, frankly, there’s some weird voodoo shit going on here. The two colours don’t actually blend together, but you have to really stare to see the dividing line where black hits blue. Like the horizon of the ocean, I can gaze at this for hours. Team Batman all the way.
Nick Kenyon’s choice: The classic Coke ref. 16710
Don’t get me wrong. I love the classics. If it’s Vivaldi or Miles Davis, Oscar Wilde or Ernest Hemingway, Breguet or Dufour, the classics are enduringly brilliant because they can stand the test of time. But there’s also a part of me that is an enthusiastic contrarian. I love quartz watches from Japan, mostly because they are fantastic watches, but also because I think they’re generally underappreciated. And that’s exactly why I love the Rolex GMT-Master II ref. 16760, more fondly known as the “Coke”. While most vintage Rolex fans passionately argue that the “Pepsi” is one of the best watches in the game (and it is), there’s something about the comparative ugly-duckling with the black and red bezel that I just love. It was the first GMT-Master II reference ever made and it was also the first to feature the now iconic cyclops date magnifier. No Rolex Pepsi can claim those prizes. Plus, if anyone tells you that Pepsi tastes better than Coke, they’re either lying or … Actually no, they’re just lying.
Zach Blass’ Choice: A refreshing Pepsi, ref. 126710
As the American on the team, there is just something awesome about the red, white and blue combo of the GMT-Master II Pepsi. Whether the refined version mark 2, or the initial pastel mark 1 bezel, I just love how the watch flexes on the wrist. In terms of its context, the Pepsi is the original cosmopolitan pilot’s watch – with aviators from the golden era of flying strapping them on their wrists to fly in style. While some prefer the Oyster bracelet, I personally love the Jubilee configuration. Considering the more formal jet-setting origins of the watch, in my opinion it’s a much better fit and distinguishes the watch from other professional models in the catalogue. Sure, a GMT is a Submariner with an extra hand and different bezel, but for whatever reason I think GMTs should be on Jubilee bracelets and Submariners should be on Oyster bracelets. Come at me, bro!
Thor Svaboe’s choice: The golden tones of Root Beer in the ref.126711
After just finishing a story on the two-tone Sea-Dweller I have developed a penchant for tool watches in party frocks, and none better emphasises this choice than the ‘Root Beer’ GMT, resplendent in steel and solid rose gold. Why be shy? This is a year where we need pepping up, so make yourself happier with a bit of pizzazz, maxed out in this 126711 reference from 2018. The gold frames the crisply legible maxi dial with the large indices and endows the hands with that special sparkle to go with the cerachrom bezel. For God’s sake, when we can finally travel again, why not do it in style! No athleisure for me, I’m dressing up for that special first flight in a suit and tie, and this needs to be on my wrist.
A personal honourable mention, maybe I need two GMTs?
I might add that I do also have a soft spot for the plain Jane black bezel 16710, the oft-forgotten GMT-Master. Still the same simple but brilliant functionality that makes it a reference for all GMTs and wannabes around the world, but in a very quiet monochrome suit. Casting aside the colourful bezel, it looks like a Submariner at a distance, until you see that fresh pop of red in the 24-hour hand. That’s why I might need this as a more subdued daily companion as, like Nick, I do love an underdog. Hang on, did I just say I wanted two GMTs?