Anticipation was high for a GMT-Master II release at Basel 2018; however, almost everyone in the business of speculating was predicting a rival carbonated beverage with near certainty, since the Pepsi flavour was already representing the solid white gold variant of the Rolex traveller’s watch. I can only imagine their surprise when the hall gates opened and the first eager show-goers laid their eyes on the all-new stainless steel GMT-Master II with a blue and red ceramic bezel and a Jubilee bracelet. Rolex does know how to have a good time, don’t they? All new? How is it a game changer? Yes. As far as Rolex updates go, this GMT-Master model is all new. Check out the reference number. It has been 13 years of the 1167xx version. This was the first Rolex to usher in the era of chunky cases, ceramic bezels and bracelets that felt super robust. Putting the cosmetics aside for now, it is important to talk about the very heart of this watch: a brand new movement. Years ago, a mentor of mine told me that a car without an engine is no longer a car, but a very nice-looking large flower pot. Well, this GMT-Master… Read More
I have been collecting for many years now and I have learned to be patient. It must be said, though, that my patience has often cost me a few pieces, as I felt they were too expensive, or not good enough, and another would be found for a better price or in better condition (read, every Paul Newman I have ever been offered and turned down, but that’s another story). Take, for example, this watch. I first learned about it about 10 years ago when the owner proudly disclosed that he had a pristine Daytona with box and papers in his safe. He was not sure of the reference number, but it had a black dial and TWO bezels. One black acrylic on the watch, and the original stainless steel one. My interest was piqued and I enquired further. Are you interested in selling? Maybe? Make me an offer? I hate these conversations … make me an offer is an open invitation to paying premium prices. So, I made him an offer (a very generous one for 2008). He said he’d think about it, and I never heard back. I dropped it, until we caught up a few years later…. Read More
In a clip produced by Vanity Fair to coincide with the release of Ozark Season 2 on Netflix, Jason Bateman, Laura Linney and Julia Garner explain Ozark ‘hillbilly’ slang. We’re sure you’ll agree that they all play second fiddle to the 1979 Rolex Daytona hanging casually from Bateman’s wrist throughout. It’s not the first time we’ve spotted it on Bateman (Felix caught him at the 89th Academy Awards in February of 2017), The story goes that he traded a Rolex Sea-Dweller and a Franck Muller for it (and one suspects a cartel amount of cash), and the outcome of the flip is that he’s clearly not being any kind of safe diva about wearing it all the time. Which is heartening, really. With a film and television career spanning nearly 40 years, Ozark is quite a different turn for Bateman, who stars as Marty Byrde, a Chicago Financial Planner who gets mixed up with a Mexican drug cartel and is forced to move to the Missouri Ozarks to launder money to keep his family alive. Part Breaking Bad and part Narcos, the series is dark and violent, quite different for the star who is best known for his comedic roles in films such as Horrible Bosses and The Break-Up and famously… Read More
One of the real hits from Rolex’s 2015 collection was the Oyster Perpetual 39 (ref. 114300), a bare bones, simple steel timepiece that was still pure Rolex. Initially offered in a range of youthful, colourful dials, this year the Oyster Perpetual family expanded to include white and black dial variants, and they are, just quietly, awesome. While the case and bracelet are unchanged, it’s worth revisiting them. Of course, the Oyster Perpetual is offered in a wide range of sizes, all the way up to this, the 39mm model, which really will suit a lot of wrists. But if you like your watches smaller, the 36mm is a solid choice, too. The case is Rolex’s classic Oyster case, which hasn’t changed too much over the decades. Made from Oystersteel, it uses Rolex’s Twinlock crown and is rated for 100m. While it might not have the same levels of deep diving capability as the professional line, it’s more than enough for everyday life. The bracelet is excellent — like all Rolex bracelets. It’s an Oyster bracelet, with brushed links. The clasp is a regular Oysterclasp, a superb (and deceptively simple) piece of mechanical engineering. While the case and bracelet are unchanged,… Read More
That’s right, a Rolex Submariner owned and gifted by the King of Cool will go under the hammer at Phillips auction house in New York on October 25. A year after the blockbuster sale of Paul Newman’s Paul Newman Daytona. It’s not just the timing of the sale that these two celebrity watches share either, with McQueen’s 1964 Rolex Submariner ref. 5513 sharing a similar story of provenance, complete with a few extra burning details. Phillips tell us the watch was purchased by McQueen in the 1960s. It was then gifted by him to his long-time stunt double Loren Janes, sometime in the mid-to-late ’70s, according to members of Janes’ surviving family. Having worked together on 19 of McQueen’s films over two decades, including Bullitt, The Great Escape and The Thomas Crown Affair, Janes was McQueen’s go-to stuntman, and before giving him the watch, McQueen had the case back inscribed: “LOREN, THE BEST DAMN STUNTMAN IN THE WORLD. STEVE.” Making this not only the earliest McQueen-owned Submariner ever put up for auction, but also the only known watch to bear the actor’s name. The story gets even more interesting. In 2016, a wildfire outside of Los Angeles, now known as the Sand Fire… Read More
There was a lot of mystery surrounding this piece when it was pulled out of a large green box during our appointment with Rolex at Baselworld. And, to be honest, we were too caught up in the moment, too dazzled by the gemstones, to take it all in at the time. It’s formally known as the Submariner Date ref. 116659 SABR, a variant on the white gold, blue-dialled ‘Smurf’ (ref. 116659 LB), but while at first glance it might look like the stones are the only addition, the dial is completely different. Not only is it darker, and has a sunray effect, but there’s a notable omission. Look closer. Have you spotted it yet? That’s right, there’s no depth rating. On a typical sub, there’s a line underneath the ‘Submariner’ text that says the watch is good to ‘1000ft = 300m’; not so here. And there’s also no specific mention of depth rating on the press release, though it does specify an Oyster case and Triplock crown. But it bears the Submariner name, so you’d expect it to be 300m, though it’s not made explicit, perhaps something to do with all those diamonds. Speaking of stones, the bezel is set, in Rolex’s… Read More
You’ve either been sleeping or taking a break from social media to have missed the news on this one. As part of their new Baselworld 2018 releases, Rolex have released for the very first time a ‘Pepsi’ GMT-Master II in ‘Oystersteel’ (which is the new Rolex terminology for their 904L steel). Yes, a two-colour red and blue Cerachrom bezel insert, WITH a Jubilee bracelet. Vital statistics The five-link Jubilee bracelet is also made from Oystersteel and features an ‘Oysterclasp’, which allows for 5mm of adjustment. It’s also worth noting that this is the first time we’ve seen a Jubilee bracelet on a sports Rolex in modern times. The Oystercase also received some changes and has been redesigned. It’s noticeably different in comparison to the GMT-Master II BLNR (Batman), which is also still in production. Aesthetics aside, the new Pepsi GMT also features an entirely new generation movement — the 3285 calibre, which features a beefed-up 70-hour power reserve. Another small, yet noteworthy, detail is the additional Rolex crown on the dial, which you’ll notice at six o’clock, between ‘Swiss’ and ‘Made’. This appears to be on all new 2018 models. It’s small touches like these that help collectors distinguish between different… Read More
In the wee hours of this morning, as I was recording this voice-over, it occurred to me that the only watch from the new Rolex GMT-Master II collection currently not receiving a massive amount of coverage at Basel 2018 was the one in the middle – with both Oystersteel and Everose elements, the two-tone, or as Rolex call it, Rolesor model. It just so happens that, at this point in time, it’s the one I’m most fixated on. I think, without stealing too much of my own thunder, it’s the way that all the colours, finishings, materials, and fine details come together – and play off one another. I’m sure that once the Pepsi sugar high has worn off a little, the glittering Rolex GMT-Master II in Oystersteel and Everose will have its time in the sun, but we thought we’d shine a little light on it early.