HANDS-ON: The Rolex GMT Master II Rootbeer is proof that two-tone can be a winning investmentZach Blass
Two-tone watches don’t get nearly as much love as they once did. The 90s were rampant with bi-metal watches with many opting for the touch of precious metal instead of full stainless-steel references. But boy have times changed with the integrated stainless-steel craze showing no sign of slowing down. As a result, two-tone models do not always excel on the pre-owned market – often hovering near or below their retail pricing. But there are certain exceptions to the rule. The Rolex GMT Master II 126711CHNR Rootbeer is proof that two-tone can be a winning formula in today’s marketplace and, like its full stainless-steel peers, trade over its retail pricing.
The majority of the case is fashioned in Rolex’s 904L stainless steel with hints of Everose gold in its bezel and crown. It’s front profile is completely satin brushed, excluding aspects of the bezel knurling, while the case sides are mirror-polished steel. Standing at 40mm in diameter, 48mm lug to lug across the wrist (excluding the fixed end links of the bracelet) and 12.2mm thick, the case is both robust and slender – quite fitting considering the watch is effectively a precious metal endowed tool watch. This allows the watch to be both formal and functional in look and feel.
The Cerachrom bezel blends both black and brown ceramic, which has been dubbed the modern “Rootbeer” configuration. The brown tone is reminiscent of a cup of coffee with a touch of milk, and the Everose gold inlays of the timing scale pair well with both the black and brown halves of the bezel. The tactile experience of rotating the bezel is world-class, being both butter-smooth and highly secure. The knurling of the bezel is rendered in Everose gold with the precious metal framing the dial within.
The Rolex GMT Master II 126711CHNR “Rootbeer” is rated water-resistant to depths up to 100 metres, but boasts a TripLock screw-down crown also found on Rolex Submariner models. The triple gasket system is extremely robust and secure, leading many to believe the GMT Master II can possibly reach depths greater than its listed specifications. That being said, most of us will never be able to test such a hypothesis – but it’s nice to know we can all surface swim or dive with zero concern.
The dial of the Rootbeer is a gloss black base with large lume plots found within its Everose gold framed circular, baton, and triangle indexes. The gloss black is very legible – a surprising feat considering no AR coatings are disclosed within Rolex specifications. Anti-reflective coatings are prone to scratching and wear, so Rolex’s exclusion of the coating is less laziness and more a desire to maintain a high level of robustness throughout the watch. The hands are a familiar Rolex style with a Mercedes hour hand, pencil minute hand, and lollipop seconds hand fashioned in Everose gold for increased resistance to wear and rust over time. At the 3 o’clock position, the famed Rolex Cyclops magnifies the black on white date window for increased ease of visibility – supposedly the only component to receive AR coatings in Rolex crystals.
As a GMT watch, the dial also features an Everose triangle tipped GMT hand to match the overall aesthetic of the watch. As a true GMT, wearers are able to independently adjust the hand without interrupting the timekeeping of the watch thanks to its independent rapid-setting GMT hour hand. Considering the superlative accuracy of the movement within, it is nice for there to be no need to reset the time with each change of time zone as it is already an extremely accurate watch.
The combination of heft produced by the 904L steel and Everose gold is extremely pleasant on the wrist and is the tactile embodiment of luxury. The two steel shoulder components of the link are satin brushed, with the inner and broader Everose component mirror polished. While a full satin brush would be more in line with a “tool watch” the inclusion of precious metal in the timepiece calls for a more elegant finish. Whether a bracelet is full precious metal or bi-metal, Rolex will always polish the centre links for the visual contrast and depth the combination of finishing create. The sides of the bracelet, where you can see the screws that secure each link, are polished as well.
The Oysterclasp is very secure, and will never accidentally or unintentionally open. Within this robust clasp is the EasyLink adjustment system. This system provides hassle free quick adjustment to owners. With a soft tug on the lever inside, you can slide the anchor of the clasp to add or remove 5mm – effectively the equivalent of adding or removing a link.
Inside this Rolex GMT Master II is the in-house manufacture caliber 3285. The 3285, among other technical upgrades, increases the power reserve of the watch to 70 hours – a nice boost from the previous 48 hours. Considering the overall marketplace today, the upgrade places Rolex more competitively against other brands that were outdoing the crown – at least in regard to power reserve. Even its more approachable sister brand Tudor have a 70-plus hour power reserve movement under its belt, so it was about time Rolex joined the party. This greater efficiency, in part, can be attributed to the more efficient Chronergy escapement system within. As expected with a Rolex caliber, it is highly shock resistant and accurate – running within the superlative chronometer standards of plus or minus two seconds a day.
Rolex GMT Master II 126711CHNR Rootbeer pricing and availability:
The Rolex GMT Master II 126711CHNR is available for inquiries at Authorized Dealers worldwide. Price: $14,800 USD
Looking to get one today without the wait? Head over to Bob’s Watches to secure one secondhand in great condition – available here.
This story is part of a partnership with Bob’s Watches. However, the opinions expressed in this article are our own in accordance with our Editorial Policy.