Earlier this year Rolex introduced a new version of its iconic GMT-Master II. And for the first time in its history, the Rolex GMT-Master II has a rather nice two-tone ceramic bezel which fades subtly from black to blue . A possible future classic? Thanks to its famous two-tone bezel in blue and red for the so-called ‘Pepsi’ version which was used as day/night indicators for the GMT bezel, it became iconic and it was possible to be seen on the wrists of many actors and celebrities.
But before going further into more detail on this new model lets take a quick look back on the history of this model launched in 1954 … When the Pan American World Airways made its first non-stop intercontinental flight from New York to Moscow in 1959, the watch chosen by the crew was the Rolex Oyster Perpetual GMT-Master. The reason the “GMT” became the official watch of Pan Am was because it displays two time zones simultaneously using its GMT hand and this was something that was unique at the time. Furthermore when the Concorde carried out its first test flights in 1960 the two captains, Brian Trubshaw and André Turcat, both wore a Rolex GMT Masters further strengthening the GMT Masters ties to civil aviation.
When Rolex introduced, the new generation GMT-Master II in 2005, the reference 116710 with a new case slightly larger and a black ceramic bezel, the models popularity was swift and total. However brand enthusiasts were wondering if the Geneva manufacture would market another GMT-Master II with a two-tone bezel? Well its been done and whats more the new bezel is impressive, using a single piece of ceramic that uses a patented process to create a bi-color bezel that fades subtly from blue to black.
So on the occasion of Baselworld 2013 Rolex presented a new version of the 904L steel Oyster Perpetual GMT-Master II featuring a bi-directional rotating bezel, with for the first time a ceramic disc using Cerachrom in blue and black representing the day and night.
Rolex GMT Master II Day/Night – Case and Dial
The main distinguishing feature of this edition of Rolex GMT Master II Day/Night is the new blue-black Cerachrom two-tone bezel. This is obtained by a unique process developed and patented by Rolex enabling a ceramic component of two different colors to be fused into a single block (a technological challenge). Cerachrom was first introduced in 2005, and has the advantage of being virtually scratch-proof, highly resistant to corrosion and insensitive to the bleaching effects of UV rays. Its diamond polished surface provides an unalterable brightness. The graduation of 24 hours in the engraved ceramic is coated with a thin platinum layer of PVD (Physical Vapor Deposition). Note that the bidirectional bezel displays temporarily a third time zone …
The characteristic shapes of the GMT case are carved from a solid block of particularly corrosion-resistant 904L steel and the 40 mm case of the GMT-Master II is extremely sturdy and guaranteed water-resistant to 100 meters. The winding crown is equipped with the patented triple seal Triplock system.
The black lacquer dial displays indexes with Chromalight (a type of Rolex patented blue lume). In this new version, the GMT hand has a blue coating to compliment the bezel (versus the green with black ceramic bezel). As for the crystal, its topped by the famous Cyclops magnifier (2.5x magnification) at 3 pm for better reading the date and is virtually scratchproof sapphire.
Rolex GMT Master II Day/Night – Movement
This model is equipped with the 3186 caliber, a mechanical self-winding movement with date display and second time zone entirely developed and manufactured by Rolex . The 3186 is a certified Swiss chronometer, a title reserved for high-precision watches have passed the tests of the Official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute (COSC).
The hair spring, the true heart of the watch uses the blue Parachrom spring patented and manufactured by Rolex in an exclusive alloy. Completely insensitive to magnetic fields the spring has a high stability against temperature changes and is up to ten times more accurate than traditional spring in case of shocks. This new GMT-Master II is accompanied by a solid-link Oyster bracelet 904L steel with Oysterlock safety clasp to prevent accidental opening. This bracelet has Easylink , an ingenious system patented by Rolex that allows you to easily adjust the length by about about 5 mm for added comfort in all circumstances.
Rolex GMT Master II Day/Night – Conclusion and Price
While this new model the Rolex GMT Master II Day/Night (Ref. 116710BLNR) does not represent a major change – Rolex rarely makes those- it does add a nice looking option to the line and showcases its technical expertise with its creation of a two-tone ceramic bezel with seamless transition. The Black-Blue colour scheme of the Day-Night bezel is an attractive combination and seems a worthy follow up to the iconic Pepsi bezel, time will tell whether it achieve a similar status. US retail price is just under $9,000.
More resources about the Rolex GMT Master II Day/Night on ABTW, Hodinkee, and Official Rolex Website.