‘What’s in a name?’ Better yet, what’s in a nickname? Commonly used to express affection, admiration, and familiarity towards a person, place, or thing – nicknames are how we refer to anything we’re particularly fond of. Nicknames we have for other people are usually meant as terms of endearment to show connection, closeness, and even a deeper understanding of one another. Such is the case with many highly favored Rolex watches, as the luxury brand has no shortage of creative monikers for some of their most popular watch models. Some are widely known, while others are known more exclusively by only the truest of Rolex aficionados.
Nicknames also bring a level of lightheartedness and playfulness to things, especially when applied to something as seemingly serious and stuffy as the luxury watch industry. Below we’ve compiled a list of some of Rolex’s most popular watch nicknames for both your reference and enjoyment, as you’ll come to see that even a powerhouse brand like Rolex (well, its fans anyway) can have a sense of humor and geek out about their affinity for high-end luxury timepieces.
Rolex Watch Nicknames for the GMT-Master
Due to its signature two-tone bezel look available in a variety of color combinations, the Rolex GMT-Master collection has several fun and creative nicknames for many of their watch models.
The iconic blue and red GMT-Master bezel was the original colorway for the collection which was introduced as early as 1955 on the GMT-Master ref. 6542. Since then, several other GMT-Master models have emulated the same winning color combo but on different bezel materials. The original Pepsi bezel was made of Bakelite, and later on both Aluminum and Cerachrom ceramic bezels. While this timeless look color of the GMT-Master was originally developed in collaboration with Pan-Am Airlines, where it first got it’s blue-red feature design for its two-tone bezel, it is now more commonly referred to as the “Pepsi” as more people today are familiar with the equally iconic blue and red Pepsi globe logo. Today, the Pepsi bezel can be found on both the original GMT-Master and GMT-Master II models in both stainless steel and white gold.
The “Root Beer”
In keeping with the soda theme, another GMT-Master nicknamed the “Root Beer” was introduced by Rolex around 1963. The unique color palette of brown and yellow mixed with two-tone yellow gold and steel on the original “Root Beer” GMT-Master ref. 1675/3 and 16753 are what give this model a resemblance to the soda fountain classic and its packaging. Just picture the A&W Root Beer logo/label. Even the modern GMT-Master II “Root Beer” 126715CHNR with a black and brown ceramic bezel on either an Everose gold case or two-tone Everose gold and stainless-steel combination still emulates the same color scheme that makes you think of a cold root beer float on a hot summer day. Other nicknames for the GMT-Master II 16753 in particular include the “Clint Eastwood” and the “Dirty Harry”, inspired by the legendary actor and his famous onscreen character. Reason being – Eastwood famously wore his two-tone Root Beer GMT with a Jubilee bracelet and nipple dial in several of his movies.
The “Coca-Cola” or “Coke”
Yet another GMT-Master model with a soda-inspired moniker is the black and red bezel “Coca-Cola” or “Coke”. Naturally, this nickname was inspired by the resemblance of the black and red color combo to a classic Coke bottle and its signature red label. The Coke bezel was first introduced in 1983 on the GMT-Master II ref. 16760, and then re-introduced on the ref. 16710 years later in 1989. The Coke bezel has only ever been made in aluminum, which was discontinued along with the GMT-Master II 16710 in 2007, only adding to its exclusivity as a fan favorite.
In 2013, emerging from the shadows was yet another exciting new GMT-Master II model with a never-before-seen blue and black two-tone bezel. This new model, the 116710BLNR, quickly grew in popularity among Rolex fans who dubbed it the “Batman” for its color way that reminded them of the DC comic book superhero himself. Other sobriquets of the then-new blue and black bezel GMT include the “Bruiser”, “Phantom”, and “Dark Knight”. But of course the “Batman” just sounds the coolest and sticks the most. As one of the newer additions to the GMT Master II, the “Batman” quickly became one of the most popular models of not just the GMT collection but of the Rolex watch family in general.
Essentially the same watch with the same blue and black color combination as the “Batman”, the Rolex “Batgirl” came out six years after its predecessor in 2019. One major change that sets the two apart – the dressier look of the Jubilee bracelet on the “Batgirl” in place of the Oyster bracelet on the “Batman”. The GMT-Master II 126710BLNR now had an arguably more feminine overall appeal in comparison to the 116710BLNR – hence the gender change along with the name change.
The “Fat Lady”
In 1983, the OG GMT-Master was replaced with the GMT-Master II ref. 16760, which was aptly nicknamed the “Fat Lady” for its notably larger case. And by ‘notably larger’ we mean a mere 0.5mm increase in size – which, in the watch world, is a big deal. In any case, the introduction of the GMT-Master II “Fat Lady”, also nicknamed the “Sophia Loren”, marked the beginning of a new era for Rolex. Along with its larger and thicker size and stunning new black and red Coke bezel came the new and improved Caliber 3085, which enabled the independent setting of both hour hands, and thus of both time zones. That in itself made the GMT-Master II revolutionary. Not only could it tell two different time zones, it could now tell three – making it that much more of a sensation as far as travel-inspired tool watches go. Other groundbreaking “firsts” of the “Fat Lady” included a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal and white gold appliques surrounding its luminous hour markers – which are both standard and made on all Rolexes nowadays but were exciting new innovations at the time. With all that said, it goes without saying that the introduction of the “Fat Lady” marked a signature turning point in both Rolex and watchmaking history, making it a highly coveted piece.
Rolex Watch Nicknames for the Submariner
Another highly favored Rolex collection with equally favored monikers is none other than the “reference among divers’ watches” – the Submariner. Like with the GMT-Master collection, many of these cleverly chosen Submariner nicknames are inspired by the various color ways and combinations of the different models.
Perhaps one of the most noteworthy of the Submariner models is the “Kermit” ref. 16610LV, which was designed by Rolex to commemorate the Submariner collection’s 50th anniversary in 2003. This anniversary watch affectionately became the famous Muppet frog’s namesake when fans dubbed it the “Kermit” for its distinctive green bezel – a first for both the collection and the brand. Its aluminum ‘LV’ bezel or ‘lunette verte’ (‘green bezel’ in French) comes in the maxi size and style with larger/thicker hour markers and hands. And that bright vivid green especially pops off of its sleek black dial, which is all further complemented with a sterling steel case and Oyster bracelet. As catchy as this nickname is, the “Kermit” is one of the lesser-known Rolex monikers among the general public but more so among watch enthusiasts who can appreciate its significance in Rolex’s history. Almost 20 years after its release, the “Kermit” still remains a super exclusive and highly sought-after collectors’ piece.
In keeping with the green color scheme said to signify Rolex’s signature color, the renowned green Kermit was replaced in 2010 with a fellow green newcomer, the Submariner “Hulk” ref. 116610LV. This time with not just a green ceramic bezel but also with a matching green dial. This epic green on green aesthetic is boldly displayed on a bigger and bulkier Supercase – which all contributes to the fitting nickname derived from the larger-than-life Marvel Comics superhero, The Incredible Hulk. The shade of green is even a deeper/darker shade of green to better match the Hulk’s character, as the green on the “Kermit” is a lighter/brighter shade to better match Kermit’s froggy hue. It became an instant fan favorite for both its brilliant form and functionality and is still a highly desirable timepiece amongst watch collectors.
Keeping the green theme going even more is the recently released Submariner “Starbucks” ref. 126610LV, a level up from both its green predecessors – the “Kermit” and the “Hulk”. Launched alongside Rolex’s 2020 new releases, the “Starbucks” caused quite a stir as it mixed components from both the “Kermit” and the “Hulk” into one newly designed and upgraded Submariner new addition. Like the “Kermit”, the “Starbucks” pairs a vivid green bezel and a sleek black dial on a stainless-steel case and bracelet. Except the deeper shade of green on the “Starbucks” resembles the green on the “Hulk” more than the “Kermit”. Not to mention the bezel on both the “Starbucks” and “Hulk” are Cerarchrom (ceramic), compared to the aluminum-only bezel on the “Kermit”. In fact, before the moniker “Starbucks” began to really stick, it was first referred to as the “Ceramic Kermit”, or even the “Cermit” for short. The introduction of the “Starbucks” was an exciting blending of its two predecessors – combining the best of both worlds.
The first-ever two-tone Sub, ref. 16803, made quite a splash in the Submariner collection when it first debuted in 1983. And its popularity has rippled on ever since. Made of Rolesor, Rolex’s patented steel and gold combination, the 16803 came available in two color variations – the black dial and bezel, and the blue dial and bezel. Both options are fitted with a Rolesor bracelet, and feature gold accents on the dial and bezel for some extra pops of glam. Since these OG two-tone Subs first launched, there have been several new iterations with both design and functional upgrades. Regardless of the specific reference number, any blue version of the two-tone Submariner is adoringly dubbed the “Bluesy”.
Another famous blue Submariner with an adorable nickname is the Submariner “Smurf” ref. 116619LB. Released in 2008, the “Smurf” was the first Submariner to be made in white gold. Like the “Hulk” with it’s signature green on green aesthetic, the “Smurf” comes with a bright royal blue bezel framing a bright royal blue dial. Obviously, this blue on blue color scheme is where the “Smurf” got its cute nickname. Even cuter than that, it has also been affectionately referred to as “Papa Smurf”. As the first white gold Submariner, the “Smurf” can easily be confused for another stainless steel watch at a glance. But when put side by side with a steel watch, or better yet held side by side, the quality and weight of the white gold is unmistakable.
The “Bart Simpson”
Unlike the other Submariner nicknames that are all color-inspired, one in particular that is based instead on the unusual style and shape of the Rolex coronet logo on its dial is the Rolex Submariner “Bart Simpson” ref. 5513. First introduced as far back as 1966, the “Bart Simpson” is a rare vintage classic. In fact it’s one of the rarest Subs out there. Produced for a very short period, it was first made with gloss gilt dials and its later models with matte dials. This particular model was the very last of the Submariner collection to be made with the gilt dial and gold lettering, adding to its rarity. What gave this watch its instantly recognizable nickname is the unique shape of the Rolex coronet on its dial – which is flatter and shorter in appearance compared to the standard coronet on most Rolex watches and resembles the cartoon character’s equally unique head shape. Hence its clever nickname, the “Bart Simpson”.
Rolex Watch Nicknames for the Daytona
The Rolex Daytona collection has some noteworthy sobriquets that have drawn inspiration from different sources – including a notably famous wearer and fan of the collection, particular aesthetic designs, and the choice materials of some of its models.
The “Paul Newman”
Perhaps the most well-known and coveted Daytona watches – not to mention one of the most expensive ever sold – is the “Paul Newman” Daytona. Named after movie star Paul Newman, who famously wore his Rolex Daytona ref. 6239 watch that was gifted from his wife both on and off screen. What sets the “Paul Newman” apart from other Daytonas is its unique “Exotic dial” which has since become known as the “Paul Newman dial”. Oddly enough, before this model of the Daytona was made famous by Paul Newman himself sometime in the 1970s, around the same time Newman began dabbling in the world of professional motorsports, this version of the watch with its distinct exotc dial was actually considered somewhat of a flop. Not until Paul Newman, who was doubly cool as a renowned actor who was also into racing cars, let some of his own star power rub off on the watch he favored so much that the “Paul Newman” Daytona started picking up speed and popularity of its own. This distinct “Paul Newman dial” features a unique art-deco font, sub-dial numerals, plus a small “step” in the dial between the outer minute track and the center of the dial. Some models even feature the color red for some added race-inspired aesthetic. Originally known only exclusively amongst watch enthusiasts, the “Paul Newman” has quickly became one of the most well-known and highly collectable Rolex timepieces – especially since 2019, when Paul Newman’s own “Paul Newman” Daytona sold for auction at a chilling $17.8 million – making it the most expensive Rolex watch ever sold.
Easily one of Rolex’s cutest nicknames, the Rolex Daytona 116500LN was affectionately coined the “Panda” for its distinct dial. With a white dial, black Cerachrom bezel, and black rings around the chronograph totalizer sub-dials, this dial closely resembles the face of a panda bear – hence its nickname. As the 116500LN dial is available in either white or black, the black-dial counterpart of the “Panda” – still with a black bezel, but with white rings around the sub-dials instead – is known as the “Reverse Panda”. Both the “Panda” and the “Reverse Panda” – with the same reference number, just different dial colors – have remained fan favorites and some of the most coveted Rolex timepieces in the market since released in 2016.
A catchy play on words, the Rolex “Platona” ref. 116506 got its clever moniker as being the first platinum-case Daytona. Platinum + Daytona = “Platona”. Making its debut in 2013 as the highly-anticipated 50th anniversary Daytona, the “Platona” took the watch world by total surprise. Not only was it made of 950 platinum, perhaps the most noble of precious metals to be made of, it was the very first of the Daytona collection to made of it. Signature to other platinum Rolex models, its dial is a pristine ice blue which is perfectly offset with chestnut brown in both its ceramic bezel and sub-dials. A total unexpected change and upgrade for the Daytona collection, the “Platona” ref. 116506 is an absolute stunner and fitting to commemorate its 50th anniversary.
The Rolex Daytona 16520, aka the “Zenith” for its Zenith El Primero movement, marked an important turning point in Rolex watchmaking as the first self-winding Daytona watch. Introduced in the late 1980s, at a time when Rolex was still using third-party suppliers for certain things, the Daytona “Zenith” was a prime example of this as it used an outside sourced movement – the Zenith El Primero Caliber 400 – considered the best self-winding movement available on the market at the time and thus deemed worthy of a Rolex collaboration. Nowadays, Rolex manufactures everything in-house – making the “Zenith” a rare find for watch collectors, although not quite old enough to be considered vintage just yet.
Rolex Watch Nicknames for the Day-Date
Ah, the classic Rolex Day-Date. A timepiece that will always be considered iconic and timeless for its prestigious appeal and glamour, especially on the wrists of many influential and high-power figures in history. Which is why it got its notable moniker of the “President” or “Presidential”. Well, partly why. In addition to being the preferred watch of many world leaders since it first launched in 1956, the Rolex “President” is also fitted with the distinguished President bracelet – giving it the ultimate look of refinement. Unlike other Rolex nicknames that are specific to one model, the Rolex “President” refers to any watch from the Day-Date collection.
Rolex Watch Nicknames for the Datejust
With an extensive history dating back over 75 years, the Rolex Datejust collection has grown quite a bit over the years. Naturally, it has also acquired some catchy nicknames for some of its models in the process.
Embodying the prestigious partnership between Rolex and the world famous tennis tournament, Wimbledon, is a model of the Rolex Datejust II that was aptly nicknamed the “Wimbledon”. Its striking slate “Wimbledon” dial comes in several different variations, which are all unique, classic, and stylish – exuding sophistication on any wrist. The regal green color signature to the “Wimbledon” dial holds much significance for both the sport of tennis and for Rolex. The most recent configuration of the “Wimbledon” is the Datejust 41, like the one that tennis superstar, Roger Federer, frequently sports both on and off the court.
Another Datejust variation with historical significance is the Rolex “Thunderbird”. In 1953, the first Rolex Turn-O-Graph watch was introduced and was the brand’s first ever watch with a rotating bezel. Shortly after, the US Air Force demonstration squadron, aka the “Thunderbirds”, began using the Datejust with the turn-o-graph bezel as its official watch. Soon after that, Rolex began sponsoring the entire squadron of Thunderbird pilots with this watch, which from thereon after became aptly nicknamed the “Thunderbird”.
Rolex Watch Nicknames for the Sea-Dweller
The “Deepsea”/“James Cameron”
In 2008, the Rolex Sea-Dweller collection introduced its then-new sub-collection, the “Deepsea”. Years later in 2014 was another exciting new release of the special edition version “Deepsea” – the Rolex “D-Blue” Deepsea – created in honor of filmmaker and explorer James Cameron’s famous 2012 solo dive to the bottom of the Mariana Trench – the deepest point of the ocean. Accompanying Cameron on this history-making dive was the Deepsea Challenge Sea-Dweller prototype, which stunned everybody by keeping impeccable timing throughout the entire seven hour dive. This historic experiment marked an essential turning point for Rolex, giving it the official title of the “deepest diving watch on earth”. Naturally, this legendary watch earned the fitting monikers of both the “Deepsea” as well as the “James Cameron”.
Rolex Watch Nicknames for the Explorer
The “Steve McQueen”
Both the Rolex Explorer and Explorer II, launched in 1953 and 1971 respectively, are both representative of Rolex’s strong ties and deep support of the world of exploration. Both have proven time and time again to be the ultimate watch of choice for adventurers and explorers. Perhaps the most notable model of the Explorer collection is the Explorer II ref. 1655, which was in production between 1971 and 1984. It’s most unique design feature is its 24-hour hand in the shape of a big prominent orange arrow – which gives it a cool and striking presence on the wrist. As such, this particular model was nicknamed the “Steve McQueen” after the American actor who himself was nicknamed the “King of Cool”.
Another color-inspired Rolex nickname, not specific to any one model, is the Rolex Explorer II “Polar”. As you can probably guess by this nickname, the “Polar” can be used in reference to any Rolex Explorer II with a white “Polar” dial. Some models with this nickname include the newly released Explorer II “Polar” ref. 226570, and its predecessors the “Polar” ref. 216570, ref. 16570, and ref. 16550 – all of which have pristine white dials, which creates an icy and ever-elusive aesthetic. Considering white dials are sparse amongst Rolex sports watches, the Explorer II “Polar” in any which reference is a highly-coveted piece among watch enthusiasts.