First launched in 1955, the GMT-Master was released at a time when intercontinental travel was rapidly evolving. Since then, it has gained great status as the preferred watch for long-haul pilots, proving to be extremely practical for world travel with its ability to display multiple time zones at once. It even became the official watch of Pan American World Airways, or Pan Am, the most renowned American intercontinental airlines at the time – which further solidified Rolex’s name and credibility at the time.
Rolex GMT-Master I and GMT-Master II reference numbers include: 6542, 6542/8, 1675, 16753, 16758, 16750, 16760, 16700, 16710, 16713, 116710LN, 116710BLNR, 116713LN, 116718LV, 116719BLRO, 126710BLNR, 126719BLRO, 126711CHNR, 126715CHNR.
The Rolex GMT-Master was created with the needs of avid world travelers in mind. Perhaps its most distinctive feature is its GMT function that displays multiple time zones at once, making it a highly practical tool for airline pilots, international businesspeople, and travel enthusiasts alike. This revolutionized time-telling while going abroad, allowing wearers to read their local time and the time back home (or elsewhere) simultaneously. As the first wristwatch with this capability, the GMT-Master quickly grew in popularity for its unique and practical usage while traveling. Almost three decades after the original GMT-Master first launched, the new GMT-Master II was released in 1982 – further enhancing this characteristic function with the ability to read a third time zone simultaneously. This made the watch even more coveted among globetrotters everywhere.
Its characteristic two-color bidirectional bezel is divided in two halves, each with a different color, to easily decipher between daytime and nighttime hours. On the original 1955 model, the two halves were colored red and blue, landing it the nickname of the “Pepsi”. Since then, the bezel insert has become available in other color variations like the black and blue “Batman”, a huge fan favorite of many with a waitlist for it that goes on for years. Other notable models of the GMT-Master II include the black and red “Coke” and the aforementioned black and brown “Root Beer”.
The GMT-Master is a popular watch of choice for not only avid travelers, but for many well-known celebrities as well. One of the most famous GMT-Masters to ever grace the big screen was Clint Eastwood’s GMT-Master “Rootbeer”, which has been spotted in several of Eastwood’s films including the 1982 film Firefox and the 1993 film In the Line of Fire. This model of the GMT-Master is so closely linked to the actor that it’s often referred to by watch enthusiasts as the “Clint Eastwood”. Tom Selleck is another actor who frequently wore the iconic GMT-Master “Pepsi” on the TV series Magnum P.I. and Jesse Stone. Other actors and television hosts who favor the GMT-Master include Marlon Brando, Sylvester Stallone, Daniel Craig, and Ellen DeGeneres. It’s also a popular watch of choice for several professional athletes including Cristiano Ronaldo, Floyd Mayweather, Roger Federer, and David Beckham.
FAQs about the GMT-Master
Q: How much is a Rolex GMT-Master II new?
A: Determining the price value for a brand new GMT-Master II could vary amongst different retailers and dealers depending on several factors, such as the bezel material, the bracelet style, and the specific model and reference. For example, the GMT-Master II 16710 released in 1989 is worth upwards of $5,400 depending on the watch’s condition. Currently the highest priced GMT-Master II at retail is the 2018 released 126719BLRO with the meteorite dial, priced at $39,900. Whereas the older GMT-Master II “Pepsi” 116719BLRO with the iconic red and blue Cerachrom bezel is available for upwards of $41,000.
Q: How to adjust a Rolex GMT-Master II bracelet?
A: The GMT-Master II comes available with either the Rolex-patented Oyster bracelet or Jubilee bracelet. Both bracelet types can best be adjusted to the desired size by removing or adding links to the bracelet to best fit the wearer’s wrist. Many Rolex watches, including the GMT-Master II, come with a bracelet clasp that has an easy-link feature, allowing wearers to adjust the size of the bracelet easily. Adjusting a Rolex bracelet can be done on your own with the proper tools – like an official Rolex screwdriver (not just any screwdriver) and a springbar tool – as well as a good amount of research, instruction, attention, time, and care. For more detailed instructions on how to change your own bracelet, please refer to our “How to Change your Watch Strap or Bracelet” blog. As the slightest misstep can potentially damage your watch and affect its value, we highly recommend having a professional watchmaker who has the necessary skills and tools to properly adjust your bracelet.
Q: Is the Rolex GMT-Master II a good investment?
A: Rolex sports watches generally hold or grow in value very well if kept in good condition. As one of the most popular sports watches by the brand is the GMT-Master II, it is a highly sought-after model that will likely get you a good return on your investment when reselling it, provided it is kept in excellent condition, is still in working order, and ideally has the original box and papers and accessories included.