Rolex GMT-Master II 126710BLRO Review: A Master of the Skies

The steel BLRO is one of the most sought-after timepieces among watch collectors. But has it earned that right? This Rolex GMT review offers a verdict on it as well as its hits and misses to give you a clear picture:

Verdict

The Rolex GMT-Master II ref. 126710BLRO is a modern and highly functional luxury sports timepiece. Its highly-polished steel case and bracelet may be too much for some, but it’s a good investment since the Pepsi GMT is a rare find and it’s overall attractive.

Hits

  • It has an all-modern steel-Cerachrom design, making it perfect for the modern era.
  • Its unique bracelet is smooth, stylish, and easy on the wrist.
  • It has a muscular and slim case that gives it a nice, professional feel.

Misses

  • The 40mm case size fits fewer wrists.
  • Its Jubilee bracelet gives it a more formal look, making it feel out of place with a tee and jeans combo.
  • The colors on the Rolex ‘Pepsi’ bezel tend to change according to light intensity.

History of the Rolex GMT-Master II 

The Rolex GMT-Master II was an improvement of the GMT-Master, which was introduced in 1954 after Pan American Airlines requested Rolex to craft a timepiece that would simultaneously track time in several places.

The GMT-Master can indicate two time zones at once and was produced from 1954 to 1988. Meanwhile, the GMT-Master II can show three and is available in four iterations for now.

Rolex GMT Master II 16760 ‘Fat Lady’

The Fat Lady was introduced in 1983. It debuted the now famous red and black ‘Coke’ bezel and got its unusual moniker since it had a thicker, curvier 40mm case. It was also the first GMT timepiece to have a sapphire crystal and White Gold indices borders and was available exclusively in a steel body and Oyster-style bracelet.

Rolex GMT Master II 16710

Released in 1989, the ref. 16710 had a more slender case than its predecessor. The great watch was available in steel, but there was also a full Yellow Gold model (ref. 16718) and a two-tone Yellow Gold and steel variant (ref. 16713).

The ref. 16710 had a monochromatic black bezel, a red and black ‘Coke’ bezel, and a red and blue ‘Pepsi’ bezel. Meanwhile, the ref. 16718 had a smooth, black bezel and the two-tone GMT Master also had a black bezel and a brown ‘Root Beer’ option. The ref. 16710 also came in Jubilee and Oyster-style bracelet options.

2007-Present: Rolex GMT Master II 116710

Rolex presented the ref. 116718 (Anniversary) in 2005. It featured a solid 18K Yellow Gold 40mm ‘Super Case,’ a Cerachrom bezel made from ceramic material (an improvement from the previous aluminum options), a Triplock winding crown, a ROLEX engraving on the inner bezel lining, and an Oyster bracelet with a Rolex Easylink system.

It was quickly followed by the two-tone steel and Yellow Gold ref. 116713 (2006) and the steel 116710LN (2007). The ref. 116713 had a black bezel and black dial, while the ref.116710LN had a blue and black bezel (BLNR) and a black bezel. All the models were available exclusively in Oyster bracelets.

Rolex GMT Master II 126710

It was introduced at Baselworld in 2018 and features two variants: The Everose Gold versions (refs. 126715CHNR and 126711CHNR) and our pick for this article, the 126710BLRO (Bleu Rouge, or blue-red in English). Both iterations have an Oyster bracelet and the new Caliber 3285 movement.

Design and Features of the Rolex-GMT Master II 126710BLRO ‘‘Pepsi’’

The Case

Rolex GMT Master II Case

The steel BLRO has a rugged 40mm Oysterteel case with polished edges and a 12mm thickness. The Oystersteel case is worth noting since it’s more durable and holds shine better than ordinary stainless steel.

It also has smooth, well-leveled lugs to specifically fit the Jubilee bracelet and a winding steel crown with a Triplock system. The system acts to screw it in place with the case. The crown has notches, making it helpful during adjusting the time in several zones.

At its top is an anti-reflective, scratch-resistant sapphire crystal with an anti-reflective coating over the dial, held in place by the bi-colored (blue and red) Cerachrom ceramic bezel. 

The case has a solid, screw-down caseback with no engravings. It also has a water resistance of 100m, making it fit for swimming and other light water scenarios.

The Bezel 

Rolex GMT Master II Bezel

Rolex had to combine a rare earth oxide, chromium oxide, and magnesium oxide to get the striking crimson-red hue on the blue and red bezel. It’s rotatable bi-directionally and has white 24-hour graduations. Its blue color indicates nighttime from 1800 hrs to 0600 hrs, while the red color shows daytime from 0600 hrs to 1800 hrs.

This new bezel allows the reading of three separate time zones thanks to Rolex’s move of making the 24-hour GMT hand independent from the center minute and hour hands. Learn how to set time zones using the crown and bezel here.

The Dial

Rolex GMT Master II Dial

Typical of Rolex, the reference number 126710BLRO’s dial is minimal yet luxuriously powerful and legible. It has an intense, black color, contrasted by the Chromalight lume-applied Mercedes-style hands and round, rectangular and an inverted triangle (at 12 o’clock) hour markers.

It also has a lollipop-style seconds hand with a lume-applied tip and a red arrow-shaped 24-hour hand. The 24-hour hand is also lume-applied at the tip and stands out noticeably from the black background. 

It’s easy for the dial to come off as serious and formal. That’s why Rolex toned down things a bit with the date window at 3 o’clock. It’s magnified by a Cyclops magnifying lens on the sapphire crystal for the ultimate sporty look.

A clever nod to the piece’s modern look is the coronet between the ‘SWISS’ and ‘MADE’ prints below 6 o’clock. It signifies the watch is using an all-new movement.

The Movement

Rolex GMT Master II Movement

The movement in question is the youthful automatic Caliber 3285 movement. This superlative chronometer-certified in-house movement is accurate by +2/-2 seconds per day and promises a 5-year warranty duration.

It took over the baton from its predecessor, the Caliber 3186, in 2018. It shows its exceptional competency with its solid escape wheel, Paraflex shock absorbers and anti-magnetic blue Parachrom hairspring that’s at least ten times more accurate than a traditional hairspring. 

It also has a new Chronergy escapement that grants it an impressive 70-hour power reserve (a boost from the previous 48 hours) and a higher precision. The movement features 31 jewels and a 28,800vph frequency. If looks matter to you in a watch and its movement, the Caliber 3285 doesn’t disappoint. It’s decorated with hand-applied and sunburst engravings.

Pricing and Availability

According to WatchCharts, the Rolex GMT-Master II 126710BLRO has a retail price of S$14,267- a rise from the S$12,706 price tag it had during its release. This mechanical watch was first available to authorized retailers and in Rolex boutiques in 2018. More info on that here

The Rolex GMT-Master II 126710BLRO As a Collector’s Item

wearing GMT-Master II 126710BLRO

The GMT-Master II Pepsi isn’t any ordinary luxury sports watch. Aside from aesthetic appeal, it’s among the few watches with tons of features and benefits that make it a must-have among most watch enthusiasts. Its price has increased by at least 3 percent since its introduction, and it won’t slow down from the look of things.

What makes this new version watch any different from other aviation-inspired pieces? Why is it such a big deal to most watch collectors and a valuable item for watch collecting? Let’s find out:

  • It offers a vintage charm in a new, exciting steel body – the 126710BLRO may have a new movement and new steel case with a brushed finish, but it still carries the charm associated with the GMT vintage models. Its ‘Pepsi’ bezel and Jubilee bracelet with polished center links and brushed outer links are its best-selling points.
  • It has a mouth-watering investment potential – speaking of selling, the watch can gather a fortune (mostly) in the second-hand market if sold in mint condition. It commands double retail on the pre-owned market.
  • It’s rare – this Rolex watch is hard to come across. Rolex offers it in limited quantities to maintain its value and also since its production process is meticulous and time-consuming.
  • It’s connected to royalty – the Crown is famous for making some of the world’s most elegant, functional, and robust luxury timepieces. That includes the ref. 126710BLRO. It showcases Rolex’s unique craftsmanship and desirable attention to detail.
  • It’s associated with Pan American Airlines – Pan Am is a respectable and well-known airline worldwide. The connection of the 126710BLRO to it boosts its popularity and desirability locally and internationally. 

The Competitive Landscape

Luxury sports timepieces are getting recognition now more than ever. It’s only expected that the ref. 126710BLRO is among the watches that contributed to this growing popularity. It has a commanding presence in the horological arena, plus the same watch an impressive retail price tag of S$14,267.

Several other great watches like the Tudor Black Bay GMT, the Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean, and the Rolex GMT-Master II ‘Batman’ have emerged and are trying their hand at the coveted position. Let’s see if they have what it takes to overthrow the new watch ref. 126710BLRO:

  • Bezel – the Tudor GMT has a Titanium bezel, the Seamaster has a black ceramic unidirectional rotating bezel, while the ‘Batman’ has a black and blue bezel insert.
  • Water resistance – they all have admittedly better water resistance ratings, with the Seamaster being water resistant to 6000m, the Tudor GMT following at 200m, and the ‘Batman’ tailing with 100m.
  • Movement – they also have equally reliable movements, with the Tudor GMT housing an automatic COSC Caliber MT5652 movement, the Seamaster having the self-winding Omega Caliber 8912 movement, and the ‘Batman’ boasting the self-winding Caliber 3285 movement.
  • Case size – the Seamaster has the largest case (45.5mm) followed by the Tudor GMT (41mm) and the ‘Batman’ (40mm).

As for their pricing and collectibility:

  • As per WatchCharts, the Tudor GMT retails for a more affordable S$5,734.
  • According to WatchCharts, the Seamaster retails for between S$6,000 and S$10,400.
  • According to WatchCharts, the ‘Batman’ has a retail price of S$14,267.

They put up a good fight. The ‘Batman’ came closest to the ref. 126710BLRO since they’re related. However, it and the other competitors don’t have as much collectibility as the steel BLRO since it’s rare and has a much-desired ‘Pepsi’ bezel.

Additionally, they may be more affordable, but when you consider the materials used to create the two watches (the Tudor and Submariner), the ref. 126710BLRO is worth the more expensive price tag.

FAQs

1. Is the Rolex GMT good?

The Rolex GMT is good. It’s created from high-quality materials, is highly functional, and keeps accurate time for years thanks to its reliable self-winding mechanical movement.

2. What is special about Rolex GMT?

It’s created from high-end materials, adding to its luxury and robustness. Moreover, the first GMT Master has a 24-hour display fourth hand complication connected directly to and showing a similar time zone as the standard 12-hour hand.

3. Which is better GMT or Submariner?

It depends on the wearer’s personal preference. Both Rolex watches are unique than other watches and have many exciting features that are equally helpful to different fans.

4. Why are GMT watches so popular?

GMT watches are popular for their GMT function- some in two time zones (like Rolex’s GMT Master) and others in three or more zones (e.g., Rolex’s GMT-Master II).

Final Word

The Rolex GMT-Master II 126710BLRO is indeed a master of the skies. It has earned the enviable title with its durable steel case, beautiful bi-colored ‘Pepsi’ bezel, and the high-precision Caliber 3285 movement.

Key Takeaways

  • The Pepsi Rolex ref.126710BLRO is a modern GMT-Master II watch with ample vintage Rolex charm.
  • Its most notable features are its Jubilee bracelet and ‘Pepsi’ bezel.
  • The Pepsi GMT Master II is desirable to collectors for many reasons, mainly its rarity, connection to royalty (Rolex), and vintage charm.

Looking to buy or sell your luxury watches? Watch Book is your one-stop destination for trading Rolex, Patek Philippe, Tissot, Sinn, Zenith, and other luxury timepieces. Find your next watch today or list your item for free!

Share the knowledge: