When it comes to watches that show time from different locations in the world, the Rolex GMT-Master II is among the best in the arena. Timepieces from the catalog impress by going beyond the norm in GMT watches. The Rolex GMT-Master II models support up to three time zones, beating other Swiss GMT timepieces and its predecessor, the Rolex GMT-Master watch, which can only display two.
The Rolex GMT-Master II, originally designed for aircraft pilots, is one flagship timepiece that continues to fly high. Its global popularity is not only because of its three-time zone display that’s great for travelers. The watch is also easy to use, coming complete with a robust build and the signature Rolex look.
That being said, what makes a Rolex GMT-Master II tick? At the “heart” of the watch is a caliber that supports adjustment of the extra hour hand without the need to stop the second, minute, and 24-hour hands. It is this mechanism that allows the two timezone displays to function smoothly.
The GMT-Master II’s face also comes with a rotatable bezel made of fade-resistant Cerachrom and patented Rolex ceramics for the third time zone. The components are held together by parts made of Oystersteel, an impermeable, corrosion-resistant, and sleek Rolex alloy.
Prices at a Glance: Most Popular Rolex GMT-Master II Watches
Rolex GMT-Master II Pepsi Stainless Steel Men’s Watch
Red-blue bezel, black analog dial, date display, Breguet hands, adjustable 24-hour hand, Rolex Calibre 3285, 70-hour power reserve, automatic
Rolex GMT-Master II Batman 2019 Men's Watch
Black-blue bezel, black dial, date display, luminous silver hands, stainless steel case and band, Rolex Caliber 3285, 70-hour power reserve, automatic
Rolex GMT-Master II Black & Brown Bezel Stainless Steel Automatic Black Dial Men's Watch
Everose gold band and case, Rolex Maxi hands, adjustable 24-hour hand, chronometer, date display, Rolex Caliber 3285, 70-hour power reserve
Rolex GMT-Master II Diamond Pave Dial Men's Watch
Pave Diamond face, 18k rose gold case, 18k yellow gold Oystersteel band, date display, Rolex Caliber 3186, 50-hour power reserve, automatic
Rolex GMT-Master II Steel Automatic Black Dial Men's Watch
Bidirectional 24-hour bezel, date display, Breguet hands, stainless steel case and band, Rolex Caliber 3186, 50-hour power reserve
Rolex GMT-Master II 18kt Yellow Gold Men's Watch
18k yellow gold and silver band, rotatable bezel, black analog dial, date display, Breguet hands, Rolex Caliber 3186, 50-hour power reserve, automatic
Rolex GMT-Master II Black & Brown Bezel Everose Gold Automatic Black Dial Men's Watch
Everose gold case and band, Rolex Maxi hands, adjustable 24-hour hand, scratch-resistant sapphire glass, caliber 3285, 70-hour power reserve
Rolex GMT-Master II Pepsi White Gold Men's Watch
Independent rapid-setting hour hand, instantaneous date, stop-seconds, blue dial, white gold case and band, Rolex Caliber 3285, 70-hour power reserve, automatic
Rolex GMT-Master II Yellow Gold Automatic Green Dial Men's Watch
Perpetual, mechanical self-winding GMT function, date display with cyclops lens, Rolex Maxi hands, adjustable 24-hour hand, 18k yellow gold case and band, caliber 3186
Rolex GMT-Master II Yellow Gold Diamond Bezel Men's Watch
18k yellow gold Oystersteel case and band, black dial, diamond-encrusted bezel, automatic, 100m water resistance
What Exactly is a GMT Watch?
A GMT watch is an accessory that can display an additional time zone via another hour hand pointing to a separate scale on the timepiece’s face. A third time zone can also be displayed when the watch is fitted with a rotatable bezel with scale markings.
The watch gets its name from the Greenwich Meridian Time, the solar time at the earth’s zero-degree longitude in Greenwich, England. GMT is the reference for measuring time differences around the globe.
How much is a GMT-Master II watch?
Rolex GMT-Master II watches are high-end watches, price-wise. Below are iconic timepieces, their prices, and features that make them bestsellers:
Rolex GMT-Master II Pepsi – $20,000 USD to $50,000 USD
With the red and blue hues of the soft-drink brand it is named after, the Rolex GMT-Master II Pepsi breaks the monotony of an all-silver timepiece. The watch’s two-tone bezel is complemented by a black dial and sleek bracelet. The band can be in stainless steel, such as that of the $23,000 Rolex GMT-Master II Pepsi Stainless Steel model, or in white gold like the $50,000 Rolex GMT-Master II Pepsi White Gold model.
This timepiece gives you the most bang for your buck because of its appearance and tenacious build. The bezel, for instance, is crafted with abrasion-resistant ceramics. Also, the caliber used is the in-house 3285 movement. This is the upgraded version of the caliber 3186 Rolex used for Pepsi variants from 2014 to 2017. Caliber 3285 is best known for improved shock and magnetic resistance, keeping post-2018 Rolex GMT-Master II Pepsi models’ triple time zone displays accurate for years.
Rolex GMT-Master II Coke – $17,000 USD
Design-wise, the Rolex GMT-Master II Coke resembles the GMT-Master II Pepsi. One major difference, though, is the red-and-black split hue of the dial inspired by Coca-Cola.
Another unique thing about the Coke variant is its caliber. Since the watch was launched in the 1980s, it integrates the classic Rolex Caliber 3085. Although this movement came in a 6.3mm-thick form factor, it was considered innovative for its time due to being one of the earliest calibers that had an independently adjustable hour hand to support multiple time zones. The mechanism’s size is what led to the iconic Rolex GMT-Master II Coke Ref. 16710 being dubbed “The Fat Lady”.
While Rolex isn’t producing any GMT-Master II Coke watches anymore, you can still purchase them from resellers for about $17,000 USD or less.
Rolex GMT-Master II Root Beer – $10,000 USD to $27,000 USD
Following the trend of collaborating with famous soft drink brands, Rolex GMT-Master II went on to release a brown-and-black bezel called the Rolex GMT-Master II Root Beer. This model is widely known to boast sunburst dials.
Another unique aspect of the watch is the caliber that keeps it ticking. For variants released between 1989 and 2006, it’s the 3185 movement. Models released beyond 2007 use the caliber 3186 instead. Both mechanisms extend the power reserve level to 50 hours, but the latter is more resistant to magnetism.
The cheapest Rolex GMT-Master II Root Beer timepiece with the reference number 16713 starts at $10,000 USD. Expensive variants are valued at up to $27,000 USD.
Rolex GMT-Master II Batman – $15,000 to $50,000
Rolex continues its pattern of drawing inspiration from pop culture, this time moving away from soft drinks to comics and movie characters. The Rolex GMT-Master II Batman is one such model, its blue-and-black bezel inspired by Batman.
Launched in 2013, this timepiece is fitted with either 3186 or 3285 movements. Both are high-performing calibers that give the watch top-of-the-line power reserves — a very fitting representation of Batman’s prowess. The watch also comes with Rolex’s signature rust-resistant Oystersteel or Jubilee band.
Price-wise, a Rolex GMT-Master II Batman watch with a steel alloy band goes for $15,000 USD to $20,000 USD. One that has yellow or white gold parts is quoted between $30,000 USD and $50,000 USD.
Rolex GMT-Master II Diamond – $100,000 USD and Up
While typical Rolex GMT-Master II watches boast a business or sporty look, the Rolex GMT-Master II Diamond deviates from this trend. This is a diamond-embellished watch that is among the most expensive timepieces from Rolex.
At present, there are two popular variants of the timepiece: the Rolex GMT-Master II Diamond Pave that is listed at $175,000 USD, and the Rolex GMT-Master II Yellow Gold Diamond watch which is valued at $118,000 USD. Both use high-end parts, including cases made of pure 18K rose or yellow gold. The major difference is that in the Diamond Pave version, the dial is “paved” with diamonds while in the Yellow Gold Diamond variant, the diamonds are made prominent on the bezel.
What’s different with this year’s two-tone watches is that the bands are not made of stainless steel. These timepieces integrate Rolex’s aerospace-grade alloy Oystersteel instead, which is a significant durability upgrade.
Other than that, the Rolex Oyster Perpetual GMT-Master II watches bear the same great features as their predecessor models. The timepieces also have support for multiple time zones because of the bidirectional rotatable 24-hour bezel, easy local date adjustment via the crown, and the built-in caliber 3285.
Is the vintage Rolex GMT-Master II a good investment?
A vintage Rolex GMT-Master II is a good investment because of its appreciating value. However, you’ll have to anticipate which specific series will yield the highest return based on popularity and rarity.
When it comes to the Rolex GMT-Master II collection, vintage Batman variants with stainless steel bands often top online rankings as the best timepieces to invest in. Their prices increase by a thousand US dollars year on year. The watches even edge out the most expensive GMT-Master II timepieces that have precious gems or are in gold. Possible reasons behind that are said to be the uniqueness of the blue-and-black bezel in the market, stainless steel being the classic look of a Rolex watch, and Batman variants’ popularity because of being more affordable than diamond versions and less common than Pepsi, Coke, and Root Beer timepieces.
The History Behind the Rolex GMT-Master II
In discussing the Rolex GMT-Master II, we must first take a look at the original GMT-Master. Rolex GMT watches started in 1955 with the Oyster Perpetual GMT-Master with reference number 6542 and Pepsi bezel. It was the first watch with two time zones designed for professionals in the aviation industry. With great quality, it became the official watch of Pan American World Airways during that time.
In 1959, the production of the Rolex GMT-Master Root Beer watch and the use of aluminum inserts instead of Plexiglas followed. This resulted in more color options for the dials and improved the durability of Rolex GMT-Master watches.
Innovation continued in 1982, leading to the birth of the Rolex GMT-Master II watch. The timepiece bore features that were superior to what its predecessor had. For starters, the Rolex GMT-Master II supported a separate adjustment of the hour hand, making the setting of a third time zone possible.
Succeeding years paved the way for more material and design upgrades. Rolex GMT-Master II watches started incorporating ceramic bezel inserts in 2005, the patented and more durable Cerachrom inserts and Batman bezels in 2013, and the best in-house movement known as caliber 3285 in 2018.
Famous Patrons of the Rolex GMT-Master II Watch
Popular personalities who have worn a watch from the Rolex GMT-Master II Collection best show the brand’s luxury charm:
Ellen DeGeneres was seen sporting a stainless-steel Rolex GMT-Master II Pepsi while hosting The Ellen DeGeneres Show. The host is also known to be a fan of other popular Rolex watch models.
Actor and film producer Brad Pitt wore an 18K yellow gold Rolex GMT-Master II during his early Hollywood days. The watch completed his getup in some of his celebrity photoshoots.
Action film industry icon Sylvester Stallone is also a proud owner of a Rolex GMT-Master II watch. The model seen by the public from him is the gem-embellished GMT-Master II SARU watch.
5 Reasons to Buy a Rolex GMT-Master II Watch
The Rolex GMT-Master II watch is a coveted timepiece due to various reasons. These mainly have to do with the timepiece’s best features and brand reputation:
1. The Rolex GMT-Master II watch can be set easily to show three time zones.
2. The timepiece’s quality is recognized by the aviation industry.
3. The watch uses reinforced materials, including Oystersteel and Cerachrom.
4. The timepiece matches different fashion styles, ranging from casual to formal.
5. The Rolex label is a status symbol, being from a luxury watchmaker with the biggest global following.
Rolex GMT-Master II: A Jetsetter’s Must-Have Watch
The Rolex GMT-Master II is the best timepiece for travelers because of its unmatched multifunctionality and impressive durability. With more innovations coming out, the catalog can be expected to remain a top pick for GMT watch fans.