Hands-On Review: Rolex GMT-Master II

Rolex is a brand that everybody knows and loves is a synonym for luxury watches. It has never strayed from its unfailing mission to produce the finest, and most reliable tool watches available. Rolex has made many important contributions to horology that cannot be contradicted. The brand is responsible for creating the world’s first water-resistant watch. They also made the first watch that changes date automatically, the Datejust. And the first watch to display two time zones at once, the Rolex GMT-Master. The GMT Master eventually led to the Rolex GMT Master II.

A Brief History

The Rolex GMT Master was first launched in 1955 and is a popular watch in the Rolex’s professional watch collection. The GMT in the GMT Master stands for Greenwich Mean Time which is the primary standard which regulates clocks and time worldwide. Originally this watch was designed in collaboration with Pan American Airways. It was issued to the airline’s crew on long-haul flights.

In 1982, a new movement was introduced by Rolex which allowed the hour hands to be set separately of the other hands in the GMT Master thus resulting in the birth of Rolex GMT-Master II. In 2005, Rolex introduced the modern Rolex GMT Master II with some groundbreaking innovations. It came with a virtually scratch and fade-proof ceramic bezel, a larger Trip-lock crown, green 24-hour hand, a bracelet with polished center links and Easylink extension, and a new movement, the caliber 3186.

Rolex GMT Master II

Later Years

In the following years, various iterations of the Rolex GMT-Master were introduced. But they were all missing the bi-color bezels that were the most recognizable feature of these watches. Despite all the improvements and benefits, the new ceramic bezel was only available in black color. Ceramic is a much harder material to work with, and according to Rolex, it was impossible to create a bi-color bezel in ceramic.

Innovative Bi-Color Bezel

However, in Basel 2013 Rolex showed off another amazing feat which their technician has been working on for many years. They were able to develop the world’s first one-piece ceramic bezel in two different colors – black and blue. This bezel is a complex component as the color changes depending on the lighting. In direct sunlight, the blue of the bezel looks very vibrant and bright while in neutral room lighting the blue changes to a more subtle hue. However, in darker settings, this blue color almost transitions into the black.

Rolex GMT Master II

The bi-color bezel starts off as blue while the black is mixed in later with the help of a patented Rolex process. The second tone is accomplished by masking one half of the bezel and treating the other half with a special chemical. The transition of the two colors is extremely sharp and flawless with no evident fuzziness or bleeding. The engraved numerals are polished with a thin coating of platinum thus giving it a three- dimensional, glossy look that is legible as well as striking. In this unique combination of black and blue, black denotes the nighttime hours while blue represents the daytime hours.

The sporty look of the bezel makes it perfect for casual outings. You can pair it with jeans and a t-shirt for a day in the park. However, when you wear it in your office or in evening events with a suit, it takes on a more subtle nuance.

Rolex GMT-Master II Classic Dial

The dial of the Rolex GMT-Master II has large easy-to-read at glance hands and markers. The black dial perfectly balances the playful nature of the blue GMT hand and bezel. The GMT hand is a beautiful study in contrasts. Moreover, the GMT hand is super thin which completely opposes the larger elements of the dial and certain subtleness to its blue sporty components.

Comfortable Jubilee Bracelet

The Rolex GMT-Master II is presented on a jubilee bracelet that is very comfortable. The center links of the bracelet are polished while the outer links are presented with a brushed finish giving this watch a dressier look. The small links fit snugly against your wrist without pulling any fine hair. The jubilee bracelet for the GMT-master II uses the Oysterlock folding clasp with a convenient Easylink extension. That’ll increase the length of the bracelet by 5 mm. This practical feature is particularly helpful on warm days.

Rolex GMT Master II

Increased Power Reserve

The Rolex GMT-Master II provides the wearer with three full days of uninterrupted power. The more efficient Chronergy escapement allows this watch to be designed with perforated and lighter components. Moreover, the use of nickel-phosphorous alloy ensures that the escapement is not affected by magnetic fields.

Rolex GMT-Master II 40 mm Oyster Case

The Rolex oyster professional 40 mm case gives this watch a substantial and powerful look. It slips under the cuff of the shirt easily if you want to be discreet. You can comfortably wear this watch for the whole day. The slightly oversized Triplock winding crown provides a testament to the waterproof heritage of all Rolex oyster watches while giving off a sense of impenetrability.

Perfect Watch for Pilots As Well As Travelers

The simple-to-use winding crown must be unscrewed to wind the watch. The primary hour hand can be adjusted to set a second-time-zone in the first pulled-out position. The minute’s hand can be adjusted in the second position. The 24-hour hand is primarily used for home time. Or in the case of pilots the all-important GMT with the local time denoted by the hour hand. This function makes the GMT-Master II perfect for pilots and travelers.

Rolex GMT-Master II Conclusion

The Rolex GMT-Master II is a perfect amalgamation of design, quality, and pedigree. It provides a fresh take on the day/night concept while maintaining Rolex’s traditional values.

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