Rolex Submariner vs. Rolex GMT Master II

Rolex is the most recognizable watch brands in the world, and they have attained that status for a variety of reasons. One of them is this brand, having a few models that are absolute classics and some of the most highly sought-after products on the market. Not only do the Rolex Submariner and Rolex GMT Master II fit into that category, but they also have similar price points. This makes them ripe for being compared side by side, which is precisely what I do in the sections below.

Rolex Submariner vs. Rolex GMT Master II_Watchshopping

The Brand

Rolex’s achievements include crafting the first waterproof watch, creating a model that can withstand the pressure of the bottom of the ocean, sending a timepiece to the top of Everest, and everything in between. The mystique behind their brand has only grown in recent years, as buying a Rolex is often the first thing people do when they achieve a certain level of success. Don’t think that this brand is all marketing and hype, though. They actually create some of the best watches on the market, each with its own unique charm.


Rolex Submariner blue dial watch on its side

When Rolex Submariner made its debut in 1953, they likely didn’t know just how popular it would become. I imagine they were simply creating a watch that looked great and had legitimate diving capabilities. Over time, though, it has arguably become their signature product.

The GMT Master first came about in 1953. Rolex created it during a collaboration with Pan Am, which was one of the top aviation companies at that time. While it hasn’t quite gained the notoriety that the Submariner has, it is incredibly popular in its own right.

Niche & Function

The Submariner is a dive watch, which means it has various features that make it functional underwater. They include water resistance, metal that resists corrosion, luminescent dial components, and much more. While most consumers will never take their luxury watch underwater, these capabilities serve them in two ways. The first is the joy of knowing how tough their timepiece is, and the second is owning a product that holds up to the elements during day to day life.

closer view of Rolex GMT Master II black dial watch

The Rolex GMT Master II has fewer diving capabilities, but sports one crucial feature that collectors absolutely love. It is a GMT hand, which tells you the time in an alternate time zone. It works by having a fourth hand on the dial that points to a number on the bezel. This function is great for people that frequently travel or do business with other countries.


You can’t argue with the quality of either of these timepieces. Rolex creates both with sturdy materials, reliable movements, and a fantastic wearing experience. The one difference you’ll find is that the Submariner is a bit tougher, given that it needs to function deep underwater. That being said, a regular wearer likely won’t notice any quality difference between them.


The funny thing about these watches is that their designs are almost entirely the same. Your first significant difference is the GMT hand on the dial of the Rolex GMT Master II, which the Rolex Submariner doesn’t have. The second is their bezels, as the Submariner’s helps you count down from 60, while the GMT’s lets you tell time in a second zone.

front view of Rolex Submariner Ref. 16610 watch (left) and  Rolex GMT Master II Ref. 116710ln-0001 (right)

Beyond nuts and bolts, though, you get more significant differences in color schemes. The Submariner has a few classic arrangements that people love, such as all black, all green, and all blue. The Rolex GMT Master II switches things up by having two-tone bezels. This effect creates the classic Batman and Pepsi styles, among others.


The price you pay for your Rolex depends on a variety of factors, including color scheme, which metals you choose, and much more. Still, I can make some generalizations about how much you’ll pay for each model. I find that the GMT II tends to cost a few thousand more than its comparable Submariner model. Why? My best guess is that a GMT movement is more complex and expensive to create, given that demand for both should be about the same. Whichever you choose, you’ll be paying quite a bit, but you’ll also get one of the better watches out there.

Which is Right for You?

If you’re choosing between these two iconic models, focus on the following points before you make a decision.

  • Looks – Does one of them instantly appeal to you? That might be the Hulk Submariner, Batman GMT Master, or any other model. If this is the case, then go with your gut.
  • Functionality – Do you love the GMT feature? What about impressive dive capabilities? Whatever your preference is, choose your watch accordingly.

If you go through those two factors and still can’t decide, then go with the more affordable option. Really, though, you can’t lose when you choose a Submariner or GMT Master II.

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