THE ROLEX GMT-MASTER and GMT-MASTER II

Few watches hold as much distinction as the Rolex GMT-Master and GMT-Master II. Actor Orlando Bloom wears one and the legendary Che Guevara preferred the timepiece apparently even being executed in his 1675 in 1967.

orlando bloom and rolex gmt master gallery - THE ROLEX GMT-MASTER and GMT-MASTER II

The revolutionary Che Guevara wore a Rolex ‘Pepsi’ 1675 during his lifetime and reportedly was wearing the timepiece when he was captured and executed in Bolivia in 1967. 

The series was first introduction in 1955 with the ref 6542, to its later transition into the GMT-Master II in 1982 with the ref 16760, all the way to today’s modern references, the series in all its adjustments through the years has still remained as one of the most iconic “travellers’” watches. It was no surprise the newest GMT-Master II, ref. 126710BLRO, made such an impact at this years Basel World as it re-introduced a few of the series’ most appreciated features. The “Pepsi” bezel, an accompanying steel case, and the very much missed jubilee bracelet which has been absent in favour of the Oyster bracelet since ref 1675 produced from 1959 to 1980.

Rolex GMT Master Ref. 1675

Pepsi is the nickname of the latest Rolex GMT-Master II. A timepiece known by this abbreviation by many people since its arrival in 1954 because of its bright red and blue bezel’s resemblance to the logo of the American soft drinks company.

The timepiece’s Jubilee five-piece links bracelet design, which made its first appearance on Rolex watches in 1945, is considered to look a bit outdated by many younger people. However, it is expected that the new Pepsi will still be one of the most sought-after watches.


The first red-and-blue Rolex GMT-Master was launched in 1954 with a bakelite bezel.The timepiece, with the reference number 6542, later became known by the nickname “Pussy Galore”, after actress Honor Blackman’s character, wore the watch throughout the 1964 James Bond film Goldfinger. However the bakelite bezel was quite brittle, Rolex replaced it with a metal bezel in 1956 until 1959, when the second-generation GMT-Master ref 1675 was released.

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One of the most sought after vintage Rolex “Pepsi” models and longest running reference number in the Swiss watchmaker’s catalogue, from 1959 to 1980. The 1675 is renowned for its highly reliable calibre 1565 and 1575 movements.

It is also coveted because ageing has made the colouring of the bezel turn to light blue and pink, which gives the watch a truly vintage look. The creamy colour of its hour markers, caused by ageing too are considered the cream of the crop for many vintage timepiece enthusiasts.

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Vintage Rolex GMT Master 1675 Pepsi e1471738795949 - THE ROLEX GMT-MASTER and GMT-MASTER II


The third generation of the timepiece, with the reference number 16750, was introduced in 1981 and continued to be produced until 1988.

The look of the watch did not have much of a facelift on the outside as the changes were inside and involved its functionality and practicality.

The next Rolex “Pepsi” (reference 16700) came to life in 1988.

This followed the appearance of the first GMT-Master II, nicknamed the “Fat Lady” aka “Sophia Loren” ref 16760 in 1983.

The watch was nicknamed after the voluptuous Italian actress, because of its thicker case and sweeping curves, and was made available only with a black and red bezel, which also earned it the nickname “Coke”.

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The standard-bearer for the series since 2013 was the Ref 116710, also known as the Batman due to its black and blue ceramic bezel and while it has come to be appreciated by many, it lacked the iconic red and blue “Pepsi” bezel that has been a hallmark of the family since its original release. In fact, the iconic feature hadn’t been seen on a steel watch since 2005. The explanation for the missing “Pepsi” bezel has been that the red and blue ceramic insert was difficult to produce, and so even when Rolex released a watch in 2014 that featured that insert, it had to be released in a white gold case, Reference 116719, which raised the price and slowed demand to an extent.

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There are yet newer variations of the GMT-Master II introduced this year, starting with the bi-metal Oystersteel and Everose gold, ref. 126711 CHNR and the complete Everose gold, ref. 126715 CHNR. Both of these have a brown and black Cerachrom bezel that’s already been christened the “rootbeer” by collective fans.


GMT-Master II Ref. 126710 BLRO

Movement: Self-winding Rolex Manufacture Caliber 3285; hours, minute and seconds hands with a fourth second time zone hand; Superlative Chronometer (COSC + Rolex certification after casing); 70-hour power reserve

Case: 40mm Oystersteel case; water resistant to 100m

Bracelet: Oystersteel five-piece link Jubilee bracelet with folding Oysterlock safety clasp and Easylink 5mm comfort extension link

The 2018 Oystersteel GMT-Master II Ref. 126710 BLRO


GMT-Master II Ref. 126711 CHNR

Movement: Self-winding Rolex Manufacture Caliber 3285; hours, minute and seconds hands with a fourth second time zone hand; Superlative Chronometer (COSC + Rolex certification after casing); 70-hour power reserve

Case: 40mm Oystersteel and Everose gold case; water resistant to 100m

Bracelet: Oystersteel and Everose gold flat three-piece link Oyster bracelet with folding Oysterlock safety clasp and Easylink 5mm comfort extension link.

The 2018 Oystersteel and Everose gold GMT-Master II Ref. 126711 CHNR

GMT-Master II Ref. 126715 CHNR

Movement: Self-winding Rolex Manufacture Caliber 3285; hours, minute and seconds hands with a fourth second time zone hand; Superlative Chronometer (COSC + Rolex certification after casing); 70-hour power reserve

Case: 40mm Everose gold case; water resistant to 100m

Bracelet: Everose gold flat three-piece link Oyster bracelet with folding Oysterlock safety clasp and Easylink 5mm comfort extension link

The 2018 Everose gold GMT-Master II Ref. 126715 CHNR

GMT-Master II Ref. 116719 BLRO (Blue Dial)

Movement: Self-winding Rolex Manufacture Caliber 3186; hours, minute and seconds hands with a fourth second time zone hand; Superlative Chronometer (COSC + Rolex certification after casing); 70-hour power reserve

Case: 40mm 18ct white gold case; water resistant to 100m

Bracelet: 18ct white gold flat three-piece link Oyster bracelet with folding Oysterlock safety clasp and Easylink 5mm comfort extension link

The 2018 18ct white gold GMT-Master II Ref. 116719 BLRO with the blue dial