everyone loves Rolex, but the brand has a storied history and has made numerable important contributions to horology that cannot be refuted. For instance, Rolex is widely credited with creating the first water-resistant watch; it is also responsible for the first watch with an automatically changing date, the Datejust; and the first watch to show two timezones at once, the GMT-Master. Our attention today is on the Rolex GMT-Master, or rather, the Rolex GMT-Master II 116710BLNR – but first, a little history.
The modern Rolex GMT-Master II was introduced in 2005 in the form of the all-gold GMT-Master II Ref. 116718LN. It was to be an anniversary model, and so came with a green dial in Rolex’s signature hue. This new Rolex GMT-Master II’s diameter was unchanged at 40mm, but it possessed what is now sometimes known as the “Super Case” and “Maxi Dial” – Rolex-speak for larger case and dial with fatter markers, respectively – and so it looks and wears larger than its 40mm size would suggest. And for the first time, it came with a ceramic bezel that Rolex claims to be virtually scratch and fade-proof. Other changes include a larger Trip-lock crown, a new bracelet with polished center links and Easylink extension, green 24-hour hand, and a new movement, the calibre 3186. The new 3186 movement has no new functions over the older calibre 3185, but it is equipped with Rolex’s new Parachrom hairspring and the operation of the jumping hour hand is now smoother and more precise.
A year after the Rolex GMT-Master II Ref. 116718LN, Rolex released the half-gold, or two-tone, version known as the Ref. 116713LN; and in 2007, finally released the all-steel Ref. 116710LN. While no one could argue about the technical refinements of the new Rolex GMT-Master II watches, one thing that was conspicuously missing from these new watches was the bi-color bezels that made the older Rolex GMT-Master watches so recognizable. In case you were wondering, the older models had aluminum bezel inserts, which could be quite easily printed. But ceramic is a much harder material to work with, and for a long time, Rolex has said that it was impossible to make a bi-color bezel in ceramic.