Rolex GMT-Master II Buyer’s Guide in 2024

Rolex GMT-Master II Buyer’s Guide in 2024

The Rolex GMT-Master II has always enjoyed a strong following of fans and collectors, although its popularity has significantly expanded over the course of the last decade, and it is now one of the Swiss brand’s most desirable models. Additionally, while the GMT-Master II has historically offered more configurations than many of its sports watch siblings, Rolex has also substantially expanded the collection’s offerings over the course of the last several years, and it is now one of the brand’s most diverse Professional Series models.

Following the latest additions to the collection that were presented at Watches & Wonders Geneva 2023, the Rolex GMT-Master II is now more diverse now than ever before, and it is currently available in six different metal options, and with the choice of five bezels, three dials, two bracelet styles, and with the winding crown positioned on either the right or left-hand side of its case. However, Rolex is rather selective about the configurations that it offers for the GMT-Master II, and understanding the available options isn’t quite as straightforward as just memorizing a few different colors. For those who are interested in this iconic luxury travel watch, here is a complete buyer’s guide to the current Rolex GMT-Master II collection.

About the Rolex GMT-Master II

GMT-Master II Collection

The Rolex GMT-Master II is the modern version of the brand’s famous multi-timezone tool watch, which was originally developed for commercial airline pilots before being adopted by a much wider audience that consists of everyone from frequent travelers to military personnel. Built upon Rolex’s core wristwatch formula of a water-resistant case paired with a self-winding mechanical movement, the GMT-Master II expands upon this concept with an additional hour hand and a rotating 24-hour bezel, which allows it to simultaneously display multiple timezones. 

Many people don’t distinguish between the original GMT-Master and the contemporary GMT-Master II, although they are technically two distinct models, with the most important difference between the two generations being the functionality of their internal movements. When the original Rolex GMT-Master first debuted in 1955 as a professional tool watch for international pilots, the two hour hands were synchronized, and users had to rely on the watch’s rotating bezel to display a secondary timezone. However, when the collection was updated and became the GMT-Master II in 1982, the model gained an independent hour hand, which significantly expanded its functionality as a go-anywhere travel watch.

Rather than having its two hour hands synchronized like on the original GMT-Master, the Rolex GMT-Master II allows users to set the hour hands independently, and the standard 12-hour hand can be adjusted either forwards or backwards in one-hour increments, with the date display changing accordingly, each time that the hour hand passes midnight. Not only does this allow the Rolex GMT-Master II to display two different timezones with just its hands, which leaves its bezel free to quickly reference a third, but being able to jump the local hour hand forwards or backwards makes the GMT-Master II an ideal watch for frequent travelers who need to quickly adjust their watches as they navigate between destinations. 

Over the years, the Rolex GMT-Master II has been offered in a variety of different options and configurations, with updates occurring to the proportions of its case and its bezel insert evolving from aluminum to a proprietary scratch-resistant ceramic material known as Cerachrom. Additionally, refinements have been made to the automatic-winding movements that have powered the GMT-Master II, and Rolex has also experimented with different options within the collection when it comes to its materials, bezel colors, and bracelets. With that in mind, the core design and functionality of the Rolex GMT-Master II has remained largely unchanged throughout the decades, and it has become the blueprint for the modern analog travel watch.

The Current Rolex GMT-Master II Collection

Rolex GMT-Master II Pepsi Stainless Steel Oyster 126710BLRO Wrist Shot

The most recent additions to the Rolex GMT-Master II collection for 2023 have made the lineup more diverse than ever before, and they introduced a new bezel colorway and brought yellow gold back to the collection, which had briefly been replaced entirely by Everose gold following an update that occurred in 2019. Now, alongside a trio of “Oystersteel” models (Rolex’s name for its special blend of 904L stainless steel) are luxurious examples in all three shades of 18k gold (yellow, white, and rose), plus two different “Rolesor” (two-tone) models that pair stainless steel with either yellow gold or the special type of rose gold that Rolex uses, which is formally known as “Everose” gold.

Among these six different metal options, you will also find both Oyster and Jubilee bracelet styles, along with five different bezels that all feature a split-color design to help users easily distinguish between day and night hours. However, while the three stainless steel models all feature different colors on their bezels and are available with the option of either the Oyster or Jubilee bracelet, the various two-tone and solid gold versions of the GMT-Master II are each only available in a single configuration when it comes to their bezel colors and bracelet styles. Even still, the current GMT-Master II collection stands out among Rolex’s various sports watches, as it offers a far more diverse range of options compared to most other models, such as the Explorer, Sea-Dweller, or even the Submariner. 

Rolex GMT-Master II Key Features

  • Reference Numbers: 126710BLRO, 126710BLNR, 126720VTNR, 126711CHNR, 126715CHNR, 126713GRNR, 126718GRNR, 126719BLRO
  • Popular Nicknames: Pepsi, Batman, Sprite, Root Beer
  • Materials: Oystersteel, Yellow Gold, White Gold, Everose Gold, Yellow Rolesor, Everose Rolesor
  • Case Size: 40mm
  • Functionality: Time w/ running seconds, date display, and dual time zone
  • w/ independent local hour hand
  • Bezel: Cerachrom w/ 24-hour scale; bidirectional motion
  • Dial: Black, Blue, or Meteorite w/ applied luminous hour markers
  • Hands: Mercedes-style w/ luminous sections
  • Luminous Material: Chromalight; blue emission
  • Crown: Triplock (screw-down)
  • Crystal: Sapphire; flat w/ Cyclops magnification lens
  • Movement: Rolex Caliber 3285 (automatic winding; accuracy rating of -2/+2 seconds per day)
  • Water Resistance: 100 meters / 330 feet
  • Bracelet: Oyster or Jubilee w/ Oysterlock folding clasp and Easylink extension system 

Current-Production Rolex GMT-Master II References

At the present time, the Rolex GMT-Master II collection spans eight distinct references that are spread across its different colorways and material options. Additionally, while all of the different current-production GMT-Master II watches feature 40mm cases, split-color ceramic bezels, and the Rolex Cal. 3285 automatic movement, their materials, colorways, and available configurations all differ between the various references.

Rolex GMT-Master II Pepsi Stainless Steel Oyster 126710BLRO

  • GMT-Master II ref. 126710BLRO — The reference 126710BLRO is the classic stainless steel version of the Rolex GMT-Master II that has a bezel in the collection’s original red and blue colorway. Available with either the Oyster or Jubilee bracelet, the Rolex GMT-Master II 126710BLRO is nicknamed the “Pepsi” due to the familiar appearance of its split-color bezel insert.

Rolex GMT-Master II Batman Stainless Steel Jubilee 126710BLNR

  • GMT-Master II ref. 126710BLNR — Nicknamed the “Batman” due to its black and blue color profile, the reference 126710BLNR is essentially the same watch as its “Pepsi” sibling, and it is also available with both Oyster and Jubilee bracelet styles. Along with its signature black and blue split-color bezel insert, the Rolex GMT-Master II 126710BLNR also features a GMT-hand that swaps red for blue to better compliment its colorway. 

Rolex GMT-Master II Steel Sprite Lefty Jubilee 126720VTNR

  • GMT-Master II ref. 126720VTNR — Just like its two stainless steel siblings, the reference 126720VTNR is available with the option of either a Jubilee or Oyster bracelet; however, it features an inverted left-handed “Destro” configuration with its winding crown positioned on the opposite side of its case. Due to its green and black colorway, the Rolex GMT-Master II 126720VTNR often goes by the “Sprite” nickname within the collecting community, and it is the only lefty GMT-Master II currently available.

Rolex GMT-Master II Root Beer Stainless Steel & Rose Gold 126711CHNR

  • GMT-Master II ref. 126711CHNR — The reference 126711CHNR is the “Everose Rolesor” version of the GMT-Master II that features a two-tone aesthetic with stainless steel and rose gold components. Unlike the stainless steel models, the Rolex GMT-Master II 126711CHNR is exclusively fitted with the Oyster bracelet, and it is nicknamed the “Root Beer” due to its split-color brown and black bezel insert.

Rolex GMT-Master II 'Root Beer' Rose Gold Black Dial 126715CHNR

  • GMT-Master II ref. 126715CHNR — Crafted entirely from 18k Everose gold and exclusively fitted with the Oyster bracelet, the Rolex GMT-Master II 126715CHNR is the full gold version of the “Everose Rolesor” model, and since it features the same brown and black split-color bezel, the reference 126715CHNR also goes by the same “Root Beer” nickname. 

Rolex GMT-Master II Steel and Yellow Gold Black Dial Jubilee 126713GRNR

  • GMT-Master II ref. 126713GRNR — The reference 126713GRNR is the “Yellow Rolesor” version of the GMT-Master II that offers a more traditional two-tone aesthetic with stainless steel and yellow gold components. Additionally, unlike the “Everose Rolesor” model, the Rolex GMT-Master II 126713GRNR features a split-color gray and black bezel insert, and it is exclusively fitted with the five-link Jubilee bracelet.

Rolex GMT-Master II Yellow Gold Black Dial Jubilee 126718GRNR

  • GMT-Master II ref. 126718GRNR — In the same way that Rolex offers both two-tone and solid gold versions of its Everose models, the reference 126718GRNR is the full 18k yellow-gold version of the GMT-Master II. Additionally, just like its “Yellow Rolesor” sibling, the Rolex GMT-Master II 126718GRNR features a gray and black split-color bezel, and it is only available with the option of the Jubilee bracelet.

Rolex GMT Master II Pepsi White Gold Meteorite Dial 126719BLRO

  • GMT-Master II ref. 126719BLRO — While it is known by the same “Pepsi” nickname as the stainless steel model due to its red and blue split-color bezel, the Rolex GMT-Master II 126719BLRO is the ultra-premium version that is crafted entirely from 18k white gold and exclusively offered with the Oyster bracelet. However, to set it apart from the stainless steel version that has a standard black dial, the white gold reference 126719BLRO is available with either a dark blue dial or one crafted from a slice of meteorite.

It is also worth noting that in addition to its standard-production offerings, Rolex also creates ultra-rare “off-catalog” versions of the GMT-Master II that are lavishly set with diamonds or other precious gemstones, and these models are so rare and exclusive that they don’t even appear on Rolex’s official website. Realistically speaking, these off-catalog watches don’t count as part of the regular GMT-Master II collection since they aren’t available to the average person. However, they do exist in very small numbers, and these off-catalog GMT-Master II models represent the absolute most premium versions of Rolex’s legendary travel watch.

Rolex GMT-Master II Price Information

Rolex GMT-Master II Steel Sprite Lefty Jubilee 126720VTNR

At the time of writing, retail prices for Rolex GMT-Master II watches range between $10,700 USD and $42,900 USD. However, because global demand for Rolex watches exceeds their supply at a retail level, nearly all GMT-Master II models trade hands on the open market for values that are greater than their original prices. As for the retail prices themselves, similar trends exist that can be found elsewhere within Rolex’s modern lineup. For example, the Jubilee bracelet costs a small premium compared to the Oyster bracelet, and the full Everose gold and white gold models are priced slightly above their 18k yellow gold equivalent.

Below are the official United States retail prices for the current-production Rolex GMT-Master II collection (as of December 2023).

  • Rolex GMT-Master II 126710BLRO — $10,700 (Oyster bracelet); $10,900 (Jubilee bracelet)
  • Rolex GMT-Master II 126710BLNR — $10,700 (Oyster bracelet); $10,900 (Jubilee bracelet)
  • Rolex GMT-Master II 126720VTNR — $11,250 (Oyster bracelet); $11,450 (Jubilee bracelet)
  • Rolex GMT-Master II 126711CHNR — $16,150
  • Rolex GMT-Master II 126715CHNR — $40,600
  • Rolex GMT-Master II 126713GRNR — $16,450
  • Rolex GMT-Master II 126718GRNR — $38,900
  • Rolex GMT-Master II 126719BLRO — $40,600 (Blue dial); $42,900 (Meteorite dial)

With that in mind, different pricing trends for the Rolex GMT-Master II often exist on the open market. For example, the difference in cost between stainless steel and two-tone models is typically less (or sometimes even reversed), and while Rolex charges the same for the red/blue and blue/black versions of the stainless steel GMT-Master II, the “Pepsi” model typically trades hands for more than its “Batman” counterpart on the secondary market. 

Lastly, this buying guide only covers the current-production GMT-Master II collection, and it’s important to remember that Rolex has been producing the GMT-Master II in various different forms since the early 1980s, so you will also see a number of other different models available on the open market. With that in mind, since all of the current-catalog Rolex GMT-Master II watches are powered by self-winding Caliber 3285 movements and feature Oyster cases with 100 meters of water resistance, all of them will offer identical overall performance and rank among the most celebrated and recognizable travel watches in the world. 

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