The 2018 Rolex GMT-Master II

Baselworld 2018: Feast your Eyes on the New Rolex GMT. Oh, and the Pepsi Dial is Back.


March 21, 2018 Watches By

Baselworld, the biggest watch event of the year, is happening now at the Messe Basel in Basel, Switzerland. We’ve got a team on the ground, there to bring you the most exciting releases. Follow our coverage here, and also be sure to check out Instagram. We’ll be posting to our feed throughout the week.

Verdict: In recent years, Rolex has had a habit of revising its core tool watches with details that call back to some of the brand’s iconic references (see last year’s Sea-Dweller and 2016’s Daytona). Now it’s the GMT-Master II’s turn, and it’s getting two iconic bezel color schemes: the red-and-white “Pepsi” and brown “Rootbeer.”

Rolex aficionados might point out that the Pepsi colorway — originally a defining feature on the original GMT from the ’50s — did make a return on a white gold model a couple years back. But the new version here comes packing a steel case (which Rolex likes to call “Oystersteel”), making it far more obtainable than the $38,000 precious metal version. In addition to the new ceramic bezel insert (dubbed “Cerachrom”) red-and-blue bezel and Oystersteel case, the watch is getting the brand’s classic “Jubilee” five-link bracelet design.

The “Rootbeer” design — first introduced in the early ’70s — is coming back, too. The original watch was characterized by a two-tone build (with gold bracelet inserts and a gold bezel) and a bezel insert in light and dark brown. This new version is similar in that it’s offered in steel and rose gold two-tone (a full rose gold version is available as well) but the bezel on this new version is just a solid brown.

Both watches will get an updated movement: the Caliber 3285, which features Rolex’s upgraded “Chronergy” escapement. Rolex also says it took out ten patents to complete the movement. The result is a more-efficient caliber with a solid 70-hour power reserve.

Who It’s For: Well, Rolex enthusiasts for one will likely be excited to see the iconic “Pepsi” colorway return to the steel model. Other than that, the GMT has always been a great timepiece for frequent travelers, and that will never change.

Key Features: A Ceramic bezel in two new colorways. A GMT function. Rose gold on the “Rootbeer” version. 100-meter water resistance.

Size: 40mm diameter

Movement: Rolex Caliber 3285

Release Date: TBD

Price: ~$9,200+ (8,800 CHF)

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