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Rolex GMT-Master II: Classic Watch and Investment
The Rolex GMT-Master II may just be the most famous watch with a GMT complication. Virtually all models are highly sought after, with many rising rapidly in value. This makes the Rolex GMT-Master II quite an attractive investment.
Popular GMT Watch With Three Time Zones
Collectors, watch enthusiasts, and investors agree that the Rolex GMT-Master II is one of the finest watches with a GMT function. Depending on your personal taste and how much you are willing to invest, you can choose between steel watches, two-tone "Rolesor" editions, and timepieces in Everose (rose) or white gold.
The bezels come in a variety of colors, with red and blue being perhaps the most famous color combination. Known as the "Pepsi,", this design dates back to 1955. Other models also have fitting nicknames, including the red and black Rolex Coke and black and blue Rolex Batman. The bezels have been made of Cerachrom, Rolex's proprietary high-tech ceramic, since 2007.
At Watches & Wonders 2022, Rolex unveiled a brand new GMT-Master II model, one especially designed for lefties. This watch has a green and black bezel, and the crown and date display are on the left side of the case.
When it comes to a power source, Rolex turns to their in-house calibers, most of which come with chronometer certification from COSC. As of the late 1950s, all Rolex movements also go through a series of internal tests. Those that pass are especially precise and earn the designation "Superlative Chronometer."
Due to the strong demand, practically all variants of the GMT-Master II have seen an increase in value over the last three years. Some models have appreciated dramatically, such as the yellow gold ref. 116718LN, which saw its value rise by an impressive 200%.
Reasons to Buy a Rolex GMT-Master II
- Excellent prospects in terms of value appreciation
- Popular models such as the Rolex Batman are good investments
- Displays up to three time zones
- With a scratch-resistant Cerachrom ceramic bezel since 2007
- Highly precise, in-house calibers with COSC certification
Prices at a Glance: Rolex GMT-Master II
|Reference number||Price (approx.)||Features|
|116718LN||83,500 USD||Yellow gold, black dial, black ceramic bezel|
|126719BLRO||63,000 USD||White gold, red and blue ceramic bezel, meteorite dial|
|126715CHNR||62,500 USD||Everose gold, brown and black ceramic bezel|
|116719BLRO||54,000 USD||White gold case, red and blue ceramic bezel|
|126710BLRO||30,000 USD||Stainless steel, red and blue ceramic bezel, Jubilee bracelet|
|126711CHNR||29,500 USD||Rolesor, brown and black ceramic bezel|
|126710BLNR||25,000 USD||Stainless steel, blue and black ceramic bezel, Jubilee bracelet|
|116710BLNR||23,000 USD||Stainless steel, blue and black ceramic bezel|
|116710LN||21,000 USD||Stainless steel, black ceramic bezel|
|16710||18,500 USD||Stainless steel; aluminum Coke, Pepsi, or black bezel|
|16760 "Fat Lady"||15,500 USD||Stainless steel, red and black aluminum bezel|
|126720VTNR||11,050 USD (list price)||Stainless steel, green and black bezel, left-handed watch|
How much does a Rolex GMT-Master II cost?
As of May 2022, the most affordable Rolex GMT-Master II is the ref. 16760 "Fat Lady." You can buy this original Coke model with an aluminum bezel in excellent condition for around 15,500 USD. Price-wise, the Fat Lady has been very stable for a number of years.
If you are interested in a modern GMT-Master II with a completely black ceramic bezel, check out the ref. 116710LN. This timepiece costs around 21,000 USD new. Unlike the Fat Lady, this reference has appreciated rapidly, rising from around 12,000 USD in May 2019 to around 21,000 USD two years later – an appreciation of 75%. The two "Batman" references, 116710BLNR and 126710BLNR, experienced similar value increases.
The GMT-Master II models in precious metals are also enjoying a price surge on account of the rising gold prices. The ref. 116719BLRO, which features a white gold case, changed hands for around 32,500 USD in 2019. Now, you'd need to invest closer to 53,000 USD.
The most phenomenal price jump was made by the yellow gold ref. 116718LN, which now demands over 83,000 USD. In May 2019, this watch sold for 27,500 USD, meaning it has appreciated by a whopping 201%, or 55,500 USD.
About the GMT-Master II "Fat Lady"
Those on the market for a vintage GMT-Master II should be on the lookout for the ref. 16760. Rolex only produced this watch – the first in the collection – from 1983 to 1988. Its case is slightly larger than that of a standard GMT-Master due to the caliber 3085, which also appears in early Explorer II models. Fans swiftly nicknamed this GMT-Master II the "Fat Lady" as a result. The "Fat Lady" is only available with a Coke – or red and black – bezel. Never-worn pieces cost around 15,500 USD, while pre-owned pieces change hands for only slightly less at 14,500 USD.
GMT-Master II Pepsi in White Gold or Stainless Steel
If you like the classic Rolex Pepsi design but are not interested in vintage watches, you're sure to enjoy the ref. 116719BLRO. Rolex manufactured this model from 2014 to 2018. While it shares its red and blue color scheme with many of its historical predecessors, its bezel is made of scratch-resistant ceramic instead of aluminum. This watch gets its power from the Superlative Chronometer caliber 3186 and has a 48-hour power reserve.
Rather than stainless steel, Rolex chose white gold for the case and bracelet. The change to this precious material is felt in the wallet. Expect to pay around 46,000 USD for a pre-owned watch and 53,000 USD for one of these timepieces in mint condition.
Introduced in 2019, the ref. 126719BLRO is also made of white gold, but features a meteorite dial with a fantastic story: The manufacturer claims that the dial material comes from an asteroid or perhaps even an exploded planet. You can call this galactic GMT-Master II your own for about 60,500 USD pre-owned or around 63,500 USD new. As with basically all variants of the GMT-Master II, there has been a significant price increase since 2019, namely 30%.
Owning a GMT-Master II doesn't have to break the bank, though. If you can do without white gold and a meteorite dial, Rolex also offers a technically identical model in stainless steel. This watch, the ref. 126710BLRO, comes on a five-piece link Jubilee bracelet instead of the conventional Oyster bracelet. You can find this watch on Chrono24 in new condition for around 30,000 USD, while pre-owned pieces are only slightly more affordable at around 28,500. Rolex lists this watch for 10,750 USD.
The Blue and Black GMT-Master II Batman
Like all GMT-Master IIs, the Rolex Batman models have also performed very well over the last few years. You can choose between two references: the ref. 116710BLNR and ref. 126710BLNR. Rolex produced the ref. 116710BLNR between 2014 and 2019. It uses the Rolex in-house caliber 3186, which has a 48-hour power reserve.
Prices for this model have exploded in the wake of its discontinuation, with the same mint-condition watch worth 14,500 USD in May 2019 costing over 23,500 USD in 2022. At about 20,500 USD, used Batman watches demand somewhat less. For reference, current asking prices are about 100% higher than this timepiece's original list price.
While 2019 marked the end of the ref. 116710BLNR, it also saw the introduction of the ref. 126710BLNR. This newer GMT-Master II Batman is nearly identical to its predecessor. However, there are two key differences: One is that the current reference is available on a Jubilee or Oyster bracelet. The other is found inside the case, with the caliber 3285 replacing the 3186. This upgraded movement boasts a longer, 70-hour power reserve.
Due to high demand, you will most likely have to spend years waiting to buy one of these timepieces from an authorized dealer. You can get your watch much more quickly online, though it will come at a significant markup. This model costs around 25,000 USD new, while pre-owned versions sell for about 1,000 USD less. Both prices are much higher than the manufacturer's suggested retail price of 10,750 USD.
GMT-Master II: Two-Tone and Solid Gold Editions
Early versions of the GMT-Master were available in two-tone and solid gold designs. The same is true of the GMT-Master II: The bracelet comes in your choice of stainless steel, yellow gold, white gold, or Everose gold or a combination of stainless steel and yellow or Everose gold. Rolex calls the latter two-tone models "Rolesor." The manufacturer has been using this combination of materials since the early 1930s.
Older yellow gold models from the early 2000s get their power from the caliber 3186. These watches pair a black ceramic bezel with either a black or green dial. The version with a green dial costs 83,000 USD new and 70,500 USD pre-owned. The black dial variant, on the other hand, costs about 54,000 USD in unworn condition and around 56,000 USD used.
At Baselworld 2018, Rolex presented an Everose gold and stainless steel edition (ref. 126711CHNR) as well as one in solid 18-karat Everose gold (ref. 126715CHNR). Both models feature a black and brown Cerachrom bezel and are powered by the caliber 3285. You can purchase the two-tone variant for about 29,500 USD new and 26,500 USD pre-owned. If you prefer the 18-karat gold version, be prepared to spend over 62,000 USD for an example in mint condition. Pre-owned watches are only slightly more affordable at 60,000 USD.
For Lefties: The Black and Green GMT-Master II
Rolex surprised their fans at Watches & Wonders 2022 with a new GMT-Master II. This new model, the ref. 126720VTNR, is remarkable for two special features. The most noticeable is that the crown and date display are on the left-hand side of the watch, making it the very first Rolex watch for lefties. The color scheme of the bezel is also a novelty, with the manufacturer using a combination of black and green ceramic for the first time.
It probably comes as no surprise that Rolex fans are scrambling to come up with a nickname for this watch. Contenders include the Green Lantern, Flanders, and Robin (to complement the Batman). Whatever the outcome, the watch, which is technically identical to the other GMT-Master II models, has a list price of 10,250 USD. In reality, asking prices will probably take on a life of their own and go far beyond the MSRP.
COSC-Certified: The In-House Caliber 3285
The automatic caliber 3285 ticks away inside current GMT-Master II models. Its rotor winds the spring bidirectionally. Like all other Rolex sports watches, the movement is located behind a screw-down case back. It ticks at 28,800 vibrations per hour (vph) and has a 70-hour power reserve.
Everything about the 3285 is of the highest quality, including its balance bridge, red anodized minute wheels, and free-sprung blue Parachrom hairspring. The hairspring is made of a niobium-zirconium alloy that is impervious to magnetic fields. Working together with the balance wheel, this creates an auto-compensating system, meaning the frequency stays consistent even under fluctuating temperatures.
High-precision regulation occurs via Microstella nuts on the balance wheel. Using a special tool, you can regulate the watch without disassembling it. The designers decided against the usual method of regulating the watch via a regulator. Like every Rolex movement, the caliber 3285 comes with a certificate from the Official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute (COSC). Furthermore, this movement has passed Rolex's own internal tests, earning it the distinction of "Superlative Chronometer."