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About Rolex GMT-Master Watches

The flight industry gained momentum in the 1940s and 1950s, allowing a window of opportunity in which Rolex could release a watch meant for long-haul flights. The GMT-Master was created for Pan AM and their flight crews. The watch allows the wearer to reference two different time zones at the same time. The original watch has a fourth hand that displays the same time zone as the standard 12-hour hand.

The GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) is required for all aviation planning and scheduling procedures, making it a necessary feature for pilots. It allows the pilot (or the person wearing the watch) to set it to any time zone for one view, and then set the 24-hour scale bezel to a second time zone.

The first GMT-Master model was produced from 1954-1959, and could withstand pressure up to 165 feet. The first version had a bakelite bezel insert, which proved faulty as it cracked easily. In 1956, Rolex introduced a new bezel made of metal. This first GMT-Master is also fondly nicknamed the “Pussy Galore,” because actress Honor Blackman wore the timepiece in the 1964 James Bond film, Goldfinger.

For its 50th anniversary in 2005, an updated Rolex GMT Master II was released. The new model comes with a larger case, hands and hour markers and also a new bezel made that is designed to be more scratch-resistant. The style of the new bracelet has heavier links and a machined clasp. There is a stainless steel GMT-Master II, which is only available in conjunction with the bi-color bezel and Jubilee bracelet.

Rolex released the well known “Batman” GMT-Master II, so-called because of its black and blue bezel. This model encapsulated the most technologically advanced version of the GMT mechanism with its tough, scratch-resistant bezel. While these features added to the model’s functionality, its appearance looked less like a tool-based watch than its predecessors. This is because of subtle changes in appearance, including the jubilee bracelet.

In 2018, Rolex released what’s called a “Pepsi,” so named because of its red and blue bezel. This model is known as the GMT-Master II and featured a Jubilee bracelet rather than the Oyster one. Rolex also released the “Root Beer,” which was nicknamed because of its brown and black two-tone bezel. The GMT-Master IIs also came with the Paraflex shock absorber and an increased power reserve of 70 hours.

The “Pepsi” GMT-Master II is currently more affordable than the far more expensive white gold version; however, because of the excitement created upon its arrival, the “Pepsi” may one day be considered rarer and could potentially be more valuable and expensive.

The GMT-Master is made for the professional pilot, with its dual timezone feature and four-hand 24-hour display. It’s also popular with non-pilots, however, because of its stunning design and impressive functionality. It’s an excellent timepiece both for the frequent travel and for the everyday watch aficionado. The GMT-Master II has earned a reputation for excellent quality during its 35-year existence. Due to its stunning features and aesthetics, it is the most well-known GMT watch in the world