Ever since the introduction of the stainless steel Rolex GMT-Master II 116710LN, people have been craving for a version with a Pepsi bezel. When Rolex introduced the white gold version in 2014, reference 116719BLRO, the craving became more intense than ever before. This BaselWorld, Rolex showed us the new steel Rolex GMT-Master II Reference 126710. With a Jubilee bracelet. That’s right, the new Rolex GMT-Master II reference 126710 comes on a type 69200 bracelet. And that’s basically the only option for this watch, as an Oyster bracelet will not even fit the new case of the new Pepsi GMT-Master II.
Rolex GMT-Master II Reference 126710
This new Rolex GMT-Master II is different from the previous models, such as the ‘Batman’ and aforementioned 116710LN, since the movement has been upgraded to the Rolex caliber 3285. This movement with GMT function complies to all current Rolex standards. It features the newer large barrel that ensure a power reserve of 70 hours, the Chronergy escapement and Paraflex shock absorbers. In short, a movement that has enough power reserve for almost 3 days and is designed in such way that it is highly efficient and is certified to perform within -2 and +2 seconds a day on average. Well within chronometer specifications.
We were also told by Rolex that they won’t refer to the grade of stainless steel type they use for their watches, formerly known as 904L. They will now just refer to it as Oystersteel. Since 1985, Rolex has been using 904L grade steel. First only on the Sea-Dweller, later used for other models as well.
It was interesting to learn that Rolex made some small improvements to the case, mainly with regards to the lugs. It wasn’t made clear what type of improvements they were talking about, but fact is, that the Jubilee reference 69200 bracelet was especially made for this Rolex GMT-Master II reference 126710. This means that an Oyster bracelet will not fit this watch. At least not the current available Oyster bracelets, we can imagine in the future there will be an (optional) Oyster bracelet for this Pepsi Rolex GMT-Master II 126710.
As always, the Jubilee bracelet is an amazing piece of work and super comfortable. We gave the Jubilee bracelet a high ranking in our Top 10 Best Watch Bracelets article. The bracelet has an Oysterlock folding clasp and can be extended in the clasp with max 5mm. Rolex named this their Easylink system. Instead of using a toothpick or screwdriver, you can just extend and shorten the bracelet yourself in the clasp. A very useful feature if you happen to stay in a different climate than you are normally in, for example. Also during normal Summers, it might be necessary to extend the bracelet a bit at the end of a warm day when your wrist tends to expands a bit.
Pepsi Bezel, Or Isn’t It?
We love the Pepsi bezel, and there are a couple of them in our team actually. From the early reference 1675 to the later GMT-Master II 16710 model. When the white gold version was introduced in 2014, we put my 1977 Rolex GMT-Master next to it. Look what happened to the blue of the new ceramic model.
It almost looks a bit purple, compared to the ‘jeans’ color blue of the Rolex GMT-Master 1675 from the 1970’s. When you have no comparison at hand, like us today, it is not much of an issue. The blue of the Rolex GMT-Master II reference 126710 just looks blue. I am just a bit afraid that when you put an older reference next to it, with the aluminium Pepsi bezel, that the blue of the 126710 will be a bit more purple-ish compared to the older ones. Because the ceramic inlay of the Rolex GMT-Master II reference 126710 is identical to the one of the white gold version. Rolex has just been able to get to a higher production number with this bezel, ensuring the high quality standards needed. This specific color combination was a tough nut to crack according to Rolex, especially to have them industrially produced (with always the same results regarding the red and blue colors).
Thoughts, Availability and Pricing
The Rolex GMT-Master has always been one of my favorite Rolex sports models, and this reference 126710 is a worthy successor of the 16710 with Pepsi bezel in my opinion. Although purists might prefer the sleeker lugs, smaller hour markers etc, Rolex is a brand of innovation and it was time to start using materials like ceramics. This new Rolex GMT-Master II reference 126710 is just the next-level edition of the 116710, including a new movement, Jubilee bracelet and the two colored (Pepsi) bezel. In that respect, it is a great watch and a logical step forwards. If you prefer the Oyster bracelet, you either will need to wait for a next version or optional Oyster bracelet for this watch, or choose for the ‘Batman‘ for example.
Which brings me to availability. The Batman is currently unavailable at authorized dealers, just like basically any other sports models. Be it a Submariner or Submariner Date, call any authorized dealer and you will just hear them grin a bit on the other side of the line. It is an annoying issue, because people who saved up for a Rolex sports model, and are ready to buy, feel they are bit mocked with. When asked today during our appointment with Rolex, they let us know that this is indeed an issue but didn’t want to elaborate on it. It might be a case of high demand and an insufficient production number for these sports watches. It is not only a case of the Rolex Daytona 116500 that has never become really available, it goes basically for all sports models like the Submariner and GMT-Master II.
While this Rolex GMT-Master II reference 126710 will hit the market Summer 2018, I have severe doubts whether it will really become available this Summer. The retail price of 8550 Euro (including taxes) didn’t hold many people back from calling their Rolex dealer today to order one (or be put on the waitlist). Anyway, let’s hope for the best, as I feel that this watch ticks a lot of boxes for a lot of fans of the GMT-Master. It should be on the wrists of people, not in the catalog just being a watch impossible to get, like the stainless steel Daytona.
More information via Rolex on-line.