| Tee Time
The Rolex GMT-Master II “Pepsi” has returned to its utilitarian roots with a stainless-steel case as well as a host of other improvements.
PREVIOUSLY AVAILABLE ONLY IN WHITE GOLD, THE ROLEX GMT-MASTER II “PEPSI” HAS RETURNED
TO ITS UTILITARIAN ROOTS AT BASELWORLD 2018, WITH A STAINLESSSTEEL CASE AS WELL AS A HOST OF OTHER IMPROVEMENTS. THE WATCH HAS BEEN FITTED WITH A NEW, FIVE-LINK JUBILEE BRACELET - BUT WITH A SPRING-LOADED OYSTERCLASP FOUND
ONLY ON ROLEX SPORTS WATCHES.
Almost as intriguing as the discovery of new watches every year at Baselworld is the guessing games that precede it, especially as regards Rolex. Few saw coming the timepiece that led off Rolex’s 2018 collection - a new version of the classic “Pepsi” GMT-Master II in “Oystersteel”, featuring several significant updates on both the inside and outside.
The 40-mm case made of Oystersteel - Rolex jargon for 904L stainless steel - is guaranteed waterproof to a depth of 300 meters. Robustness aided by a solid steel, fluted-edge caseback that is hermetically screwed down (with a special tool that is exclusive to Rolex) and the integrated crown guards emblematic of the GMT-Master II’s Oyster case flanking the screw-down crown. That recognisable Pepsi bezel frames a nearly scratchproof sapphire crystal, with the nowiconic Cyclops lens over the date window at 3 o’clock. The bicolour bezel’s 24-hour scale can be synchronised with the red GMT hand on the dial to quickly and easily read the time in a time zone other than your own, while the hour and minute hands and date all continue to display the local time.
The famous redand-blue rotating GMT bezel appeared on the very first 1955 model, which inspired the model’s nickname, “Pepsi,” is here executed with a Cerachrom bezel insert. With red and blue ceramics that are exceptionally resistant to scratches, corrosion, and the effects of ultraviolet rays, which could otherwise dull the vibrant colours over time.
“Few saw coming to the timepiece that led off Rolex’s 2018 collection - a new version of the classic ‘Pepsi’ GMTMaster II in ‘Oystersteel’.”
Speaking of patents: Rolex has 10 of them pending for technologies used in this watch’s all-new movement, Caliber 3285, which makes its debut in this model. Incorporating Rolex’s patented, energy efficient, magnetic-resistant Chronergy escapement, the movement is selfwinding utilizing a bi-directional rotor, equipped with the brand’s exclusive blue Parachrom hairspring, which is 10 times more precise than the traditional type, and stores a power reserve of approximately 70 hours.
The other significant feature that Rolex fanatics will note right away is the bracelet - in the historical five-link “Jubilee” style rather than the more common three-link “Oyster” style. Created specifically for the first Rolex Datejust in 1945, the Jubilee bracelet was designed to be supple and comfortable, though it remains a subject of debate among connoisseurs of vintage and modern Rolex.
Launched in 1955, the Oyster Perpetual GMT-Master witnessed the rapid expansion of intercontinental travel in the latter half of the 20th century. It even became the official watch of Pan American World Airways, better known worldwide as Pan Am, the most prominent American intercontinental airline at the time. In 1959, a major event marked the partnership: the first non-stop Pan Am Jet Clipper flight from New York to Moscow. The captain was wearing a GMT-Master, which was used as a navigation aid during the flight.
In 1982, Rolex introduced a new movement that allowed the hour hand to be set independently of the other hands. To mark this evolution, and to avoid any confusion with the existing GMT-Master watches, the models fitted with the optimised movement were named the GMT-Master II. From then on, using and setting the watch became easier and more intuitive.
In 2005, Rolex replaced the aluminum with ceramic - a further innovation. As a pioneer in the design and creation of ceramic components, the brand developed its knowledge and expertise to produce its monobloc bezels and ceramic inserts in-house. In 2007, the brand registered the name “Cerachrom”, and the components have since been known as the “Cerachrom bezel” and “Cerachrom insert”. For optimal legibility, the numerals and graduations are moulded into the ceramic and then coated with a thin layer of gold or platinum via PVD.
The GMT-Master, a true “tool watch”, evolved continually to offer increasing technical performance. The GMT-Master II has won over a much wider audience, proving itself to be an ideal watch for crisscrossing the globe.
The famous red-andblue rotating GMT bezel, which inspired the model’s nickname, “Pepsi,” is here executed with a Cerachrom bezel insert
The 40-mm case made of Oystersteel - Rolex jargon for 904L stainless steel - is guaranteed waterproof to a depth of 300 meters
There is also a new 18 CT Everose Gold version for the new GMT-Master II
Oyster Perpetual GMT-Master II, 1982
Rolex advertised the GMT-Master on the cover of Time Magazine in the 1950s