Whether you are just getting into Rolex sport models or already own a Submariner or Daytona, getting a steel Rolex GMT Master into collection is probably on your radar. Even if you don’t travel much on international business, the color accents—whether it’s from the Pepsi (red and blue) or Coke (red and black) bezel insert or just the red or green GMT hand—are simply eye catching.
So for many collectors the functionality of the Rolex GMT Master to track three time zones combined with its distinct esthetics add to a strong argument that it’s a must-have. The GMT Master shares the Oyster case shape and bracelet of the Submariner, so it’s easy to spot from a ar as a Rolex and upon closer looks reveals that it’s not just another Submariner, one of the most recognizable watches period.
So, which one?
If you are in the game for a new watch, Rolex currently offers a white gold GMT with a ceramic Pepsi insert as well as 904L steel models with either an all-black bezel insert or a blue and black insert (nicknamed the “Batman”or “BLNR” pictured). The current lineup features a Maxi (as in bigger all-around) case and dial and a polished center link bracelet. Our sales representative Patrick loves his Batman and it’s his go-to within his collection. Current ceramic bezel inserts sport Rolexes are incredible watches and more substantial on the wrist when compared to previous versions.
Therein lies the rub: Many Rolex fans prefer the older models for a slimmer case shape and less-shiny aluminum bezel inserts. These models harken back to a period of time where the GMT Master was born, where Pan Am pilots adopted the watch and people got dressed up to board an airplane.
Fortunately, if you are looking for a pre-ceramic model there’s no shortage of pre-owned GMT Masters in the marketplace. To get a sense of the current market value, you can browse top pre-owned Rolex sites such as HQ Milton or Bob’s Watches. Once you get a sense of what you should be paying, the fun/hunt begins.
What’s out there:
Can’t go wrong with a Pepsi
What’s so incredible with GMT Master is there is range of vintage options out there and even some that are adorned with a Jubilee bracelet, the very flexible, yet so comfortable bracelet more commonly associated with the classic Datejust configuration. We found a GMT Master 1675 with Pepsi insert with a Jubilee bracelet for just under $8,000. This particular watch was made in the late 1960s and has an acrylic (Plexiglass/plastic) crystal instead of a modern sapphire version. Folded end links and drilled-through lug holes complete the picture here. For those who prefer the stiffer feeling of modern Rolex bracelets, this particular vintage era is probably not your style.
Brown and gold is a wonderful warm combination
If you are looking for a Rolex GMT Master with an even more distinctive look, be on the look out for a GMT Master 16753, the Root Beer (brown and gold) bezel insert version with a brown dial with yellow gold hour markers. Paired with the aforementioned Jubilee bracelet and acrylic crystal, this particular configuration is guaranteed to be noticed by people who don’t know watches and is a conversation starter with fellow collectors.
We love the 90s
Of we understand why some people will want a steel Rolex GMT Master that a bit closer to the modern versions. While the older vintages models are beautiful, they tend to require a bit more care. A bit of research will yield a range of choices and GMT Masters from the 1990s will probably be the sweet spot for those who don’t have a crazy watch budget and will need a dependable daily wearer. We found a gorgeous 16710 with a Coke (black and red) insert for just under $9,000. It features an Oyster bracelet, sapphire crystal and a 3185 movement, which is employed in current model Rolexes.
The Golden Touch
If you are looking for a taste of gold in your Rolex GMT Master you can find two-tone models in great condition. Forget the connotation that two-tone Rolexes are for retirees in Boca. Anyone can pull off a two-tone watch with the right attitude. Rock it proudly with jeans and a T-shirt! We found a GMT Master 16713 for less that $8,000 with an Oyster bracelet with gold center links, bezel insert, hands and hour markers. This particular model also has solid endlinks and was produced in the early 2000s. The black and gold combination makes for an extremely handsome timepiece.
The bottom line
The Rolex GMT Master is one of our favorite Rolex watches that isn’t quite as common as a Submariner or Datejust. The GMT complication is also very useful and we work daily with teams in different time zones. Start Googling today and share with us your finds in the comments section.