Rolex GMT-Master II 'Coke'

Rolex GMT-Master II 'Coke'

Why We Love It

In 1989, Rolex rolled the Reference 16710 GMT-Master II is amongst the last of 'old guard' sports Rolexes. Whereas the current crop of GMT Master IIs have gotten larger and heftier, the Reference 16710 is still a svelte 39mm, having the proportions of a GMT of yesteryear, with thin lugs and a bracelet with brushed—not polished—center links. The only obvious concessions to modernity are the glossy dial and and a sapphire crystal. Earlier versions had tritium on the dial, before transitioning to Super Luminova. The Reference 16710 is a seamless blend of old and new, with vintage looks and modern technology—all that we could ask for in a Rolex.

In addition to the beautiful fade of this 'coke' bezel, where the red has begun to soften its hue, this watch also holds the distinction of being one of the aforementioned transitional dials. Despite having a dial marked as 'tritium' this is an early Luminova example. Not unlike when a coin is mistruck at the mint these 'errors' add an element of intrigue and collectibility. After all, Rolex rarely makes a mistake!

Transitional dial aside, the watch is beautifully preserved and retains the thick crisp lugs and slight factory beveling that it left Geneva with. The 'coke' color-way has been out of the Rolex catalog for 13 years and despite being an iconic look for the watch has not made its way back into production. This is a lovely example that combines an otherwise hard to find color-way with modern wearability and vintage good looks. 

The GMT-Master Story

The years following the end of The Second World War saw the world become a much, much smaller place.

Advances in aviation technology led to the world’s first nonstop Transatlantic passenger flights between Europe and North America, and the era of the jetsetter began. Along with this new age of travel arose a need for travelers, and more importantly pilots, to have a wristwatch that could display two time zones at once.

As a pioneer of transatlantic and transcontinental flight, Pan American Airlines approached Rolex in 1953 looking for a watch specially designed for their pilots, and Rolex agreed to take on the project. The newly designed Submariner became the base for this new watch, and several important complications were added. A date function with a cyclops lens magnifier, GMT complication, and two-colored bezel to provide long-haul pilots with the info they needed as they circumnavigated the globe.

The GMT-Master’s 24-hour hand works in conjunction with a rotating bezel to make tracking a second time zone incredibly simple. When the wearer rotates the bezel so that the numbers around the bezel correspond to a second time zone (such as Greenwich Mean Time, the inspiration for the model’s nomenclature), it allows the watch to track any two time zones in the world at once.

Not long after the debut of the GMT-Master at the Basel World Fair in 1954, Pan-Am adopted the GMT Master as its official wristwatch. Decades later, the GMT-Master and its “Pepsi” bezel has become a true icon of the watch world. It is instantly recognizable and eternally stylish – the very best of what Rolex has to offer.


SKU: AS03711

Stainless steel case is approximately 39mm (excluding the crown). Rolex automatic winding movement. Reference 16170. Circa 1998.

Overall Condition: The case is in fantastic condition overall showing light wear consistent with age and use and no signs of prior polishing. Luminous black gloss dial is in excellent condition with applied white gold Luminova indicies, richly patinated and matching handset. Signed crown.

Includes 78790/501B Solid Link Oyster bracelet with signed flip-lock clasp.

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