Fratello Friday: My Top 3 Rolex GMT-Master Watches

Many visitors to my blog,, absolutely love Rolex watches. Whenever I write something about this brand, whether it’s about new product introductions at Baselworld or something involving vintage Rolex watches, I receive a great deal of commentary and questions. One of the most often-asked questions is,“What is your favorite Rolex model?”

My personal pick is the Rolex GMT-Master. Not only because of the interesting history it has, as the watch of Pan-Am pilots and NASA astronauts, nor even the fact that Tom Selleck had one on his wrist in “Magnum: P.I.,” but also because it is a very reliable and easy-to-use travel companion.

For this Fratello Friday article, I picked three of my favorite Rolex GMT-Master models. From the first models, with their bakelite turning bezels, to the current models that feature an independent extra hour hand and a ceramic turning bezel, there are plenty to choose from, as this watch has been on the market since 1954.

1. Rolex GMT-Master II Reference 16710

My first pick is the now discontinued model Rolex GMT-Master II (Reference 16710) with a blue-and-red bezel. This model was introduced in 1989 and was produced until 2007. Due to the independent hour hand and rotatable bezel, the wearer is able to read three different time zones. With its variety of three different aluminum inlays for the bezels, and the ability to have them swapped every so often (either DIY or at a Rolex service center), it was a very versatile watch. Rolex aficionados have developed nicknames for the black-and-red-bezel version (Coke) and the blue-and-red bezel (Pepsi). The Oyster bracelet on this model had an all-matte finish and had a flip-lock on the clasp to ensure safety.

Rolex GMT Master 16710 - collection
Rolex GMT Master 16710 - red-black


2. Rolex GMT-Master II Reference 116710LN

In 2008, Rolex introduced the current lineup of GMT-Master II watches.  The case of the watch grew in both thickness and diameter and the lugs become a bit larger as well. The hour markers are bigger, and the watch featured a Trip-Lock crown (instead of the Twin-Lock crown it had in the past) and a ceramic bezel. The ceramic bezel will not discolor like the old aluminum bezels did and, more importantly, they won’t scratch.

The red GMT hand, which was so recognizable on the previous stainless-steel Rolex GMT-Master models, was replaced with a green one on this model. Also, the printing of the word “GMT-Master” on the dial is in green instead of white.

The bracelet of the Reference 116710LN GMT-Master II is quite different from the simpler and much criticized bracelets of old (although most of the criticism always seemed to come from people who didn’t like Rolex to begin with). The bracelet on the GMT-Master II 116710LN has a new clasp (with micro-adjustment and the capability to extend the bracelet) and a polished center link.

The polished center link of the bracelet and the green GMT hand are the reason that this watch comes in at #2. If the bracelet had an all-matte finish, or if the GMT hand were still in red, this one could well be ranked first on my list. The new black-and-blue model that Rolex introduced at this year’s Baselworld is a handsome version, but I still prefer the green model; the blue color probably has to grow on me.

Rolex GMT Master II Ref. 116710-LN - green


Rolex GMT Master II Ref. 116710LN - black/blue -angle

3. Rolex GMT-Master Reference 1675

Not the oldest GMT-Master, but still a nice vintage watch (1959 – 1980) that can be found for relatively decent prices. Since there are so many of them still around, you can pick one you really like (with patina hands and hour markers or ones that are still white and fresh) in a good, wearable condition. The plexi crystal adds a fun element, but must be – of course – treated with care. It easily scratches.

These vintage Rolex GMT-Master Reference 1675 (Tom Selleck wore one in the TV series, “Magnum P.I.”) are quite a bit smaller than the later models and noticeably thinner. This reference has no independent moving hour hand; you have to use the bezel to read a second time zone. The extra hour is a 24-hour indicator.

Aside from missing the independent hour hand, the vintage 1675 has the looks of authentic “tool watch”  —  no glossy dials, polished center links or white-gold rings around the hour markers. However, I’d pick one of the modern versions over this one if I needed a watch for daily wear.

What is your favorite Rolex? Share your thoughts using the comment box below.

Rolex GMT Master Ref. 1675 - reclining
Tom Selleck wearing Rolex GMT-Master
Tom Selleck’s go-to watch on “Magnum P.I.” was a Rolex GMT-Master.

This article was originally published on August 16, 2013, and has been updated.



31 Responses to “Fratello Friday: My Top 3 Rolex GMT-Master Watches”

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  1. Paul Malcuria

    I have collected rolexs sence 69 have received first president leather strap new for marriage it sold new for 700.00 then got gold bracelet next yr cost 900.00 in 74 bought first gmt as gold as. Rootbear. 567.00 new then in 76 submariner new 1200.0 then another president Champlin dial then datejust salmon dial Aruban numbers then new as gold gmt master then submariner no date. Then 18k Cellini I just bought new old stock coke gmt master coke stick 8136 and paid more for that then all the others combined can’t believe the prices or all the talk over t stick dial bs. Thanks paul

  2. Been wearing my Rolex GMT Master daily since I got it in 1969. Even been to the bottom of Monterrey Bay scuba diving!

  3. Ken Rensby

    Magnum PI rocked it! If you can’t accept that Magnum PI was at least as cool as Chuck Norris and so whatever watch he chose to wear must be it then you’re missing the point. Gotta go with the 1675

    • Dan Feldman

      No, the “Batman” is the worst color combo Rolex has put out….The Non-Ceramic Pepsi is the best…no contest

  4. Bought the GMT IIC TT 2 years ago and found a nice 1675 last year. Both are awesome watches that wears really well on the wrist, you know, they just look and feel “right”. Amazingly the 1675 was serviced 10 years ago according to the previous owner and when I took it to my watchmaker he said it does need a service yet and it runs within COSC!

  5. Ian black

    I have a GMT Master 11 steel and yellow gold which I got about a year ago. A real beauty. Love it. A week ago I bought a new steel submariner with the green face and green ceramic bezel and now having a tough time which watch I like the best. Only problem with the gold one is that the braclet is easy to scratch. LOVE ROLEX. It took me 69 year to finally get one. Now I have two.

  6. I have the 116710ln which is my daily wear. Awesome watch and so comfortable with the glide clasp. Independent hand is fantastic for my extensive travel. A little bit of bling with the polished links.

    But for my special occasions, it has to be my pepsi 16750. Such a pretty thing!!! A lot lighter and no independent hand, but just stunning….i can stop looking at it!!

  7. Aspirin

    I love 2 to 3 pcs. of them, including the discontinuous Coke and the existing model of Sub the fatty lugs, but the price now is sky high, that’s why I bit lean to Omega.

  8. Purchased to do deep decompression diving training with British navy frog men in 1970, my RED SUB stayed on my wrist 24/7 for over 40 years. An old friend who went with me 250 feet below the surface, it will always be my most treasured Rolex.

  9. Purchased my GMT Master in Italy in 1969. Forty five years later it’s still running strong.

  10. I had 11 Rolex watches starting back in 65 with my first one presented as a gift for my 15 birthday. It was a Cosmograph pre Daytona with a manual movement so I sold it an purchased a Submariner.Nobody would know back then the prices of today watches.I had a Cellini in white gold,3 submariners,basic,date, sea dweller,also a stainless steel and gold GMT a Precision,a Day Date, and 2 Explorers. My next one will be a Pro Hunter in black and gold.

  11. Bill Edwards

    The Steinhart Ocean 1 GMT Blue Red is far better and a tenth the price.
    You’ve all been done !

  12. Brought my 16710 “coke” in 1999 for £2300. Now valued at £4400. Never been off my wrist for more than a couple of mins. Don’t think I’ll ever replace it. The independent hour movement, and the interchangeable bezel is superb.
    I replaced my bezel last year (£32 whilst you wait at Rolex London), and it looks brand new again.

    THE watch.

  13. john gill

    From the first models, with their bakelite turning bezels, to the current models that feature an independent extra hour hand and a ceramic turning bezel, there are plenty to choose from.

  14. Hugo Auler

    I own the Rolex GMT-Master II Reference 16710 and the Rolex GMT-Master II Reference 116710LN.
    I tough decision to make, which one is the best!!!

  15. Nick Orloff

    I’ve been very happy with my 16710 for the 3 or so years that I’ve owned it, but I’ve recently found out about the 16760 – Sophia Loren – so I’m contemplating a change.

    Regardless of the model, as someone who travels regularly, the Rolex GMT is the BEST watch when you’re moving from one time zone to the next, the easy of use is second to none.

  16. I usually wear my favorite, the 116710LN. I love the green hand and I think it’s the best compromise between a sport watch and a elegant one. Plus, I also love the polished bracelet, it distinguish at the first sight the GMT by the Submariner..

  17. Stuart Campbell

    I am currently wearing a steel and gold Rolex Submariner with the ceramic bezel I have had for 3 years. People have commented on how nice it looks. I still love my first Rolex, a stainless steel day date bought in 1975. The only dislike I have with that model is the glass which easily scratches. Rolex will not retro fit this model with a sapphire crystal glass unfortunately.

  18. I’m a huge fan of the YachtMaster. I received mine as a gift about two years ago. Just a little over 10 years old, and is fantastic shape. The new YachtMaster II isn’t bad looking either.

  19. I love the “ghosting” on the bezels of the 1675 and 16710. That’s something we’ll miss on the new ceramic 116710, although I’m lusting the for the “Batman.”

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