The Rolex GMT-Master II, the Swiss power brand’s iconic travelers’ watch, launched with a new red-and-blue “Pepsi” bezel and a revamped jubilee bracelet in 2018. Rolex follows up that much-discussed debut with 2019’s version of the GMT-Master II, this one sporting the popular black-and-blue “Batman” bezel. Here’s what you need to know about the watch, one of Rolex’s highlight pieces from this year’s Baselworld.
The 24-hour bidirectional GMT bezel — which ardent Rolex fans have nicknamed “Batman” due to its bold, graduated blue-to-black color scheme, has an insert made of Cerachrom, whose moulded, recessed graduations and numerals are coated with platinum in PVD. The ceramics used for the insert are exceptionally resistant to scratches, corrosion, and the effects of ultraviolet rays, which could otherwise dull the vibrant colors over time. The bicolor bezel’s 24-hour scale can be synchronized with the triangle-tipped 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 bezel surrounds a nearly scratchproof sapphire crystal, with the familiar Cyclops lens magnifying the date display in a window at 3 o’clock.
Inside the case is Rolex’s in-house Caliber 3285, which debuted in the “Pepsi” version of the watch last year and boasts 10 patents pending for its technical advances. Among these are its so-called Chronergy escapement, made of magnetism-resistant nickel phosphorus that renders the movement both highly energy efficient and extremely durable. The oscillator uses a blued hairspring made of Parachrom, a Rolex-exclusive paramagnetic alloy, which resists shocks better than a traditional hairspring and thus, according to Rolex, increases the timekeeping precision by a factor of 10. The self-winding movement’s improved barrel architecture allows for a power reserve of 70 hours when the watch is fully wound. Of course, like all Rolex watches since 2015, this one has aced the series of in-house tests necessary to achieve the “Superlative Chronometer” designation, which it touts on its black lacquered dial, orbited by white gold hands and studded at the hour markers with highly luminescent Chromalight appliqués.
Also like its predecessor, the watch is mounted on a steel bracelet in the historical five-link “Jubilee” style (rather than the more common three-link “Oyster” style), which was created specifically for the first Rolex Datejust in 1945 and now slated for all new models of the GMT-Master II in stainless steel cases. Designed to be both supple and comfortable, the bracelet is engineered to integrate seamlessly into the case with a concealed attachment system, and is equipped with both the Oysterlock safety clasp to prevent accidental opening and the Easylink quick-extension system — another Rolex patent, way back in 1966 —which allows the wearer to increase the bracelet’s length by 5 mm. The new GMT-Master II is priced at $9,250.