Black for the night sky, blue for day — these colors just make sense, but if you expected to find them on the bezel of one of the world’s most famous GMT watches, the Rolex GMT-Master II, you would have been disappointed, until recently. We take a look at the Rolex watch that has been nicknamed “Batman.”
New bezel colors don’t usually generate a buzz heard ‘round the world, but this is Rolex. The bezel is the story here, so we’ll continue down that road. It’s fashioned from Cerachrom – Rolex’s version of ceramic, and though the bezel is two colors, it is a single piece. You might think “Of course it’s one piece; they just paint it two colors,” but that’s not how Rolex does things. Vintage collectors may love weathered, faded bezels, but today’s versions are built to last, so nothing is painted. The bezel is formed as a single piece, and in this instance, the whole thing starts out blue. Black is added to half of the bezel early in the production process when the ceramic is still permeable. Once the bezel hardens, the 24 hour graduations are engraved into the surface, then coated with a thin layer of platinum. Finally, a diamond polish produces a high gloss. According to Rolex, the final product is virtually scratchproof, highly corrosion-resistant, and its color is unaffected by ultraviolet rays, so it won’t fade.
Rolex enthusiasts love to give their watches nicknames like “Kermit,” “Pan Am,” and “Fat Lady,” to name just a few. The new GMT started picking up bezel-inspired handles almost immediately: “Poweraid,” “Bruiser” and “Phantom” among them. But “Batman” seems to be the one that’s sticking. To complement the bezel, the watch sports a color-coordinated blue 24-hour hand and blue Chromalight luminous material on the hands and hour markers. Otherwise, most of the features carry over from the original 116710 GMT-Master II model. (The new model is Reference 116710BLNR.) The case retains its classic 40-mm diameter, and it is fashioned from corrosion-resistant 904L stainless steel. A Triplock crown ensures 100- meter water resistance. The model 78300 Oyster bracelet is also 904L steel with polished center links and an Easylink clasp offering a 5-mm comfort extension. The sapphire crystal offers double nonreflective coatings and a trademark Cyclops magnifier over the date. The white-gold hands turn above a black lacquer dial. Below the dial, the COSC-certified Caliber 3186 movement features a Parachrom hairspring with Breguet overcoil. Price: $8,950.
This article was originally published on August 29, 2013, and has been updated.