Watches & Wonders 2024: Rolex GMT-Master II Debuts in Two New Steel Variations

Watches & Wonders 2024: Rolex GMT-Master II Debuts in Two New Steel Variations

Watches and Wonders, the world’s biggest exhibition of new timepieces, kicks off today at the Palexpo in Geneva. We are on site at the show to cover the most exciting and significant new releases from some of your favorite brands. Leading off, as you might expect, is Rolex, which has released two new versions of its iconic two-time-zone GMT-Master II in steel cases and bicolor ceramic bezels.

The Background: The original Rolex GMT-Master turns 70 years old in 2024. Now known as the GMT-Master II after a revamp in 1982, the watch is one of the most coveted luxury travel watches on the planet, and basically established the motif that has inspired other dual-time zone timepieces for more than half a century. The original Ref. 6542, was the first watch capable of displaying the time in two separate time zones thanks to its fourth, central 24-hour hand and bidirectional rotating 24-hour GMT bezel. The modern versions of the watch are equipped with Rolex’s in-house Caliber 3285, which boasts no less than 10 patent applications and includes proprietary innovations like the antimagnetic  blue Parachrom hairspring and the energy efficient Chronergy escapement. Its “Superlative Chronometer” certification speaks to the movement’s astounding -2/+2 seconds per day of precision, even stricter than those for COSC chronometer certification.The GMT-Master has become famous for its colorful nicknames, which come from the color combo on the bicolor bezels, including the original red-and-blue “Pepsi,” the black-and-blue “Batman,” and black-and-brown “root beer.” Last year’s new GMT-Master models featured yellow-gold and bimetal “Rolesor” 40mm cases and a new gray-black ceramic bezel.

What’s New: Two new GMT-Master II models make their debut in Oystersteel cases, both featuring the same gray-and-black high-tech ceramic bezel introduced on last year’s version. The graduation of the bezel is made even more visible thanks to the use of a PVD treatment on the molded, recessed numbers used for the 24-hour scale. Also displaying Rolex’s traditional level of technical prowess and attention to functional detail, the ceramic used for the bezel is inert and thus will not corrode over time, and its knurled edge makes it easy to grip when switching time zones. The black lacquer dial has the name “GMT-Master” printed in green, echoing the color of the arrow-tipped central GMT hand, which (since the 1982 upgrade) can be adjusted independently of the main hour hand. One model is mounted on Rolex’s classic three-link Oyster bracelet, the other on the five-link Jubilee bracelet, both in Oystersteel (a particularly tough surgical-grade alloy) and equipped with the Oysterlock folding safety clasp and the Easylink extension that allows for 5 mm worth of adjustment.

Pricing and availability was unavailable at press time. So what do you think the nickname for the new black-and-gray bezel combo should be? My first thought is "Siilver Bullet." Feel free to add yours to the comments. 

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