Review: The Rolex GMT Master II 116713 LN & 116710 LN

Review: The Rolex GMT Master II 116713 LN & 116710 LN

Nov 08

Review of The Rolex GMT Master II: 116713 LN & 116710 LN
By: John B. Holbrook, II
June 23, 2007

The title of this review may be somewhat misleading – the new style GMT Master II isn’t really all that “new.” The all-gold Rolex GMT Master II 116718 LN photos available on the Rolex Website) was first introduced at the Basel Watch Fair in April of 2005 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the GMT Master – I didn’t see the new model personally until I visited Kirk Freeport in Grand Cayman in the Summer of 2006:

Once I returned home, I phoned my contacts at Rolex and expressed interest in reviewing the 116713 LN GMT Master II which had just been released at the 2006 Basel Watch Fair.

By the time the 2007 Base Watch Fair came around in April, it seemed a forgone conclusion that Rolex would make an all-stainless steel version of the new GMT Master II, which was indeed the case as the 116710 LN debuted. This time however, the time it took for the 116710 LN to reach the US was quite short – reports from online watch enthusiasts who had seen and purchased the watch started happening by June of 2007.

WHAT’S SO SPECIAL ABOUT THIS NEW GMT II?

1. The ceramic bezel – Rolex R&D has come up with a revolutionary, highly scratch resistant black ceramic material which they are using in the bezel of the new GMT Master II. On the all-gold and two-tone models, the numbers in the bezel are made from real gold, while in the stainless steel version, the bezel numbers are done in platinum. The bezel turns in 24 precise clicks to easily set the bezel to track additional timezones. The inner bezel ring also features the new anti-counterfeiting “RolexRolexRolex” engraving:

2. Triplock crown – where the previous generation GMT Master II used the Rolex Twinlock crown, the new GMT Master II receives the more substantial Triplock crown. While many speculate that the new GMT is more water resistant, the rating remains unchanged at 100m.

3. The Maxi Dial – First seen on the Rolex Yacht-Master, followed by the anniversary LV Submariner, the new GMT Master II is the latest Rolex sport model to receive the fatter hands and enlarged markers of the Maxi Dial design:

LEFT: Old style GMT Master II RIGHT: Maxi Dial GMT Master II

4. The “Daytona” Clasp & solid link bracelet – Is Rolex listening to me? For years I (and to be fair, thousands of others) have been vocal about the less than stellar design of the old Oyster clasp. Well, the new GMT Master II now has the exact same clasp currently found on the Daytona – it even has the expanding half link which is so handy on humid days when your wrist swells a bit. The new clasp is an improvement in both aesthetics and functionality. Also taking a cue from both the Daytona and Yacht-Master, the bracelets on the new GMT Master II watches (gold, SS, and TT) have completely solid links:

5. The “Super Case” – When you first put on the new GMT Master II, you’ll swear its at least a couple of mm’s larger in diameter than the previous version – an optical illusion mostly attributable to the larger bezel and wider lugs. While the new GMT Master II case (dubbed the “Super Case” on many watch discussion fora) is thicker than before at 12.1mm, the diameter remains 40mm.

6. The Movement – The GMT Master II caries the new Rolex 3186 within its Super Case, replacing the Rolex 3185 in the previous model. While the 3186 is an evolution of the 3185, so many of the basic stats are the same in terms of jewel count (31), beat speed (28,800 bph), etc. The movement has been refined to allow for a smoother, more precisely moving 24hr. hand. The 3186 is also equipped with the new Rolex in-house hairspring – the “Parachrom Bleu.” This Rolex patented hairspring is made of an alloy of exotic metals such as Niob, and Hafnium among others. Niob oxidizes when exposed to oxygen, and thus creates the distinctive blue color of the hairspring. These new, non-ferrous materials make the hairspring resistant to magnetic fields, as well as being all but unaffected by changes in temperature – two accuracy killers for mechanical watches.

On paper, the new GMT Master II would appear to be the most robust, accurate, and all-around best performing watch that Rolex has ever produced.

What Happened to the “Pepsi Bezel” GMT Master II?

Rolex has confirmed that production has halted on the 16710 “Pepsi bezel GMT Master II (click HERE for my review) model. Ironically, while the new GMT Master II models have been created to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the GMT Master II, this year is the first year that the watch has ever not been available with the distinctive red and blue bezel. James Dowling, TZ Rolex Forum moderator recently visited Rolex SA in Geneva and asked if Rolex planned to make a ceramic bezel in the classic red and blue color configuration. Apparently, Rolex has successfully manufactured a green ceramic bezel, but not a red one – they’re still working on the problem. So, it’s anyone’s guess when a Pepsi dial GMT Master II will again be produced by Rolex. It should be noted that technically speaking, Rolex still does produce a Pepsi Bezel GMT Master II – below is a photo I snapped in the Las Vegas Wynn hotel Rolex Boutique of the ruby and sapphire GMT Master II – look closely and you’ll see it has the Super Case, Maxi Dial, and green 24hr. hand and printing of the new GMT Master II:

Sure, it’s a gold and diamond encrusted monstrosity that’s got a higher sticker price than my BMW, but it’s still got a red and blue bezel. Let’s hope Rolex R&D can come up with a less costly solution to the Pepsi bezel problem.

You can discuss this article in the Rolex Forum of my online luxury watch discussion forum community WATCH TALK FORUMS.

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16 comments

  1. Dr. Larry Buhrman

    These articles are masterfully written and suitable indeed in quailty and attention to detail as the fine time pieces they so eloquently describe.
    They enhance my already overly indulged habit of seeking to acquire more and more of the different Rolex models, both discontinued and new. They are all so beautiful and built for performance and durability-form and function at its finest.
    Larry Buhrman

  2. Andy Chandra

    Dear John ,

    Great review and picture !!

    I have seen GMT Master II 116713 LN and Submariner 116613 LB … both of them attract me a lot now …

    If you could have only one from them .
    Which one it is ?

    Thank you very much

    Regards
    Andy

  3. John I must say you know your territory, I just purchased my very 1st rolex and reading your comments help me make out my mind so I went ahead and got me a GMT 2 all in steel..so thanks for your input I guess this watch balances style, price and looks…keep it up buddy…

  4. Louie

    Hi john, im planning to buy my first brand new rolex made by stainless steel ceramic bezel, thats my choice. but there is a battle in my mind, what kind of rolex i buy, here it is 116710 LN or 116610 LN. last 5 years im dreaming to GMT2 LN. but when im ready to buy rolex last week i think twice when i saw the 116610 LN. i read it already your two post forum here regarding to 116610 LN – and here 116710 LN ( GMT2). personally i want to know between the two of this watch? what watch so very photogenic and shiny look?? ” and that is my weakness” shiny rolex! and now please help me for my first rolex and the best choice for me! question?? WHAT IS THE MOST? GMT2??? OR SUBMARINER??? PLEASE STRAIGHT TO THE POINT THE ANSWER JOHN, thank you! ill wait your answer before ill buy next week. thanks john…. its me LOUIE.

    • John B. Holbrook, II

      Well, clearly the GMT Master II ceramic model is more “shiny” due to the polished center links. Just buy the one that makes you smile the most. :)

  5. Hi John,

    I read many articles and saw some of your video’s. great stuff, really! I bought my 1st rolex today. GMT master II 116710 LN.

    It’s so nice, I cannot sleep. :)

  6. TF

    Very enthusiastic and informative reveiws. Much appreciated. Since its been several years since the review do you happen to have any info on a possible pespi-bezel GMT II? Thanks

    • John B. Holbrook, II

      Nothing concrete – only that it’s something Rolex has said they’re working on, and the fans want. :) It’s a very secretive company.

  7. DaveY

    I also bought a GMT2c, first Rolex. Was wearing a Seamaster Auto prior to that, in all fairness it is a pretty good watch for the money but not a patch on the GMT.

    Good review. It is really useful to be able to read things like this before buying a watch as you can ask the AD questions but they are coached like little marketing machines and don’t give an objective answer as their sole concern is getting your debit card into the card machine!

  8. Eric

    Hi John
    I have been searching the internet for days to see if I can figure out if I have a real or fake rolex. I found it in the water at the beach a few days ago. it is a daytona 16233 on the back. the watch is black and on the glass by the 6th hour I found the crown by using a magnify glass. I am still not sure if it is real because I read some fakes have the crown there also. I can send you a photo by email. thanks Eric

    • John B. Holbrook, II

      The only truly reliable way to tell is to open the case back and examine the movement. If you’d like, I can authenticate it for you – simply email me at john@luxurytyme.com and we can discuss my fee and the procedure to send the watch to me.

    • Dave

      Usually the fake rolex etched crowns are crude and not perfectly centralised and can be seen much more freely. There are some pretty good videos on you tube where they explore real and fake rolex if that is any use.

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