A Full Information To The Rolex GMT-Grasp II

A Full Information To The Rolex GMT-Grasp II

As with the waterproof watch, the self-winding watch, the watch with date perform, the chronometer-certified watch, you title it, one watchmaker was there first: Rolex. And when it got here to the world time-telling GMT, the Swiss model struck once more with its GMT-Grasp of 1955.

Native time show, a secondary, arrow-tipped ‘GMT’ hand that completes a sweep of the dial each 24 hours, plus a 24-hour bezel that rotates must you need to set a 3rd time reference. It’s a easy set-up that’s barely modified since, simply tweaked and fine-tuned as is Rolex’s need, unhampered by competitors, and proper all alongside.

For those who’re out there for a GMT, chances are high you’ve come throughout this fabled mannequin a few times, not least as a result of the newest iteration is a belter.

Unsure if you’d like one? Learn on to study its heritage, the latest mannequin and simply what makes it so particular.

Why Is the Rolex GMT-Grasp II So Good?

Regardless of being a byword for luxurious watches – the one model everybody is aware of – Rolex has by no means strayed from its singular, and surprisingly reasonably priced mission to make the best, most dependable ‘instrument watches’ available on the market. Simply as nicely, as a result of our high quality planet boasts a complete of 38 timezones, which means different finicky worldtimer watches can barely sustain technologically, not to mention squeeze Nepal (+05:45) or the Chatham Islands (+12:45) onto their dials.

Rolex in the meantime has caught stoically to conserving pilots on schedule, responsible businessmen conscious of one other missed bedtime and watch collectors rabidly obsessed over these tiny iterations. Nevertheless it’s not simply globetrotters which can be drawn to this distinctive piece. As 2018’s increase in GMT watches proves, it’s a very well-liked instrument for the everyman, and one that may at all times be wedded to its nostalgic nomenclature.

Rolex GMT-Grasp II

Certain, you’ll be able to whip out your iPhone for assured accuracy wherever you’ve touched down, however what number of fiddly faucets will it take to work out whether or not it’s too late to telephone the workplace again dwelling? A GMT watch takes only a flick of the wrist. Not solely that, however the number of inventive, vibrant methods to show that second time-zone means a world of various appears. And Rolex’s new blue-and-red ‘Pepsi’ configuration is the final word; the reference amongst time references if you happen to like.

Its Mid-Century Roots

It was the ref. 6202 “Flip-O-Graph” of 1953 that nearly nonchalantly coined the enduring tropes of Rolex’s modern-era sports activities watches, switching up the well-known screwed-down Rolex Oyster case assemble of 1926 with a broad rotating timing bezel, screw-down crown making certain 100m water-resistance and daring luminous numerals. It’s simple to see how the Submariner tumbled out of this the next 12 months, however it’s particularly spectacular that simply one other 12 months later, Rolex thought to undertake and adapt the dive-time bezel because the defining function for its new GMT-Grasp.

Not solely may you set the conventional hours fingers and arrow-tipped GMT to native time and residential time (or precise GMT) respectively, however if you happen to may belief your skill to learn the GMT hand in response to its place across the dial, you might then regulate the GMT bezel to a 3rd time-zone, studying that from the GMT hours hand once more.

Rolex advertising booklet from the 1950sRolex promoting booklet from the Nineteen Fifties

In contrast to the Flip-O-Graph and Submariner, the bezel was bidirectional for added ease of adjustment. Rolex even developed a bezel rotation system with a spring that permits the bezel to be turned crisply and securely in both course, finding with a constructive click on in every of the 24 totally different hour positions. The primary bezel configuration was rendered in blue-and-red tinted Plexiglass, however switched day-and-night color mixtures without end onwards, incomes loads of nicknames consequently.

The Rolex GMT-Grasp II Iterations

Launched in 1955, the Oyster Perpetual GMT-Grasp witnessed the speedy growth of intercontinental journey within the latter half of the twentieth century. It even grew to become the official watch of Pan American World Airways, higher identified worldwide as Pan Am, probably the most distinguished American intercontinental airline on the time. Three years later, the bezel additionally switched from Plexiglass to anodised aluminium – aluminium being simply colored in an chromatic electrolytic resolution, an oxidation course of that additionally will increase the steel’s scratch resistance.

Quick ahead to 1982 (see, we informed you issues occurred steadily at Rolex) and a brand new motion was launched that allowed the hours hand to be set independently of the opposite fingers, incomes a suffixed ‘II’ to the GMT-Grasp title.

Fat LadyRef. 16760 ‘Fats Woman’

On the unique GMT-Grasp, the traditional hours hand, the minutes hand and the 24-hours hand had been synchronized; you needed to pull the crown out to the ‘second’ place and rotate the hours and minutes fingers to set the date and the 24 hours hand, then pull the crown out to the third and closing place to set the native hours hand.

However now, with the GMT-Grasp II, within the third place you set the GMT hours and minutes, then push the crown to the ‘second’ place to set the native hours and date – a far simpler and extra intuitive mode of operation. Come 2005, a serious improve: Rolex changed the aluminium bezel with its high-tech, in-house ceramic, Cerachrom.

Whereas ceramic in watchmaking had lengthy been mastered by the likes of Rado and Chanel (no, actually, Chanel) the actual fact Rolex managed to make it work for the GMT-Grasp II is unprecedented for 2 causes: the sheer number of colors the place something past black and white instructions critical know-how; plus the power to supply a monobloc circle of ceramic in two contrasting colors, which interface crisply at 0600 and 1800.

Rolex GMTRolex GMT-Grasp II

In March 2018, on the watch business’s annual jamboree that’s Baselworld, the Pepsi launched into its newest and best technology, in proprietary ‘Oystersteel’, on the fine-linked retro ‘Jubilee’ bracelet, with the new-generation calibre 3285 motion (chronometer rated to above-and-beyond precision, as per). Oh, and there’s a brand new brown and black bezel mixture, too.

Not loads has modified on this newest and best mannequin, to be truthful, however Rolex doesn’t go for revolution, simply regular evolution. There’s a couple of snazzy new colourways on provide – together with the enduring ‘Pepsi’ iteration – and the multi-linked Jubliee bracelet is as soon as once more again in vogue. It’s the colorful bezels that have gotten the watch people chatting although.

All The Colors (And Nicknames) Of The GMT-Grasp II


The unique and favorite color combo of 1955 and 2018, the 24-hour bezel’s blue sector denoting night time hours from 1800 to 0600, crimson denoting daytime from 0600 to 1800.


‘Bruiser’ or ‘Batman’

This black-and-blue GMT-Grasp II bezel combo launched 2013, as has since been given the nickname ‘Batman’ by followers. Its darkish color mixture offers off a moody look befitting of the caped crusader it’s named after.


‘Coca Cola’

The well-known black-and-red GMT-Grasp II bezel combo was first produced 1982. You’ll discover a refined distinction within the measurement of the crown guards when put next with newer fashions.

Coca Cola

‘Root Beer’ or ‘Soiled Harry’

One other title for the ‘Root Beer’ colour-scheme GMT-Grasp ref. 1675, famously worn by Clint Eastwood, is the ‘Soiled Harry’, although his most well-known character sported a Timex as he blew away the dangerous guys.

Root Beer or Dirty Harry

‘Fats Woman’

The Ref. 16760 GMT-Grasp II was made between 1983 and 1988 with a crimson and black bezel, was named for its case being 1mm bigger than its counterparts – it’s successful with collectors in the present day on account of its rarity.

Fat Lady

‘Black & Tan’

Recommendations nonetheless being taken for the nickname of this 12 months’s black-and-brown bezel combo. Be warned, ‘Black and Tan’ could also be a beer cocktail, sure, however it’s additionally a extremely controversial power recruited through the Irish Struggle of Independence by the British, so greatest transfer swiftly on…

Black and Tan

The Mechanics

The newest GMT-Grasp II is kitted out with Rolex’s Calibre 3285. With 10 patent functions filed over the course of its improvement, this self-winding mechanical watch motion is a consummate demonstration of Rolex’s rock strong, future-forward, lifeproof expertise, with basic beneficial properties by way of precision, energy reserve, resistance to shocks and magnetism, comfort and reliability.

3285 movementRolex’s 3285 motion

For a begin, Calibre 3285 incorporates Rolex’s patented ‘Chronergy’ model of the Swiss lever escapement (the tiny, ticking mechanism that ekes out the vitality working by the gear practice – a watch’s pendulum if you happen to like). Product of nickel-phosphorus, it is usually insensitive to magnetic interference. An optimised blue Parachrom hairspring is fitted to the oscillating stability wheel, the true beating coronary heart of the watch. Manufactured by Rolex in an unique paramagnetic alloy, it’s as much as 10 occasions extra exact than a conventional hairspring.

What’s extra, due to its new winding barrel structure and the escapement’s superior effectivity, the facility reserve of Calibre 3285 extends to roughly 70 hours. Greater than sufficient to nonetheless be ticking come Monday morning, after an inert weekend in your bedside desk.

How Did The GMT Watch Come About Anyway?

One sunny day in Washington DC in 1884, the Worldwide Meridian Convention determined to cut the Earth into 24 segments – every working an hour forward of its westerly neighbour. It was about time, so to talk. The rise of world telecommunications and long-distance journey meant all of us wanted to be on the identical web page, whether or not phoning one another on the proper time or to keep away from crashing one’s practice into one other.

However the place was ‘zero hour’ to be? That, at the very least was easy: on condition that zero levels for longitude’s 360º sweep of Earth’s circumference – the ‘Prime Meridian’ – was pinned to the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, it made sense to lever our whole planet round this leafy south London suburb and its gently ticking precision timekeepers.

Rolex advert, 1969Rolex advert, 1969

The ‘Greenwich Imply Time’ reference and each relative time-zone thus cemented, the nice and the nice threw themselves into newfangled intercontinental journey, whether or not by Pullman carriage or Cunard cabin. Unsurprisingly, by the Thirties their accompanying wristwatches began that includes elaborate ‘worldtimer’ issues, telling the time in Calcutta or Rio de Janeiro with suitably romantic enamel dials.

However as soon as jet journey grew to become the norm within the Nineteen Fifties one thing extra business-like was wanted – particularly by the airliner pilots, who simply wanted a dual-time show: a hard and fast GMT time reference, with a neighborhood time show to regulate with each hop of a time zone or date-line. And thus, the GMT wristwatch was born.

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