The GMT-Master watch has always been a popular Rolex model. While it was first developed for commercial airline pilots in the 1950s as a way to track two time zones simultaneously, the GMT-Master quickly gained admiration among a broader audience thanks to its striking looks and practical functionality. The GMT-Master II, which is noted for its independently adjustable hour hand, came about in the early 1980s and has remained as Rolex's flagship pilot's watch since. The newest steel GMT-Master II models to join the collection bear the reference 126710, and it happens to be one of Rolex's most in-demand watches right now.
Read on as we cover the history and evolution of the 116710, as well as review the design and value of this coveted Rolex reference.
Although the history of reference 126710 is a short one, the lineup has expanded to include several variations since its inception.
Rolex released the first iteration of the GMT-Master II 126710 in 2018 with a blue and red bezel, better known as the Pepsi bezel among Rolex enthusiasts. Although the pairing of blue and red was the original GMT-Master bezel color and the most iconic of all the GMT bezel colorways, the 126710 BLRO was the first time Rolex offered a Cerachrom ceramic Pepsi bezel on a steel reference.
The 126710 BLRO came exclusively fitted with the dressy five-link Jubilee bracelet. Though this was quite a departure from the previous GMT-Master II models, which were exclusively paired with Oyster bracelets, there have been many vintage GMT-Master and discontinued GMT-Master II models that have been equipped with Jubilee bracelets in the past.
The following year, Rolex added a new version to the collection in the form of the 126710 BLNR with a blue and black bezel. While black and blue GMT-Master watches are typically known as the Batman, some collectors began referring to the 126710 BLNR as the Batgirl due to its more formal Jubilee bracelet.
Finally, in 2021, Rolex revived the option of the sportier three-link Oyster bracelet with the new generation steel GMT Master II models. Therefore, as of today, both the 126710 BLRO (Bleu Rouge, or Blue Red in French) and the 126710 BLNR (Bleu Noir or Blue Black in French) come with the option of a Jubilee or Oyster bracelet.
The Rolex 126710 is part of the newest generation GMT-Master II collection. As such, these watches feature the latest and greatest Rolex innovations, ranging from materials to mechanics.
Case: 40mm Oystersteel (904L Stainless Steel) Cases with Triplock Winding Crown
Bezel: Bidirectional bezel with Cerachrom insert marked to 24 hours
Bezel Colors: Blue/Red (BLRO) and Blue/Black (BLNR)
Dial: Black, Date Window, 12-Hour Hand, 24-Hour Hand, Minute Hand, Seconds Hand
Crystal: Sapphire with Cyclops Date Magnification Lens
Bracelet: Oystersteel (904L Stainless Steel), Three-Link Oyster or Five-Link Jubilee
Clasp: Folding Oysterlock Safety Clasp with Easylink Extension System
Caliber: 3285 Self-Winding Movement with 70-Hour Power Reserve
Water Resistance: 100 Meters (330 Feet)
Rolex GMT-Master II 126710 watches sport 40mm Oystersteel cases fitted with matching Oystersteel bracelets. Oystersteel is Rolex's name for a proprietary 904L stainless steel alloy the company uses to produce watches. These new-gen GMTs are furnished with bezels made from Cerachrom, which again is a Rolex proprietary alloy but a ceramic one. Cerachrom not only offers a handsome sheen and luster but it's also both scratch and fade resistant.
Like all steel GMTs that have come before it, Rolex 126710 watches house black dials with four hands at the center: a 12-hour hand (for local time), a 24-hour hand (that points to the bezel to display a second time zone), a minute hand, and a seconds hand. There's also a date window at the traditional 3 o'clock position, which is magnified by the customary Cyclops lens above it.
The crystal shielding the dial is scratch-resistant sapphire, the luminous material on the hands and hour markers is Chromalight (another Rolex branded material, which glows blue in the dark), and the case is water-resistant to 100 meters or 330 feet.
There are currently four versions of the versatile GMT-Master II 126710 line:
For a modern Rolex GMT that looks similar to the original model from the 1950s, you can't go wrong with the 126710BLRO Pepsi. It's a classic. Alternatively, fans of the relatively new blue/black bezel color scheme (first released in 2013) will gravitate towards the 126710BLNR, whether the Batgirl with a Jubilee bracelet or the Batman with an Oyster bracelet.
Generally speaking, 126710 watches with Jubilee bracelets are dressier in style while 126710 variants fitted with Oyster bracelets are sportier.
Looks aside, the GMT-Master II 126710 models are also practical as a traveling watch; not only can they indicate two time zones concurrently (and display a third with a few turns of the bezel) but they also feature a local hand that can be set independently. This means easy adjusting when flying into a new time zone.
Powering the 126710 Rolex GMT watches is Caliber 3285, a new generation automatic movement with 70 hours of power reserve.
Rolex 126710 watches are some of the most valuable modern luxury watches in the collector's market. Given that there isn't enough supply to meet the exceeding demand for these current-production GMT-Master II watches, it's not uncommon to find pre-owned Rolex 126710 watches selling for twice the retail price on the secondary market.
Since its debut in 2018, the market value of the GMT-Master II 126710 has always been more than its manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP).
Although both bezel color choices are priced the same, the models fitted with Jubilee bracelets are slightly more expensive than those with Oyster bracelets. The Rolex GMT-Master II 126710 retail prices are as follows:
As mentioned, since Rolex 126710 watches are so valuable to collectors and enthusiasts, prices for pre-owned models are significantly different. Pre-owned Rolex GMT-Master II 126710 prices are as follows:
The reference 126710 replaced the preceding 116710 series, so what are the major differences?
The GMT-Master II 126710 is available with either a blue and red Pepsi bezel or a blue and black Batman bezel while the former generation offers all-black or blue/black bezels. The lugs of the newer 126710 were reshaped a touch to give a slightly more refined profile.
The latest 126710 offers the choice between a Jubilee or Oyster bracelet while the discontinued 116710 came exclusively with Oyster bracelets. Furthermore, the Rolex 126710 runs on Caliber 3285 (with a 70-hour power reserve) whereas Rolex 116710 runs on Caliber 3186 (with a 48-hour power reserve).