Apr
21
2014
By
for Valet.
The Return

The Rolex GMT Master II

It's safe to say that in the world of watches, the Rolex GMT-Master II with the red and blue "Pepsi" Cerachrom bezel is one the storied brand's most iconic and lusted-after timepieces, beloved by both laymen and serious collectors alike. And this spring, the Pepsi GMT is slated for a rerelease in souped-up form and is undoubtedly one of the most hotly anticipated drops of 2014.

Created nearly six decades ago with the advent of the jet age, the watch was built to assist pilots as they flew across several time zones on a single flight. The GMT's signature feature is its ability to display two time zones simultaneously.  This is accomplished via a fourth watch "arrow-tipped" hand, and rotating the bezel. The original
GMT-Master from 1955
For the rerelease, Rolex has set the bar even higher, working in a sturdy waterproof oyster casing, a dual-direction rotating bezel and, of course, the Cerachrom two-tone bezel in the legendary red and blue colorway.

But what makes the Cerachrom so impressive? Aside from being resistant to ultraviolet rays, scratches and fading, the ceramic that goes into this particular bezel is notoriously difficult to create in lighter colors—traditionally making the cult favorite red and blue bezel obscenely difficult to actually pull off. In fact, the origin of the "Pepsi" colorway doesn't have anything to do with the brand of cola. The two-toned hue was actually created for PanAm airlines, who commissioned the original GMT design from Rolex for their pilots in the 1950s.

If there's one downside to this magnificent return, it's the timepiece's price point. As the new GMT-Master II is only seeing this rerelease in 18k white gold, those who have waited years to see a revival of this model with the "Pepsi" bezel may have to wait a little longer for Rolex to issue a steel version—a move that will subsequently lower the purchase price significantly.

Specs

 
 

24-hour display and second time zone

 
 

Officially certified Swiss chronometer

 
 

Self-winding mechanical movement

 
 
 

Oyster case, waterproof to a depth of 330 feet

The new generation GMT-Master II.
$38,250, available this spring at select Rolex retailers

  •  
    The "GMT" in the GMT-Master II comes from the term Greenwich Mean Time. Set in Greenwich, England, this is the time zone that establishes the rest of the time zones on Earth. For a reference, London is a major city within GMT-0.
 

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