Updated: May 6
Launched in 1983, the Rolex GMT Master II had many of the same features as its predecessor in terms of functionality and reliability, but unlike the GMT Master I, it was designed to offer more versatility with various operations.
The Rolex GMT Master II allowed more flexibility in displaying two separate time zones. The wearer of this new and improved timepiece could set the regular hour hand to a different time zone without adjusting the 24-hour hand and the bezel. As the winding crown is unscrewed to the first notch, the watch does not lose time. This allows the crown to be slowly turned clockwise or counterclockwise, thus allowing the hour hand to jump an hour without affecting the minute or second hands. It was this feature that helped the Rolex GMT Master II gain precedence over its forerunner.
The first version of the GMT Master II was Model 16760. It was powered by a caliber 3085 movement, which allowed the 24-hour hand to be independently adjustable. It was also the first Rolex GMT Master II to feature beautiful scratch-resistant sapphire and indices with stunning white gold borders. A hack feature and a depth rating of 330 feet added to the appeal of the timepiece as it became available on the market. Offered in steel with a combination of red and black on the bezel, the charm of the watch was apparent to all who looked upon it. It received the nickname “Fat Lady” due to its extra thick case, and was also called the “Sophia Loren.”
Soon after Model 16760 made its appearance, Model 16710 took over the limelight. Powered by a 3185 movement with a 50 hour reserve, consumers quickly sought the new timepiece. Rolex released a few variants of this model such as Model 16713, a gold and steel combination model, and Model 16718, made entirely of gold and featuring three different bezel options: Coke, a red and black combination; Pepsi, a red and blue combination; and LN, a beautiful all black. Model 16710 and its variants continued to be produced until the early 2000’s.
On the 50th Anniversary of the production of Rolex’s GMT Master II, Model 116713 was released to the public at Basal Fair in 2006. Crafted with a combination of gold and steel and featuring a choice between a stunning green dial and a bold black one, this timepiece had all the majesty and elegance that consumers looked for. The numbers were filled with gold and larger hands were added. It also featured a triplock crown rather than twinlock, offering greater protection and endurance. Thanks to the new Parachrom Hairspring, it even proved to be more resistant to changes in temperature and magnetic fields.
Also launched at Basal Fair, this time in 2007, was Model 116710LN. It was very much like Model 116713, except it had been made with steel. Other features included and anti-glare Cyclops lens, a larger case, and an inner bezel ring engraved with “Rolex.”
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