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ON THE WRIST: Rolex GMT-Master II

MONDAY APRIL 11, 2022

Never had I thought I would take the plunge into a Neo-vintage Rolex even though I’ve always been a fan of the GMT Master II ‘Coke’. More so having seen one in the wild, worn by the owner of a restaurant I frequented. What’s not to like about the black and red combination but that was the time where I was only starting out in the world of horology hence there was much to learn. Word of advice on non-modern Rolex is to go for an unpolished example and buy one from a reputable seller.

 

I’ve always been repelled by modern Rolexes due to their maxi case because they do not sit well on my 15 centimetres wrist. In contrast, these older models are a lot more comfortable despite having the same 40 mm diameter measurement. For those with a smaller wrist, you should most definitely try these pre super case Rolex professionals that have slimmer lugs and a thinner profile. 

PRO

Timeless design

Good proportions

CON

Something to baby?

SPECIFICATION

40 mm Diameter

12 mm Thickness

100m Water Resistance

50 hours Power Reserve

31 Jewels

coke gmt master

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Most of us prefer shiny new things, so I never really imagined pulling the trigger on something from 1999. Never had I thought I’d gel with a watch that’s had two, maybe three previous owners but I did. Hollow end links and older style bracelets are a complaint often seen when talking about older Rolexes which I thought would be something that ruins the experience however it didn’t. That said, they sound like aluminium and feel a little brittle in comparison to a modern bracelet. Also, getting a perfect fit isn’t as easy on these older style bracelets.

16710 gmt master

Transitional Rolexes have Swiss written at six o clock signifying the use of LumiNova which is the in-between use of tritium (T < 25) and Super Luminova (Swiss Made). That aside, this example has had a service done which is not ideal to serious collectors as they would prefer it to be the way it left the factory. That means, patina on the dial, hands and bezel is a good thing. Some dings and scratches are welcomed too but polishing will be a dealbreaker.

1999 gmt master

The way I look at it is largely the same except for servicing because personally I don’t mind having a few parts replaced in a watch that is twenty-three years old. I plan on using this on a regular basis so it is assuring to know that moving parts have been lubricated and the case is still water resistant. Buying into one is like buying an older car where it all comes down to condition and price.

rolex gmt master 16710

After weeks of living with this 16710 GMT Master, what I felt about the size of the professional line of Rolexes still stands. Although these pre-ceramic ones do not have the super case, they are still chunkier than the staple Oyster Perpetuals. That being said, this line of watches is more exciting, gets the heart racing. Taking its service in 2020 into account, this Coke beats faster by 8 seconds which is impressive given the calibre 3185 was introduced in 1989.

swiss only gmt master

“Air travel has to be mentioned when talking about the GMT Master”

Venturing into Neo vintage waters, my interest for older pieces has risen considerably and should a non-date Submariner from this time period presents itself, it would make a great addition. Back to the GMT Master, it felt like this is the watch I should have gotten one of these instead of going into every single Rolex store in town multiple times and waiting for months to get one. If all goes well, I’ve got a feeling this will stay for good or at least for a long time.