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Rolex GMT-Master II 126710GRNR

According to Rolex, the theme behind 2024’s latest version of the famed GMT-Master II is “the harmony of contrasts.” This poetic-sounding statement is indeed an inherent contradiction. Harmonious things are not by nature supposed to contrast. Though it is true that when you examine the small details, there are, indeed, examples of highly harmonious things with high contrast. Rolex does not elaborate further. So is a typical artistically intellectual opener for a Swiss luxury watch whose practical contribution to watchmaking is the introduction of gray and steel together in the Rolex GMT-Master II 126710GRNR. It comes in two styles, either on a three-link Rolex Oyster bracelet or on a Rolex Jubilee bracelet.

The Rolex GMT-Master II 126710GRNR builds upon two similar models that were released by Rolex last year, offering the same watch but in an all-OysterSteel (Rolex’s own metal alloy formulation based on 904L steel) case. In 2023 Rolex introduced the GMT-Master II in all gold (reference 126718GRNR) as well as a two-tone steel and gold model (reference 126713GRNR). Both of these watches were intended to bring back a classic Rolex GMT-Master look but for the latest generation GMT-Master II case and movement configuration. The novel “tweak” was to offer something different in the bezel in the form of a two-tone black and gray bezel, as opposed to all black as was previously available in the last generation versions of these Rolex GMT-Master II watches. The black and gray Cerachrom ceramic bezels were so subtle in their contrast when matched with gold that it was frankly hard to notice that the bezel was two different colors much of the time. By contrast (just using Rolex’s chosen word of the year again), when paired with an all-steel case, the color difference between the upper black and lower gray sections of the Cerachrom bezel becomes much more visually apparent.

Last year, Rolex GMT-Master II 126710GRNR enthusiasts nicknamed this black and gray bezel color combination the “Bruce Wayne.” I think they were just going with the Batman theme because the blue and black bezel version of the same watch is also commonly referred to by the enthusiast community as “The Batman.” I don’t know what is particularly Bruce Wayne-y about this color combination, but perhaps black and gray are simply not a particularly noteworthy color combination. Visually this is one of the most subtle “colored” watches that Rolex makes. At a glance, it almost looks like the cousin Rolex Submariner watch that, in classic form, is a much more monochromatic watch than the GMT-Master II 162710GRNR. According to Rolex, this particular set of subtle GMT-Master II watches do fill a hole in the product catalog. This watch is for people who don’t want a black and white watch, but who also feel that blue is simply too much color for them. Personally, while I admire the GMT-Master II 162710GRNR for being a beautiful classic timepiece that is impeccably made, this color combination leaves me emotionally cold. This is very much intended to be a severely conservative watch amidst a brand that is already among the industry’s most conservative.

Rolex GMT-Master II 126710GRNR often trickles down new parts or technology starting with higher-priced gold models and then moving “down” to steel. So it makes sense that the gray and black ceramic bezel started with availability in watches with gold, and are now available in all steel versions. That Rolex is offering both bracelet options is also nice, although there is a slight cost difference between them – which Rolex has an explanation for but really they should be the same price right? Nothing else other than the bezel and green-colored GMT hand is new for this version of the GMT-Master II 126710. The OysterSteel case is 40mm wide with 100 meters of water resistance and is among the most comfortable-wearing sports watches in the world.

Inside the Rolex GMT-Master II 126710GRNR is the in-house Rolex caliber 3285 automatic movement. Featuring Rolex’s latest mechanical movement technology, the 3285 is extremely accurate to within two seconds per day and includes both COSC Chronometer certification and Rolex’s more intensive Superlative Chronometer certification. The movement features the time, date, and a second time zone via a 24-hour hand. The movement features a quick-adjust for the main time’s hour hand, given that this type of GMT is designed as a true traveler’s watch. Many people consider the GMT-Master II the world’s most versatile sports watch given its functionality, style, and overall poise. If only a little bit of green is the most color you can handle, this might be the version for you.

There is no winner between the Oyster and Jubilee bracelet options. The Oyster is going to look a bit sportier and the Jubilee is going to look a bit dressier. The deployants are different on each, but depending on your lifestyle there is no clear winner between the two. I think, for that reason, Rolex decided to offer the same watch on two bracelets – something it doesn’t really do all the time. Both watch and bracelet pairings have the same reference numbers, although as I mentioned the price is a bit different. Where does Rolex go from here with the GMT-Master II after black and gray? That is hard to say because, frankly, Rolex is in a good position with the GMT-Master II in terms of popularity, sales, and updates. Rolex has other models to focus on right now that deserve novelty and attention, so it would surprise me if there was too much more novelty in GMT-Master II for a while. That is unless Rolex believes there is yet another hole to fill in the collection.