It’s been over 60 years since the world received one of the most enduring symbols of aviationinspired horology, but this year’s GMT-Master II models prove the watch is still going places.
TEXT CHARMIAN LEONG
The self-winding Calibre 3285 has 10 patents filed over the course of its development, and is equipped with technical treats like Rolex’s 1955 The Oyster Perpetual GMT-Master joins Rolex’s Professional line of tool watches, featuring a 24hour graduated two-colour insert in Plexiglas. anti-magnetic Chronergy escapement, blue Parachrom hair spring and Rolex overcoil, which ensures regularity in any position. It has an autonomy of 70 hours.
Unlike its 2014 predecessor in white gold, this year’s “Pepsi” bezel model in Oystersteel (part of the 904L steel family) comes with the five-link Jubilee bracelet. As always, the bracelet is equipped with the Easylink rapid extension system and fitted with an Oysterlock safety clasp. This combination of Jubilee bracelet, Oystersteel and red-blue Cerachrom bezel is a first for the GMTMaster II line.
Cerachrom bezels superseded aluminium and Plexiglas ones in 2005 because of the scratchand fade-proof properties. For a long time they were only available in single colours but in 2013, Rolex made a breakthrough that would allow twotone Cerachrom bezels made from a single piece of ceramic – a world first.
The Oyster case, unveiled in 1926, was the world’s first waterproof wristwatch case. A solid middle case, watertight winding crown and screw-down case back guarantees water-resistance to at least 100m, while the signature cyclops window offers a clearer view of the date.
The red 24-hour GMT hand can simply be used to indicate a second time zone as in regular dual-time watches, or used in conjunction with the 24-hour bezel to allow for the reading of various time zones while using GMT as a reference.
A timeline of Rolex’s high-flyer shows its enduring legacy.
The Oyster Perpetual GMT-Master joins Rolex’s Professional line of tool watches, featuring a 24hour graduated two-colour insert in Plexiglas.
Rolex introduces a new movement that allows the hour hand to be set independently of other hands. Models with this new calibre were renamed the GMT-Master II.
The aluminium bezel is replaced with monobloc ones with ceramic inserts, and given the name “Cerachrom”.
The iconic red and blue “Pepsi” bezel finally shows up in Cerachrom. Because red ceramic is especially hard to produce as firing it affects the colour, this bezel is the first of its kind in the world.
Rolex celebrates the new calibre 3285 with three new versions of the GMT-Master II in Oystersteel, Oystersteel and Everose gold (pictured), and Everose gold.