Of all the plan subtleties of the Rolex GMT-Master watch, its bezel is the most recognizing. Described by 24-hour markings and the capacity to turn in the two ways, the GMT-Master’s bezel is a necessary piece of how the watch shows different time regions. Be that as it may, beside its usefulness, the plan of the bezel additionally contributes fundamentally to the style of the Rolex GMT-Master – especially when it is in a two-tone colorway.
While the key look of the GMT-Master bezel has remained generally unaltered in the course of the most recent sixty years, there have been significant changes to the materials utilized. From Bakelite to aluminum to ceramic, go along with us as we dig into the complete advancement of the Rolex GMT-Master bezel.
Bakelite Rolex GMT-Master Bezels
When Rolex uncovered the main GMT-Master, ref. 6542, during the 1950s, the watch came outfitted with a bidirectional turning bezel with a two-tone Bakelite embed including radium glowing markings. Bakelite was the world’s first altogether engineered plastic that was lightweight, moderately sturdy, and simple to form into various shapes. Given those qualities, Bakelite was at first viewed as a decent material decision for the bezel embed for the GMT-Master watch.
However, it was soon evident that Bakelite was excessively weak and tended to break – in addition to the radioactive sparkling numerals set into it additionally represented a potential wellbeing peril. Accordingly, Rolex exchanged over to non-iridescent aluminum bezel embeds for later GMT-Master 6542 models in the last part of the 1950s. Besides, Rolex administration focuses likewise normally supplanted any wrecked Bakelite bezels with aluminum ones. Therefore, it is unfathomably hard to track down a vintage GMT-Master 6542 with its unique Bakelite bezel today.
Rolex made two Bakelite bezels for the GMT-Master ref. 6542. There was the two-tone blue and red variant for the treated steel models, later nicknamed the “Pepsi” bezel. Rolex selected to unite the two tones to make it simpler for pilots to separate among night and day hours for reference time – the red part contained the sunlight hours while the blue area had the evening ones. The other Bakelite bezel was a rosy earthy colored one, fitted to the strong 18k yellow GMT-Master ref. 6542.
Aluminum Rolex GMT-Master Bezels
Although the ref. 6542 was in the long run fitted with an aluminum bezel embed, the GMT-Master ref. 1675 was the first planned uncommonly to wear an aluminum bezel. The GMT-Master 1675 was presented in 1959 and it kept on being a piece of Rolex’s list until 1980. The treated steel variants were first just offered with the mark blue and red bezels however these were subsequently trailed by the alternative of an all-dark bezel in the 1970s.
It’s likewise imperative to specify the disputable all-blue “Blueberry” bezel of the steel GMT-Master ref. 1675 from the seventies. These are viewed as to some degree questionable since they were never something that Rolex in the past offered general society. Some case that these blue GMT-Master bezels were unique request ones for the United Arab Emirates government while others attest that they’re not authentic Rolex bezels at all.
Like its archetype, the yellow gold GMT-Master 1675/8 models had ruddy earthy colored bezels however these were subsequently joined by the decision of a dark bezel embed. During the 1970s, Rolex delivered a two-tone steel and gold model, the GMT-Master ref. 1675/3, which accompanied the alternative of a two-tone earthy colored/gold bezel (nicknamed the “Root Beer”) or an all-dark bezel.
These aluminum shading plans proceeded to the accompanying references delivered from 1980 until 1988: the steel GMT-Master 16750, the yellow gold GMT-Master 16758, and the two-tone GMT-Master 16753. Moreover, the GMT-Master 16700 (just accessible in tempered steel) produced using 1988 to 1999 proceeded with the decision between a red/blue Pepsi bezel and an all-dark bezel.
However, venturing back somewhat, in 1982, Rolex dispatched the primary GMT-Master II model. Alongside presenting another sort of GMT development where the 12-hour and 24-hour hands are autonomously customizable, the GMT-Master II ref. 16760 likewise appeared another bezel shading plan – red and dark, otherwise called the “Coke” bezel. Truth be told, the GMT-Master II ref. 16760 just came in tempered steel and just with the alternative of the red/dark Coke bezel.
With that at the top of the priority list, the second era of the GMT-Master II, the ref. 16710 introduced in 1989, was the most differed regarding bezel tones with Pepsi, Coke, and all-dark bezels accessible. Also, the yellow gold GMT-Master II ref. 16718 and two-tone GMT-Master II ref. 16713 likewise accompanied Root Beer or dark bezels. Offering the vastest assortment of tones so far, this age was the last GMT-Master II to include aluminum bezels.
Ceramic Rolex GMT-Master II Bezels
2005 denoted the 50th commemoration of the GMT-Master watch. To observe, Rolex delivered a totally redone GMT-Master II model complete with a beefier case, new development, and above all, a pristine material for the bezel.
The 18k yellow gold Anniversary GMT-Master II ref. 116718 included a dark bezel produced using Cerachrom, which is Rolex’s exclusive ceramic material that is both scratch-safe and blur confirmation. Rolex later followed up the strong gold model with the two-tone GMT-Master II ref. 116713 of every 2006 and the hardened steel ref. GMT-Master II ref. 116710 of every 2007. From the start, Rolex just offered the Cerachrom bezels across every one of the three metal cases in monochromatic dark, asserting that it is difficult to deliver a two-tone one in ceramic.
However in 2013, Rolex apparently made the incomprehensible conceivable by presenting the hardened steel GMT-Master II ref. 116710BLNR with a bi0-shading, beat up Cerachrom ceramic bezel. Like every one of the two-tone GMT-Master bezels before it, this one immediately got an epithet and it’s presently known as the Rolex “Batman” among authorities and enthusiasts.
Other two-tone Cerachrom ceramic bezels before long followed including the blue and red Pepsi bezel, first just on the 18k white gold GMT-Master II ref. 116719BLRO in 2014, and afterward on the hardened steel GMT-Master II 126710BLRO in 2018. There’s additionally the new Root Beer style bezel as the earthy colored and dark Cerachrom bezels on the Everose gold GMT-Master II 126715CHNR and two-tone Everose Rolesor 126712CHNR models.
Today, the entirety of the current-creation Rolex GMT-Master II models come outfitted with two-tone Cerachrom bezels (aside from the jewel set forms), as Rolex no longer offers single shading bezels for the collection.
Rolex GMT-Master Bezel Materials, Production Dates, Colors, Nicknames, & Codes
Below is a brisk breakdown of the kinds of GMT-Master bezels made over the years.
Bakelite Bezels (1955 – 1959)
- References: 6542
- Colors: Blue/Red, Brown
Aluminum Bezels (1959 – 2007)
- References: 1675, 1675/8, 1675/3, 16750, 16758, 16753, 16700, 16760, 16710, 16718, 16713
- Colors: Blue/Red, Brown/Gold, Black/Red, Black, Brown, Blue
Ceramic Bezels (2007 – Present)
- References: 116710, 116718, 116713, 116719, 126710, 126719, 126715, 126712
- Colors: Black, Black/Blue, Blue/Red, Black/Brown
- Blue/Red – Pepsi
- Black/Red – Coke
- Brown/Gold or Brown/Black – Root Beer
- Blue/Black –Batman
- Blue – Blueberry
- BLRO (Bleu Rouge): Blue/Red.
- BLNR (Bleu Noir): Blue/Black.
- CHNR (Chocolat Noir): Brown/Black.
- LN (Lunette Noir): Black
- SARU (Saphir Rubis): Sapphire/Ruby
- SANR (Saphir Noir): Black Sapphire
Although we haven’t talked about the jewel set GMT-Master bezels in detail, Rolex has surely made a few of them, albeit in essentially less amounts. Valuable pearls utilized incorporate jewels, sapphires, and rubies, and they are set into the bezel where the even quantities of the 24-hour scale are set apart out. There are even some pearl set GMT-Master bezels that have rubies and sapphires that emulate the famous blue and red Pepsi colorway.
The development of the GMT-Master bezel impeccably outlines the Rolex approach of taking a fundamental plan detail and refreshing it by utilizing new materials while remaining consistent with the essential style. What’s your #1 GMT-Master bezel material and shading? Offer your comments with us below.