The new cheap rolex watches were a big story coming out of Baselworld 2018, and the new ‘Pepsi’ GMT is the “it” watch right now, with the ‘Root Beer’ drawing slightly more subdued hype as well. Between the madness of paying thousands over retail price for a new Rolex GMT Master-II and the current steel sports watch “shortage” we (myself and Zach Piña) thought it might be a good time to do a list of some of our favorite alternative GMT watches in the spirit of our Top 10 alternatives to the Rolex Submariner article.
The Rolex GMT Master was introduced back in 1959 as the commercial aviation industry was going through a huge period of growth. Pilots who were flying across long distances could easily and reliably keep track of different time zones. The GMT hand and rotating bezel allowed for dual-time tracking, which is useful for anyone who travels or needs to keep track of different time zones. Because of this and the sale rolex watches reputation, the GMT Master found its way on the wrist of people like Fidel Castro (who wore a reference 6542 and 1675). I’ve always found this to be infinitely cooler than the Rolex watches that found their ways on the wrists of, ahem, certain actors who I couldn’t care less about
The follow up GMT Master-II was introduced in 1983 with the current iteration ref. 116710 introduced in 2007. This is the contemporary model with the ceramic bezel and upgrades like the Triplock crown and bigger lugs, crown guards, and numerals. Also, a big improvement in this generation was the new bracelet with the 5mm adjustable Easy-link system. Since then, the current generation of GMT-Master IIs has been associated most with buy rolex watches ceramic color technology.
Models like the ‘Batman’ ref. 116710BLNR and the newest ‘Pepsi’ ref. 126710BLRO (there was an existing Pepsi dial, but only available in white gold before this year) have taken turns being the “it” watch of the moment with buyers paying thousands above retail price. As of writing in 2018, the Pepsi model is selling for almost double the MSRP of $9,250 (it will be interesting to see how this ages in a year and more). The black bezel and the ‘Batman’ both retail for around $8,500 – although the all-black bezel model can actually be found for a discount on the second-hand market.
And then, there are the gold models and the underrated new two-tone ‘Root Beer’ ref. 126711CHNR which is just under $15,000. I have a feeling this model will age well once the novelty of colored ceramic gets old and the production technology is cheap enough to produce.
In any case, the replica rolex watches is an icon and chances are if you hear the phrase “GMT” this watch is one of the first few things that will come to mind. Here, we came up with a list of 10 alternatives from “peer” brands like Omega and Breitling as well as more afforable GMT offerings. A successful GMT watch does not need to look like a bi-color fake rolex watches like the Pepsi or Coke. Some watches in this list share that aesthetic, others don’t at all.