MINUS4PLUS6

Rolex GMT Master II ref 126710BLRO

Rolex GMT Master II Ref 126710BLRO


 

Rolex’s GMT Master II ref 126710BLRO surprised many when it was introduced at Basel 2018.  Combining a new 3285 movement with 10 new patents, a bi-colored red blue ceramic bezel insert, and a Jubilee bracelet makes the GMT 126710 a standout wrist watch and a joy to wear.  Rolex honored the past by utilizing a red – blue ceramic bezel insert as well as incorporating a upgraded and redesigned Jubilee bracelet.

Rolex GMT Master II 126710BLRO

Rolex introduced in 2014 the bi-colored ceramic red-blue bezel insert with the all 18k white gold Ref 116719BLRO which created instant demand for a more price accessible stainless steel version.  Press outlets reported that Rolex was still perfecting the production process of the red-blue ceramic insert; there was a high defect rate during production.  Subsequently, Rolex limited the red-blue insert to the more exclusive all 18k white gold version of the GMT Master.

One aspect that I quickly noticed with the new Ref 126710BLRO was the bezel ring also appears slightly modified as compared to the original ceramic bezeled Ref 116710 that I owned for five years. Although it is a slight difference, the bezel ring walls are about a couple of microns taller allowing the ceramic insert to sit slightly deeper into the bezel.  I also compared to my Ref 116600 Sea Dweller insert and saw that the insert sits a bit more flush to the bezel wall.  Most people will not notice the difference, but after wearing Rolex for more than 30 years, one learns to see the tiny details. The difference is discernable when one runs their finger nail over the ceramic insert towards the bezel edge; the lip is significantly taller in the 126710BLRO.    

Early 18K white gold 116719 GMT had reported issues with the ceramic insert falling out.  My guess is that Rolex build up the bezel ring to make it a bit more robust and to better protect the ceramic insert. 

Rolex GMT Master II 126710BLRO
Rolex GMT
Cracked ceramic bezel insert from a 18k Rolex GMT 116719.
Rolex GMT 126710BLRO

Above is a comparison between the GMT 116713 (left) and the GMT 126710BLRO (right). This image was on an Rolex Authorized Dealer countertop (hence the lighting issues.) Click or larger image

Another obvious standout feature of the Ref 126710BLRO is the Jubilee bracelet.  I wore a Rolex DateJust 16014 with Jubilee bracelet for 15 years and was a bit leery of the Jubilee bracelet because the older hollow bracelet links collected grime and grit and required constant vigilance to keep clean as to not have premature stretching.  Fortunately, the redesigned Jubilee bracelet utilizes solid links and the connecting bars inside the links are tight with no rattle sound at all. Whew, my trepidation about the Jubilee bracelet went by the wayside.

Rolex GMT Master II 126710BLRO

 The Jubilee bracelet takes two queues from the DateJust style Jubilee bracelets.  The first difference is that the Jubilee uses smaller link screws.  Rather than using a 1.6mm screwdriver to remove the link screw, the Ref 126710BLRO Jubilee bracelet requires a 1.4mm screwdriver (left).  The second difference is that the Ref 126710BLRO also utilizes smaller diameter springbars than what is found in the Oyster link cousins of other GMT and Submariners/SeaDweller.

 

Rolex GMT 126710BLRO

Rolex Springbars

 

Rolex GMT Master II 126710BLRO
SeaDweller 116600 (left), GMT 116710 (center) and a 126710BLRO (right) springbars.

Another tell tale difference with Jubilee bracelet is method by which it connects to the case. The Jubilee end link is actually two links that are pinned together. The top side of the end link looks like a seamless connection onto the watch case.  The endlink’s bottom side appears as one solid piece, which it is. The bottom side also has a shelf (below right) that sits into a recession milled into the watch case such that the end link has a solid interconnection with the case held in place by the springbar. The shelf reminds me of the extra shelf RubberB and Everest bands has in their rubber straps to keep the end link from twisting around the springbar. Additionally, the shelf prevents the Jubilee bracelet from fitting onto other sports watches. On the other hand, others have reported that the Oyster link bracelets will fit on the 126710BLRO, but I have not had the opportunity to try it myself.

The entire endlink fitting sits slightly higher than the watch case (shown in the image below left), very similar to the Oyster bracelet fittings on the older Yachtmasters, SeaDwellers, and DeepSeas.

Rolex GMT Master II 126710BLRO Rolex 126710 BLRO
Unlike other Jubilee bracelets found on older DateJusts and Presidents, the Jubilee for the Ref 126710BLRO utilizes Rolex’s Oysterlock clasp available on the GMT line since 1959; (in early years there were two different bracelet options: Jubilee or Oyster with two different clasp styles; Oyster & Oysterlock). The Oysterlock incorporates a 5mm extension link found inside the clasp.  I use the extension link primarily in hot-humid weather when there is wrist swelling, especially after being in an air-conditioned room, as well as when I wear long-sleeve shirts/suit jacket and need the watch to slide around a bit.  Oysterlink
Rolex GMT 126710BLRO

Another difference that is hard for the camera to capture is that the lugs on the 126710BLRO appear slightly narrower than the traditional GMT maxi case found on the GMT 116713. The dimension in - A - appears slightly thicker and the wall slightly steeper than the dimension found in - B -.

    16760 16710T 116710 126710BLRO
Weight (grams)   124.60 123.0 140.00 140.04
Lug to Lug (mm)   47.60 47.11 47.80 48.09
Width w/crown (mm)   42.06 42.19 44.30 44.36
Case Thickness (mm)   5.50 5.08   5.61
Width to crown shelf (mm)   39.14 39.00   40.92
Height (mm)   12.60 12.00 12.00 12.00

Rolex’s new 3285 movement boasts 10 new patents including a Chronenergy escapement and 70 hour power reserve.  I was somewhat skeptical about Rolex’s new +2/-2 timing certification, but was presently surprised to find that this was certainly the case.  The 126710BLRO is perhaps the most accurate mechanical watch among the dozen or so Rolex watches that I have owned over these last 30 years.  The rate variation between face-up, crown-left, crown-down, face-down, crown-right is all within +2/-2 seconds which is nothing sort of amazing. I can now store the watch crown-right so I can read it from the nightstand without worrying about the watch slowing down.  The rates on the timing machine are impressive.

Note to other 3285 and 3235 owners who measure their watches on a timing machine, the angle of lift on these movement is 55 degrees, not 52 degrees found on traditional Swiss lever movements.  

Wearing this watch is very reminiscent of the Ref 16710 and Ref 116710 watches that I have worn in the past.  This watch is not as heavy as the SeaDweller Ref 116600 or the DeepSea Ref 116660 so it does not have to be worn as tight on the wrist.  The lighter Jubilee bracelet conforms to the wrist easier as the Oyster bracelets.  Although Oyster bracelets are comfortable, there is a noticeable difference when wearing the Jubilee bracelet.  I was afraid that the Jubilee polished centerlinks would be too blingy and the reason why I brushed the polished center links on my the Ref 116710, but so far the Jubilee’s broken-up chain-link appearance makes the center links a bit less reflective. 

Rolex GMT Master II 126710BLRO
Rolex GMT Master II 126710BLRO
Rolex GMT Master II 126710BLRO
Rolex GMT Master II 126710BLRO
Timing images are in this order: Face Up, Crown Left, Crown Down, Crown Right, Face Down.

In short, this is perhaps my most favorite Rolex GMT wrist watch.  The Rolex GMT Master II Ref 126710BLRO bracelet is comfortable, it is a great homage to the original GMT with the red-blue bezel and the jubilee bracelet, but with a rock-solid accurate movement and Chromalight luminescence makes this a great all-round wristwatch.

Rolex GMT Master II 126710BLRO