March 26, 2014
by Ariel Adams
It is easy to deduce that the black and blue version was a halfway mark to the red and blue model, but I think it is really just another flavor. When the blue and black GMT came out, Rolex clearly knew that it had a blue and red model in the works. For them, it was an ability to come out first with the world’ first two-tone ceramic bezel, and then a year later to follow up with the world’s first red and blue ceramic bezel. In fact, it is also the first time anyone has produced commercially available red ceramic in a watch.
Hublot technically released the first watch with red ceramic with the Classic Fusion Skeleton Tourbillon for OnlyWatch 2013, but it was a one-off piece and the material was never put into any commercially available product. So Rolex does have them beat in that regard. Nevertheless, even if Hublot (or another brand) sold red ceramic, none of them would come even close to Rolex’s sophistication when it comes to producing ceramic parts–which is a mixture of art and science as it is a delicate process. Again, the benefit of ceramic is both permanence of the color (it wont fade) as well as the durable scratch-resistance properties of the hard material (meaning that it will age very well).
Aside from the new blue and red bezel there isn’t anything new about this version of the GMT-Master II watch. It retains the 40mm wide case size and in-house made Rolex caliber 3186 automatic COSC Chronometer certified movement. This is of course a very popular design, is on par with the Submariner among Rolex’s most desired sport watches.
I haven’t broached perhaps the most controversial element on the GMT-Master II ref. 116719 BLRO watch and that is the case material. If you are asking yourself how someone can make a decision between the red and blue or blue and black bezel version of the GMT-Master II, the answer is going to be the price. While the ref. 116710 BLNR comes in steel, this 2014 116719 BLRO is offered only in 18k white gold. For some people that little piece of news hits like a punch because there is so much “want” in this new Pepsi dial watch but considerable expense as well. Rolex has made one of history’s most popular GMT watches something very exclusive this year. The reason of course is simple. First of all the blue and red ceramic bezel is still difficult to produce in quantity, and second because as you know, they just released a blue and black version in steel last year.
Posing the question of “will this watch be available in steel in the future” to Rolex unsurprisingly results in no appreciable response. We continue to believe that Rolex advises the CIA on secrecy training. Having said that, given history and what makes sense, it is entirely possible that in several years this GMT-Master II or a version like it (with some minor changes) will be available in steel. For now, the lovely new Rolex Oyster Perpetual GMT-Master II 116719 BLRO watch will retail for 36,500 Swiss Francs and will be available in the Fall of 2014. rolex.com