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Rolex GMT-Master II 116759SARU Factory Gem-Set Watch Hands-On

Rolex GMT-Master II 116759SARU Factory Gem-Set Watch Hands-On Hands-On

I must say, seeing the lavishly factory-set, full pave dial-equipped Rolex GMT-Master II 116759SARU hands-on was much like a soul-searching experience. I had this dream once, where I met the high priest of some long-abolished civilization. Sitting on the ground, sipping on his weird pipe, with his eyes closed, he told me: “Go, son, find something preposterously expensive and look at it. Look at it as long as you want, look it in the eye! And somewhere in there, between the sparkle of two brilliant-cut diamonds, you’ll see your true self.” Well, here I am.

The soul searching, for me, really boiled down to one question: “Would I wear this? Seriously, would I wear this a lot? Out there? In the real world?” Either my brain is very smart in answering big life questions, which in hindsight seems like a stretch of a statement to make, or it just had a fart of a brainwave… but, somehow, the answer crystallized just like the old priest said it would and I said to myself: “I’d wear the sh*t out of this watch.”

Rolex GMT-Master II 116759SARU Factory Gem-Set Watch Hands-On Hands-On

All images by David Bredan

It is only now, writing this memoir of seeing the 116759SARU that I realize, I had not answered the question. The question is not whether I would wear this watch, but rather what doing so would make me. In all seriousness, such a watch is a window – though a decidedly difficult to see out of window – on our society, on our constraints and our values, on what we think and what we think others think to be appropriate or inappropriate. So, the question still stands: what would wearing this watch make me – or make you, or make a random guy you see boarding first class as you make your way to the barbed wired section of the plane?

Rolex GMT-Master II 116759SARU Factory Gem-Set Watch Hands-On Hands-On

How much, do you think, this watch retails for? I’ll help you out by saying, this is an all-gold Rolex GMT-Master II on the full white gold bracelet, with a factory-set pave dial and a bezel with high quality and painstakingly color-matched stones and massive baguette diamonds. I’ll also say that a similar Day-Date 40 with green stuff on it, albeit in platinum, costs $412,000 (hands-on here). Okay, here we go: this one costs $112,000 – both prices are before the insanity-inducing 27% VAT of Hungary, where I saw these pieces (but you of course don’t have to pay that if you, like most six-figure priced watch buyers, have a foreign passport).

So, “a bit over a hundred kay” it is. However, looking at it, irrespective of whether you are doing that with a watch lover’s eye or that of a civilian, you are likely to get the idea that this watch stands above a number on a price tag, for two big reasons.

Rolex GMT-Master II 116759SARU Factory Gem-Set Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Rolex GMT-Master II 116759SARU Factory Gem-Set Watch Hands-On Hands-On

First, there is the barrier of entry not in terms of shelling out this much money for a watch, but in terms of making the call and saying, yep, this is the watch I’m gonna wear. The moment you put this on and walk out of the store, the price tag is removed and though yes, it objectively looks stupendously expensive, I’d expect every onlooker to subconsciously think not of a price, but rather what it takes to wear something like this – and I’ll get back to that question in a moment.

Second, Rolex makes these rather difficult to get. They, at least in parts of the world that I frequent, never put this sort of watch out into the shop windows – it’s presented to you if they deem you worthy. It’s a win-win in the sense that it helps improve the idea of exclusivity, and it also is not driving away Regular Joe (i.e. you or I), who just wants “an Explorer I with the properly sized hands.” I am absolutely sure that placing a watch like this out in the windows would result in a noticeable drop in sales to ordinary people, at least in most parts of Europe for sure.

Rolex GMT-Master II 116759SARU Factory Gem-Set Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Rolex GMT-Master II 116759SARU Factory Gem-Set Watch Hands-On Hands-On

This neatly leads us back to the question of why that is. I mean, let’s be honest with ourselves here. Do we turn our heads in a disapproving manner every time we see a needlessly expensive car? Do you know how long it takes to assemble a $400,000 Lamborghini Aventador? The car has different bits and pieces fitted to it at 12 different workstations, and it spends 90 minutes at each, that’s 18 hours of work, to go from a bare chassis to a complete car. Add chassis and engine assembly time and it’s still just a few days of work, unlike the exterior of this watch that can take over a week to do. Or do we give unfriendly looks when we see people board a plane with an $8,000 ticket, just to sit a bit further in the front, in what is essentially a very noisy and cramped version of a hotel room?

So yeah, in a way, this watch actually is good value, when you consider the amount of work and the value of the components that went into it, compared to a car made from reinforced plastic or a flight that’s over in 8-12 hours where all you have after it is a memory of getting mildly drunk in a plane and once owning $8,000… And yet, you just know, wearing this merely 40mm-wide watch is asking for trouble.

Rolex GMT-Master II 116759SARU Factory Gem-Set Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Rolex GMT-Master II 116759SARU Factory Gem-Set Watch Hands-On Hands-On

So, with all this in mind, perhaps we are getting closer to answering the question, “what does wearing this watch make me?” I am dead serious when I say I’d wear this watch. At this point I’d go so far as to say if I had to make a deal of having to wear this watch and no other for the rest of my life, I think I’d still go for it. Weirdly, though, this motive is not fueled by a lust for perceived social status, but rather by my thinking that this watch stands above the rest in a weird way, as though the general rules of watches did not apply to it.

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  • IG

    I don’t get this flat, coloured gem stuff on watches, it looks like plastic. Btw is this a genuine Rolex? Where are the 4 lines of text from the dial??

    • David Bredan

      Next time I’ll try and take some shots with more direct light hitting the watch – these were taken with diffused light. With direct light it’ll be more like the sun shining directly at it: when that happens these don’t look plasticky in the least.

    • Kuroji

      You can see it says Rolex Rolex Rolex on the rehaut

  • A_watches

    David your articles have levelled up. I love to own a f@ck off watch like this. Gaudy tacky but beautiful

    • David Bredan

      Really appreciate it, thanks!

  • Dénes Albert

    Excellently written. I even understand the reasoning of why you would be willing to only wear this watch for the rest of your life. I just happen to disagree. Let us consider – without weighing the merits of it – the premise that as a self-confessed watch enthusiast someone would want to wear a watch that says “everyone can go stuff themselves”. I have a suspicion that anyone who needs such a strong signal to convey the message, is probably still light-years removed from the “I don’t care what others say” camp. Also, and more relevantly, the ultimate statement of a watch enthusiast would be to wear no watch at all. Tepert? is the Hungarian word for fried pork fat, the very idea of which is so offensive to most English-speaking people that they don’t even have a proper word for it.

    • David Bredan

      Thank you for your kind words, Dénes. The concept of a watch enthusiast not wearing a watch is beyond me (unless it’s occasional). I can’t really put this in any other way, but I would indeed be wearing this watch for myself and also everyone else who gets this as a joke, not as a status item. I wanted my approach to come across as inclusive rather than exclusive – what you highlighted is just me fanning away the idea of the most immediately apparent negative consequences of wearing a watch like this out in the world.
      Those who disapprovingly look at it as a “status tool” are of course absolutely right in that the vast majority of these watches are bought for that function… When wearing this as a status item, its there to distance the wearer from the plebs which is a negative approach, whereas when it’s worn as a joke it’s to bond with those who get it – which is a positive, even if you’ll inevitably distance yourself from those who don’t get it/don’t enjoy it.
      At the end of the day it’s all good either way – it’s just a watch that I think would cheer me up if I had the chance to wear it as a daily. Oh, and tepert? for the win. And tejföl.

      • Dénes Albert

        I understand. I have on occasion been to nude beaches, but never without a watch. I would feel naked, if that makes any sense.

    • Dave Pryor

      Chicharrón.

      • Kuroji

        So delicious

  • Luciano

    Great review (although I would never consider this in my shortlist if I was to spend $100k+ on a watch).

  • Adi Susanto

    Seriously if i were to drop 100k on a watch…rolex will be the last on my mind…would rather spend on Richard mille or Patek…spending on shining diamonds? Unless you are a pimp.

    • BJ314

      This kind of watch goes back quite a bit and more conservative CEO dimwits buy them than pimps. lol

      The bezel is good looking, but the dial is atrocious.

  • PollyO

    I’m afraid $112,000 is about the amount you would have to pay me to wear this monstrosity.

    Ah well, to each their own…

    • Tea Hound

      Reply with your bank account details and we’ll see what we can do.

  • Raymond Wilkie
    • Tea Hound

      You love it really!

    • SuperStrapper

      Nothing hateful there…?

      • Raymond Wilkie

        This is quite the exeption.

  • Tea Hound

    It’s a beautiful piece of jewellery – the stones look absolutely perfectly set in the photos, and the colour combination is fantastic. I’d wear it, and wear it with pride. But not too much pride, probably. At least not on the Circle line anyway.

    If I had the funds, I’d commission something similar, but starting with the Deepsea D-Blue, one of Rolex’s unappreciated great watches; I’d have Rolex’s master gem setters reproduce the graduated blue dial but in carefully chosen precious stones. That’d rock wild.

    Anyway, great article, and more Rolex please! You can write up the Platinum Daytona now… Finally, one for Raymond; Roger Smith appears to be wearing a Rolex as he works: See 22nd September 2016 announcement here: https://www.rwsmithwatches.com/announcements/

    Now there’s a man who’d appreciate this watch…

    • Raymond Wilkie

      Doesn’t the Isle of Man look gorgeous. I have you say, it does look like a Rolex ( 06:12 ) . Nothing wrong with that.

  • SuperStrapper
    • DanW94

      He looks like an 80’s Billy Squier looking at his career in the 90’s.

      • Lash LaRue de Bayou

        Stroke was the best

  • Elijs Dima (@x2eliah)

    Tbh the watch looks great. The dial is nicely set, perfect amount of ‘open’ areas and ‘roughness’; the case peppering also seems exactly spot-on. Altogether it looks fancy, sure, but.. nice.

    I wouldn’t wear it though, just on account of personal safety. I think, to be able to wear this openly in public, you’d have to have the intimidating physique of stallone or schwarzenegger in their prime.

  • Yan Fin

    I would still prefer Kravitz Design ?

  • BJ314

    Unfortunately, this is making a show case for why you should choose aftermarket bedazzling. “Ben the Baller” would have executed this better.

  • IanE

    As Kurtz once said, ‘The horror! The horror!’

    • pingrava

      Tony soprano called. He wants his.watch back.

      • Lash LaRue de Bayou

        He dead.

  • Lincolnshire Poacher

    Great review, kinda’ humerous.
    I must be out of synch, I look at heavily blinged up watches as being more appropriate for women. Until I read the review I had just assumed it was a ‘ladies’ watch.

  • Playboy Johnny

    My next watch.

  • Rob Crenshaw

    I thought about buying a very similar watch from the Pearlmaster range about 9 months ago, and went so far as to try one on several times: at Harrod’s, on Rodeo Drive, and in Monaco. It was white gold, with either the blue/purple bezel and diamond pave, or the same but diamond bezel, which made for a dazzling monotone piece of jewelry. I went thru a similar thought process as Mr Bredan, which was much more “Can I actually *wear* this? In public?”, many times more than the simple question of “Do I want this?”, which was an absolute yes.

    Before you can criticize such a watch, you have to not only see it in person, but you must put it on. It’s not a “pictures don’t do it justice” situation, it’s a “you can’t begin to understand the allure and effect this watch possesses” until you actually have it on your wrist, *and you get comfortable with it there”. The diamond pave is (pun intended) brilliant, it coats the face in an impossibly smooth shimmering sea of opulence. The watches I looked at had Roman numerals, and were more cohesive than this GMT, whose design seems a bit at odds with the luxury aspect, but I’m sure it would be equally as stunning in the flesh.

    I was determined while in Europe to buy a statement watch of some sort, and the Rolex was on my short list. The others were the Freak Blue Cruiser, the Lange Datograph, and the Vacheron Overseas Ultra-Thin. After trying them all, I decided that even though I loved the Rolex, at the end of the day the answer was No, I could not wear it, it was just too much. Not for it’s unapologetic self, but too much for me. It would sit in a drawer and I’d pull it out and admire it, wear it around the house, but not in public, and I wasn’t going to become a watch miser.

    I decided on the Vacheron, which I had to make a diversion to Paris to get, there were only two left in Europe and both were there, and thus ended up with a watch much more to my sensibilities: as under the radar and low-key as an expensive watch gets.

    Still, the Rolex is on my list… 🙂

  • JosephWelke

    Nice writing. I appreciate the skill it takes to choose and mount the stones, but there’s no way I’d wear this, as a joke or not.

  • Eduardo55

    If he were still alive, Liberace would be wearing this watch.

    • pingrava

      After buying his class ring, liberal’s parents drew the line at this watch.

  • benjameshodges

    No way you would wear this. Not everyday. It’d sit in its glass box gathering dust. The bezel is enough, it didn’t need the diamonds on the lugs and dial. Out of curiosity, do you buy watches abroad?

  • eRZé

    I can’t see any masculinity in this watch so I don’t think I would wear it. (Not that I’m an alpha male but still.)
    As for the Lamborghini analogy, the Aventador is designed to be a supercar from the ground up. Also, manufacturing a car is not just assembling the different components received from suppliers. Anyway, a standard GMT-Master II isn’t a watch in the “supercar” sense, it’s much like an Audi A6. With various “enhancements” you can jack up the price to the level of the Aventador, but that will not make it a supercar. E.g. the Lange Datograph Perpetual Tourbillon is a “supercar” although it has only one diamond.

    • David Bredan

      Thanks for sharing. The A6 I think is a bit unkind – I’d rather consider this a Range Rover sort of thing, given the extra engineering (in the movement, case and bracelet) and functionality it has over other run of the mill watches… Plus you can’t get the equivalent of this in an A6, not even an RS6 because we are not talking about raw performance but the exact opposite of that. Come to think of it, some Range Rovers did have some preposterous OEM iterations. Nevertheless, I see what you mean.
      All those Lange’s with a diamond in the movement I believe should have not one but two diamonds – at both ends of the shaft. I could be wrong but that’s what I remember from the top of my head.

      • Kuroji

        The RS6 is a sleeper. Only the gear heads notice it. Maybe if I added some diamond pavé…

  • BNABOD

    I am going to go w NO

  • Beefalope

    Gross.

  • The bezel only has makers for 12 hours, so there is not usefulness as a 24 hour (GMT) bezel. On that technical basis alone, I will pass.

    I’m fully with David on the concept that one could wear at watch like this for themselves and there rest of the world can kiss my ass – and even better if you never notice it at all. My guilty pleasures have nothing to do with other people’s eyes.

    But this isn’t what what I’d send 100K for in a watch. And perhaps a billionaire wearing a G-Shock as he steps off his Gulfstream 650ER or mega yacht is an even more perverse form of “f*ck off” than this Rolox (which doesn’t have enough text on the dial of course).

    • A_watches

      How’s the pussy gonna know you own a jet in a nightclub , gonna park it outside?

      • But I want the ladies to like me for my personality – no wait, that won’t work…

        • A_watches

          Like go out on the razz to find a wife!?

          • Are you from Melbourne? Had to look up razz as that’s not a term I was familiar with. Have a wife already, so now I guess I really don’t need a blinged out Rolex.

  • Yanko

    The K2 of Kitsch.

    • Lindsay

      The bezel doesn’t look crash hot in some of those photos either

  • ObjectOriented?

    I feel sick. Take a Rolex (which was never high horology anyway) and make it look like one of those diamond encrusted quartz watches you see chav women wear, and this is what you get.

  • Simon

    Make it yellow gold and then it’s a party 😀

  • Bozzor

    This is one of those paradoxes of life: Rolex is a company generally known for conservatism, for engineering brilliance and flawless, but restrained craftsmanship. Provider of Sensible Swiss excellence for decades, the choice of successful professionals.

    And then they have this kind of stuff lurking in the background.

    This is like a 45 year old Harvard Medical School trained Connecticut heart surgeon, a pillar of the community who does huge local charity drives, has a lovely wife and 4 great children…who once a month dresses up in drag, gets live piercings in his unmentionables and then performs bizzare sex acts with tapirs whilst wearing a Gimp mask and singing “On the Good Ship Lollipop” in front of a bunch of naked US Senators…

    It’s weird and indeed disgusting, but you can’t look away…

  • mrvco

    I certainly couldn’t pull it off on any level, but I get it. This is whorology at its finest.

  • Kuroji

    Nice post. I don’t mind the pavé on this model, but the rest is a horror show. There’s few things more gauche than an iced-out Rolex. If you must wear one, get the gold tooth too.

  • Ian john horwood

    Lets be very clear from the start, for that money for a rolex, the movement is basically a tractor based movement. Like before lamborghini made supercars, they were making tractors. If you want to spend your 100 grand plus on basically a tractor with jewels attached to it , go ahead.

  • Ulysses31

    It’s trashy. You can’t compare this to sports cars which, for the most part, are beautiful and every component is (usually) custom made for the purpose of performance. This is a standard Rolex with glitter on it. It wears a different costume but it is still the same run-of-the-mill watch at heart. Such a timepiece is worn not for its aesthetic qualities; it is quite ugly compared to a standard Rolex. It’s there to assault the senses and to enable the owner to watch the expressions of the people who see it, as their pained, disgusted faces recoil in horror. You could also drop your trousers and take a big steaming dump in the middle of a fancy ballroom, and gain notoriety that way too. Whichever method you choose to gain attention, it’s quite childish in either case. Seek true beauty, not attention and the revulsion of others, and you’ll go far in life.

  • Definitely not my taste. Asked my wife if she would wear it and she said No! as well. I can see this on the hands of rappers.

  • robert lulek

    I think it is beautiful. What is the purpose of a watch anyway??? To tell time. All of you guys are jealous because you can not afford it. Why don’t you use your cellphone to tell time. Who wants to wear a watch that doesn’t draw any interest?? Isnt the whole purpose for it to be jewelery?? Businessman might wear a watch just to tell time. However, most wear watches to be noticed. I could wear a patek Phillipe 5980 rosegold for same money and this watch would get much more compliments and attention. AQnd don’t give me that shit that I am an attention seeker. HELL YES EVERYONE LOVES ATTENTION!!