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Hands-On: Rolex GMT-Master II 126710BLNR Blue/Black Bezel Watch

Hands-On: Rolex GMT-Master II 126710BLNR Blue/Black Bezel Watch Hands-On

One of the most popular Rolex Oyster Professional sport watches from the last few years is the reference 116710BLNR GMT-Master II “Batman” — referred to as such because of its distinctive blue and black “Cerachrom” ceramic bezel. This was the first steel Rolex watch to include a two-tone ceramic bezel, which has since been supplemented with a blue and red “Pepsi” Cerachrom bezel in 2019 as Rolex updated the overall GMT-Master II collection with various new features, including a new movement. While the Rolex reference 126710BLRO (red and blue bezel) GMT-Master II stole much of the attention (aBlogtoWatch hands-on here) over the last year, it is also joined by this 126710BLNR (blue and black bezel) that is, in essence, an upgraded Rolex Batman.

The new 126710 generation Rolex GMT-Master II has upgrades over the previous generation 116710 in a few ways. One feature that is not, per se, an upgrade but merely a cosmetic difference is the choice of matching steel bracelet. For many, this will be the biggest difference between the Rolex Batman and the “Batgirl” (a nick name that I don’t find particularly fitting). The previous generation BLNR (the code Rolex uses to refer to the bezel style) was paired with a three-link Rolex Oyster bracelet (with a polished center link), and the new generation BLNR comes paired with an all-steel Jubilee bracelet.

Hands-On: Rolex GMT-Master II 126710BLNR Blue/Black Bezel Watch Hands-On

Hands-On: Rolex GMT-Master II 126710BLNR Blue/Black Bezel Watch Hands-On

Watch enthusiasts are sometimes up in arms about which bracelet is better or more desirable, and my take is that they are both good in their own ways. Some people claim that the Jubilee bracelet feels a bit too “old” but that is simply because it is mostly associated with more vintage Rolex timepieces on account of them not recently using the bracelet for its sports watches. The Jubilee style bracelet is incredibly comfortable, and it comes on the same deployant clasp (with a “comfort extension” as the that on the three-link bracelet. For me, the two bracelets are simply two different flavors that both match the GMT-Master II watch equally well.

Having a few flavors of the same watch is often important to Rolex — which is why, in 2019, it debuted both the GMT-Master II 126710BLNO and the 126710BLNR. Each is the same watch with the only difference being the colors of the two-tone Cerachrom ceramic bezels and the color of the GMT hands. The bezels themselves rotate in both directions and the 24-hour markers on the bezel are used in conjunction with the 24-hour GMT hand on the dial to know the time in other time zones. For this reason, the GMT-Master II has always been ideally suited as a traveler’s watch.

Hands-On: Rolex GMT-Master II 126710BLNR Blue/Black Bezel Watch Hands-On

Hands-On: Rolex GMT-Master II 126710BLNR Blue/Black Bezel Watch Hands-On

Rolex is funny about mentioning upgrades in its newest generation watches; you’d think they would be louder when it comes to discussing the new features, but the reality is that Rolex is careful not to make their older generation watches seem less desirable. “A Rolex is always a Rolex” according to… well, Rolex. Many people, for example, would not necessarily notice that the new generation GMT-Master 126710 has a different case than that of the previous generation. Both cases are the same 40mm-wide in Rolex’s Oystersteel (904L grade steel), but the 126710 has some slightly different angles to it and is machined differently. I’m not saying it is enough for 116710 generation GMT-Master II owners to “upgrade,” but for those who are keen to wonder what Rolex made different, then it is more than just a bracelet and a movement for the latest generation GMT-Master II.

Recall that the case is water resistant to 100 meters, with (of course) a sapphire crystal and a Cyclops magnifier window over the date window. Now lets discuss the movement a bit. We already discussed the movement when introducing the GMT-Master II 126710 back in 2019, but I will give you the basic details again. The movement inside the latest-generation GMT-Master is the in-house-made caliber 3285 automatic, which is the GMT version of Rolex’s 32XX generation of movements. The automatic movement operates at 4Hz, now 70 hours of power reserve. It also includes Rolex’s “Superlative Chronometer” rating, which is a stack of both third-party COSC Chronometer rating and more stringent in-house performance testing by Rolex. What I really appreciate about Rolex’s Superlative Chronometer rating is that (unlike most other watch makers) it comes with specific performance promises, one being accuracy to within plus/minus two seconds a day.

Hands-On: Rolex GMT-Master II 126710BLNR Blue/Black Bezel Watch Hands-On

Hands-On: Rolex GMT-Master II 126710BLNR Blue/Black Bezel Watch Hands-On

All Rolex movements perform pretty well, so aside from the increased power-reserve rating, I have a feeling that most Rolex wearers will not notice too much difference in terms of the movement operation from the last GMT-Master II generation to this most current 126710 family. When traveling, the movement allows the wearer to adjust the hour hand independently, which helps make it simple to adjust the local time when moving into different time zones.

A fair question to ask is whether or not one should seek out this blue and black 126710BLNR or the red and blue 126710BLNO — as they both cost and do the same things. In some senses, it is a matter of style and taste. It is also important to mention that both watches are currently very challenging to purchase at retail. That sort of implies that, for most buyers, the one they purchase is the one that they find available. It is the enduring recommendation of aBlogtoWatch that consumers do not purchase watches for above retail price, as in recent years speculators have been known to quickly purchase available popular timepieces and then attempt to immediately resell them for a premium. Such actions only serve to benefit the said speculators and should be avoided by most consumers. If you can get your hands on this, or any of the latest-generation Rolex 126710 GMT-Master II watches, then you’ll probably be quite happy with it. Price (recently updated in 2020) for the Rolex 126710BLNR GMT-Master II watch is $9,700 USD. Learn more at the Rolex website here.

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  • J R

    After the SD43 being bought on December 2018 this will be my next purchase if I could get my hands on one. Waiting for the call of Sofia.

  • Lincolnshire Poacher

    I have loved the look of the the Rolex GMT with its very attractive two colour bezel, for as long as I can remember. Along with the superb Kermit diver, my first horological love.
    But it gives me pause when, for example you see someone wearing one. Are they the sort of person who’ll pay thousands of pounds over the actual price, just to wear a fashionable watch?
    It then makes everyone who payed actual retail, or owns an older one, question what they’re inadvertently projecting by wearing one. In this age where a surface image of authenticity is everything…
    It’s a shame, because they’re great watches.

    • tmvu13

      Why do you care so much about what other people wear, or what people may think about what you’re wearing? You’re projecting your insecurities. Wear what you like, and be proud to rock it.

      • Lincolnshire Poacher

        Didn’t you get the joke ??
        “In this age … etc

      • Mench62

        I couldn’t agree with you more. I happen to have the prior iteration of the Batman. I see others wearing it now and again and never once have I wondered what the other paid for it or what kind of person they may be for having it. It’s a watch. I like wearing it. It gives me pleasure. End of story.

  • Pete Yo

    I like the oyster bracelet better than the jubilee. I looked for this watch for roughly a year because I wanted one. Every AD in the area had requirements in order to get the Batman. Plus the waiting list was ridiculous. The after-market price was almost twice the list, so I purchased a different GMT and pocketed the difference.

  • Simonh

    I might buy one of these, oh wait…

  • KMWNAZ

    If only Rolex would fight against people marking them up 50% or more than MAYBE you could buy one of these for “Suggested Retail” until then plan on spending a lot more.

    • Dwebber18

      There is a jewelry store in Vail that I walked by a few weeks ago. They had an amazing selection; pepsi, batman, hulk, AP RO, blue skydweller, etc. All 50-100% over MSRP. It was really nice to see some of these watches in person semi-locally but no thank you. I’d rather spend $15k on a $15k watch, not a $9k watch.

  • funkright

    Would love to pickup at SRP, but have a feeling I’ll be waiting a bit or require some luck. Picked up a Polar Explorer II with relative ease, comparatively.

  • Pedro Lambareiro

    Wasn’t this fad on its way to the grave?

  • Probably my favourite Rolex (together with the classic explorer). And I really like the Jubilee bracelet on it.

    • Independent_George

      Agreed, especially about the Jubilee, which I think adds a flair of sophistication to it, though it seems to be a bone of contention for some. My snarky comment aside, I like this watch, and, if I could get one at retail, I would look into buying one. And I like, even more the white gold with the meteorite dial, but that’s a “Hey, look. $40K just fell out of the sky and into my lap” watch.

      • NaJo

        I tried it in Singapore and jubilee (dressy) on a sports watch did not fit to my linking at all, felt a bit awkward… After all the rave reviews I tried So very hard to like it! Also it’s another question to get one so don’t bother…

    • NaJo

      Have you tried one or just on pictures? I had the same views as urs until I tried!

      • I tend to like bracelets others don’t. For example I love the Doxa beads of rice bracelet. I LOVE mesh bracelets on everything, and also I like the Breitling 5-link pilot bracelets (similar to the Jubilee). In general I like blingy tool watches, especially if they are busy visually.

        So all in all this bracelet combo works very well for me.

        • egznyc

          How do you feel about wearing mesh bracelets with dress watches?

  • Independent_George

    I know of someone who sold most of his collection to finance a 2018 Pepsi. See him around court sometimes, he’s a fairly successful plaintiff’s attorney, with the bespoke suits and Italian shoes, all the PI attorney tropes. I haven’t seen him rock the Pepsi lately. I last saw him, in December, fiddling with his Apple Watch.

    • egznyc

      That is so sad ?

  • ray h.

    So boring and yesterday. The only “cool” thing about it is the word Rolex on the dial.

  • aWtchslvr

    Nice bracelet

    • Gokart Mozart

      I think the Jubilee looks better than the Oyster.

      • aWtchslvr

        Well, I am not a, aesthetically talking, Rolex fan. But I would put that bracelet in other watch of my taste.

  • Gokart Mozart

    Although the color scheme is OK, the watch is just too fussy, and busy. It’s like you do not know where to look on the watch, and not in a good way.

    Is the GMT hand made of blued steel? It does not look like, but for the price it should be.

  • NaJo

    I tried one at Singapore boutique since they have a one display only piece rule which is cool so that customers could try before buying blindly getting in line for atleast several years.
    Believe it or not, neither Pepsi or coke could get the “awesome” vibes, I was excited and tried so hard to like it but ended disappointed! Lesson learnt for real watch lovers and not buy and sell idiots – don’t go with the flow, atleast try once and Get the feeling. Never buy blindly. Afterall watch collection hobby is about enjoying the process, feeling the timepiece and fall in love before you buy and not just put yourself on a god damn list based on someone else’s reviews!

  • Rhino67

    This is not the first time that photos of the arrow at the 24 position of a cerechrome bezel has looked dirty, as though it had been discolored by oils from the users fingers. It would seem that the platinum coating might prevent this, but the texture seems to actually be the cause. If it is presented in photos this way, either the photographer is negligent In attention to detail, or it cannot be easily cleaned. At any rate, the dirt accumulation on the bezel makes a $10,000 sports watch look fragile.
    Does anyone know if this bezel is prone to such a lackluster presentation?

    • Zane Domke

      Yeah, I totally missed that in my viewing of this review. That discoloration, if it’s not from photography and/or studio issues, is a hit on the confidence I have with Rolex. A detail like this is forgivable in a sub-$1000 piece, not a $9000+ piece.

    • Sean PIzzle

      I had this exact thought. I’d love a response from ABTW on this. Does the watch really look this bad in person? From some angles it looks ok, but the sort of fading/texture/whatever in a lot of these photos would be unacceptable in a Steinhart, much less the real thing.

      • Ariel Adams

        No, I wouldn’t worry about that personally.

        • Rhino67

          I first noticed this when Rolex first introduced the bi-color ceramic bezel. One can even see it in pic of the WG meteorite dial in the David Brennan’s Apr review https://www.ablogtowatch.com/rolex-gmt-master-ii-126719blro-pepsi-meteorite-dial-watch/
          Assuming the shots for both articles were of display models taken at Rolex Authorized Dealers, one would think they would put the best foot forward. It may not be worth worrying about, but I would love to know if it cleans up with the wipe of a cloth, maybe a little soap and water, or is this patina that gets darker with age before I made the leap.

        • Gokart Mozart

          Huh???

        • Jon Nölla Parli

          Can you please elaborate on that, Ariel? It really looks like the 22, the triangle, and the 2 are tarnished. Much appreciated!

    • Johannes92

      Speaking from personal experience, this is not an issue at this time. I bought the 126710 BLNR in early december , and have been wearing it daily. After passing it around to friends, I have had the exact same dirty look on the 24 position triangle several times. It has washed of easily with a soft brush and water, still looking good as new. I am confident that this is just sloppy work from the journalist, not rinsing it before taking the photo. This is not something I experience during regular daily wear. Hope this is helpful to those of you who wonder if this is a real problem or not.

      • Rhino67

        Thanks. for putting that issue to rest for me.

  • Playboy Johnny – Team Mariu$

    All Hail the Crown! ; )

  • Mench62

    It’s so minor as to be indistinguishable. The lugs curve in slightly more which tends to put a little more focus on the dial. It also makes swapping out the jubilee for the oyster on the older model incompatible. I saw some photos where people did this and you can clearly tell the bracelet and watch don’t belong.

    • Ed Yu

      I saw people do it as well. I didn’t notice problems but I guess I wasn’t paying that much attention. So this is only for those with jubilee bracelets not necessarily the new ones with new movements?

  • Dwebber18

    I was able to see both versions of this watch in person last week in London. Both look very good on the watch and I agree with the author that it’s just two different flavors. I liked both and sort of like the jubilee better. Granted I’m not going to drop $13-15k for that.

  • Tony NW

    My Jubilee wears super-comfy and doesn’t feel over-blingey. Nobody has mentioned as much to me.

  • Manualman

    Personally I think the Batman looks better than the Pepsi. However, Rolex should make the bracelets longer- I needed two extra links for my new Batman……not all Rolex owners have skinny wrists

  • Rob Crenshaw

    Stigma? Methinks that is all in some people’s minds…

    I have been asked whether I paid over for my Pepsi, and when I answer No, the reaction is quite the opposite of stigma. That one would be so gauche as to ask the question in the first place suggests the inquirer is looking for stigma to bolster some internal conflict. If there is any stigma, I’d say it’s about the brand Rolex, and not about any particular watch. Rolex seems to be the watch of choice for the yuppie looking to impress, and there many in my area. They’re not really WIS, they just want a “nice watch” and know Rolex is the brand to have.

  • paysdoufs

    I hope that – as a habitant of Rolex-City – I have the right to offer a rather harsh opinion… I have always had a hard time to understand the hype for the 6-digit crowns, but I’m having an even harder one re. the GMTs: I think that design-wise this watch is a lazy rehash. And that, above all, it looks extremely silly on the Jubilée :-/

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