For the most part, 2021 has been a year of iterative change for Rolex, in keeping with the brand’s long standing tradition of refining existing designs rather than outright replacing them. The brand’s updates to the GMT-Master II line are perhaps the best examples of this philosophy out of Rolex’s 2021 announcements, with the brand quietly announcing amid its other novelties that the popular stainless steel GMT-Master II models will once again be available with the classic three link stainless steel Oyster bracelet after a hiatus since 2018. Beyond reintroducing the Oyster bracelet to the Rolex GMT-Master II 127610BLNR and GMT-Master II 127610BLRO, however, a brand representative has confirmed to aBlogtoWatch that for the first time ever, Rolex will be selling its bracelets to consumers independent of watch purchases.
Since its introduction in 2018, the stainless steel models of the current Rolex GMT-Master II series have been available exclusively on the brand’s dressy multi-link Jubilee bracelet. With the return of the three link Oyster bracelet to the iconic “Pepsi” and “Batman” GMT-Master II references, the brand not only adds a more tool-oriented sporting flair to the series but also adds another layer of choice for GMT-Master II buyers. Both bracelet styles will be available on the stainless steel GMT-Master II models moving forward, which should be a win-win. Owners of the white gold GMT-Master II “Pepsi” may feel differently about this news, however, as stainless steel buyers can now option the reference 127610BLRO to look nearly identical to the precious metal model after years of the combination being exclusive to white gold.
Outside of the new bracelet option, these Oyster-equipped GMT-Master II models are identical to current models. This includes the 40mm stainless steel case in the brand’s Oystersteel alloy, a 100 meter water resistance rating, a two tone ceramic bezel in either black and blue or blue and red, and the brand’s trademark cyclops date magnifier. The dials are pure classic Rolex sports watch, with the brand’s signature blend of Mercedes hands and applied diver indices. Like previous iterations, these models are powered by Rolex’s manufacture 3285 automatic GMT movement. The 3285 conforms to the brand’s stringent in-house Superlative Chronometer accuracy standard at -2/+2 seconds per day and boasts a solid 70 hour power reserve at a 28,800 bph beat rate.
While details at this point are scarce, the brand’s decision to sell bracelets to consumers is a noteworthy shift. Traditionally, Rolex has only sold bracelets attached to watches, not independently. The ability for a current Jubilee-equipped GMT-Master II owner to purchase an Oyster bracelet for that watch without buying a second GMT-Master II, for example, will undoubtedly be welcome news to Rolex owners. That said, the brand has not released pricing or availability information on this new practice as of press time.
Although the return of the Oyster bracelet to the stainless steel Rolex GMT-Master II series is far from the most revolutionary change, it does bring back an iconic visual combination into the brand’s lineup. The stainless steel Rolex GMT-Master II with Oyster bracelet is officially available to order now through authorized dealers, with an MSRP set $200 lower than Jubilee-equipped models at $9,500. For more details, please visit the brand’s website.