Top 10 Alternatives To The Rolex GMT-Master II Watch ABTW Editors’ Lists
The new Rolex GMT Master-II watches were a big story coming out of Baselworld 2018, and the new ‘Pepsi’ GMT is the “it” uk replica watches
watch right now, with the ‘Root Beer’ drawing slightly more subdued hype as well. Between the madness of paying thousands over retail price for a new Rolex GMT Master-II and the current steel sports watch “shortage” we (myself and Zach Piña) thought it might be a good time to do a list of some of our favorite alternative GMT watches in the spirit of our Top 10 alternatives to the Rolex Submariner article.
The Rolex GMT Master replica watches was introduced back in 1959 as the commercial aviation industry was going through a huge period of growth. Pilots who were flying across long distances could easily and reliably keep track of different time zones. The GMT hand and rotating bezel allowed for dual-time tracking, which is useful for anyone who travels or needs to keep track of different time zones. Because of this and the Rolex reputation, the GMT Master found its way on the wrist of people like Fidel Castro (who wore a reference 6542 and 1675). I’ve always found this to be infinitely cooler than the Rolex watches that found their ways on the wrists of, ahem, certain actors who I couldn’t care less about.
The follow up GMT Master-II was introduced in 1983 with the current iteration ref. 116710 introduced in 2007. This is the contemporary model with the ceramic bezel and upgrades like the Triplock crown and bigger lugs, crown guards, and numerals. Also, a big improvement in this generation was the new bracelet with the 5mm adjustable Easy-link system. Since then, the current generation of GMT-Master IIs has been associated most with Rolex’s ceramic color technology.
Models like the ‘Batman’ ref. 116710BLNR and the newest ‘Pepsi’ ref. 126710BLRO (there was an existing Pepsi dial, but only available in white gold before this year) have taken turns being the “it” watch of the moment with buyers paying thousands above retail price. As of writing in 2018, the Pepsi model is selling for almost double the MSRP of $9,250 (it will be interesting to see how this ages in a year and more). The black bezel and the ‘Batman’ both retail for around $8,500 – although the all-black bezel model can actually be found for a discount on the second-hand market.
And then, there are the gold models and the underrated new two-tone ‘Root Beer’ ref. 126711CHNR which is just under $15,000. I have a feeling this model will age well once the novelty of colored ceramic gets old and the production technology is cheap enough to produce.
In any case, the Rolex GMT-Master II is an icon and chances are if you hear the phrase “GMT” this watch is one of the first few things that will come to mind. Here, we came up with a list of 10 alternatives from “peer” brands like Omega and Breitling as well as more afforable GMT offerings. A successful GMT watch does not need to look like a bi-color Rolex like the Pepsi or Coke. Some watches in this list share that aesthetic, others don’t at all.
Without further ado, here are 10 alternatives to the Rolex GMT-Master II as written by myself and Zach Pina.
OMEGA SEAMASTER PLANET OCEAN GMT ‘COOKIES & CREAM’
It’s no secret that I’m a huge Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean fan, but when put side to side, I think this is the stiffest competition Rolex faces on the market. I think the black and white bezel ‘Cookies & Cream’ model is the best challenger (note that the Good Planet model is not METAS-certified, which is why I didn’t also choose it – though the all-ceramic Deep Black and Big Blue models are there for someone who wants a bigger and flashier GMT watch.
It comes in a 43.5mm case size with the METAS-certified Co-Axial calibre 8606 movement that has a silicon hairspring, anti-magnetic materials, and a 60-hour power reserve. And, of course, there is an independent hour hand as well as a Liquidmetal bidirectional bezel. One more note about the black and white bezel; Omega says this is the first watch bezel that has two distinct ceramic colors. In comparison, Rolex’s GMT bezel is done in one color with half of the bezel treated to make it a different color.
The Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean GMT ref. 184.108.40.206.01.001 is water-resistant to 2,000 feet but the tradeoff is the thick case size of 17.04mm. On a steel bracelet, this Omega is priced at $8,000.