Rolex GMT-Master II 116710BLNR

June 21, 2016

Introduced at Baselworld 2013 to much fanfare, the Rolex GMT-Master II 116710BLNR (BLNR referring to the blue and black bezel) or 'Batman' is a favorite among Rolex enthusiasts worldwide. Its aesthetic is similar to the Submariner, but this timepiece has a 24-hour hand and bezel that gives it additional timekeeping functionality. 
Photo of Rolex GMT-Master II 116710BLNR (photo: Rolex)
Rolex GMT-Master II 116710BLNR (photo: Rolex)
The GMT in the name refers to Greenwich Mean Time, which is the time at the Prime Meridian or 0º longitude. Every 15º that you move away from the Prime Meridian adds or subtracts an hour from GMT time, depending on the direction you move. The GMT-Master II allows you to set the 24-hour hand to GMT time, then move the 24-hour bezel to reflect the time in whatever time zone you are visiting while keeping your home time set on the regular hour hand, or vice versa.

The bezel of the BLNR model has the AM hours colored in blue and the PM or evening hours colored in black. This way, when you move the bezel to the desired time zone you can tell if it is day or night at that location. So, if you leave your family in New York City and fly to Europe or Asia, you can set the 24-hour hand and bezel to your home time (GMT-5 for Eastern Standard Time, depending on daylight savings) and the regular hour hand to local time. This way, when you want to call home you will be able to tell if it is night or day time there.

In terms of aesthetic, the two colors on the bezel of the BLNR can be off-putting to some. Many people choose the LN version of this model, which features a black bezel. However, the original GMT-Master model released in 1955 featured a blue and red bezel, commonly known as a 'Pepsi' GMT, and the coloring on the bezel does serve a functional purpose.

In terms of stainless steel GMT configurations, I have grown to appreciate the BLNR above the Pepsi, Coke (black and red bezel) and plain black versions. It may not be as dressy as an LN, but I wouldn't buy a BLNR as a dressy watch option, so that wouldn't factor into my decision. I would use it as an everyday beater and a travel watch. In those areas, the BLNR outshines the rest. The colors on the bezel offer charm and functionality and, as is the case with the Hulk and the new ceramic Daytona, Rolex will eventually stop manufacturing this configuration and replace it with something new, making the BLNR even more distinctive in the long run.

The BLNR retails for 8,500 Swiss francs, or approximately $8,847 USD. It is priced about $500 higher than the current LN version.


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