One of the biggest surprises from Rolex at Watches & Wonders 2022 is the GMT-Master II ref. 126720VTNR – the first contemporary, regular-production Rolex with a left-handed or “destro” crown. And just to make it even more different, it is equipped with the brand’s first-ever green-and-black bezel.
A brand that has preserved the signature style of watches for decades, Rolex is all about incremental improvements that are often evident only in the details. That’s exactly the case with the new GMT-Master II, which retains the trademark GMT aesthetic but is rather different.
In fact, it is very different, which makes it polarising – you either like it or you don’t. Initially the left-handed crown does look awkward on the left wrist; it feels off somehow. But very quickly you get used to it and it is surprisingly cool.
The new ref. 126710VTNR is priced about US$550 more than its counterparts with a conventionally located crown. According to Rolex, the price difference does not result from the rejigged crown position but rather the changes to the testing equipment necessary to accommodate the new crown position.
Most obvious is the crown at nine o’clock, which is accompanied by a repositioned date window. It is ostensibly for the left-handed, but will surely find fans amongst right-handers who want something unusual. It is intriguing, just because it’s so different from the rest of the brand’s offering (though Rolex’s sister company has long had a left-handed diver in its catalogue).
Moving the crown to the left side of the case is actually a straightforward process. Neither a new case nor movement is required, instead the fundamental changes involve repositioning the bracelet and dial. The new GMT-Master II is fundamentally identical to the standard model and made up of all the same elements.
To go with the crown, the new model gets a few other tweaks. It marks the return of a green GMT hand, which was last seen on the ref. 116710LN, the brand’s first watch with a Cerachrom bezel insert.
That said, the green hand is almost an afterthought considering the two-colour bezel in green and black, a first for the brand. Like the “Pepsi” bezel insert, the green and black insert is fabricated in two steps, starting with a green ceramic insert that is then treated to colour half of its circumference black.
Like the other GMT-Master II models in steel, the latest version is offered in two flavours, either a polished Oyster bracelet or Jubilee bracelet.
Key facts and price
Rolex Oyster Perpetual GMT-Master II
Diameter: 40 mm
Water resistance: 100 m
Movement: Cal. 3285
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, and GMT
Frequency: 28,800 vibrations per hour (4 Hz)
Power reserve: 70 hours
Strap: Oystersteel bracelet
Availability: At Rolex retailers
Oyster – CHF10,500
For more, visit rolex.com.
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