Review of the Rolex GMT-Master II 126710 BLRO
When the Rolex GMT-Master II “Pepsi 126710 BLRO watch was first released back in 2018, it instantly made its way to the wish lists of avid Rolex watch fans. It represents a reincarnation of the popular classic that first debuted back in the 1950s, with a coloured bezel executed in the same shades as the popular soda company, Pepsi. The blue and red bezel had a double purpose. Not only did it stand out against the wrist with a very striking colour scheme but it also featured a 24-hour scale upon its surface, enabling for a second time zone to be tracked alongside the hours and minutes on the main dial. Originally these two contrasting colours were used to differentiate day from night within that 24-hour scale, as well as to represent the colours of Pan American Airways for whom the watch was originally developed for upon request.
Some key features understandably made the original 1954 Rolex GMT watch a popular addition to collect, particularly if you were a pilot or a frequent flier. The model debuted during a time when intercontinental flights were becoming shorter and more popular. The second time zone was a feature most in need, plus the watch presented an unmistakable pilot-inspired dial that was both legible and to-the-point.
The 126710 BLRO is a 40mm stainless steel model with a flat sapphire crystal glass front and a cyclops lens positioned above its date feature. The watch features a black dial, luminous details and is powered by an automatic movement, which sits inside a 100-meter water-resistant case with a screw-down Triplock crown and a fully threaded caseback. Its Jubilee bracelet made from 904L stainless steel secures firmly around the wrist with a safety folding clasp and an extension piece.
A closer look at the Rolex GMT-Master II Pepsi 126710 BLRO watch
As mentioned, the Rolex GMT-Master watch proved indispensable for pilots and frequent travellers during the time of its release. The rotating bezel allowed the wearer to set the watch to GMT, turning the 24-hour scale on the bezel to set the offset and read a second time zone effectively and quickly. With the ability to compute a third time zone, the GMT-Master II Pepsi 126710 BLRO watch proves to be a very practical, comfortable and functional modern-day travel watch.
The Rolex GMT 126710 BLRO watch can be worn with pretty much anything and it is this versatility that has, no doubt, secured its success as an everyday companion. The 40mm stainless steel case has a winding crown that is simple to use. It can be unscrewed to wind the watch and then pulled out to the first position to move the primary hand back and forth in one-hour increments to set the second time zone. The minutes can be adjusted by pulling the crown out to the second position along with the primary hour hand and 24-hour hand. It’s also possible to adjust the watch’s bezel which rachets in hourly increments.
Interestingly, to achieve that striking red colour of the watch’s Cerachrom bezel., Rolex had to mix chromium oxide, magnesium oxide, and a rare earth oxide. To ensure the numerals remain clear and easy to read for years to come, the entire ring is coated with platinum in a PVD process. It is then polished so that the precious metal remains only in the recessed numerals and dots. The case of the Rolex GMT-Master II 126710 watch is 100-meter water-resistant and topped with a flat piece of scratch-resistant sapphire crystal glass that has undergone anti-reflective treatment. A cyclops lens is integrated into this pane of sapphire crystal, enlarging the numerals of the date aperture that sits underneath for enhanced legibility.
The 126710 was the first to house the Caliber 3285. The movement replaced the Calibre 3186 and offers a 70-hour power reserve thanks to its large barrel. According to Rolex, it has an updated Chronergy escapement allowing for 15% more efficiency. Regulated to Superlative Chronometer standards, it produces an accuracy of -2/+2 seconds per day, which goes beyond COSC-certified parameters. It features a paramagnetic oscillator and performs at a rate of 28,800 vibrations per hour. With almost three whole days of uninterrupted power, the main advantage of the Rolex Calibre 3186 is its improved 70-hour power reserve compared to the 48-hour power reserve of previous calibres from the 31xx series. The pallet fork and escape wheel has also been improved and optimised. The decoration of the movement includes sunburst and hand-applied engravings and the movement can be identified by a small detail on the dial of the watch – the “Swiss Made” lettering, which features at the dial’s edge.
As with all Rolex watches from the GMT-Master II range, every dial is designed to offer superior legibility. The dial of the ref 126710 BLRO model has a very distinct look. A black display adorned with an hour track represented in a mix of rectangular, circular and triangular hour markers. These have been treated with luminous material, as have the central cathedral-shaped hour hand and the minute hand. These are joined by a lollipop-styled second hand and an additional fourth hand - the GMT hand with a red coating and aluminous triangular tip.
Lastly, as mentioned, this GMT-Master II Pepsi is fitted on a Jubilee bracelet crafted from stainless steel. It foregoes the Oysterclasp but features an Oysterlock folding clasp, alongside an EasyLink Extension system that lengthens the bracelet in subtle 5mm increments. This allows for the expansion and contraction of the wrist due to temperature changes or increased activity and can be done without the addition of a tool, making for a particularly practical addition to its design.
The GMT Master features minute and seconds hands, a triangle-tipped 24-hour hand, and a bidirectional rotatable bezel with 24-hour graduated Cerachrom insert, to display two time zones simultaneously: either the local time and the reference time, or the local time and that of an alternative time zone.