Rolex GMT-Master with a red and blue bezel is known as “Pepsi” because of its red and blue colour scheme. Amongst the most popular models from the Swiss luxury watchmaker is this impressive tool watch with a second-time zone.
Rolex Pepsi GMT Important Dates:
- 1955: Rolex unveils the GMT-Master 6542, a timepiece with a blue/red Bakelite bezel.
- 1959: Rolex releases the GMT-Master ref. Rolex introduces the GMT-Master ref. 1675, which is made entirely of aluminium rather than Bakelite.
- 1981: The GMT-Master ref. 16750 was introduced by Rolex.
- 1988: Rolex introduces the GMT-Master 16700, the final GMT-Master model.
- 1989: Rolex unveils the GMT-Master II 16710, the second generation GMT-Master II, with an optional Pepsi bezel.
- 2014: Rolex introduces the GMT-Master II 116719BLRO, the first white gold GMT with a Cerachrom bezel.
- 2018: Rolex introduces the GMT-Master II 126710BLRO on a Jubilee bracelet, the company’s first steel GMT featuring a Cerachrom Pepsi bezel.
- 2018: The GMT-Master II 126719BLRO, is introduced by Rolex.
- 2021: Rolex releases the GMT-Master II 126710BLRO with an oyster bracelet.
Rolex GMT Pepsi Review
The Rolex GMT Pepsi is a one-of-a-kind watch from Rolex. After being introduced in 1988, the Rolex GMT Pepsi became an integral part of the brand’s history. The popularity of this watch skyrocketed as soon as it was released. This aviation tool watch, in keeping with the brand’s DNA, quickly became popular among pilots and globetrotters alike. So much so that we can still find some fantastic vintage Rolex GMT Pepsi watches.
Almost 30 years later, we’re looking at the current model, which is referred to as 126710BLRO. There is an upgraded movement in this reissue of the Rolex GMT Master II Pepsi.
The GMT-Master Pepsi is one of the most difficult-to-obtain Rolex models. A stainless steel Daytona is arguably easier to find at an authorised dealer.
Is there anything in particular about this watch that makes it so unique? Following the features, we’ll answer frequently asked questions, and then discuss the watch’s specifications and pricing. We hope you enjoy our Rolex GMT Master II Pepsi review and gain a better understanding of how exceptional this watch is.
Rolex 3285 Movement
The Rolex 3285 movement is manufactured in-house. On the 3285, there is a 24-hour GMT display, as well as a second-time zone setting, an instant date change and a stop-seconds feature.
The Rolex 3285 movement has a remarkable power reserve of 70 hours. Many Rolex owners asked for this improvement, so the brand gave it to them. In addition to new in-house movements, there has also been an increase in power reserve. Learn more about Rolex watchmaking technology by reading our reviews of the 3230 & 3235 movements.
The Rolex 3285 automatic self-winding movement’s precision has remained unsurpassed. Superlative Chronometer is rated at -2/+2 seconds per day by this instrument.
Pepsi GMT Bezel
Rolex Pepsi GMT’s bezel is the watch’s most recognisable feature. For the most part, this watch’s nickname stems from its predecessor, the GMT. As there was a black and red bezel reference before the Pepsi GMT was released nicknamed ‘Coke’, it was only natural that the blue and red reference received the nickname “Pepsi”.
Both vintage Pepsi and current references include a wide range of colour combinations in their Pepsi GMT. Red references with a purple tint command higher values than others, such as the red references with a purple tint.
For the 126710BLRO Pepsi GMT, Rolex has done an excellent job with the current bezel. The bezel’s special feature is that it blends the intersection of the blue and red colours in a unique way. There are some who love it, and others who don’t, but it’s still a major engineering achievement that deserves praise.
Case & Jubilee Bracelet
If you read owner reviews, the 40mm stainless steel case perfectly suits the 126710BLRO. Owners who have the newer Rolex Pepsi GMT on their wrists rave about how comfortable it is to wear. The jubilee bracelet, as well as the case’s design, play a role. Over the course of nearly two years, I’ve found the jubilee bracelet to be by far the most comfortable bracelet I’ve worn.
The Pepsi GMT Master II by Rolex is encased in a black dial that resembles the Rolex Submariner Date. The Mercedes hour hand and minute hand are both extremely bright and point to the triangle and circled hour indices. Rolex didn’t hesitate to use the Submariner dial on the Pepsi GMT, which is a remarkable achievement. It’s important to be able to read this dial, and that’s exactly what this one does. Regardless of the lighting, you’ll always be able to glance down at your watch and read the time.
Is The Pepsi GMT Worth The Wait?
For two reasons, the Rolex Pepsi GMT is worth waiting for. The first reason is that it’s very sought after thus very costly. On the pre-owned market, the Rolex GMT Master II Pepsi sells for twice its retail price. It’s worth the wait for any buyer who wants to get their hands on it at a discount. The Pepsi GMT is one of the best watches on the market, so it’s worth the wait. In addition to being stylish, this watch is long-lasting and functional. The Rolex Pepsi GMT is an excellent choice for a one-watch collection.
How Long Is The Wait List In KSA For The Rolex Pepsi?
According to the buyer, the waitlist for the Rolex GMT Master II Pepsi is different. As long as you have a good relationship with your Rolex authorised dealer, you’ll be fine. Buyers with better relationships and larger purchase history will experience a shorter wait time.
Because the Pepsi GMT is produced in such small quantities, it is important to consider the past and current relationships of those involved. Waitlists and inflated pre-owned prices are inevitable when high demand and limited supply go hand in hand.
The number of Rolex GMT Master II Pepsi watches that Rolex authorised dealers receive is very limited. The Pepsi GMT waitlist can last anywhere from a few weeks to a few years, and some buyers may be rejected from the list entirely.
Rolex GMT-Master Pepsi Models
Ref 6542 (1954 – 1959)
When Pan American Airlines requested a watch that could display two time zones, Rolex responded by creating the GMT-Master line. Pilots needed to be able to tell the time in both the departure and arrival airports when flying across multiple time zones.
The first Rolex GMT-Master was introduced in 1954, bringing the two together. A synthetic resin called Bakelite is used to make the bezel of the first GMT-Master model, the ref 6524. It also lacked a crown guard.
Anodized metal bezels replaced Bakelite ones after two years of production because Bakelite ones cracked easily. Consequently, it is extremely rare to come across a ref 6542 model with a Bakelite model.
Due to its appearance in the 1964 Bond film Goldfinger on the wrist of actress Honor Blackman, the GMT-Master 6542 became known among Bond fans as “Pussy Galore”.
Ref 1675 (1959 – 1980)
In 1959, Rolex released ref 1675, the second model in the collection. One of Rolex’s longest-running editions, this model was in production until 1980. A ref 1675 in pristine condition is easier to come by.
During its tenure, a number of improvements were made. As far back as the late 1960s, the extra hour hand was marked by a small, black-and-red-striped arrowhead. Up until 1963-64, chapter rings and pointed crown guards were standard on models, but they were eventually replaced by rounded crown guards, which are more common in current production. Matte dials replaced the gilt dials on early models around 1966.
Rolex introduced the Jubilee and Oyster bracelets on the ref 1675, making it the first Rolex sports watch to do so.
Ref 16750 (1981 – 1988)
Following a 20 year gap, Rolex introduced the 16750 to replace the 1675. A quickset date was added to the calibre 3075, allowing the date to be set independently of the hour hand. Additionally, it introduced a hacking feature, which allows the wearer to set a more precise time by pulling out the crown.
The ability to withstand water was also enhanced. The 16750 was the only four-digit model to have a water-resistance rating of 100 metres (328 ft). Seven years after the 16750’s release, Rolex introduced the Rolex GMT-Master II.
ref 16700 / 16710 (1988 – 2007)
In 1982, Rolex released the GMT-Master II. A thicker case, referred to as a “Fat Lady” in the watch industry, was the only option for the 16760’s first release.
In spite of the GMT-Master II, Rolex continued to manufacture the GMT-Master with the ref 16700 until 1999. Caliber 3175, Rolex’s final “fixed” GMT movement, was used in the 16700.
The Pepsi colour was introduced in the second edition of the GMT-Master II, ref 16710. The 16760’s thick case was replaced by a sleeker one, thanks to the 3185 movements. With subsequent calibres, the GMT and hour hands could be set independently, allowing the GMT-Master II to display a third-time zone.
From 1996 to 1997, these watches used tritium dials; from 1998 to 1999, they used Luminova, and then Super-Luminova, from 2000 to 2007.
ref 116719 BLRO (2014 – 2018)
A beefier “Super Case” and the Cerachrom ceramic bezel were introduced to mark Rolex’s 50th anniversary of the GMT-Master II in 2005. The “Batman” bezel was first made in all-black, then in blue and black.
Fans were overjoyed when the iconic Pepsi colourway of the ceramic bezel made its debut in 2014 to wide acclaim. Rolex, as usual, surprised people by not being exactly what they expected. Rather than stainless steel, this Pepsi model was made of white gold. Rumour had it that the Pepsi ceramic bezel was too difficult to produce at the time, so this was done to keep demand down.
In addition, the Triplock system, which has three sealed zones for greater robustness, has taken the place of the Twinlock crown. Last but not least, the Caliber 3186 was added to this model. With a blue Parachrom hairspring, it withstands higher temperatures and magnetic fields more effectively.
ref 126710 BLRO (2018 – )
A stainless steel Rolex Pepsi was finally unveiled in 2018 after a long wait. This brought the Pepsi back to its sport watch roots while also upgrading the movement to Caliber 3285. An increase in power reserve to 70 hours (from 50) and a daily precision of +2/- 2 seconds are just two of the many features of this new generation of movement.
Although it is nearly identical to its white gold counterpart, the ref 126710 has been given a Jubilee bracelet to distinguish it from the latter. On top of that, it’s important to note that this model features a Jubilee bracelet that’s unique to the 126710.
Rolex announced in 2019 that all future stainless steel GMT-Master IIs will be fitted with Jubilee bracelets, a new set of rules for the collection.
Rolex has a rich history, and these watches mark significant moments in that history. For Rolex collectors, it is impossible to predict what the future holds for the Rolex Pepsi, but that is what makes it exciting and enjoyable.