Trickling in since early July early reports of the Rolex GMT 116710 blue-black bezeled Rolex have been very positive. Since its’ unveiling at Baselworld last April, there has been much anticipation on how the blue-black bezeled GMT looked. The Rolex 116718,116713,116710 has been part of the Rolex line-up since 2005 – 2007 utilizing an all-black or all-green ceramic bezel. The release of the blue-black Rolex 116710 is a welcome surprise to many as typically Baselworld unveilings arrive in the States in the fall months rather than mid-summer. Being that the blue-black GMT is an incremental upgrade with most features already in production, it is quite conceivable that this watch came early because there were no manufacturing process changes.
The new watch utilizes the same 3186 movement as the 2005 model with no other significant upgrades such as the Parashock shock mechanism found in last year’s updated Explorer II or in the Rolex Day-Date. The case dimensions are the same 40mm, and it utilizes the same bracelet. There are only three discernible differences; -a blue/black bezel, a blue 24 hour hand rather than green found in the 2005 model, and Chromalight lume on the dial and hands. Although some say that Rolex’s proprietary Chromalight lume with its blue rather than green hue gives the watch a Timex Indiaglo look, Chromalight is proven to be effective and lasting longer than the traditional SuperLuminova found on older Rolex models.
Fueling the anticipation for the blue-black Rolex GMT is the use of two colors in the bezel insert. For years after indicating that ceramic in two colors was technically impossible, Rolex found a way to keep the virtually scratchproof and fade proof ceramic properties in a one piece bezel. Many speculated that the only way for a two-color ceramic bezel was to press in two separate pieces, but a seam in the bezel would not allow for a press fit and a place for failure. The blue-black bezeled watch is becoming known as “the bruiser” because of the mix of blue-black, and because the GMT’s two older aluminum bezeled siblings have nick-names as well. The Rolex GMT model 16170 (sans an extra 1 in the model number) was available in red-black another in red-blue. The red-black version is known as a “coke” bezel, and blue-red is the pepsi bezel. The black-blue “bruiser” moniker makes sense.
What’s the big deal about a two-tone bezel?
The desire for a two-colored bezel ceramic goes back to the original GMT Master released in 1954. The GMT was designed for pilots who travel among multiple timezones. The bezel complete with 24 hour graduations around the dial are used to track one timezone, or can be rotated to monitor multiple timezones. The two-color bezel gave a quick visual from daylight and nighttime. The original GMT possessed a red-blue bezel insert which then gave away to an all black bezel insert and a red-black insert in later years.
Rolex Bruiser owners are reporting that the blue is fabulous looking and compliments the watch well. When watch spotting out in public, be on the lookout for a Rolex GMT bruiser.