Rolex GMT Master II vs Rolex Submariner

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Rolex 16610 Submariner

A common question for a first time Rolex sports watch buyer revolves around the differences between the Rolex GMT Master II (16710) and the Rolex Submariner (16610). Although both of these particular models are out of production and have since been replaced by their ceramic bezeled younger siblings, the GMT Master II 16710 and the Submariner 11610 are two of Rolex most popular models and are readily available on the pre-owned market and places such as Beckertime. Both of these models were initially introduced in the mid-1950 as true tool watches, each designed with a specific purpose in mind.  The Submariner was designed for underwater diving that became more prevalent as SCUBA diving hit the mainstream. Conversely, the GMT was designed for intercontinental flight and use by pilots to manage UTC time.

Yep, they’re similar…

Both the Submariner (11610) and the GMT (16710) have many similarities which are summarized as follows:

No, they’re different

Despite these similarities, the GMT and the Submariner have distinct differences designed for specific uses/functions that are as follows:

Rolex GMT Master II 16710 with Red-Blue bezel insert

Because of the differences in the caseback, the Submariner rides a little higher than the GMT. There is really no wrong choice between these two watches, but the only tell with one “feels” better is to try on each of them.  More information on the updated GMT can be found here and modern features here.

  • Brandon

    Great post, Matt. These two are my favorite watches and I’ve always wondered what all the differences were.

  • TJ

    You might fix the thickness comparison in the “Caseback and Crown” section.

    I love the articles!

  • Bob

    Very helpful. Thanks!

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