Since the mid-1950s, Rolex has been building its famous aviation watch GMT-Master, whose current version GMT-Master 2 came out around the year 1982. Developed as a professional instrument for pilots to check different time zones, stainless steel has always been the preferred material of the GMT Master, which has become one of the Rolex bestsellers over the decades. Of course, various precious metal variants also came on the market, but the outstanding feature of the watch from the very beginning was its two-color rotating bezel. Whether the blue-black “Batman” bezel, or the traditional red-blue “Pepsi” version, the fan bases of the different models are large and so the presentation of the new stainless steel version with the red-blue bezel was met with great enthusiasm at the Baselworld watch fair in 2018.
The GMT Master gets competition
But that was not all! If the new GMT-Master 2 “Pepsi” had been predicted by many, Rolex now surprised with a comprehensive “GMT revamp”. More than 60 years after the model was introduced, it has now also been included in the product range of the small sister company Tudor, where it is now enriching the successful Black Bay line.
That Tudor takes over successful models from Rolex is neither new nor surprising. It is easy to see, for example, where the inspiration for Tudor’s popular diver’s watches or the Chronograph came from. So, what would be more logical …? And yet, the industry and the fan base are in turmoil! Can you even do that, just give such an icon a “light” version? Does a GMT not have to be a Rolex GMT-Master … and anyway: what does the Black Bay GMT actually offer the fan of good timekeepers?
Keep in mind, money is money: its price does not necessarily speak against it, at 3,680 euros with the stainless steel bracelet. This makes it almost unfair to mention that the most affordable variant of its Rolex model is 7,750 euros.
Even though the Tudor Black Bay GMT does not exude the stunning value of its role model, for example regarding the latter’s highly modern Cerachrom ceramic bezel,… it still appears very carefree and joyful. And this impression continues even when put into practice! For example, the Tudor, whose 41 mm diameter housing is 1 mm larger than that of the GMT-Master 2, offers twice the waterproofness, to a depth of 200 meters. Equipped with the modern Caliber MT5652, manufactured by Tudor itself, the performance features of the Black Bay GMT are at the highest level, such as the power reserve of about 70h.
It almost seems as if they had put themselves in a spot, because not all models of the parent company can keep up. For example, the GMT-Master 2 with the black bezel pictured above, still uses the Rolex 3186 Caliber, with a power reserve of “only” 48h. Of course, this is undoubtedly an absolute top class mechanism. Which however will be slowly but surely discontinued, seeing as they have just introduced its successor with the new models, the Caliber 3285, which in terms of performance will again be unrivaled.
The main features of the two watches
Tudor Heritage Black Bay GMT, Ref. 79830RB
- Satinized polished case in stainless steel, 41 mm
- Domed sapphire crystal
- Black domed dial. Fitted numbers with luminous material, hands with luminous material
- Reversible Stainless steel bezel with 48 notches, clock-face in matt bordeaux and matt blue anodized aluminum with 24 hour graduation
- Automatic manufactured mechanism Caliber MT5652 (COSC certification), approx. 70h power reserve
- Waterproof to 200 meters
- Price: 3,330 euros to 3,620 euros (leather/textile strap or stainless steel band)
Rolex GMT-Master 2, Ref. 126710BLRO
(New stainless steel “Pepsi” variant)
- Oyster case, Oystersteel, 40 mm
- Scratch-resistant sapphire crystal, cyclops loupe to amplify the date
- Dial in black, green or blue. Very easy to read Chromalight numbers and hands with long-lasting blue luminosity
- Reversible bezel with 24-hour graduation. Cerachrom ceramic disc with engraved numerals and graduations in black, black-blue, black-brown, blue-red
- Automatic manufactured mechanism Caliber 3285 (COSC certification), with Parachrom hairspring, Paraflex anti-shock system and Chronergy escapement, approx. 70h power reserve (Older models still with Caliber 3186)
- Waterproof up to 100 meters
- Price: 7,750 euros to 33,900 euros (Different material variants)
Here you can see the new models of the Rolex GMT-Master 2:
And here’s the little brother, the Tudor Black Bay GMT: