Released in 1954, the Rolex GMT-Master resulted from a collaboration between now-extinct airline Pan Am and Rolex on a watch that would display the time across two time zones at once. Thanks to the popularisation of commercial air travel, planes were becoming more advanced and traveling longer distances. This resulted in pilots crossing time zones during flights more frequently, and thus a need for uniformity across the aviation industry was highlighted. To eliminate errors caused by time confusion, the industry adopted a standard time-zone, Greenwich Mean Time. As such, the GMT-Master's fourth hand, its 2nd hour hand, was used to constantly display Greenwich Mean Time, as its model name implies, while its regular hour hand displayed local time. While the aviation industry's standard time-zone switched to Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) in 1972, the name of the legendary GMT-Master was far too long in use for Rolex to change it. Today, the GMT-Master has become one of Rolex's most iconic models, with very few pilot's watches, if any, rivaling its level of fame, popularity, or signature design – and it certainly looks like it will stay that way.
Following the discontinuation of the black and red bezeled GMT-Master II "Fat Lady" in 1988, a slimmed-down GMT-Master II was born, the ref. 16700. Available with the famous red and blue Pepsi bezel, or an all-black bezel, the ref. 16700 became Rolex's budget-friendly option when the ref. 16710 was released alongside it the following year, in 1989. Reintroducing the "Fat Lady" black and red bezel, the ref. 16710 quickly earned the nickname "Coke" - after the soft drinks company. Featuring the ref. 16700's slimmed-down proportions, the ref. 16710 was the slightly more premium version of the GMT-Master II at the time as it was powered by the new cal. 3185 movement, while the ref. 16700 had the cal. 3175 movement. Eventually discontinued in 2007 when the modern GMT-Master II was released, the ref. 116710, the ref. 16710 is famed now as the last GMT-Master II to feature an aluminium bezel. This accolade puts it in excellent standing with collectors, and allows buyers to combine beloved vintage aesthetics and design choices with relatively modern functionality in its robust movement.
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Vetted & Approved
Est. value range
$10,000 – $12,000
The watch is in very good condition overall. Dial and hands are original, and in excellent condition. Case is sharp and full, and the caseback retains its original green sticker, albeit worn. Bracelet is a 91350 oyster band with 501B endpieces, showing surface wear with minimal stretch and 11 links. Aluminum bezel is offered in great condition with two small blemishes found between the 16:00 and 17:00 markings and the 14:00 and 15:00 markings.
An iconic timepiece that set the scene for the modern GMT-Master II hysteria, the ref. 16710 contributed to the popularisation of the GMT function while remaining a lynchpin of Rolex's offerings through the decades.