The Oyster Perpetual GMT-Master II was designed to display the time in two different time zones simultaneously. Robust and functional, it is the ideal watch for criss-crossing the globe.
In function as well as in name, the GMT-Master II evokes long-distance travel across time zones. Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) marks mean solar time at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, London – historically the location of the official prime meridian used for calculating longitude and determining different time zones around the world. A cosmopolitan watch, the GMT-Master II is designed for those who criss-cross the globe or whose activities take place simultaneously across several time zones.
ACROSS TIME ZONES
Launched in 1955, the Oyster Perpetual GMT-Master witnessed the rapid expansion of intercontinental travel in the latter half of the 20th century. It even became the official watch of Pan American World Airways, better known worldwide as Pan Am, the most prominent American intercontinental airline at the time. In 1959, a major event marked the partnership: the first non-stop Pan Am Jet Clipper flight from New York to Moscow. The captain was wearing a GMT-Master, which was used as a navigation aid during the flight.
The GMT-Master, a true ‘tool watch’, evolved continually to offer increasing technical performance. In 1982, Rolex introduced a new movement that allowed the hour hand to be set independently of the other hands. To clearly mark this evolution, and to avoid any confusion with the GMT-Master, the model fitted with the optimized movement was named the GMT-Master II.
24-HOUR DISPLAY AND INDEPENDENT HOUR HAND
In addition to conventional hour, minute and seconds hands, which display the local time (the time in the wearer’s current location), the GMT-Master II features an arrow-tipped hand which circles the dial once every 24 hours, as well as a bidirectional rotatable bezel and a 24-hour graduated monobloc Cerachrom insert in two-colour ceramic. When the bezel is in the neutral position, that is with the triangle at 12 o’clock, the 24-hour hand displays the reference time (home time, for example), which can be read using the graduations on the bezel.
When abroad, travellers can set the local time easily, with the hour hand ‘jumping’ from hour to hour thanks to a mechanism operated via the winding crown. The adjustment can be made independently of the minute and seconds hands, and without affecting the 24-hour hand. As a result, travellers can simultaneously read their local time as well as the reference time.
ROTATABLE BEZEL AND ALTERNATIVE TIME ZONE
The time in an alternative time zone can be displayed by simply turning the rotatable bezel. In this case, the reference time is no longer shown, as it is the alternative time zone that is now read via the 24-hour hand against the graduations on the bezel.
The bezel was carefully designed to ideally fulfil its function. Rolex developed a bezel rotation system with a trigonal spring that allows the bezel to be turned crisply and securely in either direction and locate with a positive click in each of the 24 different hour positions. The bezel can be turned with ease thanks to its knurled edge, which offers excellent grip.
CERACHROM BEZEL INSERT
The bidirectional rotatable bezel of the GMT-Master II is equipped with a 24-hour graduated, monobloc two-colour Cerachrom insert. This patented insert is made of extremely hard, virtually scratchproof ceramics whose colours are unaffected by ultraviolet rays. In addition, thanks to its chemical composition, the high-tech ceramic is inert and cannot corrode. The moulded, recessed graduations and numerals are coated with gold or platinum using a PVD (Physical Vapour Deposition) process. Over and above its functions and its intrinsic technical assets, the bezel of the GMT-Master II contributes to the model’s strong visual identity.
In 2013, Rolex broke new ground when it introduced its first single-piece, two-colour ceramic bezel insert – blue on one half and black on the other – on an Oystersteel version of the GMT-Master II. A year later, it unveiled the two-colour bezel insert in red and blue ceramic, on a GMT-Master II in 18 ct white gold. In 2018, the brand presented a two-colour bezel insert in brown and black ceramic, on two variants of the GMT-Master II – one in 18 ct Everose gold and the other in an Everose Rolesor version (combining Oystersteel and Everose gold). The two-colour bezel insert in green and black ceramic was introduced in 2022 on an Oystersteel GMT-Master II with the winding crown on the left side of the case and the date aperture at 9 o’clock – the only Rolex watch with this configuration. In 2023, a two-colour Cerachrom insert in grey – a new shade – and black was unveiled on two variants of the model, one in a yellow Rolesor version (combining Oystersteel and yellow gold) and the other crafted entirely from 18 ct yellow gold. These Cerachrom inserts blend the technical performance of high-technology ceramic with the iconic aesthetics of the original GMT-Master.
THE GMT-MASTER II, SUPERLATIVE CHRONOMETER CERTIFIED
Like all Rolex watches, the GMT-Master II is covered by the Superlative Chronometer certification redefined by Rolex in 2015. This exclusive designation testifies that every watch leaving the brand’s workshops has successfully undergone a series of tests conducted by Rolex in its own laboratories and according to its own criteria. These certification tests apply to the fully assembled watch, after casing the movement, guaranteeing superlative performance on the wrist in terms of precision, power reserve, waterproofness and self-winding. The Superlative Chronometer status is symbolized by the green seal that comes with every Rolex watch and is coupled with an international five-year guarantee.
The precision of every movement – officially certified as a chronometer by the Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute (COSC) – is tested a second time by Rolex after being cased, to ensure that it meets criteria that are far stricter than those of the official certification. The precision of a Rolex Superlative Chronometer is of the order of −2/+2 seconds per day – the rate deviation tolerated by the brand for a finished watch is significantly smaller than that accepted by COSC for official certification of the movement alone.
The Superlative Chronometer certification testing is carried out after casing using state-of-the-art equipment specially developed by Rolex and according to an exclusive protocol that simulates the conditions in which a watch is actually worn and more closely represents real-life experience. The entirely automated series of tests also checks the waterproofness, the self-winding capacity and the power reserve of 100 per cent of Rolex watches. These tests systematically complement the qualification testing during development and production, in order to ensure the watches’ reliability, robustness, and resistance to strong magnetic fields and to shocks.
THE OYSTER CASE, SYMBOL OF WATERPROOFNESS
The GMT-Master II’s Oyster case, 40 mm in diameter and guaranteed waterproof to a depth of 100 metres (330 feet), is a paragon of robustness and reliability. The middle case is crafted from a solid block of Oystersteel or 18 ct gold. The case back, edged with fine fluting, is hermetically screwed down with a special tool that allows only certified Rolex watchmakers to access the movement. The Triplock winding crown, fitted with a triple waterproofness system and protected by an integral crown guard, screws down securely against the case. The crystal, with a Cyclops lens for easy reading of the date at 3 o’clock – or at 9 o’clock on the version with the winding crown on the left side of the case – is made of virtually scratchproof sapphire and benefits from an anti-reflective coating. The waterproof Oyster case provides optimal protection for the movement it houses.
PERPETUAL CALIBRE 3285
The GMT-Master II is equipped with calibre 3285, a self-winding mechanical movement entirely developed and manufactured by Rolex. A consummate demonstration of technology, this movement carries a number of patents. It offers outstanding performance, particularly in terms of precision, power reserve, convenience and reliability.
Calibre 3285 incorporates the patented Chronergy escapement, made of nickel-phosphorus, which combines high energy efficiency with great dependability and is also resistant to strong magnetic fields.
The movement is fitted with the blue Parachrom hairspring, manufactured by Rolex in a paramagnetic alloy. In addition to resisting strong magnetic fields, this hairspring offers great stability in the face of temperature variations as well as high resistance to shocks. It is equipped with a Rolex overcoil, ensuring the calibre’s regularity in any position.
The oscillator of calibre 3285 has a large balance wheel with variable inertia regulated extremely precisely via gold Microstella nuts. It is held firmly in place by a height-adjustable traversing bridge enabling very stable positioning to increase shock resistance. The oscillator is also mounted on the Rolex-designed, patented high-performance Paraflex shock absorbers, further enhancing the movement’s shock resistance.
Calibre 3285 is equipped with a self-winding system via a Perpetual rotor, which ensures continuous winding of the mainspring by harnessing the movements of the wrist to provide a constant source of energy. From 2023, its oscillating weight is fitted with an optimized ball bearing. Thanks to its barrel architecture and the escapement’s superior efficiency, the power reserve of this movement extends to approximately 70 hours.
The GMT-Master II’s movement will be seen only by certified Rolex watchmakers, yet it is beautifully finished and decorated in keeping with the brand’s uncompromising quality standards.
BRACELET AND CLASP: SECURE AND COMFORTABLE
The GMT-Master II is available on a three-piece link Oyster bracelet or a five-piece link Jubilee bracelet. These bracelets are equipped with a Rolex-designed, patented Oysterlock safety clasp that prevents accidental opening. They are additionally fitted with the Easylink comfort extension link, developed by the brand, which allows the wearer to easily increase the bracelet length by approximately 5 mm, providing additional comfort in any circumstance.
On the 18 ct gold versions of the GMT-Master II, the bracelets include ceramic inserts – designed by Rolex and patented – inside the links to enhance their flexibility and longevity.