It’s not up for discussion that Rolex are the premier watch brand in the world, with an estimated $8 Billion turnover at the end of 2017. They’re known for their luxury, durability and cutting edge technology, which has set them at the forefront of the watch market since the early 1900’s.
Rolex is often the watch of choice for many superstars across the globe, including American rapper Kanye West, film star Arnold Schwarzenegger and sports royalty Conor McGregor. But the watch we’re looking at today won’t just make you feel like a superstar but a complete superhero!
The Rolex GMT Master II ‘Batman’ is one of the most recognisable and sought after Rolex watches in the world. The first thing you’re probably wondering is how does this particular watch get the nickname of Batman? Well, it’s actually a clever story, especially given the watch itself has no official connection to any Batman film or comic.
As the Rolex GMT Master range has developed, Rolex have experimented with different bezel colour options, starting off with a red and blue mix which is now commonly known as the GMT Master ‘Pepsi.’ Taking its name from the popular soft drink, the ‘Pepsi’ is now one of the most popular Rolex on the market and is iconic throughout the industry. Take a look at the watch side by side with the Pepsi logo – it’s easy to see the resemblance!
Given the success of the red and blue configuration, Rolex again decided to mix up their bezel design, this time going for a blue and black option – which very quickly became known as the ‘Batman.’ Classic Batman comics often depict the hero in a black and deep blue costume which does closely resemble the GMT Master’s latest bezel option. As with the Pepsi, the nickname quickly stuck and become widely known in the watch community. Again, take a look at the classic Batman design below and see how the colours match the GMT Master II almost perfectly.
If you’re searching the Rolex catalogue, the Batman can be found under the official model number – GMT-Master II ref. 116710BLNR. When first released in 2013, the BL and NR stood for ‘Bleu’ and ‘Noir’ respectively, the French words for blue and black.
So, with the story behind the watch’s superhero nickname nailed down – it’s time to dive into the details of the GMT Master II to see if it packs the punch of its namesake – let’s take a look!
The dial of the Batman follows the classic stylings of the GMT Master II’s wider range, which originally took inspiration from the Rolex Submariner. The solid black face contrasts the luminous, 18ct gold hour markers and hands to make it readable and stylish at all times.
Circular hour markers are found outside of the 6 and 9 positions, instead replaced with a thick bar, and the 12 o’clock marker is replaced with the classic Rolex triangular touch. The GMT Master II offers a date indicator at the 3 o’clock position helping the wearer keep track on the entire month thanks to its cyclops window.
Whilst the rotating Bezel like the GMT Master II’s is now commonplace within the current watch market, at the time of the original Master’s release in 1955, it was revolutionary. The GMT Master was created in collaboration with Pan Am airlines and was the first watch to help Pilot’s keep up to date across multiple time zones.
The 24 hour, bidirectional bezel works in conjunction with the designated 24-hour arrow tipped hand, which is controlled using a dedicated function on the winding crown. And of course, the bezel of the 116710BLNR is the standout feature – the black and blue variation has become a collectors item in itself, even for those collectors with the regular or Pepsi GMT Master versions already.
The GMT Master range drew upon the success of the Rolex DateJust in 1945 and incorporated the Jubilee bracelet into the design. The five link variation adds a class and stability to the piece, coming exclusively in stainless steel to again cement the classic styling of the GMT range.
If you’re looking to pick up a Batman on the preowned market, you can often find custom modifications to the standard specification, with different bracelets commonplace if you would like your GMT Master to stand out from the crowd.
We’ve taken a look at the three key components of the GMT Master II Batman edition, but for those of you who love crunching the numbers, here’s some of the detailed stats!
- Diameter – 40 mm
- Thickness – 12mm
- Movement – 3186 perpetual, mechanical, self-winding, GMT function
- Power Reserve – 48 Hours
- Water Resistance – 100m/330ft
- Case Material – Steel
- Precision +/- 2 Sec
Having had a deep look into the roots, key components and the detailed specs of the Rolex GMT Master II 116710BLNR – let’s take a look at how you can get your hand on your very own Batman!
The GMT Master, and now Master II, have been on the market for nearly 50 years so many varieties are there to be had. The design twist that led to the Batman model was born in 2013, so again has been available for quite some time now. Whether you’re looking to pick up a new or used model, there is something for you.
Brand new, the 116710BLNR can be found on the Rolex website for £6,850. The wider GMT Master II range has many configuration options but the Batman model is solely found in stainless steel and only comes in one configuration.
If you hop onto the second hand market, there are small deals to be had but given the immense popularity of this watch, the saving isn’t as much as you may think! Typical pieces can be found at just under £8k, with the cheapest we found in our search coming in at £7,799. That popularity doesn’t look to be waning so if you have your heart set on the Batman, it may be worth saving a few extra pounds and going to Rolex direct. If nothing else, the manufacturer offers an international 5 year warranty which given the overall investment, is well worth it for peace of mind!
So there it is, the Rolex Batman is the complete marvel of the watch world, taking everything we loved about the classic GMT Master and Master II range and adding a subtle design twist. It’s a very classy, functional and durable watch which given it can be picked up around the £8,000 mark, may be a great investment for those wanting to enter the Rolex market at a fairly modest point.
That’s your lot – if you want some more, why not check out what pieces we have in our current Rolex range by jumping over to the Watch & Bullion store? See you there!