If you love authentic tool hours, you would be happy with Rolex this year. With all the hype about revealing the highly anticipated fake Rolex GMT-Master watch BLRO in steel, you may have missed that company also introduced two other GMT Master models at Baselworld. Both have the brand's specialized 18ct Everose Gold - the first time it has ever been used in this assortment - both of which channel the spirit into a rather quirky model from the 1960s, with the charity "Root Beer" GMT. Today we go hand in hand with the two-tone / Rolesor version - GMT-Master 126711 CHNR - to see how it matches its legendary ancestor.
60 years ago, Perfect Rolex was a completely different company than it is today. Sure that there was still focus on building the best possible mechanical clocks on the market in the market, but then it seemed that there was a little more room to try new things, which is how we ended up with the first two-tone Best Rolex watches with brown slices. It's true, brown, undoubtedly the most unremarkable color there is. Coming to the market around 1963, GMT Master 16753 marked the first time Rolex's popular pilot tour was made available in totons (steel and yellow gold). Prior to this, it was only offered in full stainless steel or full gold. These new models contained either a black or brown dial, the latter being known as the "Root Beer" GMT.
The reason for the nickname is quite obvious - especially because of people's preference to call Perfect Rolex GMT models for different soft drinks (Pepsi, Coke, etc.). Brown and gold bezel insert reminded people of the drink and that was it. Root Beer is not the only nickname, but this clock goes by. It is sometimes called Tiger Eye (or Tiger Augen in German) because the hat on the disc reminiscent of the chatoyant gemstone, which is usually a golden to reddish-brown color and has a silky-like shine. Even more descriptive is the "Nipple Dial" moniker, referring to the characteristic gold nipple hour markers that adorn the call to the early GMT Master 16753 (like the one below).
Finally, this is known of yet another nickname, and certainly one that really puts this incredible niche model on the card; "Clint Eastwood". The reason is again entirely self explanatory. GMT Master 1675/3 was apparently the famous actor's favorite discount Rolex model, and he was often seen wearing it, including at least three of his films: Firefox in 1982, Tightrope in 1984 and In The Fire of 1993. Clearly this does not bring the same celebrity cache to the model, such as Paul Newman Daytona, but it is still a little trivia, which gives vintage examples added appeal to collectors.
As I mentioned earlier, fake Rolex has introduced two new GMTs this year with its proprietary 18ct Everose Gold. The case for GMT-MasterRef 126715 CHNR is made entirely from Everose, while GMT126711 CHNR - as we look at here - is two-tone (Everose Rolesor). Possibly the latter is more akin to the original Root Beer GMT, but there are some notable differences, and of course some impressive technical advances.
From a technical point of view, GMT-Master 126711 CHNR offers many of the same updated specifications as best Rolex GMT Master "Pepsi" 126710 BLRO, we told you about here. However, this does not include the slightly redesigned 40 mm Oyster case with thinner and more conical lugs and slightly updated casebands (this was only made because the anniversary bracelet needs different lugs). Instead, 126711 CHNR has the same case as the former GMT-Master such as Batman BLNR. Unlike the "Pepsi" version, Everose models are worn on solid-link Oyster bracelet. In the case of the Rolesor version, this means that the center connections are made in polished 18ct Everose gold, while the outer joints are satin-fired stainless steel with polished edges. The bracelet is closed using an Oysterlock-folded safety lock and features the Rolex Easylink 5mm comfort extension clutch system - one of the best bracelet / lock combinations available on the market.
The time is shown on a black slice - no brown slice setting, unfortunately - which contains 18k pink gold indicators and hands resembling the gilded swappers of yesteryear. At 3 o'clock, the date is shown with known cyclops. The correct drawcard is of course the two-way black and brown two-color Cerachrom frame with shaped numbers and graduations coated with pink gold via PVD. This is the first time inexpensive Rolex has ever produced this color combination with its patented ceramic material and it appears that mixed reviews have been met. The tones are definitely more dimmed than the original "Root Beer" GMT, and the brown seems to almost interfere with blacks under weaker lighting conditions, which is great if you're looking for something a bit more discreet. More link