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Old 2 May 2010, 08:44 AM   #1
The GMT Master
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GMT Master II 16710 Review

Hey all, here's the latest post from my blog at http://gmtmaster2207.blogspot.com/ - go there to see other articles and the pictures for this review - hope you enjoy it!

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It's been a long time coming, but here's a new blog post! Time for a new review, and it's a horological legend: the GMT Master II 16710, a long time stalwart of the Rolex range until it was killed off in favour of the new 116710 GMT IIc. The GMT has always been a fan favourite, and, having a pristine example to hand, thought it was time to review this truly beautiful watch. The model reviewed had the "Pepsi" red and blue bezel fitted, and was on the Oyster bracelet, with sports clasp.



Technical Features

*Model ref. 16710
*Stainless steel case
*Bidirectional 24hr bezel, with choice of blue/red, red/black and black anodised aluminium inserts
*Case Diameter: 40mm
*Black sports dial with luminous (Superluminova) dot and baton markers w/ white gold surrounds
*Twinlock crown with crown guards
*Sapphire crystal with cyclops-magnified date
*24 hr. hand
*Independent hour hand - allows up to three time zones to be displayed concurrently
*Oyster Bracelet

The Movement

*Calibre 3185
*28.8k BPH
*Approx. 48 hour power reserve
*Self winding chronometer rated movement
*Semi-quickset date (done through independent hour hand)
*Nivarox hairspring

UK RRP: Discontinued. 2nd hand value of model posted: 2950.

The Aesthetics

That blue and red bezel combination makes this one of the most easily recognised Rolex models out there - it just screams "GMT." This might be too colourful for some, but I personally love it - practical, and iconic. If blue and red is too much, the other bezel inserts would certainly make it more understated. The numerals on the bezel are a little more subtle than on the GMT IIc, and I think it generally helps make the watch seem more rough and ready - a bona fide tool watch, as opposed to the "useful dress watch" appearance of the GMT IIc.

The brushed bracelet does help with this impression as well, and is classic Rolex sports watch through and through. The dial is clean and readable, even without the "maxi dial" of newer sports models. The red 24 hour hand contrasts nicely with the dial, and as such, is a very easy watch to read at a glance. My only criticism when it comes to looks is the small size of the twinlock crown - it doesn't quite look right on the case, and it is particularly fiddly to operate. Rolex addressed this problem by issuing the GMT IIc with the slightly larger Triplock. All in all, it looks great, and has aged very nicely - I certainly don't feel that it looks like a 20 year old watch, even though it first hit production lines that long ago.

The Feel

On this point, I feel I have to be a bit more critical of the GMT II. Whilst it might look fresh, it certainly feels like a 20 year old watch, much like the other Rolex models that have forgone updates for the time being. The bracelet is very light and rattly, even with solid end links. The clasp is functional, but doesn't inspire confidence - a very thin pressed metal clasp. Whilst purists will quickly point out that it's served the test of time (and they're spot on), I can't help but feel that the clasp seems cheaper than the one on my 150 Seiko Monster. It's not fitting of a watch of this reputation, and isn't a patch on the new clasps that Rolex have brought out. If you can afford it, a new Super Jubilee bracelet would be an excellent choice - it would completely transform the watch. Apart from that, it sits nice and closely to the wrist, and the micro-adjustments on the clasp mean you can get it to fit just right. I do realise this section is highly subjective, and for many people, the light bracelet and clasp won't be an issue: however, for me, if I was spending that kind of money on a watch, I'd want it to feel premium in every aspect.





Practicality

Well, what can I say? The GMT has always been Rolex's most practical watch, and this one is no exception. The perfect companion to any traveller, the three time zone feature has made it a long time favourite of commercial pilots. The low profile of the watch makes it a great everyday watch, and I think it looks great with just about anything. The watch is also a real chameleon - get all three inserts, a Jubilee bracelet, and a leather/NATO band, and you've got 9 different looks. Even Panerais aren't that versatile. I think this is probably the watch's strongest point, and makes it particularly unique. Having a brushed Oyster is always beneficial too, it certainy masks the scratches far better than models with polished centre links.



Conclusion

I do like this watch - the history, the looks, the practicality. However, that bracelet keeps holding me back, the one niggling issue, the fatal flaw. If this was on the new GMT's bracelet, I'd have it in a heartbeat. I think I have to come to a similar conclusion to my review of the 16610 - a great 20th Century watch, but feels out of place in the 21st century.

Thanks for reading,

The GMT Master
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Old 2 May 2010, 10:11 AM   #2
andrew79
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nice one.
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Old 2 May 2010, 10:43 AM   #3
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Excellent post! I couldn't agree more. The watch has clearly stood the test of time brilliantly, and there are a small handful of details that don't quite seem right today, i.e. the flimsy clasp, rattly hollow midlinks, twinlock crown, etc.

The GMTIIc has addressed all of these issues, so if Rolex can perfect their process to manufacture a multicolored ceramic insert, I think the GMTIIc will reign king and will carry us into the 21st century in style. Just imagine a Coke or Pepsi ceramic insert with brushed mid links!!
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Old 3 May 2010, 01:19 AM   #4
The GMT Master
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Thankyou both for the comments
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Old 3 May 2010, 01:27 AM   #5
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Chris,
I have to respectfully disagree about the classic oyster bracelet. I find it comfortable, infallible, and time tested. It's understandable for many to demand a milled clasp and solid center links at this price point, however the classic oyster has a proven track record and many fans.
But, different strokes, as they say.
Thanks for the review, I enjoyed it.
dP
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Old 3 May 2010, 02:47 AM   #6
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Good review, thanks !
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Old 3 May 2010, 04:52 AM   #7
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I bought one two weeks ago and it hasn't left my wrist. Mine is the classic Pepsi bezel and i absolutely love it. I am now after a BNIB or LNIB Pepsi with the later 3186 movement. The oyster bracelet is not in the class as my father in laws GMT IIc, but it's ok and suits the watch.
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Old 3 May 2010, 07:58 AM   #8
mascot
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Great review!
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Old 3 May 2010, 08:48 AM   #9
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Nice review. I enjoyed. Thanks!
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Old 3 May 2010, 09:09 AM   #10
The GMT Master
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Pierce View Post
Chris,
I have to respectfully disagree about the classic oyster bracelet. I find it comfortable, infallible, and time tested. It's understandable for many to demand a milled clasp and solid center links at this price point, however the classic oyster has a proven track record and many fans.
But, different strokes, as they say.
Thanks for the review, I enjoyed it.
dP
I'm certainly not denying the fact the classic Oyster sports bracelet has stood the test of time - I'd wager that it's part of the base upon which Rolex built it's reputation, and I can certainly see why people admire and respect it. However, it's just not for me - I'm a big advocate of the new clasps and solid centre links, and only being properly initiated into the brand a couple of years ago, the newer models have set my baseline of expectations for Rolexes. For me, the difference between the new and old is really apparent, and I think the fact the newer bracelets feel so good has helped to harden my opinion against the older style ones.

I really do appreciate your input, reasoned discussion like this is what TRF is all about - thanks for taking the time to read my review and responding
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Old 3 May 2010, 10:49 AM   #11
webopt
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Excellent, Post....Great Review
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Old 15 May 2010, 11:09 AM   #12
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great review. i fell in love with this watch the first time i saw it.
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Old 16 June 2010, 06:58 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Pierce View Post
Chris,
I have to respectfully disagree about the classic oyster bracelet. I find it comfortable, infallible, and time tested. It's understandable for many to demand a milled clasp and solid center links at this price point, however the classic oyster has a proven track record and many fans.
But, different strokes, as they say.
Thanks for the review, I enjoyed it.
dP
I agree. Of the watches I currently own, the GMT is the only one I have which seems to completely disappear on my wrist. I'd also say the bracelet is no more or less wobbly than the pro II bracelet on my Breitling Avenger Seawolf.

The clasp on the Seawolf is quite a bit beefier, however.

As for the look of the 16710 Pepsi, my opinion is that it is as classic in appeal, and as understated today as it was 20 years ago. Nothing on this watch, to me, seems dated. On the contrary, like a Mercedes 280SL, it gets better with age.

(For the tool watch guys, substitute Chevrolet K5 Blazer above.)

My $0.02. I enjoyed the review. I just have a different opinion.

m
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Old 7 July 2010, 04:42 AM   #14
crockey
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The GMT will always be my favorite!
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Old 21 July 2010, 01:32 PM   #15
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great post. I just picked up this classic and hope to pass it to my son one day. The crown and bracelet don't bother me at all. It is the most comfortable fit of all my pieces.
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Old 21 July 2010, 11:37 PM   #16
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Excellent reading,
just checked out your blog, again a very good read, thanks.
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Old 3 August 2010, 03:33 AM   #17
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great info here. I am proud to say that I am an owner of both the Coke (Fseries) and Pepsi (Nseries) GMT II's.
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Old 3 August 2010, 05:59 AM   #18
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If you like Rolex it would be hard NOT to have a GMTII. I am always amazed at the criticism of the bracelet. I have never heard one complaint that the bracelet has failed only the abstract statement that it feels cheap, it's not supposed to be as strong as a pair of handcuffs. The stamped metal is a quality stamping that does not put too much metal against the wrist. Yet I have heard complaints that the New GMTII clasp has welds that failed.
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Old 3 August 2010, 07:16 AM   #19
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I found this review to be honest and thorough. I'm strongly considering a 16710 for my first Rolex, in large part due to the insert versatility. Your insights are very helpful!

In particular, I never really though about the Twinlock being small; now it does seem a bit on the smaller side. Or maybe I've just been seeing too many Subs!
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Old 3 August 2010, 07:52 AM   #20
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Well done Chris ..... awesome website!
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