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Old 17 July 2010, 09:30 AM   #1
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GMT-Master II Ceramic Review

Hello everybody,

after reading in TRF for months and having become a Rolex owner on May 20th, I finally decided to make my first post here. Of course I know that this is not the first review of the GMT-Master II Ceramic (Reference 116710LN) in this forum, but I feel that I might be able to add a few points based on my experiences with my V-series GMT II C. So let’s get started:

Case and crown

The case is very solid in every respect and looks well proportioned. By 21st century standards the size of the watch may be called moderate or conservative, a point I greatly appreciate as watches beyond the 42 mm mark are definitely too huge for my wrist. Not much else to say about the case, as it may be regarded in build and finish as being perfect. The only slight minus mark in design are the rather sharp edges on the underside of the lugs. I am not able yet to make a final statement on this point, but these edges may be harmful to shirt cuffs. Maybe readers in this forum can share their experiences on this point. A very positive aspect is the well-sized crown protection that can do its job. The crown protection in the now old Submariner (Ref. 16610 / 14060) is IMHO too small for the Triplock crown to protect it properly. The ROLEXROLEX… engraved in the rehaut is barely noticeable, except when taking a really close look. As petespendthrift here on TRF has put it, it is “like the water mark on paper currency or good stationary”. I cannot find a better comparison. At six o’ clock, the serial number of the watch is engraved into the rehaut. To all who post photos: Please make sure that the serial number in the rehaut of your watch is not legible, as certainly none of us wants to give counterfeiters an existing serial number…?

The bi-directional rotatable bezel clicks very smoothly in the 24 positions, is perfectly easy to read and has an aura of uncompromising quality due to the fit and finish of the ceramic / platinum combination. The ceramic is reflective, yes, but as it is slightly domed, it does not bother me.

The crown itself is beyond a shadow of a doubt, very solid and, unlike the smaller Twinlock crown of all previous incarnations of the GMT-Master, very ergonomic and easy to use. Even though the Twinlock crown was a traditional feature of the GMT-Master due its descent from the Turn-o-Graph, this upgrade to the Triplock crown is from my perspective a serious improvement over the older GMT-Masters, also for users with slim fingers (like myself), who more easily cope with a Twinlock crown. For the depth rating of 100m / 330ft the crown is healthily oversized, as is shown by the fact that at least three solo circumnavigators have used the older references 1675 and 16760 (?) as their navigation chronometers without (to the best of my knowledge) having experienced any trouble with them, which shows that the Twinlock crown waterproofness was fully sufficient in these cases. Lovely detail on my watch: When I screw the crown down on the case “hand warm” (i.e. not with absolute force), the Rolex crown on the crown stands upright – this is perfection!

Measurements (approx.):

Bezel diameter: 40 mm
Total height without Cyclops: 12 mm
Weight (with all bracelet links): 152 grams

Crystal and date cyclops

The crystal is a flat sapphire crystal with a glued-on Cyclops date magnifier. It has an anti-reflective coating in three places (inside, below the Cyclops and on top of it), nevertheless, the flat crystal does reflect light to a degree that does not bother the wearer, but makes him or her recognizable at a greater distance if this reflection catches the eye of someone else. A domed sapphire crystal would avoid this, but it would almost certainly be hard to combine with the Cyclops – if it is possible at all. The crystal is almost flush with the bezel and thereby well protected against damage. The date can be read easily already before the dial is at a right angle to your visual axis. This is aided by the positive display of the date (black numbers on a white background), which improves its legibility. The Cyclops affects the legibility of hands passing underneath to a fairly small degree, which would IMHO only relevant for a diver’s watch which is actually used for this purpose, but can be comfortably neglected in all other cases that come to my mind.

Dial and hands

The maxi dial with the larger hour markers at bigger hands was first introduced with the Yacht-Master in 1992, appeared in 2003 in the Jubilee Submariner (Ref. 16610LV) and was introduced in 2005 in the gold Jubilee version of the GMT-Master II Ceramic (Ref. 116718LN). The second, minute and 12-hour hands have been enlarged, compared to the previous GMT-Master II, but as far as I can see, the 24-hour hand has only been changed in colour, not in size. The legibility in daylight is excellent. In darkness, the Superluminova lasts very long, indeed I could still – faintly – read the time after having had the watch in a completely dark bedroom for a full 11 hours! This applies to the minute and 12-hour hands; the 24-hour hand will become illegible several hours earlier. As the coated area can hardly be the cause of this effect, I suspect (but this is unproven) a less thick Superluminova coating on this hand. The size of the 24-hour hand is from my perspective the only point about the “face” of the watch that could be improved even further. If this hand passes in front of one of the round hour markers, it becomes almost undetectable when reading the watch in darkness. Giving the triangle an intermediate length between the diameter of the round hour markers on one hand and the length of the rectangular and the triangular hour markers on the other hand, this down point could be eliminated. It would also render the question of the hand colour less important, whether it would be red, green or pure white gold (order from best to least legibility). And almost I would have taken it for granted: The white gold hands and settings of the hour markers look very elegant and will hardly ever give their owner a headache through corrosion (like steel hands could do)…

Bracelet and clasp

Much has already been written about the polished centre links and worries of them being to shiny or being too scratch-prone. Of course are micro-scratches unavoidable and more readily visible on polished than on satin-brushed steel. Nevertheless, stainless steel 904L is very hard and every other watch I have (all stainless steel, and no other Rolex) get scratches more easily, if I am not entirely wrong. Any watch you buy will get scratches sooner or later and from my experience after almost two months a Rolex GMT-Master II C is not to be called critical in this point. I am rather surprised to hardly ever find remarks on the necessity to clean the watch fairly often, as much more than micro-scratches, fingerprints, sweat and skin fat (sorry, but that’s the way it is…) really stand out on the polished steel. In this context hygienic aspects are another reason to love the massive centre links except for the more solid feel and the probably greater life expectancy. After a longer period of wearing a watch with hollow centre links, the accumulated skin fragments, sweat and dirt from various sources must let them become a biohazard… Fortunately cleaning the watch is easy enough by scrubbing all metal parts with a soft brush using hand warm water with a drop of mild liquid soap (recommended method according to the Rolex user manual).

The solidity and finish of the bracelet are first class; it is designed and built in a way I enjoy every day. The clasp is beautifully machined from massive steel and feels as if it were made for eternity or at least pretty close to that. I personally do not agree to the point that the finish o a Rolex and a watch from the manufacturer with the name derived from the Greek alphabet are on the same level. Take for example a Seamaster Professional, a Seamaster Aqua Terra and a Rolex of your choice and you will have three different qualities of metal finish in front of you – the Rolex wins IMHO.

The 5mm fold-out link “Easylink” to compensate for the swelling of your wrist in warm weather is a real improvement, at least for those with a larger wrist. For me the difference of circumference of my wrist minimum / maximum is not so great that I would need it. In practical use the watch is a bit on the loose side on my wrist with the Easylink employed.

The polished centre links fit the watch aesthetically perfectly well, I think. For those who are thinking of buying a brushed bracelet originally intended for the new Submariner (Ref. 116610), be warned: Direct comparison reveals that the new Submariner has a lower profile case than the GMT-Master II C. It is therefore rather unlikely that a Submariner bracelet can be made fit on a GMT II C. As the new Explorer II orange hand due to be presented at the Basel fair 2011 will (as video fragments circulating on the Internet suggest) not have the super case of the GMT II C, the same restriction will most likely turn up in this case as well.

So if you would like to have an entirely satin-brushed bracelet, Rolex does not seem to leave you any choice but having it brushed by your AD, which will rather not increase the resale value of the watch.

If anyone in the Rolex headquarters reads this: Wouldn’t it be a customer friendly idea to let them choose the bracelet they prefer? As far as I recall, in the late 1990s the GMT-Master II (Ref. 16710) was available with either the Oyster-, Fliplock or Jubilee bracelet on customer request.


The “motor” of the GMT-Master II C is the calibre 3186, which is an improved version of the 3185 that has been in production since 1988. The mechanism for setting the 12-hour hand has been improved to reduce the play in the gears and it has been equipped with the new, paramagnetic blue Parachrom Breguet overcoil hairspring, which is also up to ten times as shock resistant as conventional hairsprings.


After five days of constant wearing, my GMT-Master II C is running about dead on with very little deviation in between. Truly a superlative chronometer…


The watch wears very comfortably, although it took me about three days to get used to the weight of (according to my electronic kitchen scale) 147grams. Now its weight feels rather like as if it were saying: “Don’t worry, I am still with you.” – Not unpleasant. Before buying the GMT Master II C, I wore a Porsche Design P10 Automatic with rubber strap, which weighs in at only 79 grams which certainly explains my very own “break-in-period”. It sits snug on my wrist, aided by the quite flat bottom, without any tendency to topple over. In my GMT two links in the bracelet have been removed, so that the watch has now six links on the 12 o’ clock side (plus Easylink) and four links on the 6 o’ clock side, which has the clasp in a centre position below my wrist. The Easylink fold-out extension is a great idea, even though for me the difference between the two positions is a bit on the wide side. This is almost certainly due to my slim wrist, which measures just over 6¼’’ in circumference. For wearers with a larger wrist (probably by far the most GMT owners), it will be perfect, I expect. The clasp leaves slight marks on the innermost link when the Easylink is folded in, but this is unavoidable. It is difficult for me to imagine a watch of about this weight to be more comfortable than the GMT-Master II C.


A near-perfect watch I have really fallen in love with, I can most easily recommend to anyone interested in it and which is in improvement over the older GMT-Masters on the practical side in every respect. The aesthetics are a matter of personal taste, for me, it took me a while to grow on it, but now I love it. Don’t let yourself get fooled by photos; the GMT II C does not always come out as well on photos as the older GMTs. If I were to buy a second GMT-Master for myself, it would be a 16710A (Coca-Cola bezel), of which I began to dream some 15 years ago. But the 116710 LN would rule as an everyday wearer. Needless to say, I can hardly imagine any other sports watch for myself than a Rolex GMT-Master (II)!

Thank you very much for reading, I hope you enjoyed it!

Some links to other GMT-Master II reviews for your convenience:

Reviews and shared experiences

Comparisons GMT II / GMT II C (with many photos)
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Old 19 July 2010, 10:27 AM   #2
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Great review
What do you think about the case/bracelet width proportionality? Does the 20mm bracelet work well with the larger thicker case?

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Old 19 July 2010, 11:53 AM   #3
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Excellent review - thanks! This will most likely be the next one I purchase!
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Old 19 July 2010, 12:04 PM   #4
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it really is a nice modern rolex. i dare say its they best one right now
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Old 19 July 2010, 09:19 PM   #5
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Excellent review. I echo everything you said.
I got mine just 3 weeks ago and it is amazing watch.
Question regarding your bracelet configuration: if you have 4 links on 6 side and 6 links on 12 side, in which slot do you have the pin assuming you have the easy link folded in as default ?
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Old 20 July 2010, 01:32 AM   #6
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Thank you Jann for this excellent review.. I agree about all the details you've mentioned..
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Old 20 July 2010, 01:39 AM   #7
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Thanks and reply to your questions

Thank you for the positive feedbacks.

To answer your questions:

@ Lol-x: I think both the width and the thinkness of the bracelet links fits perfectly. Of course a watch designer could try slight variations, but from my perspective it would include the possibility of changing a detail for the sake of the change itself. I leave to everybody's own opinion whether it would be worth it or not...

@WatchForLife: Yes, my standard configuration is to have the Easylink folded in. The pin is in the innermost position, i.e. closer to the 6 o' clock side.

Have a nice day!
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Old 20 July 2010, 10:26 AM   #8
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Thanks for the review. A couple of points - I don't think that 904L has any greater surface hardness than standard 316 steel more commonly used. It does have greater resistance to corrosion.

Secondly - are you sure that the date "bubble" is coated on the outside? I thought it only had anti-reflective coating underneath but I could be mistaken.

Nice write up.
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Old 20 July 2010, 11:11 AM   #9
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amazing review.... i have to agree for sure.
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Old 21 July 2010, 01:38 AM   #10
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Nice review !!!
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Old 21 July 2010, 07:07 AM   #11
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Reply to your questions / remarks

@Dob: Yes 904L steel is more corrosion resistant (I did not mention this above), but subjectively I also have the impression of it being more scratch resistant - but I am not able to produce figures on th surface hardness. It may be of interest to see that 904L has obviously a higher proportion of alloy metals in it than 316L, according to Wikipedia:

Maybe someone wih better knowledge in chemistry than myself will be able to answer this question or post a link.

Some very interesting construction drawings of the GMT-Master II C are posted here:

If I read them correctly, the cyclops date magnifier is coated on either side.

Thank you for your compliment!
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Old 21 July 2010, 07:39 AM   #12
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Great Review. I picked up my new V series GMT ll c this morning after too much deliberation. My main concern was it might be large for my small wrist but it looks better than I had hoped and is much comfortable than my previous Rolexes. The clasp is a great improvement. Enjoy yours and thanks again for the review.
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Old 21 July 2010, 10:18 AM   #13
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Excellent review, fantastic watch.
When it captures your imagination, that's when you know you have found your passion.

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Old 21 July 2010, 10:37 AM   #14
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Great Review!
Thank you
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Old 21 July 2010, 12:39 PM   #15
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Fab review - thanks for taking the time to share your findings!
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Old 21 July 2010, 01:05 PM   #16
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This thread needs a macro shot back up:
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Old 21 July 2010, 03:42 PM   #17
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Good read and nice shot by Double O Se7en
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Old 2 August 2010, 10:30 AM   #18
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Well done and well said. I'm thinking about a new GMT, I still have the 2000 model. Black bez black face.. Though I do love it!
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Old 31 August 2010, 11:17 AM   #19
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Thanks for your review. I have been back and forth about purchasing a SS GMT Master iic, but after reading your review, I have to have it! Thanks!!!!!
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Old 31 August 2010, 12:49 PM   #20
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Perfect review! I find it hard to take mine off.
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Old 1 September 2010, 04:45 AM   #21
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Great review of an amazing time piece!
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Old 1 September 2010, 05:46 AM   #22
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Thanxs for sharing, superb

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Old 4 September 2010, 07:49 AM   #23
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very nice and extensive review, I enjoyed it a lot
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Old 7 September 2010, 03:04 AM   #24
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nice review! thanks a lot!
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Old 13 February 2011, 02:11 AM   #25
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Very good review of what I personally find to be a great watch! Thanks for taking the time to put it together.
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Old 21 February 2011, 05:11 PM   #26
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I just bought one from Oscar (body bump). Due to arrive tomorrow! My first rolex and I can't contain my excitement. Like a kid at xmas. LOL.

Thanks for the detailed review.
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Old 22 February 2011, 03:55 PM   #27
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Great review...thanks for sharing.
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Old 2 March 2011, 10:18 AM   #28
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Probably one of the most iconic Rolexes next to the Submariner. It currently lists for less than the new ceramic Submariner, so if anyone wants one, you'd better buy one soon!
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Old 2 March 2011, 11:04 AM   #29
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Great review! I love BOTH of my GMT's!
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Old 2 March 2011, 12:52 PM   #30
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Icon6 I Love GMT Watches!!

I own several GMT watches, of which two are Rolex (TT GMTc; GMT II w/3186 "Z"). I also have the SMP, Pam 88, and a B&M. I just love them all.

Great review btw.
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