Rolex is known as one of the most innovate timepiece designers in the world today, and one of their most popular timepieces is the GMT-Master. The GMT-Master timepiece saw the light of day 1955. At this time, air travel made visits to other countries a simple matter. As such, Pan-Am airlines needed a timepiece that could jump from one time zone to another with ease. Rolex developed the GMT-Master, which Pan-Am issued to crew members on transatlantic flights. To this day, the GMT-Master II is still the timepiece of choice for many commercial pilots. In 2013, a GMT-Master model broke the mold, and become one of the hottest sellers Rolex ever had, and that is the Batman Rolex.
What is the Batman Rolex?
When one first encounters the name, “Batman Rolex”, it’s only natural to make a connection between the watch and the iconic caped crusader created by Bob Kane and Bill Finger. However, nothing could be further from the truth. This timepiece was actually christened the “Batman Rolex” by its fans. In reality, it was the Rolex GMT-Master II, model 116710BLNR. In 2013, Rolex introduced a new watch at Baselworld. Little did they know the effect this timepiece would have on Rolex enthusiasts. The Rolex GMT-Master II, model number 116710BLNR, is classified as a sports watch and became one of the most sought after Rolex’s in history due to its innovative bi-color ceramic bezel.
The Bi-Color Ceramic, Cerachrom Bezel
The 2013 GMT-Master II was the first Rolex watch to incorporate a bi-color ceramic bezel into the design. The Rolex ceramic bezel is also known as the Rolex Cerachrom bezel. The patented Cerachrom bezel developed in 2005, is a crucial, signature element in the design in these Rolex watches. The Cerachrom bezel adds durability to the timepiece, and does not fade or scratch over time, which happens with aluminum bezels.
In fact, that’s exactly why they created it. Cerachrom stands for “ceramic” and “chrom”, which is Greek for color. No matter what the brand, standard aluminum watch bezels degrade over time. This prompted the ever innovative Rolex team of designers to craft a bezel that would be fade, corrosion and scratch resistant. The result is the Cerachrom bezel.
The Cerachrom bezel was specifically made for Rolex models in their Oyster collection. Rolex timepieces which have this ceramic bezel include the GMT-Master II, Yacht-Master, Daytona, Yacht-Master II, and the Submariner. However, when Rolex decided to go with the ceramic bezel, they met with some difficulty. In order to create a dual tone ceramic bezel, Rolex had to develop its own process, which remains a secret to this day. This is the reason why this timepiece became so popular.
Rolex enthusiasts become fascinated with the effort it took to craft the blue and black Cerachrom bezel. As such, fans of the Rolex GMT-Master II gave it the name of the “Batman Rolex”. In order to create continuity in the collection, Rolex stated that as of 2019, all members of the GMT-Master collection will have bi-color bezels.
Old Versus New
The original Batman Rolex unveiled in 2013 was a timepiece to behold. The 116710BLNR was crafted from polished 904L Oystersteel stainless steel, a 40 millimeter diameter case, and a GMT Time Zone feature. Other features of the 1167108LNR include a self winding automatic chronometer movement, scratch resistant sapphire crystal, and 31 jewels.
In 2019 Rolex debuted its newest Batman Rolex, the GMT-Master II 126710BLNR at Baselworld. As such, the 2013 model is no longer in production. The differences between the two involve technology. The new version has a life of 70 hours, and the movement is now Superlative Chronometer. Overall, the new model technically out paces the old, but for investors, collectors and flippers, that might not be enough reason to purchase this watch, Between the two, it’s the original Batman Rolex that holds more weight in that area, as it’s considered a collectors timepiece. Appearance wise, they are similar with the exception of the bracelet style. The 2013 Batman Rolex used an Oystersteel bracelet, while the 2019 version uses a Jubilee bracelet. This caused a bit of dissent among enthusiasts, as they preferred the original Oyster bracelet.
How Much Does the Batman Rolex Cost?
The GMT-Master II, Model 116710
Pricing for the Batman Rolex is tricky business. Since the 2013 model has been discontinued, pricing depends on the secondary market value. Factor in the fact that it’s the first bi-color ceramic model by Rolex, and now you’ve peaked the interest of collectors. As the 116710BLNR is now deemed a collectors item, prices will fluctuate. Currently, the cost of the first Batman Rolex is around $15,000. This price will vary depending on the condition of the timepiece.
The GMT-Master II, Model 126710
The retail cost of the newer model is currently around $8,800. Be forewarned that there is a waiting list, and not all authorized Rolex dealers carry the new Batman Rolex in stock. While some customers believe Rolex is holding back on production as a marketing strategy, that’s simply not the case. Several factors, including the Covid-19 pandemic have affected production of many of their Rolex’s, including the GMT-Master II.
Considering that the Batman Rolex has made such an impact in the marketplace, is a testament of the innovative genius of Rolex. To wear a Rolex is a sign of success. This is partially due to the fact that some models are difficult to come by, and the waiting list to purchase one can often take years. The Batman Rolex is no different. As a result, prices on the secondary market hit an upward trajectory to where the original Batman Rolex can score a price tag of $15,000 and over. The uniqueness of the bi-color ceramic bezel coupled with its outstanding design and meticulous construction will make the Batman Rolex a coveted timepiece for many years to come.