After the GMT-Master II was launched back in the 1980s, Rolex gave it a new black and red bezel. Following the soda-influenced nicknames of the brown and yellow, “Root Beer” and that of the blue and red “Pepsi” bezel, the red and black GMT bezel colorway got the nickname “Coke.” Currently, there are only two versions of the GMT-Master II Coke produced, and they were both discontinued. Hence, you can only buy a pre-owned GMT-Master II Coke from a previous seller or selling center. The Rolex GMT-Master II Coke is a luxury sports watch that comes with amazing features, such as GMT function. In this guide, we will take a closer look at the history of the Rolex Coke and the reasons why you should get yourself one.
History of The Rolex Coke
The origin of the GMT-Master II Rolex Coke dates back to the early 1950s when it was used by pilots to read more than one time zone simultaneously. The first model to join the lineup was the GMT-Master II ref. 16760, which was nicknamed “Fat Lady” due to its thicker case designed to accommodate the Caliber 3085. 7 years later, the GMT-Master II ref. 16760 was substituted by ref. 16710. Although the GMT-Master II ref. 16760 only came with the Coke bezel option, the GMT-Master II ref. 16710 had a much slimmer case profile and offered the option of a Pepsi bezel, black bezel, and a Coke bezel. Over its almost 2-decade production run, it underwent a number of technological advancements, including modifications in its case lug holes, caliber, luminous material, and bracelet solid end links. Later in the mid-2000s, Rolex launched a new six-digit GMT-Master II that came installed with Cerachrom ceramic bezels. Below is a quick summary of the Rolex production-run:
- 1955: Rolex launches the GMT-Master model
- 1982: Rolex releases the GMT-Master II Coke ref. 16760
- 1989: Rolex launches the GMT-Master II Coke ref. 16710
- 2007: Rolex stops producing any versions of the GMT-Master II Coke
The Pilots’ Watch
Since its introduction in 1982, the Rolex Coke has been a favorite watch of world travelers and pilots as reported by Chrono24. The black and black bezel became very popular among many people as it reminded people of the popular Coca-Cola can. This resemblance also influenced people to nickname this GMT-Master II as the “Rolex Coke.” Moreover, some people refer to the 16760 model as the “Fat Lady” due to its thicker case profile that easily accommodates the caliber 3085.
Rolex Coke Price
Despite being produced on a large scale, the 16760 model goes for nearly 17,500 USD, roughly costing as much as the GMT-Master II ref. 16710, according to Bob’s Watches. You can buy a pre-owned “Fat Lady” version in fairly good condition for as much as 14,000 USD. Additionally, you can purchase a used ref. 16760 for around 12,000 USD. These prices are reasonable considering they are not being produced anymore.
Reasons to Buy a Rolex Coke
The most notable reason you should get yourself the Rolex GMT-Master II Coke is that it comes with a caliber 3085 that allows you to independently set the watch’s hour hand in gradual hour increments. It also makes it easier to quickly adjust the time when you reach a destination with a different time zone. This is certainly a great advantage over the “ordinary” GMT-Masters that come with a caliber 3075, which requires you to change the minute, hour, and 24-hour hands altogether.
- After stopping its production of the GMT-Master II ref. 16760, the company Rolex decided to produce other modern and improved versions of the GMT-Master II. Nonetheless, the following are some of the other reasons you should buy a Rolex Coke:
- There are high chances of the watch to increase in value
- It displays three time zones simultaneously
- Comes with a High-precision Superlative Chronometer
- It is one of the most popular GMT watches globally
Alternatives to the Rolex Coke
Possible alternatives to Rolex Coke include Rolex Batman and Rolex Pepsi. Compared to the Batman models, the Rolex Pepsi has a much wider history and exists as a large number of amazing vintage watches fitted with aluminum bezels. A good example is the GMT-Master II Rolex watch ref. 16750, which averagely costs between 14,000 and 17,500 USD. In 2007, Rolex began producing watches fitted with Cerachrom bezels like the ref; 116719BLRO model that was made from stainless steel and had golden models. On the other hand, Batman models are popular for their more classic and conservative appearance. It has models with the refs; 12610BLNR and 116710BLNR, featuring a black and blue ceramic bezel that blends perfectly with any business attire. The 126710BLNR model can go for around 8,800 CHF, which is approximately 9,700 USD. Though it’s quite rare to the 116710BLNR Batman model, it costs between 15,000-17000 USD on average.
Rolex Pepsi Vs. Rolex Coke
Rolex PepsiGMT-Master’s first bezel color combination was red and blue. This bezel was later nicknamed the Rolex “Pepsi” bezel, due to how it was immediately recognizable to the soda company. Over the year, this red and blue bezel can be considered as Rolex’s most well-known bezel combinations.
The next most popular bezel combination would have to be the red and black bezel combination, which was later nicknamed the Rolex “Coke” bezel. It was not until later in 1983 after launching the Rolex GMT-Master II ref. 16760 was the Rolex Coke bezel available. Unfortunately, Rolex decided to discontinue the production of the Rolex Coke later in 2007; however, most vintage collectors and watch enthusiasts are anxiously waiting for its return.
Difference Between the Two
In addition to the most notable difference of the bezels of these two Rolex pieces, there are some other features that differentiate the two. For example, the previous Rolex “Coke” model comes with an older, sleeker case profile with crown guards, smaller lugs, and an aluminum bezel insert. Meanwhile, the recent Rolex “Pepsi” model comes with a much wider Cerachrom bezel and larger lugs.
Since the year 2019, Rolex has been installing all of Its GMT-Master II models with in-house caliber 3285 to replace the caliber 3186, which has been used since 2005. These caliber improvements have resulted in a boosted 70-hr power reserve, Rolex’s Chronergy escapement, and a blue Parachrom hairspring to improve the magnetic resistance and efficiency of the watch. While the Rolex Coke was discontinued, you can get a pre-owned one and be part of the elites.