Rolex, which is among the most hotly-anticipated brands of Baselworld, marked the exhibition with the new versions added to its iconic GMT Master II model family. The star of the show was the Rolex GMT Master II “Pepsi” 126710 BLRO featuring the famous Pepsi bezel on a stainless-steel case after a long wait.
As a Baselworld classic, Rolex was one of the most talked about brands of the exhibition. The brand, which its novelties have been discussed in many forums and portals even with unofficial new model illustrations prepared in the virtual environment, was home to one of the most important novelties of Baselworld 2018. The GMT Master II model family, which hasn’t seen a major update for a while, took its place among the stars of the show with new additions to the product line. Of course, the most exciting one among those novelties was the Rolex GMT Master II "Pepsi" 126710 BLRO model, which was highly acclaimed not only by the loyal Rolex fans but all the watch enthusiasts.
In the past days, I wrote an article about the Everose / Everose Rolesor Rolex GMT Master II models introduced at the same time with the Rolex GMT Master II "Pepsi" 126710 BLRO. Although I like the new models in general, I have mentioned that I could not really identify the new versions with the classic Root-Beer concept being a watch enthusiast who likes Vintage Rolex models. Even though I feel similar with the Rolex GMT Master II "Pepsi" 126710 BLRO, I have to say that I liked the results.
First, the number of the sub-titles in the answer to the "what is new" part of the new model is a good thing for me as I don’t like the idea of issuing a new model by solely changing the dial color of a present one. Rolex has a very rich heritage and a well-deserved reputation for showing the utmost care to stay loyal to the brand DNA while designing a new model. When we combine this attitude with the novelty concept as we know, we mostly end up not getting very exciting results. I find it especially beneficial to note that this is much better than expected with the Rolex GMT Master II "Pepsi" 126710 BLRO.
I do not want to go too far into the history of the "Pepsi GMT Master", but briefly, I would say that the red / blue bezel insert, which was discontinued from the stainless-steel GMT Master II group after the introduction of the new Cerachrom bezel, is back. But not alone…
The new model is offered in a Grade 904L stainless steel which is used by Rolex for a long time. The case, which seems to be not much different from previous models due to its diameter of 40mm, contains brilliantly thought-out updates in detail. Firstly, the lugs of the new case are designed to be thinner and more tapered. To understand this update’s positive effect on the case design’s integrity that allows a more suitably sized bracelet end-link to fit in the lug-width, it is best to put the previous and the new case side by side. It seems the design of the Supercase style case, which was the Rolex’s answer to the un-expectedly popular Oversized Watches trend of the early 2000s, finally re-done to be more compact looking, if not being changed completely. If you do not want to relate the “not being changed completely” part to the lightness of the design update, please remember that Rolex always introduces a new model with a solid gold version.
The case is equipped with the red / blue 24 bezel that gives the model its nickname. The addition of the Pepsi bezel, which was limited to the 18K white gold version Ref. 116719 BLRO only, to the stainless-steel version again is a nice tribute to the “Tool Watch” character of the GMT Master II model family.
Another major update for the new Rolex GMT Master II “Pepsi” 126710 BLRO model is its Jubilee style bracelet. Bringing back the legendary Jubilee bracelet with the GMT Master II model family is a brilliant idea as I believe no other model could look better with this bracelet in the Oystersport product line rather than a GMT Master II. And the Heritage-look part is a bonus for the Vintage Rolex fans like me.
5-link stainless-steel Jubilee bracelet is secured with the Osyterclasp style folding clasp, which I find incomparable with the hidden Jubilee clasp in terms of visual beauty and engineering. However, I must say that it doesn’t look as absurd as it is with the new Date Just models thanks to the sportier character of the GMST Master II collection.
The last update about the Rolex GMT Master II “Pepsi” 126710 BLRO is the movement ticking inside. The new model is powered by the brand’s new generation movement Caliber Ref. 3285. The new movement is the same with the previous one in terms of functions. But technically speaking, it is equipped with the new Chronergy escapement which works 15% more efficient than the previous one. The power reserve time is increased to 70 hours which was 48 hours with the old Caliber Ref. 3186. The new movement’s time keeping accuracy is also superior with a tolerance of +/-2 seconds per day.
The list price for Rolex GMT Master II "Pepsi" 126710 BLRO is CHF 8,800. However, it seems that this price will remain in the catalogs only for a certain period, given the availability conditions depending on the region and the un-changed demand priority for the newly introduced stainless steel Rolex models.