Rolex GMT-Master II (116713LN): Hands on review & unboxing.

Whilst we have so many Rolexes here at The Watch Source Pre-Owned site: https://www.thewatchsource.co.uk/preowned/ we decided it is about time we reviewed one of these stunning pieces. Beginning with arguable, one of the most superb pieces of all the Rolex range, the two-tone GMT-Master II 116713LN.

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HISTORY:

As with many of Rolex’s creations and if you have read our recent article ‘Rolex: tools or jewels’ you will know that the GMT-Master was born through necessity. Its birth coincided with the growth of the jet age, with inter-continental air travel becoming increasingly safe, accessible and commercial. The original GMT-Master was developed in conjunction with the then un-paralleled Pan America Airways, also known as ‘Pan Am’ and was issued to their long haul pilots to keep track of both day and night with the 24 hour hand that would be synced to Greenwich Mean Time, used for various purposes through out aviation, especially when computers were not present in the aeronautical industry and all aviation was regulated through analogue systems. Simply, look at the cockpit of a Douglas DC-6B, an aircraft widely used by Pan Am compared to a modern day equivalent A350 and you will see exactly how vital a time piece that could reliably track GMT (now UTC) as well as the operating time zone was at the time. Various versions of the GMT-Master were developed over the decades with the GMT-Master II being first released in 1983, though the original GMT-Master continued production until it was discontinued in latter end of the 1990s. The GMT-Master II featured a new movement in which the hour hand could be independently operated without hacking or disturbing the other hands as to not disrupt consistent time keeping. It was also new with a rotating bezel, giving the ability to track up to 3 time zones at once. Both changes that still last in the GMT-Master models to this day. Modifications to the GMT-Master line continue at present too, with the adjustment made by Rolex in Basel 2019.

BEZEL & CASE:

To me, the Rolex Oyster 40mm case is the perfect case. Perfect size, perfect weight and instantly recognisable features make it a dream to wear and look at. We’ve talked in detail about the story behind Rolex’s use of 904L ‘Oystersteel’ in the making of Rolex’s case and bracelets, but we never talked about another creation of the inhouse Rolex foundry: ‘Rolesor’. As put by Rolex the pairing of the “Lustre and nobility” of gold and “Strength and reliability” of steel, mixing the two for the perfect combination of toughness and opulence. We’ve also spoken in depth about Rolex’s ceramic master piece: ‘Cerachrom’ both in our ‘Rolex: tools or jewels’ article (which can be read here: https://blog.thewatchsource.co.uk/2019/07/08/rolex-tools-or-jewels/ ). This piece uses a mono-tone Cerachrom bezel with a gold knurled rim to provide appropriate traction for movement of the bezel. Graduated in a 24 hour time scale, the bezel is one of the standout features that marks the current and past collection of the GMT-Master, bearing a polished finish on this piece which will maintain its colour and finish un-touched for years to come thanks to the extremely hard wearing nature of Cerachrom ceramic. The case itself has a mixture of finishes. As with all Rolexes little is to be admired from the rear of the watch with a straight grain bushed finish to the case back and polished rim. The top and sides of the case are much more aesthetically appealing, with a straight grain brushed finish on the lug faces, with the sides of the case and the crown guards bearing a smooth polish, contrasted by the yellow gold screw down crown marked with the famous five-pointed coronet insignia.

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DIAL & HANDS:

This GMT-Master II continues the sumptuous appearance on the dial with its polished 18 Carat gold signature Rolex hand set, complimented by the rich green GMT hand stem and “GMT-MASTER II” text on the dial, a perfect colour choice when coupled with the yellow gold of the bezel and bracelet. Similarly, the hour markers are outlined in polished gold, filled as well as the hands with long lasting blue luminescence to maintain its functionality operating in poorly lit, twilight cockpits. The dial itself is in a flawless gloss finish, reflecting the underside of the hands and occasionally reflecting off the underside of the crystal making the hour markers or hands seem to recede into infinity in the dial reflection. The minute track is crisp and simple, with clear “SWISS MADE” print beneath the 6 hour marker and Rolex’s chronometer certification and branding in white print on the dial. With the faint laser etched Rolex crown imprinted on the crystal atop the 6 hour marker. The crystal itself exudes Rolex quality, it feels thick and sturdy, housing a cyclops lens for date magnification for the 3 O’clock date aperture with an instant midnight change. The steel rehort is engraved with repeated “ROLEX” branding continuing all the way around the dial flange completing the look of a classic modern Rolex from any angle. 

MOVEMENT:

Since Rolex’ conception they have been known for their exceptionally high quality, accurate movements and this trend continues today. The GMT-Master II is fitted with an in-house, Rolex manufacture Calibre 3285 with a precision of +/- 2 seconds a day, making it worthy of the supreme chronometric standard set, and regulated by the Official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute or Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres (commonly abbreviated to COSC) ensuring close to the highest levels of accuracy possible for a mechanical wrist watch. The Movement is very smooth to operate with the independent hour hand making time setting easy and intuitive, and time keeping accurate and uninterrupted. The Cal 3285 boasts a longer than standard power reserve than more common movements with approximately 70 hours of power when the main spring is fully wound, kept running when on the wrist with the perpetual winding rotor. The movement hacks upon the last stop of the crown for precision time setting. 

STRAP:

The two-tone bracelet is bracelet is the element of that makes it stand out as an article of luxury the most. The ribbon of polished 18 carat gold spanning around the bracelet through the centre links is one of the most attractive features of this watch, and is certainly the most eye catching at first glance. With the yellow gold band continuing uninterrupted through the buckle, highlighting the Rolex logo on the safety clasp.

BOX:

Unboxing this piece is an experience by itself, sliding off the cream outer box marked with the slightly protruding Rolex crown, revealing the rich green inner box all builds the excitement of wearing your Rolex no matter many times you repeat the process. You are met with the wave style pattern on the top of the inner box with a polished gold Rolex coronet on the top of the box. Inside, the watch is presented very neatly. With nothing in the box to distract from the time piece within. And, with all the documents and papers maintaining the timeless rich green colour scheme of the box, to which Rolex have become so inseparably linked.

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VERDICT:

This is one of the many pieces we will be sad to see leave us here at The Watch Source Pre-owned but we knew just how much its new owner will enjoy it. To me, this piece captures the essence of the Rolex brand perfectly. Combining intrinsic function with peerless luxury. The combination of unique and specially cast metals in Rolex’s in house foundry makes the watch durable and hard wearing with the strength and grandeur offered by the of the Oystersteel and Rolesor combination. Paired with the rotating 24Hr timing bezel, GMT hand and independent hour hand shows Rolex’ unrivalled ability to merge function with luxury, finding the perfect balance and resulting in stunning wrist watches like this GMT-Master II 116713LN.

If you want to be the next owner of this understandably highly sought after time piece, view it to buy at our Pre-Owned site https://www.thewatchsource.co.uk/preowned/ Or, as always, to simply enjoy this gorgeous piece, check out our extensive in-house photography of the piece below in the Gallery. 

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GALLERY:

 

 

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