the standard. the “beater”. the daily wearer. my travel companion.
The GMT-II was originally intended to be a pilot’s watch. With this one watch, you could essentially tell time in three different time zones. The “regular” hour and minute hands I usually keep on my home time (Pacific), the green 24 hour needle on Japan time. The third time zone is essentially whatever you set the rotating bezel to. (Typically you’re supposed to set the green needle to GMT, or Greenwich Mean Time…somewhere in Europe (c’mon, seriously, you should know this…anyways and then if you know how many hours +/- it is from GMT in the third time zone you wish you know, just turn the bezel and VOILA! you have your third time zone.)
Being that I don’t care what time it is in GMT and I don’t care for a third time zone, for simplicity’s sake I always keep the green arrow on Japan time and keep my rotating bezel set at the middle.
Now that the technical stuff is out of the way, I’ll tell you why I love this watch.
I’ve grown up in a family where the men love watches. As I mentioned in an earlier post, watches are one of the few things men can wear in terms of jewelry. I guess where I was different was that I was always an admirer of Rolex growing up. My father never cared much for the brand. He thought it was “too typical” or “a real fanatic would find other brands to be passionate about”. To each his own.I always loved them.
I guess where most enthusiasts find issue with Rolex is that maybe it’s a bit played out. Perhaps it’s all too common. Maybe too noticeable. Whatever critics may say, I think some of these attributes are what make it iconic.
Let’s face it…if you’re ever in a bind, let’s say you’ve been taken hostage in a foreign country…or you need cash in a pinch…there’s probably not an easier watch to hoc (for cash) or trade (for your life from the hands of a killer) than a Rolex. It’s like currency. It’s like what the American dollar used to be. I think everyone knows what a Rolex is and what one might look like.
Back to why I love this particular watch…well, it was shortly after graduating college that I got it. March of 2010. It was while in Japan for business. It was because of this type of flying internationally-kind-of-work I do that I wanted this watch. The desire for the watch was born from a utility-driven desire…I wanted something stylish, durable, sporty but elegant, not too showy, and ultimately something that was versatile.Something that could be worn with jeans or a dress shirt.
Since acquiring, this watch has traveled to at least 4 countries and kept me current in two time zones (at least) at a time. Being that it’s pretty durable I love that I don’t have to baby it. I can wear with and not worry about it too much. At parties it’s a conversation starter. People who don’t even know watches will say it’s pretty. I’m guessing it’s the shine from the ceramic bezel or the bracelet. Either way, I can recall a few scenarios where both ladies and gentlemen would ask me about it, or comment on it. It’s an eye catcher and it isn’t even as pricey of a watch as some of the others I like to wear.
The resale value, being that it’s a Rolex, is great too. Rolex increases their prices every year, so if you hang onto it and want to sell it, you probably won’t lose too much money on the second hand market.
I will put money on it that when most people think of a Rolex, they think of a Submariner, a very close cousin of my watch shown in the picture. And trust me, if you didn’t know any better, from a distance you would think the two are the same.
In their most current references, the GMT-II (ref 116710LN) and the Submariner (116610LN) both have a bezel made from what Rolex calls “cerachrom”. Cera=ceramic Chrom=from the Greek word “chroma” meaning colored. Essentially a ceramic dial that holds up against scratches. Ultimately these watches are both considered sport watches.
The differences are subtle to some, not so subtle to others. The Submariner was made as a dive watch. The case is slightly thicker compared to the GMT-II. This is because the Submariner is meant to withstand depths of 1000 feet. Also, the Submariner’s bracelet is brushed. The bezel is also in increments of 15 (the first 15 being minutes and are dotted, for timing dives).
The GMT-II is rated for 300 feet (although apparently due to the triple lock crown it can go almost, if not as deep as the Submariner at 1000 feet). The bezel has a 24 hour hand for the green arrow which makes a full rotation every 24 hours. The big difference between the two models comes from a different bracelet. The GMT has polished center links, which give it a dressier look when compared to the sporty Submariner. The minor difference between the two would be the squarer lugs on the Submariner…but I doubt you’d notice.
This is the one that probably gets the most wrist-time by default since it’s what I take on the road. All in all, if there was just one watch to own, for me this one is it. It can hit the desk, the club, the plane and the meeting and do it in style. Although my collection has expanded, if I had to go back to being a one-watch kind of guy, the GMT-II takes the cake.