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Rolex GMT-Master II 116719 BLRO "Pepsi Bezel" Luxury Watch Review

Hail the return of the king! The 2014 resurrection of the “Pepsi” bezel Rolex GMT-Master II 116719 BLRO was a euphoric moment for Rolex collectors. But like the Sword of Damocles, this royal Rolex comes with a catch; the first blue-and-red ceramic bezel GMT-Master II exclusively exists as a white gold rarity fit for a king. The sensational 2013 Rolex GMT-Master II BLNR “Batman” was a tough act to follow; Rolex rose to the challenge with the biggest gun in its aeronautical arsenal. Originally conceived as a pilot’s tool in the signature colors of Pan-Am, the model’s original client, the “Pepsi” bezel GMT – in all its iterations – is a certified legend. From the moment the modern “super case” GMT-Master II launched in 2005, Rolex fans were clamoring for a variant with a Cerachrom ceramic “Pepsi” GMT bezel. In 2014, Rolex delivered; the first-ever red ceramic from Rolex joined forces with 2013’s celebrated blue Cerachrom to bring the “Pepsi” GMT-Master II out of retirement. With a full 18-karat white gold case, matching bracelet, and a retail price of almost $40,000 U.S. dollars, the “Pepsi” proved that if you’re really good in a previous life, you come back as something even better. A bezel of Rolex Cerachrom ceramic is the star of this marquee attraction. The unique red and blue GMT-Master II bezel resists scratches and scuffs to maintain an unblemished appearance. The wells that define the numerals and indexes of the 24-hour GMT scale are filled with platinum for radiance and longevity. This bezel takes no fewer than 40 hours to create, and the fabrication process is protected by Rolex patents, so don’t expect to see a rival Omega “Seamaster Superman” anytime soon. The Rolex GMT-Master is the greatest Rolex pilot's watch and one of the all-time "tool watch" greats regardless of manufacturer. This contemporary 116719 BLRO GMT-Master II combines the traditional strengths of a classic model with a ceramic bezel, stout milled clasp, and the latest anti-magnetic automatic Rolex movement. Introduced in 1955 as a joint development with PAN-AM airlines, the GMT-Master was a certified chronometer with a date and a 24-hour hand. The professional functions of the watch were accessed by setting the 24-hour hand to Greenwich Mean Time and using the bidirectional bezel to find the local time when approaching a specific airport. Thereby, pilots could keep their watches synchronized regardless of global location, but the convenience of local time was readily accessible. Since 1983, Rolex has offered the GMT-Master II, which features two independent time zones on its dial and has the ability to calculate a third with the bezel. This 116719 BLRO GMT Master-II features the dual-time Caliber 3186, an automatic chronometer movement with Rolex's latest parachrom blue antimagnetic hairspring. Tougher than its predecessors and just as precise, this is the cutting edge of timing technology in the Rolex professional watch line-up. This Rolex Daytona in 18-karat white gold features Rolex's own blend of white gold, a unique product that will never fade or require replating like inferior white gold alloys commonly used in the luxury watch industry. This outstanding quality is achieved thanks to Rolex's control of the entire metallurgical process; the company is among the few watchmakers that owns and runs an in-house foundry. The Oysterclasp now is milled from white gold, and the result is a solid impression on the wrist that earlier stamped Oysterclasps can never approach. Its 5mm "Easylink" tool-free adjustment permits quick resizing if a wrist expands or contracts in the course of a day. Available from WatchBox with full factory boxes, papers, and documents of provenance, this Rolex GMT-Master II 116719 BLRO is an outstanding example of a modern Rolex fan phenomenon. Video and content by Tim Mosso.