Spotlight On: Pre-Owned Rolex GMT-Master II 116710BLNR
by Hugh Taylor | October 03, 2016
The Rolex GMT-Master II BLNR, first introduced at Baselworld 2013, has the world’s first two-colour ceramic bezel. It was a major talking point at the time, for years Rolex had been repeating that it was simply impossible to make a bi-colour ceramic bezel, and then, hey presto, a bi-colour bezel, and in an original colour scheme to boot. The BLNR, “Bleu/Noir”, was quickly nicknamed the “Batman” by the Rolex faithful, which only made it infinitely cooler. Today, it’s so in demand that there’s a waiting list of up to 24 months, and people are willing to pay even £2,000 more for it than what Rolex is asking for.
The Rolex GMT-Master II is distinguished by its 24-hour hand and corresponding rotatable bezel, which allows you to record two different time zones in tandem (for a detailed account of how this works, read Owen’s article comparing the GMT Master II with the Explorer II). Looks-wise, the GMT Master I & II watches are almost identical to the Submariner, but, with the exception of a handful of recent models (I’ll expand on this below), they have bi-colour bezels, which give them a casual, sporty look. Over the years Rolex has combined colours like red & black, nicknamed the “Coke” bezel, which happened to be one of our Top-Selling Watches in 2016; or blue & red—a.k.a. the “Pepsi” bezel. These colour combinations and corresponding nicknames make the watches instantly recognisable and give them legendary status.
Rolex first used a ceramic bezel in the 2005 all-gold Rolex GMT-Master II Ref. 116718LN. The benefits of the “cerachrom” bezel (Rolex invents its own name for its homemade ceramic alloy) are it being entirely scratch-resistant and it doesn’t fade or lose colour over time. It also has a slightly glossy appearance, which reflects light differently depending on the angle.
The Ref. 116718LN introduced the new (latest) generation of GMT-Master IIs, which had slightly beefier case and dial markers, a new bracelet with polished centre links and an “Easylink” extension system—a nifty contraption that allows you to quickly change the strap size by 5 mm, which comes in handy when your hand/wrist is warm and expands. It also had the new Rolex 3186 calibre movement, with Rolex’s new trump cards—the Parachrom hairspring and Breguet overcoil.
The all-gold model was followed up by the steel and gold Ref. 116713LN and then the steel Ref. 116710LN. These watches all had the latest technological developments but they were missing the lifeblood of the GMT Master, namely, the two-colour bezel. The two-colour effect was originally introduced in the fifties for an at-a-glance distinction between night and day, but the playful mix of colour soon became the watch’s leading feature.
The issue was, according to Rolex, while they were convinced by the benefits of the ceramic bezel, facts that have been universally compounded by appreciative clients, it was impossible to make a two-colour ceramic bezel. So, when the Ref. 116710BLNR hit the scene, it was a game changer. It also had a fresh blue and black colour combo, which Rolex had never used. When you add to that a nickname after the coolest comic book hero ever, you can understand the BLNR’s phenomenal success.
In the UK, which thanks to various global currency shifts is currently one of the most economic places to buy watches in the world, the average resale price for the BLNR is between £7,000-£8,000. Rolex currently lists it at £5,950. It’s one of our top-selling pre-owned GMT-Master watches so far this year. It’s in fourth place behind the gold and steel, ceramic-bezel Ref. 116713LN, pre-owned at £,7,995; the steel “Coke” bezel Ref. 16710, pre-owned at £5,695; and the steel and black ceramic bezel Ref. 116710LN, at £5,395. That’s quite a big price difference when compared to the Ref. 116710LN, its identical predecessor with an all-black ceramic bezel, but it’s a watch that’s likely to be on the collector’s radar in the years to come.
- Material: Stainless Steel and Ceramic
- Case Size: 40 mm
- Movement: Rolex Automatic Calibre 3186
- Function: GMT, Date
- Age: 2015
- Condition: 9.5—Excellent
- New Price: £5,950
- Pre-Owned Price: £6,895