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More often than not, watch aficionados appreciate when a watch brand introduces a completely new model as a celebration of innovation. What new watch models tend to offer is a fresh perspective without any preconceptions. That being said, there are exceptions where subtle and more nuanced improvements are valued over entirely new watches. Indeed, for a brand like Rolex, it is exactly the case, and explains why we dedicated so many pages to the history of the GMT-Master.
For 2019, Rolex debuted an updated version of the Rolex GMT-Master II “Batman,” now equipped with the new calibre 3285 movement and the Rolex Jubilee bracelet. For a brief comparison,apples to apples, this new GMT is more akin to last year’s GMT- Master II “Pepsi” than the blue-and-black 116710 BLNR GMT-Master II from 2013.
The new “Batman” echoes the same features as last year’s “Pepsi” – the emblematic two-tone bezel, 40mm Oyster case and slightly redesigned lugs to accommodate the new bracelet. There is not much evolution in terms of the design and its functions. The watch still flaunts all its usual features, including the ability to display two different time zones simultaneously (or three if you are so inclined to do a little extra work).
Obviously, the big deal here is the blue-and-black bezel in contrast to the “Pepsi’s” red and blue, which just leaves the “Coke” bezel as the only one still missing from the GMT-Master II array. As far as a sports watch goes, this is about as charming as it can get.
Equipped with calibre 3285, the new “Batman” boasts Rolex’s latest advances in watchmaking technology. It now boasts an enhanced power reserve of 70 hours, thanks in part to a bigger mainspring. It also has the Chronoenergy escapement, which is the latest mechanical escapement innovation from Rolex. Calibre 3285 has 10 patents to its name, and currently powers only the GMT-Master II range.
At the end of the day, this model represents what Rolex does best to resonate with Rolex enthusiasts: Taking fan-favourite models and improving them in small but powerful ways rather than flashing new models every now and then.
And since the old “Batman” with Oyster bracelet is no longer in the collection, loyal GMT-Master II lovers can now revel in the launch of the new BLNR available in a highly comfortable, perfectly executed Jubilee bracelet.
Movement Automatic Calibre 3285 with GMT and date; 70-hour power reserve
Case 40mm in Oystersteel; water resistant to 100m
Strap Rolex Jubilee bracelet with Oysterlock clasp