- GMT-Master with red/blue bezel
- Second time zone display
- Precise in-house caliber with a second hour hand
- Red/blue Cerachrom bezel in ceramic since 2014
- Current model with 18-karat white gold
Rolex Pepsi: The Pilot's Watch for Pan Am
In the mid-1950s, the American airline Pan American World Airways
(Pan Am) needed a watch with a second time zone. Rolex
created the GMT-Master
(GMT standing for Greenwich Mean Time) for the airline, introducing the timepiece in 1955. The watch features a bidirectional rotating 24-hour bezel
and a second hour hand. The second hour hand makes one full rotation per day, displaying the time in another time zone in conjunction with the bezel. This feature is ideal for pilots, businessmen, and politicians
. The "Pepsi watch" has a red/blue bezel, which earned it its nickname, as the colors of the famous Pepsi logo are red and blue. The bicolor bezel has a practical use: The red half symbolizes day while blue represents night. One glance is enough to differentiate between night and day in the second time zone. The first GMT-Master II, introduced in 1985, features a red/black bezel. Therefore, it's nicknamed the "Coke watch."
Buying Advice for the Rolex Pepsi
If you're looking for a watch that's also a solid investment, then the Rolex Pepsi is a good choice. Originally designed for professional pilots, the Pepsi watch has become one of the most coveted collector's watches in the world
. Models with reference number 6542
(first generation) are especially rare and often cost over 40,000 euros. They can be identified by their Bakelite bezel inlay. Just as popular and rare are the first GMT-Master II
models with reference number 16760
, also called "Fat Lady." Well-maintained models start around 6,000 euros. The same goes for watches with reference number 16710
. Stainless steel models are available for around 5,000 euros. Like many stainless steel Rolex models, the GMT-Master II is a good investment. Newer models with reference number 116719BLRO
have a Cerachrom ceramic bezel inlay. This high-tech material is especially scratch resistant. The watch is made of 18-karat white gold, making it rather expensive; it has a starting price around 23,000 euros.
- Reference number 6542: First generation with Pepsi bezel made of Bakelite
- Reference number 16760: First GMT-Master II with aluminum Coke bezel
- Reference number 116719BLRO: 18-karat white gold GMT-Master II with Cerachrom Pepsi bezel
24-Hour Bezel and Extra Hour Hand
If you frequently travel through different time zones, you already appreciate the advantages of a GMT watch. In no time at all, you can know what time it is in a second time zone thanks to the 24-hour bezel and second hour hand. Wearers frequently set this as their home time. The three traditional hands for hours, minutes, and seconds display the local time. The bicolor Pepsi bezel helps you differentiate between night and day. Therefore, you always know the perfect time to make that phone call home.
Reading the second time zone using the 24-hour bezel is fast and easy. The bezel has 24 graduations to match the 24 time zones. You can set the bezel with a few turns (clicks) to any time zone in the world. The only requirement is that the hour hand is set to Greenwich Mean Time in London. For example, when it's 14:00 (2 PM) in San Francisco, the GMT hand points to 22:00 (10 PM) on the bezel, which is set to zero. In the zero position, the bezel's triangle marker is above 12 o'clock on the dial. The time difference between London and San Francisco is eight hours. If you're in Central Europe and want to know how late it is in San Francisco, then you turn the bezel eight clicks to the right. If you're in Chicago, which has a time difference of six hours from London, you turn the bezel six clicks to the right. In Chicago, it's 16:00 (4 PM). If you want to know what time it is in a time zone east of GMT, then you have to turn the bezel left. To tell the time in Moscow, you turn the bezel left only once. For Hong Kong, you turn it eight times to the left.
Since the introduction of caliber 3085 in the GMT-Master II, you can set two time zones without turning the bezel. First, you unscrew the crown counterclockwise. Then, you pull it into the second position, where you can set the hour, minute, and 24-hour hands. You can set the local time, or the central hour hand, with the crown in the first position. The hand jumps from hour to hour. You can also set the date in this position.
- Quickly set a second time zone via the bezel
- Second crown position sets the 24-hour hand (since caliber 3085)
- First crown position sets the date and hour hand
Rolex Pepsi and the Famous Oyster Design
The Rolex Pepsi is a member of the Oyster sport watch collection
. With its distinctive red/blue bezel, the Pepsi is one of the most striking GMT-Master models. Watches such as the Submariner
, one of the first diving watches in the world, have also become watch icons.
Just as distinctive are the green Submariner models, also known as the "Hulk" or "Kermit." The Hulk features a green dial and bezel, while the Kermit only has a green bezel. The Pepsi and the Submariner both have 40-mm Oyster cases and three-piece link Oyster bands. Due to safety reasons, the Submariner's bezel can only be turned counterclockwise. Divers use the bezel to keep an eye on their dive time. The first 15 minutes have individual minute graduations. Altogether, the bezel covers a time span of 60 minutes.
The Rolex Daytona
, this Swiss manufacturer's chronograph, is the perfect stopwatch. It has a diameter of 40 mm. The bezel features a tachymetric scale so you can determine speeds over certain distances. The small seconds is located at six o'clock, the 30-minute counter at three o'clock, and the hour counter at nine o'clock. The Daytona is available in stainless steel, bicolor (stainless steel and yellow gold), or in solid yellow, white, or Everose gold. There is also a solid platinum model, which has a Cerachrom bezel in ceramic. This type of bezel has been used with the stainless steel models since 2016.