In preparation for Baselworld 2017, today we are going to talk about one of the hottest Rolexes on Instagram with more than 30,000 posts. Released during Baselworld 2013, the Rolex GMT Master II BLNR a.k.a 'Batman' ref. 116710BLNR was the first attempt by Rolex to release a bi-color cerachrom bezel in their lineup. Today, almost four years later, the GMT Master BLNR has turned into an icon and a watch that is quite hard to get as the supply by Rolex is always somewhat limited.
The Rolex 'Batman' as most people refer to it on Instagram is without a doubt one of those watches that gets a lot of attention and a ridiculously high number of likes and comments. The Rolex GMT Master II BLNR —the BLNR stand for Bleu and Noir in French referring to its blue and black bezel— is also a watch that sees very little price fluctuations when purchased pre-owned in the secondary market and typically never under $8,000 USD —of all modern Rolex sports models, this is the one watch that hardly depreciates.
The Dial & Bezel
The Rolex GMT Master II BLNR 'Batman' ref. 116710BLNR is fitted with a black glossy maxi dial with bold markers in 18K white gold and ultra bright chromalight. This dial is exactly like that on the GMT Master II ref. 116710LN but without the green GMT Master II writing and fitted with a blue 24-hour hand that matches the blue color on the cerachrom bezel. Along with the 24-hour hand, the wearer can keep track of up to three different time zones by rotating the 24-hour graduated bezel in either direction.
The sapphire crystal features a cyclops —loupe— with anti-reflective coating on both sides.
The cerachrom bezel is initially made of white zirconium dioxide powder and then mixed with pigments that give it the desired final color —in this case black and blue. The resulting paste is shaped by a high-pressure molding machine that creates a blank bezel. After several firings at temperatures exceeding 1,500 degrees Celsius, the bezel hardens and reveals its final color. A third step involves precision machining using diamond tools to cut the numerals and dots and give the bezel its final shape and size. Afterwards, the full bezel is coated with a thin layer of platinum via a PVD process —Physical Vapor Deposition— in order to fill the engraved numerals. Lastly, diamond polishing removes the platinum from the bezel surface, while the platinum coating on the numerals and graduations remains. This last step is what gives the cerachrom bezels its extremely lustrous appearance. The bezel is so well made that the transition from one color to the other is simply seamless and nothing is visible to the naked eye.
The Case, Bracelet & Crown
The Rolex GMT 'Batman' is fitted with a maxi case measuring 40 mm in diameter and made of 904L stainless steel. This type of alloy is mainly used in the high technology, aerospace and chemical industries, where maximum resistance to corrosion is essential. As far as the bracelet, the GMT Batman is fitted with an Oyster bracelet with polished center links also made of 904L stainless steel. The bracelet is very solid in construction and is fitted with an Oysterlock clasp to prevent accidental opening and with the Easylink system that allows the wearer to extend the last link on the bracelet by 5 mm for extra comfort when the wrist starts to swell up after a big meal or during the summer months.
Opposed to the Rolex Explorer II ref. 216570 —reviewed here— that maintained the twin-lock crown from the older Rolex Explorer IIs, the Rolex GMT Master II BLNR 'Batman' ref. 116710BLNR watch is equipped with a triplock screw-down crown easily identifiable by the three dots under the Rolex coronet —older GMTs were equipped with twin-lock crowns. On its second position, the crown allows the wearer to adjust the hour hand in a jumping manner from hour to hour —this operation also serves as the date adjustment forward or backwards. Thanks to its Oyster case and triplock crown, the GMT Batman is waterproof to a 100 meters.
The Rolex GMT-Master II is equipped with calibre 3186, an automatic movement entirely developed and manufactured by Rolex. In addition to the conventional hour, minute and seconds hands, it features a 24-hour hand to display a second time zone. Like all Rolex Perpetual movements, the 3186 is a certified Swiss chronometer and equipped with a Parachrom hairspring, offering greater resistance to shocks and to temperature variations.
On the Wrist & Pricing
On the wrist, the watch wears true to its size and extremely comfortably. In an era of cerachrom bezels and highly polished center links, the Rolex GMT Master II BLNR 'Batman' ref. 116710BLNR is one of our favorite sports Rolexes out there. Could Baselworld 2017 be the year of a 'Coke' GMT Master II with red and black bezel? I guess, we'll just have to wait and see in less than a month what the 'Green Giant' comes up with.
Sticker Price $8,950 USD. For more info on Rolex click here.