03/09/2023
 7 minutes

Rolex Model Bubbling With Potential: The GMT-Master II Root Beer

By Christoph Odenthal
Rolex-GMT-Rootbeer-2-1

Swiss watch manufacturer Rolex launched a number of timepieces in the 1950s and 60s that have since become undisputed legends in the luxury watch trade. Their designs have been copied a thousand times over, and yet these watches remain unrivaled in terms of quality and functionality. You know the stainless steel models I’m talking about: the Daytona, Submariner, GMT-Master, and Datejust. Each of these timepieces is a stunning classic from another era, and each has managed to retain its recognition value across decades of development and updates, all the way up to the current portfolio of the Genevan brand. All of these models have rich histories to look back on, and many count numerous international celebrities to their list of fans – think dazzling rock stars, film stars, professional athletes, and politicians. Are there any Rolex fans within your circle of family and friends?

What makes the GMT-Master II so special compared to the Daytona, Submariner, and Datejust?

The GMT-Master II’s success and longevity can be credited to its unmistakable design, high-quality workmanship, and practical functionality. These attributes also contribute to the model’s impressive financial performance. However, this model also has a leg up on its in-house rivals due to its next-level complication! The date display on the GMT-Master II is supplemented by the ability to display the time in two time zones, making it stand out even more from its sibling models.

The Advantages of the Rolex GMT-Master II Ref. 126711CHNR Root Beer

Rolex GMT-Master II Referenz 126711CHNR Rootbeer
Rolex GMT-Master II ref. 126711CHNR Root Beer

The GMT-Master II ref. 126711CHNR, aka the Root Beer, has two highly sought-after relatives: the GMT-Master II refs. 126710BLNR and 126710BLRO, better known as the Batman and Pepsi, respectively. These two models have been in the limelight for many years, which has allowed the Root Beer to quietly become the secret favorite of many connoisseurs and collectors. Don’t believe me? Well, let me try to win you over with the myriad of advantages this watch has to offer.

1. Everose Rolesor Can’t Be Beat

 Already familiar with the basic characteristics of the GMT-Master II series? Great! Let’s not waste words on the fundamentals and get into the nitty-gritty. The GMT-Master II ref. 126711CHNR is a classic two-tone watch that shines in rose gold and stainless steel. This combination is reserved exclusively for the GMT series, distinguishing it from its rival, the Rolex Sub. Stylistically, the Root Beer strikes a very different chord than the more classic-looking yellow gold and steel Submariner (ref. 126613LN). The rose gold hue, known at Rolex as Everose gold, is more subtle than the yellow gold and suits more skin tones. Rolex refers to the rose gold and steel color combo as Everose Rolesor.

Rolex GMT-Master II Referenz 126711CHNR Rootbeer
Rolex GMT-Master II ref. 126711CHNR Root Beer

2. Brown and Black Power Pairing Is on Point

Let’s stay with color for now: The tones on the GMT-Master II 126711CHNR are undeniably eye-catching. The letters in the model’s reference are a nod to the two-tone Cerachrom bezel insert, i.e., “CH” and “NR” stand for chocolat and noire (French for black), respectively. The lighter brown tone represents daylight hours, and the black tone covers the hours after sundown. The bezel is made of pure gold, bar the ceramic inlay that is well-known from newer Rolex lines. The 24-hour scale is cast in the brand’s proprietary rose gold alloy, Everose. According to Rolex, the addition of platinum to this mix offers long-term protection from color fading. In contrast to the Rolex Submariner’s diving bezel, the GMT-Master II’s bidirectional rotating bezel has a click that both feels and sounds great during use – I’d expect no less from Rolex. Unlike its predecessors, the Root Beer’s dial isn’t matte brown or with a sunburst finish, but kept in a high-gloss black. This doesn’t detract from the watch’s look in the least; on the contrary, the rose gold hands and indices with rose-gold borders look particularly elegant against the black backdrop.

3. Accents for the Detail-Oriented

In fact, it’s precisely this contrast that really packs a punch: black, white, and rose gold. Fellow luxury goods brand Montblanc turned to the same color combination for the latest edition of its famous fountain pen. Yes, the rose gold varieties of the fine writing instruments have surpassed the classic yellow gold models in terms of popularity. But back to watches, the Root Beer’s brown and black bezel perfectly complements the rest of the watch, offering a balance that wearers just can’t get enough of; this, despite brown being all but banned from product designers’ paint palettes for years.

Rolex GMT-Master II Referenz 126711CHNR Rootbeer
Rolex GMT-Master II ref. 126711CHNR Root Beer

The real star of the show here, however, is one of the finer touches. Do you know what I’m referring to? The GMT hand! Unlike the Batman and Pepsi, the Rolex Root Beer does without a contrasting GMT hand, opting instead for a pure rose gold arrow pointer. The additional hand extends beyond the twelve indices on every GMT model, meaning you can enjoy the interplay of colors each and every hour. The overall look of the dial changes with the natural variations in daylight, but it’s always truly breathtaking. Together with the gold GMT-Master II inscription, the gold hands offer the watch a luxurious monotony that is completely unique in the whole Rolex range. The color family of this timepiece evokes a whole host of words and images: leather, open fire, sunset, amber, chocolate, caramel, cappuccino, whiskey, rum, and, of course, root beer.

4. The Ideal Everyday Wearer

Not a fan of the modern maxi case? Good news! The Root Beer’s stainless steel case appears much slimmer when paired with a rose gold bezel. You can really see what I mean when you view the two-tone model from the side. Another fun fact: The crown holds a clue to its makeup in its Triplock marking. Unlike on solid stainless steel crowns, the middle dot is slightly larger, indicating that the crown is made of solid gold.

Rolex GMT-Master II Referenz 126711CHNR Rootbeer
Rolex GMT-Master II ref. 126711CHNR Root Beer, detailed view of crown

In addition to the bezel and crown, the middle links on the Oyster bracelet are also made of rose gold. Thus, the Root Beer weighs 168 g (incl. band), which is just 18 g heavier than the Batman or Pepsi on a stainless steel Oyster bracelet. This difference in weight doesn’t really equate to a perceptible inconvenience. Speaking of bands, the clasp on the GMT-Master II leaves nothing to be desired. Not only does it boast the proven Oysterlock and Easylink extension system (+/- 5 mm range), but its dimensions are also much more comfortable compared to the oversized clasp on the current Rolex Submariner ref. 126613LN. Incidentally, this is the reason why I haven’t replaced my Rolex Sub ref. 114060 with the newer ref. 124060; I just can’t stand the new, oversized clasp.

Rolex GMT-Master II Referenz 126711CHNR Rootbeer, Schließe im Detail
Rolex GMT-Master II ref. 126711CHNR Root Beer, detailed view of clasp

The GMT-Master II ref. 126711CHNR Root Beer has all the advantages of the current Rolex Professional models, plus the addition of a precious metal.

The Disadvantages of the Rolex GMT-Master II Ref. 126711CHNR Root Beer

After all this praise, you might be wondering, where’s the catch? Well, in the subjective eye of the beholder, the mix of materials is both a pro and a con. I’ll give you a little insight from my own experience.

In early 2022, I was given a Root Beer straight off my mother’s wrist. She’d constantly been wearing the watch for several years, but started feeling uncomfortable given its crazy appreciation. Thus, the Root Beer found a home in my collection alongside my GMT-Master II refs. 126710BLNR and 126710BLRO, completing my GMT series (I’m not including the GMT-Master II ref. 126720VTNR Sprite here, because I wear my watches on the left). I wear the Batman on an Oyster bracelet and the Pepsi on a Jubilee. The Root Beer’s two-tone Oyster bracelet is comparatively fragile, seeing as gold is so much softer than stainless steel. The gold links, and especially the gold clasp, easily get scratched in everyday use. This is a serious disadvantage compared to the solid stainless steel bracelets. If you want to wear this timepiece as a daily companion, you’ll have to exercise a certain amount of caution.

As a result of this sensitivity, I tend to wear the watch on an alternate strap. Surprisingly, the Root Beer is a bit of a strap queen. Any leather strap in a brown tone suits it beautifully and underscores the watch’s unique color combo. This also limits the wear and tear on my Oyster bracelet.

Financial Performance of the Rolex GMT-Master II Ref. 126711CHNR Root Beer

Like most Rolex Professional models, the Rolex GMT-Master II ref. 126711CHNR enjoyed exponential value appreciation during the global pandemic. In the current market correction, the Root Beer’s market value has fallen back to a level that may pique more people’s interest, especially when you consider it’s currently selling for a relatively small premium over the model’s official list price. Will the Root Beer increase in value again? If you ask me, it’s only a matter of time!

Summary

As a self-identified Rolex fanboy, the GMT-Master II is one of my absolute favorite timepieces. When the GMT-Master II refs. 126710BLNR and 126710BLRO were launched, I knew they had to have a place in my collection. While that wasn’t immediately the case with the Root Beer, it has slowly grown to be my secret favorite since entering my collection via a family member. In short, what are the advantages of this model?

  • It’s ideal for everyday wear.
  • The combination of rose gold and stainless steel suits many skin tones.
  • The color scheme is unique and stands out.

My initial reservations about this watch being best suited to professionals in the red-light district or requiring that I get my arm tattooed à la David Beckham has since faded. The GMT Root Beer is a fine all-rounder that boasts a certain rarity factor. For me, it was love at second sight, but that love seems to be all the more intense and long-lasting.


About the Author

Christoph Odenthal

Christoph Odenthal grew up in Düsseldorf in a family of watch lovers. His first watch was a gift from his grandfather in 1985: a Citizen Promaster Aqualand with an electronic depth gauge. Since then, many a watch has changed hands within the family, first and foremost from his favorite brand, Rolex.

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