Rolex GMT-Master II Stainless SteelApril 1, 2022
Watches and Wonders 2022 is in full swing, and as is the case each year, the lead-up to the event has been rife with enthusiast speculation about the expected novelties from Rolex. While this year’s speculation came in a wide variety of flavors, one of the boldest and most persistent rumors among the luxury watch community was that the Swiss giant was preparing to release a left-handed version of its coveted GMT-Master II. Given the brand’s conservative release strategy in the past few years, this was dismissed by many enthusiasts as idle chatter, but with the event under way these rumors have proven true. With a new green and black colorway (dubbed “Sprite” by the Rolex community in reference to previous “Pepsi” and “Coke” GMT-Master II bezel color combinations) and a striking 9 o’clock crown design, the new Rolex GMT-Master II reference 126720VTNR offers an eye-catching change of pace for the series that’s sure to excite fans of the brand.
Although the 40mm Oystersteel case of the new Rolex GMT-Master II “Sprite” should be familiar to both casual and dedicated enthusiasts, Rolex introduces a host of changes to this signature design. The broad athletic lugs, polished case sides, and bidirectional coin edge bezel are all present and accounted for, but for this new model, the familiar elements are all rotated 180 degrees. Possibly as a tribute to Rolex’s left-handed CEO Jean Frédéric Dufour, the screw-down crown, bold squared-off crown guards, and the GMT-Master II’s “cyclops” date window magnifier have all been moved to the 9 o’clock position instead of the usual 3 o’clock. It’s a change that should lead to double-takes on the wrist from across a room and gives one of the most familiar shapes in luxury watchmaking a fresh new energy in images. The two-tone engraved ceramic bezel insert is also new for this model, combining the familiar black ceramic of models such and the BLNR with a rich, verdant forest green. This looks to be a warmer, more vibrant green hue than used for the ceramic bezel in 2020’s “Kermit” green-bezel Submariner design, which may point to difficulties smoothly transitioning between two colors on the bezel as seen in previous GMT-Master II designs. Like previous iterations of the watch, the GMT-Master II “Sprite” offers a solid 100 meters of water resistance.
Like the case, the dial of the new Rolex GMT-Master II “Sprite” keeps the familiar gloss black dial layout of previous GMT-Master II models intact while reframing them with new elements. The arrow-tipped GMT hand is now rendered in a classic Rolex green, while the familiar date window moves to 9 o’clock alongside the crown. It’s enough to make the classic layout feel fresh and inspire second glances in images, but the design still comes across as unmistakably Rolex.
Rolex powers the GMT-Master II “Sprite” with its in-house 3285 automatic GMT movement. The 3285 has been the standard Rolex GMT movement since 2018, and the design still offers excellent modern performance including a 70-hour power reserve and a 28,800 bph beat rate thanks to high-tech components such as a shock-resistant Parachrom hairspring, a high-tech Chronergy escapement, and high-performance Paraflex shock absorbers. Interestingly, the altered crown position of this new model affects the Superlative Chronometer testing all Rolex movements are subjected to, but the brand still claims the watch meets all Superlative Chronometer standards and rates the movement for an excellent -2/+2 seconds per day. The stainless steel Oyster bracelet is as much of a Rolex icon as the GMT-Master II itself, and the brand’s use of its most famous bracelet for this new model keeps the design readily familiar and sporting at a glance. The GMT-Master II can also be optioned with the more complex and dressier Jubilee bracelet in stainless steel, as well.
With a desirable new colorway and an eye-catching “destro” layout, the new Rolex GMT-Master II ref. 126720VTNR “Sprite” brings a fresh energy and a bold (by modern Rolex standards) perspective to one of the world’s most famous sports watches. The Rolex GMT-Master II ref. 126720VTNR is available now through authorized dealers.