In case you somehow didn’t know, the Rolex Batman is the blue and black Rolex GMT-Master II model, which gets its nickname from having the same colors as the Dark Knight comic book character. On the other hand, the Rolex Coke is the GMT-Master II with a black and red bezel. Both are beloved by Rolex collectors around the world and offer a different take on the collection’s classic split-color design.
Now, when it comes to comparing these two models, things can get a little tricky. The Rolex Batman GMT-Master II – the ref. 126710BLNR – is still in production today. However, the Coke GMT-Master was produced from 1989 to 2007. So, to put them head to head, we’re going to compare the new Rolex Batman GMT-Master II against the most recent iteration of the Rolex Coke GMT-Master II, the reference 16710.
Rolex Batman GMT-Master II Watches
The Rolex Batman GMT-Master II is an absolute icon and modern staple of the brand’s collection. In fact, it’s one of the most collectible watches on the planet, with a waitlist that spans years and secondary market pieces holding great value.
The original Rolex Batman was first introduced in 2013 with the ref. 116710BLNR – nearly 60 years after the original GMT-Master, and some 30 years after the first GMT-Master II was introduced with the quickest hour hand. At Baselworld 2019, Rolex launched an updated Batman GMT-Master II, the reference 126710BLNR, with a new movement, slightly redesigned case, and Jubilee bracelet. Two years later, Rolex also added the option for an Oyster bracelet, giving collectors a choice between the sportier three-link Oyster bracelet or the more refined and dressy five-link Jubilee bracelet.
So what are the defining features of the modern Rolex Batman GMT-Master II ref. 126710BLNR? Two main things. Firstly, there’s that blue and black Cerachrom (aka ceramic) bezel insert with engraved numerals and graduations. The blue and black combination is still considered quite new and noteworthy amongst collectors, especially with the durable ceramic upgrade we’ve seen in the modern generation of the GMT-Master II collection. The Batman bezel is also a first of its kind, marking the first time Rolex ever produced a bi-color ceramic bezel.
Then there’s the bracelet. In 2019, Rolex officially unveiled the Batman GMT in an all-stainless version with a dressy, elegant Jubilee bracelet. Previously, it had only been sold on the sportier three-piece link Oyster bracelet. While die-hard Rolex enthusiasts were a little disappointed that they didn’t have the option for the original Oyster, they were eventually vindicated with the return of the Oyster bracelet Batman in 2021. Along with the new Cal. 3285 movement, this beautiful upgrade has set this watch apart from the rest.
Rolex Coke GMT-Master II Watches
While the Rolex Coke GMT is no longer in production, it did have a great run of nearly 25 years. Offered alongside the classic red and blue (Pepsi) and all-black bezels, the red and black “Coke” insert got its name for the resemblance to the bottles of the iconic soda manufacturer.
The GMT-Master II Coke was an awesome and notable watch, and its signature red and black bezel was first introduced on the inaugural GMT-Master II reference 16760 from the 1980s, making it a highly collectible icon to this day. But what exactly sets this model apart from the latest and greatest Batman? Well, a few things.
The Coke GMT-Master II 16710 featured an aluminum bezel insert just like all other Rolex watches that pre-date the arrival of Cerachrom. In fact, it was one of the last GMT-Master II models to feature aluminum bezels before they were replaced by ceramic in the current generation of the GMT-Master II, which first started to make an appearance in 2005. This makes this black and red bezel highly collectible today. The GMT-Master II ref. 16710 also pre-dates the “Super” case and “Maxi” dial era, which included larger hour markers and hands, broader lugs, and a bigger crown guard. Similar to the modern Rolex Batman, the ref. 16710 is also available on either a Jubilee or Oyster bracelet.
To sum it up, the Rolex Coke ref. 16710 features aluminum instead of Cerachrom, smaller hour markers, and a sleeker case. While the Batman Rolex is slightly more robust with larger, more contemporary features on the dial, more lustrous ceramic, and a newer-style case and bracelet.
Is The Rolex Batman Discontinued?
Rolex did discontinue the original Batman GMT ref. 116710BLNR, but that was only done to make room for the brand-new GMT-Master II ref. 126710, which is also sold with the famous Dark Knight black and blue ceramic bezel insert. The Batman GMT-Master II ref. 126710BLNR is still in production.
Why Is The Rolex Batman So Popular?
Rolex is notorious for only making relatively minor changes to its existing lineup. Seeing a completely new bezel colorway for the GMT after decades of seeing the same hues, and in two-tone ceramic for the first time ever none-the-less, was exciting. Perhaps, that could explain its popularity.
Why Is The Rolex Coke So Popular?
The Rolex Coke holds a special place in Rolex GMT-Master II history. When Rolex introduced the series with the newly independent GMT hand, it was only sold with a red and black Coke bezel, which was also a new colorway at the time. Additionally, as a discontinued Rolex, the Coke GMT-Master II is very collectible, which is enough to win over even the most experienced luxury watch enthusiasts.
Why Did Rolex Discontinue The Black GMT?
It’s somewhat surprising that Rolex no longer produces the GMT-Master II with a monochromatic black bezel. The catalog currently only offers the bezel in two-tone. The black bezel option had been a fixture for decades, gracing ref. 16710 and even its predecessor, the ref. 116710. It’s possible to buy a GMT-Master II with an aluminum or ceramic bezel in all-black. However, the secondary market is currently your only option. It’s hard to say why Rolex discontinues certain models, and only time will tell if Rolex adds the all-black bezel option back to their lineup.