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Rolex Zombie

Paul Altieri

Among the Rolex brand’s most celebrated collections is the Rolex GMT-Master series, which has been favored by travelers, adventurers, and collectors since its inception in 1954. Designed to meet the needs of international pilots and globetrotters, the GMT-Master has undergone numerous updates and iterations over the years, each bringing new features and refinements that have solidified its position among the best Rolex watches. One such iteration, the Rolex Zombie, has captured the hearts of watch enthusiasts with its unique color scheme and limited availability.

The Rolex GMT-Master II ref. 126713GRNR, affectionately known as the “Rolex Zombie” among watch aficionados, is one of the most intriguing and sought-after models in the GMT-Master II lineup. This striking timepiece has garnered attention for its distinctive color combination and scarce availability, making it a highly desirable addition to any collection. In this article, we will take a closer look at the Rolex Zombie, exploring its history, design, functionality, and the factors that contribute to its collectability and value in the pre-owned market.

The Rolex Nickname “Zombie”

Rolex GMT-Master II 126713GRNR "Zombie"

The Rolex GMT-Master II ref. 126713GRNR has earned the moniker “Zombie” due to its unique and eye-catching bezel insert. The bezel features a two-tone Cerachrom insert in black and grey, a color combination that has rarely been seen in the GMT-Master collection. The black and grey hues create a subtle yet distinctive contrast, giving the watch a mysterious and alluring appearance.

The origin of the “Zombie” nickname can be traced back to the watch community, where enthusiasts and collectors often assign creative monikers to distinguish particular models with unique features or color schemes. The Rolex Zombie’s distinctive bezel insert has become a defining characteristic, setting it apart from other GMT-Master II models and contributing to its desirability among collectors.

The black and grey Cerachrom bezel insert is not only visually appealing but also highly functional. Cerachrom, a ceramic material developed by Rolex, is known for its durability, resistance to scratches and fading, and its vibrant, long-lasting colors. The bi-directional rotatable bezel allows users to easily track a third time zone, making the Rolex Zombie an ideal companion for travelers and those who frequently work across multiple time zones.

Design and Features

Rolex GMT-Master II "Zombie"

The Rolex GMT-Master II ref. 126713GRNR, also known as the Rolex Zombie, boasts a sleek and robust design, incorporating the brand’s signature Oyster case and Jubilee bracelet. The 40mm case is crafted from a combination of Oystersteel, a corrosion-resistant alloy, and 18kt gold, Rolex’s proprietary gold alloy. This two-tone construction, adds a touch of elegance and luxury to the watch’s sporty aesthetic. The case is water-resistant up to 100 meters (330 feet), ensuring the watch can withstand the rigors of daily wear and recreational activities.

The Jubilee bracelet, also made from Oystersteel and 18kt gold, is known for its intricate five-link design, which offers a comfortable and secure fit on the wrist. The bracelet features a folding Oysterlock safety clasp, which prevents accidental opening, and the Easylink comfort extension link, allowing the wearer to easily adjust the bracelet length by approximately 5mm for optimal comfort.

The dial of the Rolex Zombie is crafted from black lacquer and features luminescent Chromalight hour markers and hands. The Chromalight display emits a long-lasting blue glow in low-light conditions, enhancing legibility. The dial also features a date window at the 3 o’clock position, magnified by a Cyclops lens on the sapphire crystal for easy reading.

One of the most striking features of the Rolex Zombie is its bi-directional rotatable bezel with a 24-hour graduated Cerachrom insert. The black and grey ceramic insert is highly resistant to scratches and fading, ensuring the bezel maintains its distinctive colors and functionality over time. The bezel’s 24-hour scale, combined with the 24-hour hand, allows the wearer to simultaneously track two different time zones.


Rolex "Zombie" GMT

At the heart of the Rolex GMT-Master II ref. 126713GRNR beats the Calibre 3285, a state-of-the-art self-winding mechanical movement entirely developed and manufactured by Rolex. This movement features several patented technologies that enhance its precision, reliability, and resistance to shocks and magnetic fields.

The Calibre 3285 incorporates the Chronergy escapement, a Rolex-patented innovation that combines high energy efficiency with great dependability. The escapement is made from nickel-phosphorus, making it insensitive to magnetic interference. The movement also features an optimized blue Parachrom hairspring, manufactured from a paramagnetic alloy that is up to 10 times more precise than traditional hairsprings in case of shocks.

With these innovations, the Calibre 3285 offers a power reserve of approximately 70 hours, allowing the watch to run for nearly three days without being worn or wound. The movement is also certified as a Superlative Chronometer, a designation reserved for Rolex watches that have successfully passed the Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute (COSC) tests and then further tested in-house for precision, power reserve, waterproofness, and self-winding. This certification guarantees that the watch will maintain its precision to within -2/+2 seconds per day, after casing.

The Calibre 3285’s advanced features and stringent testing ensure that the Rolex Zombie delivers exceptional timekeeping performance, making it a reliable companion for daily wear and travel.


Rolex "Zombie" GMT-Master II 126713

The Rolex GMT-Master II ref. 126713GRNR, or Rolex Zombie, is designed with functionality in mind, particularly for those who frequently travel or work across multiple time zones. The watch’s key feature is its GMT function, which allows the wearer to simultaneously track two different time zones.

The GMT function, a key feature throughout the history of the GMT-Master II, is made possible by the combination of the 24-hour hand, the bi-directional rotatable bezel with a 24-hour scale, and the Calibre 3285 movement. The 24-hour hand, which completes one rotation around the dial in 24 hours, points to the corresponding time on the bezel’s 24-hour scale. This allows the wearer to set the bezel to a second-time zone and easily read the time in that zone using the 24-hour hand.

To set the GMT function, the wearer first ensures that the watch is displaying the correct reference time, usually the local time, by setting the conventional hour and minute hands. Then, the 24-hour hand is set to the desired second-time zone by pulling the crown out to the second position and turning it until the 24-hour hand points to the correct hour on the bezel’s 24-hour scale.

The bi-directional rotatable bezel can be adjusted independently of the watch’s hands, allowing the wearer to reference a third-time zone quickly and easily if needed. This feature is particularly useful for those who frequently communicate with people in different parts of the world or for travelers who need to keep track of their home time while abroad.

The Rolex Zombie’s GMT function, combined with its ease of use and legibility, makes it an invaluable tool for modern-day adventurers and professionals who navigate multiple time zones.

Rolex Zombie Collectability and Value

2023 Rolex GMT-Master II

The Rolex GMT-Master II ref. 126713GRNR, or Rolex Zombie, has become a highly sought-after timepiece among collectors and enthusiasts due to its unique aesthetic and limited availability. The watch’s distinctive black and grey bezel insert, combined with the two-tone gold and Oystersteel construction, has captured the attention of the watch community, contributing to its collectability and value.

One factor that adds to the Rolex Zombie’s desirability is its relative scarcity compared to other GMT-Master II models. The 126713GRNR was introduced in 2023 and has been produced in limited quantities, making it more challenging to acquire than some other Rolex models. This limited availability has driven up demand for the watch on the secondary market, with many collectors and enthusiasts willing to pay a premium to add the Rolex Zombie to their collections.

The Rolex Zombie’s popularity and limited production have also contributed to its potential for value appreciation over time. Many Rolex watches have a likely chance of increasing in value, particularly those with unique features or limited production runs. As the demand for the Rolex Zombie continues to grow, it is likely that its value will appreciate, making it a potentially attractive investment for collectors.

However, it is essential to note that the value of any watch can fluctuate based on various factors, such as market conditions, trends, and the overall condition of the timepiece. As with any investment, it is crucial to conduct thorough research and consult with trusted experts before making a purchase.

The Rolex GMT-Master II ref. 126713GRNR’s unique aesthetic, limited availability, and potential for value appreciation have solidified its status as a highly collectible timepiece, appealing to both watch enthusiasts and investors alike.

Comparison to Other GMT-Master II Models

Rolex GMT-Master II "Zombie" Jubilee Bracelet

The Rolex GMT-Master II ref. 126713GRNR, or Rolex Zombie, shares many similarities with other GMT-Master II models, as they all belong to the same family of watches designed for travelers and professionals who need to keep track of multiple time zones. However, the Rolex Zombie also has several unique features that set it apart from its counterparts.

One of the main similarities between the Rolex Zombie and other GMT-Master II models is the functionality. All GMT-Master II watches feature the GMT function, which allows the wearer to simultaneously track two time zones using the 24-hour hand and the rotatable 24-hour bezel. The watches also share the same Calibre 3285 movement, ensuring consistent and reliable timekeeping performance across the range.

However, the Rolex Zombie distinguishes itself from other GMT-Master II models through its unique aesthetic. The black and grey Cerachrom bezel insert is a combination that has not been used in other GMT-Master II models, giving the Rolex Zombie a distinctive and eye-catching appearance. The use of 18kt gold, in combination with Oystersteel, also sets the Rolex Zombie apart from models that feature different metal combinations or are made entirely of stainless steel.

Another difference between the Rolex Zombie and some other GMT-Master II models is the choice of bracelet. While the Rolex Zombie is fitted with a Jubilee bracelet vs an Oyster bracelet, like other GMT-Master II models may feature. The Oyster bracelet has a three-link design as opposed to the Jubilee’s five-link design. Overall, the choice of bracelet can affect the aesthetic and feel of the watch on the wrist.

Ultimately, the Rolex Zombie’s unique color scheme, material combination, and limited availability have made it a standout model within the GMT-Master II collection. While it shares the same functionality and movement with other GMT-Master II watches, its distinctive appearance and rarity have contributed to its desirability among collectors and enthusiasts.

The Rolex Zombie: Conclusion

Rolex "Zombie"

The Rolex Zombie is a remarkable timepiece that combines the brand’s signature functionality, durability, and precision with a unique and eye-catching aesthetic. Its black and grey Cerachrom bezel insert, two-tone 18kt gold and Oystersteel construction, and Jubilee bracelet create a distinctive appearance that has captured the attention of watch collectors and enthusiasts worldwide.

As a GMT-Master II model, the Rolex Zombie offers the invaluable GMT function, allowing wearers to easily track two time zones simultaneously. The watch’s Calibre 3285 movement ensures exceptional timekeeping performance, while its waterproof Oyster case and Jubilee bracelet provide both robustness and comfort, making it suitable for daily wear and travel.

The Rolex Zombie’s limited availability and growing popularity among collectors have contributed to its potential for value appreciation, making it an attractive option for those looking to invest in a timepiece that combines functionality, style, and exclusivity. However, as with any investment, thorough research and expert consultation are recommended before making a purchase.

In conclusion, the Rolex GMT-Master II ref. 126713GRNR, or Rolex Zombie, is a standout timepiece that encapsulates the best of Rolex’s craftsmanship, innovation, and design. Its unique features, functionality, and collectability make it a compelling choice for watch enthusiasts, travelers, and investors alike, cementing its status as an iconic and sought-after model within the Rolex GMT-Master II collection.

Paul Altieri
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