While the Rolex GMT-Master has been around since 1954, the ‘Batman’ is the newest addition to the collection, featuring a now iconic black and blue ceramic bezel. It’s these bold colors, the same as the dark knight, that got it its beloved nickname after its release in 2013. And while the history of the Rolex Batman may be short, it’s actually quite varied and interesting.
The Rolex Batman GMT-Master II was an instant classic, and with recent upgrades, it has garnered even more appreciation from the entire luxury watch community. Let’s take a closer look at the important milestones of the “Batman” Rolex GMT-Master II.
The First of Its Kind
When the Rolex Batman was released at Baselworld 2013, everyone took notice. Not only was the blue and black bezel a really contemporary and handsome iteration of the dual-toned bezel that we’ve come to know and love from the GMT-Master collection, but it was also the first of its kind. Rolex had already been using ceramic (aka Cerachrom) in their bezels for about ten years, but it wasn’t until the Batman GMT that they were able to use this tricky material to create a two-tone bezel.
The result was a rich and saturated, bi-color bezel that would be much stronger and hold color exponentially better than its previous aluminum counterparts. Not only was the original Batman – the ref. 116710BLNR – the first bi-color ceramic bezel, but it was also the only one available on a stainless steel GMT watch for several years. That’s because at the same time, Rolex transitioned their red and blue Pepsi GMT from all-stainless to 18k white gold.
Rolex Batman 116710BLNR: 2013-2018
There are other defining elements of the original Rolex Batman 116710BLNR in addition to its bezel. The watch itself is built off of the modern GMT Master II 116710 which debuted in 2007. This GMT-Master came with new features like the (then brand new) Cal. 3186 movement which had a smoother-operating 24-hour hand and a Paramagnetic blue Parachrom hairspring.
It also included a new bezel mounting and an upgraded Triplock screw-down crown for improved water resistance. The 116710BLNR, like the 116710, also featured a ‘Maxi’ dial with larger hands hour markers – the Batman version uniquely featuring a blue 24-hour hand. After a short production run, this watch became highly desirable, especially because it was the last stainless steel GMT-Master II watch to be offered on an Oyster bracelet.
Rolex Batman 126710BLNR: 2019-Today
In 2019, just six years after its original release, the Rolex Batman got its first upgrade. Although there were a number of upgrades inside and out, the most talked about upgrade was the now standard, five-link 904L stainless steel Jubilee bracelet.
While some people adore this elegant update to the fan-favorite Batman GMT-Master II, others still favored the Oyster bracelet, saying that it went against the inherent sportiness of the GMT-Master collection. Either way, the all-new Jubilee bracelet helped differentiate this new generation of Rolex GMT watches from the brand’s various other Professional watch collections.
Beyond the new Jubilee bracelet, the case of the new ref. 126710BLNR GMT-Master II has also been redesigned for a slightly more refined feel on the wrist. Technically speaking, it’s the same 40mm case diameter, but the 126710BLNR is designed to feel a bit thinner and more rounded on the wrist, while the case of the ref. 116710BLNR is a bit more angular and squared-off in its shape.
Another one of the most important upgrades was the new Cal. 3285 movement featuring the brand’s proprietary Chronergy escapement. The ref. 126710BLNR also features brand new Chromalight lume on its Maxi dial, which gives the watch a striking blue glow for up to eight hours. And as if this dial didn’t stand out enough, Rolex fitted this watch with a Maxi dial, featuring beefed-up the luminous plots and Mercedes-style hands, giving it a bolder and more sporty look when on the wrist.