For the last several years, Rolex has shown up to Baselworld and unveiled a new stainless steel sports watch that quickly becomes the most desirable (and unattainable) timepiece on the planet. This year, the hot new watch that had everyone running to their nearest authorized retailer was the updated “Batman” Rolex GMT-Master II reference 126710BLNR – now with a Jubilee bracelet. However, the black and blue Batman GMT is not a totally new watch, having first made an appearance in the Rolex catalog (as the ref. 116710BLNR) back in 2013. So, what exactly is new on the updated ref. 126710 Batman GMT-Master II?
The most obvious update to accompany the new ref. 126710 Batman GMT-Master II is its new Jubilee bracelet. While the previous ref. 116710 GMT-Master II featured a stainless steel Oyster bracelet, the new version is exclusively offered with a Jubilee. Additionally as of 2019, no Oyster bracelet option exists for stainless steel GMT-Master II watches; both the Batman and Pepsi versions are now only sold with Jubilee bracelets.
Although the bracelet is significantly different on the new ref. 126710 Batman GMT-Master II, the clasps fitted to the two bracelets are virtually identical. Both bracelets receive Rolex’s Oysterlock safety clasp, which features Rolex’s Easylink comfort extension system that allows users to quickly increase (or decrease) the circumference of their bracelet by 5mm.
While the previous ref. 116710 Batman GMT-Master II was powered by Rolex’s Caliber 3186 movement, the new ref. 126710 receives the Caliber 3285 – Rolex’s latest generation of in-house GMT movement that is based upon their new and improved Chronergy escapement.
Although Rolex guarantees the same timekeeping performance for the two movements (+/- 2 seconds per day), the increased efficiency provided by the Chronergy escapement allows the Caliber 3285 to have a power reserve of 70 hours – a noticeable improvement over the 50-hour power reserve offered by the Caliber 3186. Beyond a lengthier reserve, the Caliber 3285 also benefits from the use of Rolex’s Paraflex shock absorbers, which provide its oscillator with a greater degree of impact resistance.
Although the case of the new ref. 126710 Batman GMT-Master II may seem identical to the previous generation, Rolex has actually slightly re-shaped its lugs for a slightly more refined appearance. Still measuring 40mm in diameter, the changes to the case are minimal and would likely go unnoticed by all but the most observant – especially without having a ref. 116710 Batman GMT-Master II on hand for a side-by-side comparison.
While slightly different than the case found on the ref. 116710BLNR, the re-designed case on the new Batman GMT-Master II is the exact same as the one used on the ceramic Pepsi GMT-Master II that debuted the previous year. Still classifiable as a “super case” by all definitions of that term, the re-designed case of the new GMT-Master II remains noticeably thicker than the cases used on older GMT-Master references with aluminum bezels.
Aesthetically, the dial fitted to the new ref. 126710BLNR is virtually identical to the one found in the previous generation of Batman GMT-Master II watches. However, the dial signature below the 6 o’clock location has been slightly updated on the new version. On the new ref. 126710 Batman GMT-Master II, Rolex has added a small coronet insignia (the Rolex logo) between the words “Swiss” and “Made” that appear just below the 6 o’clock hour marker.
Beyond this minor signature update, the two dials are otherwise completely identical. Both are considered “maxi dials” with larger hour markers, and both are finished with Rolex’s proprietary Chromalight luminescent material, which provides them with a long-lasting blue glow.
Despite being only a slightly updated version of the previous Batman GMT-Master II, the new ref. 126710BLNR was easily the hottest watch from Baselworld 2019 and sparked lengthy waitlists at dealers the morning that it was announced. While the most significant update comes in the form of the new Caliber 3285 movement, the Jubilee bracelet fitted to the new ref. 126710BLNR provides the watch with a significantly different overall look and feel – despite the relatively minor nature of the rest of the updates.
Rolex Batman GMT-Master II 116710 vs. 126710
Overall, the biggest differences between ref. 116710 and ref. 126710 Batman GMT-Master II watches are the movements and bracelets fitted to them. While the updated ref. 126710BLNR does offer an increased power reserve over its predecessor, the different aesthetic provided by the Jubilee bracelet is arguably a more important factor to consider when buying a Batman GMT.
In the end, both Batman GMT-Master II watches will keep time to within 2 seconds per day, and both versions represent some of the most desirable and sought-after timepieces on this planet. Our advice? Buy the Batman you like best!
Ripley is the Senior Editor at Bob's Watches. As a Los Angeles native with an interest in all things mechanical, Ripley has had a love for watches since a young age, when his mother gave him a children's Swatch to help teach him how to read the time. While most of his days are now occupied by the world of vintage and luxury timepieces, Ripley can often be found exploring the United States National Parks or running and hiking outside with his dog, Ziggy.
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