The Rolex GMT-Master II is one of the most popular Rolex watches of all time. This is still clearly reflected in current market prices, despite the sharp drop seen in mid-2022. If you are looking to call this iconic pilot’s watch your own in the coming months, be prepared to dig deep into your pockets. You should expect to pay at least double the official list price on the open market, but will this continue to be the case going forward? And is it still worth buying a GMT-Master II?
1. Is the Rolex GMT-Master II the only true GMT watch?
The watch world is a pretty small one, and word travels fast among its ranks. So, it didn’t take long for most of us to figure out that GMT watches with colorful bezels are all the rage. The range of GMT watches has multiplied in response, with options available across the technology and price spectrums.
But even with all these new contenders, the Rolex GMT-Master II is and will always be the OG. It was the first GMT watch to feature a two-tone bezel, and its status as an icon oozes from every corner and edge of its case – even after almost 70 years of production. Rolex is the undisputed master of improving and modernizing its models without taking away from their basic character, and the same can be said of this watch. If you do opt for a vintage GMT-Master, however, you will notice a few key differences from more modern references. First of all, the case, band, and clasp are all miles away from the sheer perfection of today’s Rolexes. That said, the older timepieces do have their own unique charm, thanks to their aluminum bezels. Contemporary GMT-Master II models are the same iconic pilot’s watches as their predecessors, but come with the added bonus of excellent technology and flawless haptics, not to mention enhanced beauty and robustness. The Rolex GMT-Master II may not be quite as timeless or famous as the Rolex Submariner, but it remains one of the best Rolex watches ever made, especially the modern refs. And I don’t see this changing any time soon, no matter how good the new alternatives may be.
2. GMT: The most useful complication ever?
When it comes to talking about complications, most watch lovers’ ears perk up. We are always looking for the best and most useful complication for our watches – best value for money and all that. At least that’s how I’ve felt in the past. But if we’re completely honest, which complications do we actually need for everyday life? Thanks to the ubiquitous smartphone, we technically don’t even need a watch these days! Have you ever found yourself playing around with the diving bezel on your watch, but never actually using it (except to track how long your dinner’s been in the oven)? And have you ever actually used the chronograph function on your Omega Speedmaster Professional for the purpose it was intended?
While all of these complications may be exciting on paper – and they certainly impact people’s purchase decisions – most of us really don’t need them. A luxury watch is and will remain a romantic thing of beauty, rather than a purely functional object. With the Rolex GMT-Master II, however, things are ever so slightly different, especially if you regularly travel across time zones. Thanks to the GMT function and two-tone bezel, you can keep track of up to 3 time zones simultaneously. You can’t even do that instantaneously on most smartphones. In contrast to many other timepieces, the Rolex GMT-Master II actually does offer a useful complication that is functional and practical for everyday life. Even if you’re rarely on the road, you’re still more likely to jump on an international flight at some stage than dive hundreds of feet underwater.
3. Market Performance of the Rolex GMT-Master II
Objectively speaking, is it really worth paying almost double the list price for a Rolex GMT-Master II? Definitely not. But as mentioned, owning a luxury watch has a romantic and emotional side to it, especially in the age of the smartphone. Is the Rolex GMT-Master II your dream watch? Well, then your rational mind likely won’t dissuade you from wanting to own one. We are very likely in the speculative price range at this point, but no one has a crystal ball. If we did, most of us would have stocked up on a whole host of sports models from the brand with the crown in 2012, am I right?
So, is it still worth buying a Rolex GMT-Master II? Even though prices for the pilot’s watch have fallen considerably in 2022, I don’t see any reason why they would continue a downward trajectory. I think the developments of the last few months should be viewed more as a market correction than anything else. If the Rolex GMT-Master II is your dream watch, and you can afford it, I wouldn’t hesitate to add the pilot’s icon to your collection in 2023. Perhaps now is the best opportunity to make your move on the secondary market. After all, market prices haven’t been this low for a long time, and official list prices are on the rise. Even if prices do continue to drop slightly, you would still have one of the most iconic Rolex watches of all time and the watch of your dreams to take home.