Rolex 'Coke' GMT-Master II: Buying Guide and History

Rolex 'Coke' GMT-Master II: Buying Guide and History

June 12, 2024 Update: A 'Coke' Rolex GMT-Master II 16710 'Tritium' is currently live on Bezel Auctions. The auction ends on June 19th, so get your bids in now!

Approaching Watches and Wonders 2024, Rolex enthusiasts were clamoring for a ‘Coke’ GMT comeback; the beloved red-and-black bezel configuration hasn’t been seen since 2007. The hype and speculation were fueled by a 2022 patent filed by Rolex, one that details the manufacturing process of a red-and-black ceramic bezel insert. Until this point, the ‘Coke’ bezel had only been seen in aluminum. 

Much to the dismay of watch lovers worldwide, Rolex did not release a ceramic Coke GMT at Watches and Wonders 2024 (although Tudor made something similar). Rather than dwell on the sadness that is the Coke-less modern Rolex catalog, let us move forward . . . by looking to the past. There are plenty of vintage and neo-vintage ‘Coke’ GMTs from the 1980s all the way to the mid-2000s.

Let’s go over the history of the red-and-black Rolex GMT-Master before discussing its appeal, and finally, looking at a few examples that are currently for sale. Fully-authenticated listings for each watch are included courtesy of this article’s sponsor, Bezel. More on Bezel and their in-house authentication later.

The Rolex GMT-Master II 'Coke' History

16760 "Fat Lady"

Rolex GMT-Master II Coke 16760

Currently listed on Bezel

Introduced in 1982, the Rolex GMT-Master II reference 16760 is the first-ever GMT-Master II. The ‘II’ demarcates an independently-adjustable hour hand, allowing wearers to change their local timezone without stopping the movement. In tandem with the rotating bezel, this independent hour hand enables tracking of a third timezone. The 16760, only available with a red-and-black ‘Coke’ bezel insert, was the first to sport the colorway.

The GMT-Master II’s new functionality – which came from decoupling the 12-hour and 24-hour hands – of course required a new movement: the caliber 3085. This thicker movement resulted in a thicker case, which resulted in this reference being nicknamed the “Fat Lady”. 

The ref. 16760 was produced from 1982 to 1988. Compared to the upcoming reference, this is a relatively short production run. Because the 16760 was the first GMT-Master II, the first with a ‘Coke’ bezel, and it only came in this configuration (from the factory), many consider it to be the quintessential ‘Coke’.

Rolex GMT-Master 16710 ‘Coke’

Coke GMT 16710

Currently listed on Bezel

In 1989, Rolex updated the GMT-Master II with the reference 16710. Mind you, just one year prior, Rolex introduced a new GMT-Master (not II); the brand offered both models concurrently for more than a decade.

The new 16710 was slimmer than its ‘Fat Lady’ predecessor thanks to the new caliber 3185. Unlike the 16760, the 16710 was offered in red-and-black ‘Coke’, red-and-blue ‘Pepsi’, and all-black configurations. It was produced from 1989 to 2007: a long run that saw plenty of variations. 

The Appeal of the Vintage 'Coke' GMT-Master II

Much like the ‘Pepsi’ GMT up until 2018, we haven’t seen a modern iteration of the ‘Coke’ Rolex GMT-Master II. This is the primary appeal of vintage ‘Coke’ GMTs; they are the only red-and-black Rolex GMTs in existence. Furthermore, they’re born out of the era of 5-digit Rolex: a time when cases were smaller, surfaces were matte, and proportions were to die for (in my opinion).

While the two references look very similar at first glance, there is a lot to dig into when it comes to shopping for the right ‘Coke’ GMT.  

Shopping for a Vintage 'Coke' GMT-Master II

I chose three listings on Bezel that represent a nice variety of ‘Coke’ GMTs out there. This is not a reference guide, so I won’t go through each and every dial variation and production change, but rather showcase the obvious things to look for.

Rolex GMT-Master II 16760

Rolex Coke GMT-Master II 16760

Currently listed on Bezel for $12,580

Here we have a nice example of the Rolex GMT-Master II ref. 16760 from 1986. The beauty of this reference is that there aren’t too many variations to choose from, allowing the buyer to focus on condition, price, etc. The biggest thing to look for in a 16760 is whether it has a ‘date’ or ‘non-date’ dial. Of course, every 16760 has a date function, but not all say ‘Oyster Perpetual Date’. Some earlier production examples just say ‘Oyster Perpetual’. If this kind of thing intrigues you, there are even more variations within the non-date production run to research. 

The present example has the later, more common ‘date’ dial. All 16760s feature tritium luminescent paint: a slightly-radioactive material that is susceptible to color change, or ‘patina’. This one has slight patina on the lume plots, some noticeable age on the hands, and according to the listing, “signs of age to the dial,” (but it looks to be very clean). The case, bezel, and bracelet are gorgeous. For a watch that’s priced within spitting distance of the modern steel GMT-Master II, you’re getting some serious history here, and of course, a genuine ‘Coke’ bezel. For more on this particular example, check out the listing on Bezel

Rolex GMT-Master II 16710 Tritium

Rolex GMT-Master II Coke 16710

Currently listed on Bezel for $10,825

Because the 16710 was produced from the 1980s to the 2000s, there are many more variations out there to look into. One of the simplest delineations lies in the lume material. Examples before 1997 have tritium lume, marked by 6 o’clock text that reads ‘Swiss – T < 25’. Examples from ‘98 and ‘99 have Luminova while all later examples have Super-Luminova. The present example has tritium lume plots with little to no patina (yet). Its notes indicate that it likely has a service bezel. For more info on this watch, see its listing on Bezel.

Rolex GMT-Master II 16710 ‘Stick Dial’ (2007)

Rolex GMT-Master II Coke 16710

Currently listed on Bezel for $17,555

This example comes from the 16710’s last production year. As such, it embodies all of the changes over the watch’s 18 years in production. As previously mentioned, examples made after 1999 feature Super-Luminova: a very bright photoluminescent material that will continue to work indefinitely. (Tritium burns out after about 20 years). The present example is no exception.

You’ll also notice that, unlike the 16760 and earlier 16710s, this watch’s case does not have drilled lugs. These were phased out in 2003. While the utility of drilled lugs is nice if you’re a strap swapper, their absence makes for a cleaner side profile.

One thing that you didn’t notice, because it’s virtually impossible to see from pictures, is that the present example has solid milled end links. Introduced to the reference in 2000, solid end links give some additional weight to the bracelet and make for a more secure case-bracelet connection.

Rolex GMT-Master II Coke Stick Dial

Not the example for sale. Image Source: Rolex Forums

This example has what collectors call a ‘stick dial’ or ‘error dial’. If you look very closely, the ‘II’ after ‘GMT-Master’ are not traditionally-serifed Roman numerals, but rather just two lines, or ‘sticks’. These error dials are present in later examples of the 16710. Speaking of later examples, some house the Rolex caliber 3186 rather than the 3185. It is unclear which movement this example has, but being from 2007, it very well could have the newer movement. Still, these are virtually the same movements, but the 3186 has a Parachrom hairspring and faster changing of the local hour hand. 

Final Thoughts

The anticipation and subsequent disappointment surrounding a new ‘Coke’ GMT-Master II has left enthusiasts looking for alternatives. Luckily, there’s a rich archive of ‘Coke’ GMTs with plenty of variations to look into. The red-and-black bezel is a timeless look that, more likely than not, will soon make a return. In the meantime, why not dig into the archives and find yourself the perfect vintage ‘Coke’?

About Bezel

Bezel is the top marketplace for authenticated luxury watches. While they offer a vast collection of Rolex models, from which we featured a few today, Bezel lists watches from over 90 brands and counting. Each and every watch sold on Bezel goes through expert in-house authentication: an invaluable resource in the secondhand watch market. You also have access to a private client advisor from the Bezel concierge team: yet another expert who can answer your questions along the way. If you’re looking for a better way to buy and sell watches, be sure to install the Bezel app, or simply visit them at

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