New Year’s Rolex GMT Master II Ref. 16710

We haven’t delved into the world of vintage replica watches here on the WRB YouTube channel, and while this Rolex GMT Master II ref. 16710 isn’t a very old vintage, and I thought it would be an interesting piece.

Rolex gets a lot of hype and it’s rare to hear an opinion other than “it’s the best”. But I will tell you that after spending some time with the GMT Master 16710, Rolex’s new modern collection is certainly an improvement over past designs. I can appreciate the pure tool watch aesthetic of Ref 16710. Still, at the same time, it feels a bit bland. This is a comparison where you can appreciate the subtle but excellent changes to the aluminum bezel inserted into the ceramic, the larger and easier-to-read “max dial” markers. One of the most important changes on the modern Rolex model is the solid link bracelet and stronger clasp. Rolex GMT Master II
Comparisons aside, if we pull back to the late 90’s and early 21st century, the Ref 16710 was at the top of its league and was the forerunner of Rolex’s iconic GMT Master II line – a watch worth owning then and certainly still is now for those seeking some nostalgia and pure copy Rolex tool watches.
The blue/red bezel version, aka Pepsi, has been the most popular color combination for the GMT Master II and was issued to Pan Am crews back in the day – but the black bezel version we have here is the stealth watch of choice for those who still want GMT functionality but don’t want to venture into submariner territory.
As beautiful as this replica watch is, I think I would prefer a Submariner from the same era if I had the choice. It’s a very subjective preference, and as someone who prefers simplicity, I prefer the markers and click action on the bezel, the text on the dial, and the heavier crown, like the Submariner 16610.
One aspect of the Submariner is wrist comfort. 16710 is impressively wrist-friendly, with a hollowed-out chain strap and slightly thinner case and lugs, which is not surprising; the watch does have a lighter feel on the wrist. Visually, I’d say it’s comparable in size to the modern Rolex GMT collection, with slightly slimmer lugs, but still quite long.
The movement for this reference starts with the 3185 and transitions to the 3186, which has a hacking function and a 24-hour hand with a 24-hour tachymeter function.