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At Gray & Sons, we’re all about bringing some serious watches to the table. It’s just what we do. Recently, we received a watch in our stock that might be one of the most versatile Rolex models ever made. In a world full of black dial subs and Aquaracers, it’s nice to have something a little different on your wrist. That’s always been the beauty behind one of the more popular heavy hitters in the Rolex lineup—the Rolex GMT Master. Today, we’re taking a special look at the last aluminum insert model, the Rolex GMT Master 16710. It’s somewhat of a transitional model and it offers so much in terms of value, quality, and history.

Rolex GMT Master 16710

In recent years, the watch world has been adjusting to Rolex’s “maxi” case design. It’s slightly chunky and conforms to contemporary case size expectations. But this move just adds to the appeal of the older, more classic case design. Rolex really got it right the first time and if you’re looking for a vintage spirited GMT Master-II to add to the collection, it’s impossible to go wrong with the 16710. Like the Rolex Explorer 14270 we reviewed before, the 16710 was a slightly more modern reference that blended vintage design with cutting edge upgrades.

Rolex GMT Master 16710 review
Rolex GMT Master II 16710 variations

Beneath the caseback of most Rolex GMT Master 16710’s you’ll find the Rolex caliber 3185 ticking away at 28,800 bph. Towards the end of their production, they were fitted with the upgraded 3186 movement that featured Rolex’s newer Parachrom hairspring technology. Both variations are robust, serviceable, and more than capable of providing you with years of chronometer-grade timekeeping. While some collectors opt to pay a slightly higher premium for 3186 variations, the previous iteration is just as reliable and collectable.

Let’s talk about the appeal and everyday functionality of the GMT Master-II for a quick moment. Subs will always be a big deal in the world of Rolex. But there’s no arguing with the fact that a classic, pepsi bezel GMT Master will always offer a slightly more unique and exciting experience. Come on, you can track up to three different time zones with this thing! One of its distinctive characteristics is its rotating dual time bezel. The bezel was designed to be used for measuring a second time zone and Greenwich Mean Time (which is where the Rolex GMT Master gets it’s name from in the first place.) And while we like to bicker about depth ratings and helium escape valves, can’t one simply argue that a reliable GMT function is more useful for the everyday “desk diver?” On top of it all, there’s a slight advantage to these aluminum bezel GMT’s in terms of versatility. Bezels can be swapped with relative ease and this can change the look of your watch drastically if you’re feeling adventurous enough to try it. Then we get to the drilled lugs.

Here’s where things really start to get fun for collectors. Many of these 16710 models featured drilled lugs, which allowed for the easiest way to swap straps and bracelets. It’s an adjustment that can even be accomplished with a toothpick if you ever find yourself without a proper strap tool. It’s just that easy. This is a trait that collectors go nuts for and it allows owners to dress the watch down for more casual settings without hassle. Like any other Rolex sports model, this GMT Master looks great on leather, nylon, and stainless steel.

So if you’re interested in trying a 16710 or other variations of the Rolex GMT Master, take the time to stop by our showroom in sunny Bal Harbour, Florida. Even if you’re not in the area, we can assist you with all of your luxury watch needs including Rolex watch repairs and paying top dollar for those looking to sell a Rolex watch.  We’ll help you pick out a perfect watch that’ll bring you years of enjoyment. Remember, all of our watches are meticulously inspected, serviced, and 100% authentic.

Written by

Michael Peñate

Michael is a Seattle-based writer who first became interested in watches during his grade school years. He has a penchant for design, aviation, music, and anything sci-fi or gear related. When he’s not writing about watches or contributing to a number of other projects, he enjoys catching up on his favorite books, tinkering with guitars, and exploring the trails of Washington.