While it’s not uncommon to hear nicknames for other watch brands, the phenomenon is widespread among Rolex circles. Some Rolex nicknames refer to particular colorways, some to certain dial designs, while others to specific models. Don’t worry if you can’t remember them all (there are plenty!) because we’ve compiled the essential guide to popular Rolex watch nicknames to keep handy.
Rolex Watch Nicknames for GMT-Master Models
The Rolex GMT-Master collection is replete with nicknames thanks in part to the colorful two-tone bezel choices.
The “Pepsi” nickname is given to the blue and red GMT-Master bezels, which was the original colorway of the first GMT-Master (ref. 6542) launched in 1955. Since then, Rolex has fitted the iconic red and blue bezel to a multitude of GMT-Master watches over the decades. The inaugural Pepsi bezel was made in Bakelite but was quickly replaced by aluminum.
From 2014 onwards, the Pepsi bezel is exclusively made in Cerachrom ceramic. Rolex Pepsi bezels can be found on GMT-Master or GMT-Master II watches, in addition to stainless steel or white gold models. The Pepsi bezel is also known as the BLRO bezel, which is short for the French words for red and blue, “bleu/rouge.”
Rolex Root Beer
Following in the footsteps of the Pepsi is the “Root Beer” bezel, named so for its brown-based color palette. The original Root Beer bezels were brown and yellow, made in aluminum, and fitted to two-tone yellow gold and steel GMT-Master watches (ref. 1675/3 and ref. 16753).
Today, however, Rolex makes a modern Root Beer bezel in black and brown ceramic, fitted to Everose gold (ref. 126715CHNR) or two-tone Everose gold and steel GMT-Master II (ref. 126711CHNR) watches. CHNR is short for the French words for chocolate and black, “chocolat/noir”.
Next in line within the soda-themed nickname trilogy is the “Coke” bezel, characterized by its red and black color. The Coke bezel made its debut on the first GMT-Master II (ref. 16760) model in 1983 and continued to use it on the following GMT-Master II reference (ref. 16710) in 1989.
However, Rolex has only made the Coke bezel in aluminum–never in Cerachrom ceramic–and it is no longer a part of the current catalog.
In 2013, Rolex released the GMT-Master II ref. 116710BLNR with a never-before-seen blue and black bezel. The watch quickly picked up the nickname “Batman” and became a favorite among Rolex fans. The Batman bezel, also known as the BLNR (short for “bleu/noir,” which is French for “blue black), has only ever been made in Cerachrom ceramic and paired with a steel GMT-Master II.
In 2019, Rolex launched the GMT-Master II ref. 126710BLNR to replace the Batman. While the watch retained the familiar blue and black Cerachrom ceramic bezel and steel construction, Rolex opted to pair this GMT-Master II watch with a Jubilee bracelet rather than the Oyster bracelet. Due to the dressier nature of the Jubilee, many have taken to calling the GMT-Master II ref. 126710BLNR the “Batgirl.”
Rolex Fat Lady
The GMT-Master II ref. 16760 is nicknamed the “Fat Lady” due to its thicker case profile. The thickness of the case was necessary to accommodate the updated movement of the then-new GMT-Master II, which allows the two time zones to be set independently. Another nickname for the GMT-Master II ref. 16760 is the “Sophia Loren.”
Rolex Clint Eastwood
The two-tone GMT-Master ref. 16753 with a Root Beer bezel is nicknamed the “Clint Eastwood” because the famous actor wore his in several movies. Clint Eastwood’s version of the GMT-Master ref. 16753 is fitted with a two-tone Jubilee bracelet. Furthermore, it has a “nipple dial,” characterized by gold raised hour markers filled with lume.
Rolex Watch Nicknames for Submariner Models
The Submariner collection is another boasting plenty of Rolex watch nicknames, many of which are inspired by colors.
Rolex introduced the first two-tone Submariner (ref. 16803) in the 1980s and this particular material combination has remained a mainstay of the Sub lineup ever since. Like its full gold counterpart, the two-tone Submariner is also available with a black dial and bezel or a blue dial and bezel. The “Bluesy” nickname is given to blue versions of the two-tone Submariner–regardless of the specific reference number.
To celebrate the Submariner’s 50th anniversary in 2003, Rolex introduced the steel Submariner ref. 16610LV. This model was particularly noteworthy for its green bezel, a first for the collection, and collectors called it the Kermit after the famous frog. The green bezel of the Rolex Kermit is fashioned from aluminum and the watch has a black dial.
In 2010, Rolex replaced the Submariner ref. 16610LV with the Submariner 116610LV, this time with a green bezel in Cerachrom ceramic. To match the green bezel, Rolex furnished the 116610LV with a green dial. The bold color together with the bulkier Supercase silhouette paved the way for the “Hulk” nickname.
Rolex Ceramic Kermit
In 2020, Rolex launched the brand new Submariner lineup, complete with larger 41mm cases and new-generation movements. Among these new references is a steel Submariner ref. 126610LV with a green Cerachrom ceramic bezel and a black dial–similar to the original Kermit. However, to differentiate the new version from the first, collectors have taken to calling the Submariner ref. 126610LV the “Ceramic Kermit.”
In 2008, Rolex presented the first Submariner in white gold. To distinguish the white gold Submariner ref. 116619LB from its steel counterparts, Rolex equipped the luxurious diver with a bright blue Cerachrom ceramic bezel and bright blue dial. Soon after, the watch community coined the “Smurf” nickname.
Other Popular Rolex Watch Nicknames
Rolex Zenith Daytona
The first iterations of the iconic Daytona chronograph that ran from 1963 until 1988 ran on manual-winding movements. When Rolex introduced the first generation of the automatic Dayton, the company used Caliber 4030 to power the watches, which is based on the Zenith El Primero movement. Since 2000, Rolex Daytona watches run on the in-house made Caliber 4130 automatic movement.
Therefore, Rolex Daytona watches made from 1988 until 2000 with Caliber 4030 movements are collectively nicknamed Zenith Daytona. One notable difference between a Zenith Daytona and an in-house Daytona is that the former has the running seconds register at 9 o’clock while the latter has the running seconds register at 6 o’clock.
In the early 2000s, Rolex made special versions of the white gold Daytona ref. 116519 with colorful stone dials and matching colorful exotic leather straps. These are now affectionately known as the “Daytona Beach” watches.
Rolex Daytona C
One of the most anticipated Rolex releases of the last decade was the stainless steel Daytona with a Cerachrom bezel. The year finally came in 2016 in the form of the Daytona ref. 1166500LN with the option of a black dial or a white dial. These highly popular models are commonly called the “Daytona C.”
Daytona Paul Newman
The “Paul Newman” nickname was always a familiar one within vintage Rolex collecting circles as it was the one given to a special type of dial (officially called Exotic dials) design found on select vintage Daytona watches. It has been reported that the nickname was coined sometime in the 1980s when it was discovered that Paul Newman wore a Daytona with an exotic dial. In 2019, the nickname became famous outside the watch world when Paul Newman’s own Rolex Daytona “Paul Newman” smashed records and sold for a mindblowing $17.8 million at auction.
The Day-Date watch is better known as the Rolex President or Presidential. One reason for the pervasive nickname is that when Rolex launched the Day-Date in 1956, the company fitted it with a brand new bracelet style called the President bracelet, characterized by semi-circular links in a three-link configuration.
Another reason for the nickname is that since the debut of the watch, the Day-Date has been associated with some of the world’s most powerful people, including a handful of American Presidents. In fact, in the 1960s, Rolex released an ad campaign when President Lyndon B. Johnson (who famously wore a yellow gold Day-Date) was in Office, with the caption “The Presidents’ Watch.”
Any Rolex Explorer II with a white dial, whether the ref. 16550, ref. 16570, or ref. 216570 is commonly nicknamed the “Polar.”
Rolex Steve McQueen
The “Steven McQueen” nickname was given to the very first Rolex Explorer II reference, the ref. 1655, because it was once reported that the actor wore one. However, it turns out that the report was wrong and Steve McQueen never actually an Explorer II–he actually wore a Submariner-but the moniker stuck. Another nickname for the Explorer ref. 1655 is the “Freccione,” which is Italian for “arrow” in reference to the arrow-tipped 24-hand on the dial.
Rolex James Cameron
In 2012, director James Cameron made history by conducting the first-ever solo dive to the deepest part of the Mariana Trench in a submersible called the Deepsea Challenger. Two years later, Rolex introduced a special version of the Deepsea ref. 116660 dive watch with a D-Blue dial in honor of Cameron’s achievement.
Not only does the D-Blue dial feature a blue to black gradient to mimic the color change as one dives deeper into the ocean but it also has the “DEEPSEA” label in the same bright green color of the Deepsea Challenger submersible. Rolex released the updated Deepsea ref. 126660 in 2018, retaining the option of the D-Blue dial. Regardless of the reference, the Deepsea D-Blue is aptly nicknamed the Rolex “James Cameron.”
In the 1950s, the Thunderbirds, which is the United States Air Force demonstration squadron, began using the Datejust with a rotating Turn-O-Graph bezel as its official watch. As such, Rolex began marketing the Datejust Turn-O-Graph as the “Thunderbird” and the nickname stuck.
Although there are so many other Rolex watch nicknames out there (the James Bond, the Platona, the Red Submariner, the Double Red Sea-Dweller, the Rainbow Daytona, and the John Player Special, just to rattle off a few more) we’ve chosen to highlight some of the most popular ones used by watch enthusiasts today.