A brown dial, brown and beige 24-hour bezel, and two-tone case define the Rolex Root Beer. This special color scheme graces a specific GMT-Master, making it popular among fans and collectors alike.
The GMT-Master has been an integral part of the Rolex catalog since the mid-1950s. This Swiss luxury watch manufacturer has since produced numerous variations of this timepiece. To help them keep the various models straight, Rolex fans have given the different editions unique nicknames. For example, the watch with a blue and red rotatable bezel is known as the Pepsi, while watches with a black and blue bezel get their nickname from a popular DC Comics superhero: Batman.
Root Beer refers to GMT-Masters with a color scheme resembling the popular soft drink: They have a brown dial and brown, beige, and gold bezel. Other nicknames for this timepiece include Eye of the Tiger and Tiger Eye, though these only apply to models with a sunburst dial reminiscent of the golden brown tiger's eye gemstone.
The Rolex GMT Root Beer has a few more nicknames. The minute markers of early models inspired the less-than-subtle Nipple Dial moniker. Others may call this Root Beer the Clint Eastwood or Dirty Harry, since Eastwood wore the model for many years, including in several films.
|Model/Ref.||Price (approx.)||Production period||Caliber|
|126711 CHNR||17,000 USD||2018-present||3285|
The first Rolex GMT-Master Root Beer debuted in the early 1970s and bore the reference number 1675/3. It wasn't just the color scheme that set it apart from its sister models, it was also the collection's first two-tone watch, known as "Rolesor" at Rolex. Its 40-mm Oyster case is made of stainless steel and the crown and bezel are made of 18-karat yellow gold. The indices and hands also come in this precious metal. You can choose from an Oyster or Jubilee bracelet with gold inner links and stainless steel outer links. Rolex has stuck to this two-tone design in later Root Beer models as well.
The caliber 1570 powers these timepieces and provides them with a date display at 3 o'clock and a 48-hour power reserve. Models from this era are particularly beloved by collectors. Plan to spend between 17,000 and 27,500 USD for a well-maintained watch.
The original Rolex Root Beer's successor came to the market in the mid-1970s. This GMT-Master is listed under reference number 16753. It looks almost identical to its predecessor, from its brown "nipple" dial and brown and beige bezel all the way to its gold hands. Rolex changed the design of the indices in later models, opting for round markers filled with luminous material. Such indices are common in the brand's sports watches today.
The most important update was made inside the watch, where you'll find the caliber 3075 at work. It ticks at 28,800 alternations per hour and has a 42-hour power reserve and quick-set date. These watches are well-represented on the pre-owned market and sell for anywhere from 9,300 to 11,500 USD.
The introduction of the GMT-Master II in 1983 was followed by a new Root Beer model in 1989. Rolex ceased production of the ref. 16713 in 2007. This officially marked the end of the nipple dial era. Instead, more recent models have sunburst dials that shimmer like tiger's eye quartz. Sapphire glass protects these dials, while earlier versions still used plexiglass.
The main difference in the 1989 model is its movement. Rolex chose the 3185 with an improved, 50-hour power reserve and the option to set the GMT-hand separately. This movement premiered in 1988. All Root Beer watches produced after 2007 are powered by the caliber 3186. Its blue Parachrom hairspring is far less sensitive to magnetic fields.
You can purchase a GMT-Master II Root Beer ref. 16713 with the caliber 3185 in good condition for around 9,100 USD. Never-worn models with the caliber 3186 demand about 10,000 USD.
To the delight of many fans, Rolex presented a new two-tone GMT-Master II with a brown bezel at Baselworld 2018. This watch, the ref. 126711CHNR, has a few noticeable improvements. For example, instead of using yellow gold, Rolex combined stainless steel with 18-karat rose gold – also known as Everose gold – on this timepiece. What's more, a black dial guarantees optimal readability. Finally, a matching brown-and-black Cerachrom bezel inlay with engraved rose-gold numerals and markers rounds off the new look. Cerachrom is the name for Rolex ceramic produced in house.
This watch also received technological updates. It features the caliber 3285, which has a blue Parachrom hairspring as well as Paraflex shock protection and a 70-hour power reserve.
At its introduction, the new Root Beer had a list price of 14,050 USD. However, that comes with long wait times. If you don't want to wait to call this watch your own, you can buy it on Chrono24 for around 17,000 USD.