Splurge vs. Steal: Rolex Pepsi vs. Tudor Pepsi

Rolex Pepsi vs. Tudor Pepsi: Different Watches, Same Inspired Bezel

Rolex debuted the first GMT Master in 1954 in collaboration with Pan Am. The original model featured the airline’s signature red and blue colors on the two-tone bezel. Today, this bezel combination has been affectionately nicknamed the Pepsi because of its resemblance to the soda brand’s globe logo. The Pepsi variation is one of the most iconic and highly sought after among collectors. Rolex discontinued production of the original GMT Master in 1999. However, the Pepsi bezel has continued to live on in the GMT Master II. Rolex released the first red and blue Cerachrom bezel on the white gold Reference 116719 in 2014.

rolex pepsi vs. tudor pepsi - side by side

In March 2018, at the annual Baselworld fair, Tudor announced they’d be following in the footsteps of their parent brand. They unveiled the Black Bay GMT with none other than a Pepsi bezel. Rolex also introduced a stainless steel variation of the Pepsi GMT Master II, the Reference 126710BLRO. With these two new releases, the challenge was on. How do these similar models from two closely linked brands match up?

The Splurge: The Rolex Pepsi GMT Master II

rolex pepsi vs. tudor pepsi - rolex pepsi

The Reference 126710 features a few notable modifications from the previous iteration of the Pepsi GMT Master II. The newly designed 40mm case features reworked lugs, which give the model a sleeker appearance. This revamped case design pairs with the brand’s classic Jubilee bracelet as opposed to the original Oyster bracelet. It also houses Rolex’s in-house, Superlative Chronometer certified Caliber 3285 self-winding movement. The Caliber 3285 offers improved precision and increased resistance to shocks and magnetic fields. It also comes equipped with a 70-hour power reserve, much higher than the previous version’s 48-hour reserve.

The Steal: The Tudor Pepsi Black Bay GMT

The case design of the Pepsi Black Bay GMT is similar to the brand’s other Black Bay models. It measures in at 41mm, just slightly larger than Rolex’s Reference 126710. It features the brand’s trademark snowflake hands for both the hour and the additional time zone indicators. Unlike the Rolex Pepsi, the Tudor Pepsi is available with a number of band options. These include a brown leather strap with folding clasp, two-tone fabric strap with buckle, or a bracelet. The model comes standard with a riveted stainless steel bracelet, reminiscent of Tudor watches from the 1950’s and 60’s. Similar to its Rolex counterpart, the Pepsi Black Bay GMT houses an all-new, in-house caliber with a 70-hour power reserve. The Caliber MT5652 is a self-winding COSC certified movement.

rolex pepsi vs. tudor pepsi - tudor pepsi black bay

Choosing the Best Model for You

The latest Rolex Pepsi GMT Master II in stainless steel will no doubt go down in the model’s longstanding history. Since the brand introduced the red and blue Cerachrom bezel in the white gold, fans have long awaited the addition of a stainless steel variation. However, a piece of Rolex history inevitably comes with a Rolex price tag. Tudor’s incarnation of the Pepsi in their Black Bay GMT is a worthy alternative. It boasts a similar size and specs with more band options to boot. Overall, this latest version of the GMT Master II has a bit more contemporary design, despite the classic Jubilee bracelet. On the other hand, the Tudor Black Bay GMT has more of a retro look and feel. At the end of the day, these are two admirable watches. If you have to choose between them, it all comes down to personal preference and budget.

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