At times, the watch industry can seem a bit serious or even intimidating. However, once you start diving deeper into the watch world, you come to realize it’s actually quirky, artistic, and even a bit nerdy. And, like watches themselves, watch lovers come in all shapes and sizes. There are a lot of elements that bring levity to a seemingly stuffy industry, and one of those is watch nicknames. The nicknames of Rolex are vast, and over the years, countless models have adopted curious monikers based on a famous wearer, milestone event, or simply their color scheme. Today, we’re taking a look at six models from the powerhouse brand, Rolex, and how they got their interesting epithets.
The Nicknames of Rolex:
Rolex first debuted the GMT Master II in 1983 with a sleek, all-black bezel. A few years later in 1989, they introduced a two-tone red and black variation. The original GMT Master II, Reference 16760, had already been dubbed the “Fat Lady” for its notably thicker case. However, the red and black iteration received a second nickname: Coke. Since its initial release, the Coca-Cola bezel has been made available in other references, like the 16710.
The GMT Master was first developed in 1954 in collaboration with Pan-Am. The red and blue colors of the airline were the feature design of the two-tone bezel. Today, this color way has the reputation of being the most iconic variation among collectors and the purest fans of the brand. However, there is no long an association between these particular bezel hues and the airline. Instead, this iteration has been dubbed the Pepsi due to the distinct resemblance to the soda brand’s famous globe logo.
There’s one final soda-inspired variation of the GMT that made its debut in the 1960’s. Instead of having an association with a particular brand name, GMTs with a brown dial and two-tone brown and gold bezel take on the name for the drink itself. The Root Beer color way most often appears on Rolesor or two-tone iterations of the model. This color scheme also holds the name “Dirty Harry” for the watch worn by Clint Eastwood’s famous character.
The GMT isn’t the only model to receive an array of nicknames. In 2003, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the iconic Submariner, Rolex created a special variation of the model. It boasts a bright green bezel contrasted by a black dial, celebrating the signature colors of the brand. Instead of the name of a superhero or brand of soda, the 50th Anniversary Submariner received the nickname Kermit after Jim Henson’s relatable and beloved Muppet.
Several years after the success of the Kermit Submariner, Rolex launched the Hulk variation at Baselworld in 2010. Similar to the Kermit, the Hulk features a green bezel in addition to a green dial. The updated model also received a thicker case design and wider lugs, lending itself to the Hulk’s larger than life persona. Interestingly, the Hulk is the first variation of the Submariner to feature both a dial and bezel in hues other than black and blue.
The two-tone blue and black color scheme is one of the newer additions to the GMT Master II. It was first introduced in 2014 and has quickly become one of the most popular iterations of the model. Of all the affectionate nicknames given to Rolex models, this one may seem like the biggest stretch. However, fans of the brand have remained true to the tradition with each new color way. Batman is the typical name of this version, but Bruiser, Phantom, or Dark Knight are other common associations.