Rolex developed the original GMT in 1954 in collaboration with Pan-Am. The initial model featured a two-tone red and blue bezel inspired by the colors of the airline. Over the years, Rolex has continued to play with the bezel color scheme of the GMT and add a number of variations. In doing so, they’ve created a tradition among devout fans of the model. Plus, each new color way gets a quirky nickname, including the Rolex Root Beer GMT Master II.
Introduction of the Rolex Root Beer GMT Master II
One of the most unique and highly sought after iterations features a two-tone brown and gold bezel dubbed the Root Beer. This combination first made its debut in the 1960’s. In addition to the soda-inspired color scheme on the bezel, the Root Beer has another distinguishing feature from the other GMT models. It was the first to feature a two-tone case and bezel. This yellow gold and stainless steel combination also has its own nickname, Rolesor.
Other Nicknames for the Root Beer
As if one nickname weren’t enough, the Root Beer has picked up other monikers along the way. First is the “Nipple Dial.” Though this nickname isn’t only used for the Root Beer color way, it characterizes the GMT Masters from the 1980’s. This generation features gold “nipple” hour markers, giving the models their epithet. Another more uncommon nickname for the Root Beer is the Tiger Eye or Tiger Augen. It takes inspiration from the precious stone that shares a similar hue. A final term for the GMT Root Beer is the “Clint Eastwood” or the “Dirty Harry.” Eastwood received his Root Beer GMT from longtime Rolex executive T. Walker Lloyd in the 1960’s, and it quickly became the favorite model in his collection. He went on to wear the watch as Dirty Harry in the classic film series as well as in his 1982 film Firefox.
The Retirement and Reemergence of the Root Beer
Rolex decided to redesign the GMT in in 1983 with the release of the GMT Master II. One of the key updates was the introduction of the new Cerachrom bezel. As a result, Rolex retired a number of the original models, including the Root Beer. As the model went out of production and became more obscure, it grew in popularity.
After 35 years, Rolex finally brought bacl the beloved color scheme at the 2018 Baselworld fair. They unveiled the new Root Beer GMT Master II. The re-edition has been a bit polarizing among fans of the original. Instead of the two-tone brown and gold bezel, the new version features black and brown. It still maintains the two-tone case and bracelet, this time in stainless steel and rose gold. Additionally, the “nipple” hour markers have been replaced with more modern 18-karat gold indices.
Celebrity Fans of the Root Beer Old and New
Along with Clint Eastwood, a number of other celebrities are fans of the classic Root Beer and the newly reimagined version. Though Hunter S. Thompson is most widely known for sporting a GMT Master II with a Coke bezel, he also enjoyed wearing his classic Root Beer GMT Master. Bradley Cooper and Rolling Stones bassist Bill Wyman also favor the original Root Beer GMT. As for the new Root Beer GMT Master II, Mark Wahlberg quickly snatched up the recently debuted model and showcased it on his Instagram while promoting his upcoming projects.