Introduction to the GMT Master II Root Beer:
The GMT Master II is arguably one of the hottest watches on the market today. At Baselworld 2018, Rolex reintroduced the Jubilee bracelet to the “Pepsi” model. Since this revamp, waitlists have grown longer and longer. Today, the “Batman” and “Pepsi” reign supreme. However, there’s another model in the line that, in my opinion, gets nowhere near enough love from the watch community. This is the GMT Master II Root Beer.
Making its debut in the 1960s, the Root Beer has graced the wrist of countless celebrities, including Clint Eastwood. The original model came in both a solid gold and two-tone option. Even with its commercial success, the Root Beer faded from Rolex’s catalog up until 2018, when Rolex revived the variation. Instead of yellow gold, Rolex updated the model using 18K Everose. While there’s a solid Everose version, I opted to test drive the two-tone variant of the watch.
The modern Root Beer uses the now commonplace maxi-case design seen on the Submariner and other GMT models. It feels very substantial on the wrist and lives up to what we’ve come to expect from modern luxury sport watches – a balance of precision and utility. While it’s going by the “root beer,” it sadly doesn’t feature the two-tone brown and gold bezel of the original. Instead, Rolex uses black and brown. This makes sense, as it follows the current GMT look for Rolex.
Another element that has changed from the original is the bracelet. It no longer features the Jubilee but instead the standard Oyster bracelet in two-tone with polished center links. To ensure maximum comfort, the clasp has the easy-link system, allowing for on-the-fly adjustments. I’m not one to make 2020 predictions (RIP Baselworld 2020). However, it’d be awesome to see a version of this watch on the Jubilee again.
How to Wear:
Have you ever secretly wanted to be the “gold Rolex guy” but just can’t bring yourself to that level of opulence? The Root Beer is the solution. It isn’t as flashy as wearing a solid gold model like the President but can still turn some heads. The mixture of Everose and steel in the Root Beer gives it an elevated presentation that reads more formal than the standard Submariner or Batman GMT. As with most modern Rolex watches, just leave it on the bracelet. You could try to pair it with a brown leather strap or NATO. However, it just looks the best on the two-tone Oyster.
I think the Root Beer shines best when paired with a dark navy windowpane suit and some beautiful brown loafers. For summer, it’d look great with just about any polo in your wardrobe. I think the Root Beer really hits the mark when it comes to getting more out of a sport watch. Black-tie would be the only setting in which I’d stray away from wearing this watch. The style doesn’t fit well under French cuffs.
Look, this isn’t really a hard sell. At the end of the day, you have to decide what watch is right for you. While I certainly understand two-tone watches can feel a bit dated at times, there’s something different going on here. The tasteful use of Everose throughout the design is elegant and eye-catching. The brown and black bezel brings something unique and “new” to the table. I also understand the allure of the steel Rolex, but there’s something so special about the Root Beer. I think a return to more precious metal watches is likely in the future. This is a great watch to get ahead of the trend. I enjoyed having this on the wrist for a month and strongly recommend checking one out if you get the opportunity.