Let me start by saying that I’ve had quite the week. Summer doesn’t seem to want to end, the T+T Team are working really hard on a few very exciting projects that we’ll be able to announce soon, but that wasn’t all. We were lucky enough to attend the first replica watch event in real life for the first time in almost exactly a year and it was great to catch up with several Melbourne-based collectors, as well as see some pretty special watches up close and personal.
Also, this week we took a close look at a watch that isn’t a new release, but does have a new element to it. The watch in question is the black dial fake Rolex GMT-Master II Ref. 126710 BLRO that was released in 2018. The element I’m referring to is the colour of the bezel, which has been a hot topic of conversation at T+T HQ. Is the bezel different at all, or is it just the lighting? If it has changed, what are the differences in colour? In our video review, Andrew recalls seeing the watch for the first time at Baselworld and wondering if there had been a mistake, or if these were the colours that Rolex had originally intended? The red seemed more like purple. And the blue, a bright violet? In a photo we tracked down by @swisswatchonist the riddle looks to be solved. When the Swiss movement copy Rolex Ref. 126710 BLRO was first released, Rolex may have used the bezels (known as MK1) from the first ever Cerachrom Pepsi bezel from the white gold GMT Master-II Ref. 116719 BLRO, before tweaking the ceramic composite mix to create the darker, more saturated and infinitely less bright MK2 bezels that we see today. You can see the most recent steel 126710 models side by side in our video below. Interestingly in a post on the Rolex Forums however, the MK1 bezels actually look to be a lot closer to the colours of the previous generation of Pepsi in the Ref. 16710, both in their shade and how bright they are. Regardless of what the exact reason behind the differences in colour, the blue and red bezel copy Rolex GMT-Master II Ref. 126710 BLRO is a watch with a lot of history and a lot of hype behind it, so make sure you check out the review to see if it lives up to all the love that it gets.
The Italian strap atelier’s first vintage car seat leather strap also came from a Porsche. It was a much younger and a different car than the 356, namely the Porsche 928. GLC produced 30 pieces of the 928 strap that also came with perforated rally-style holes. Just two years later, the company struck again. This time the designers worked with another iconic german car, the Mercedes-Benz 190 SL — a vintage classic.
Thirty pieces again in a bright red color. Finally, we arrive in 2021. Another two years have passed, and in true GLC Straps fashion, a third limited series is here, but this time in a much higher number. We have two styles of straps and 80 pieces each for €90. Whether that’s expensive or not is a subjective matter. I’d say it’s a fair price for what you are getting.
The Porsche’s seat was covered with black leather. Consequently, the GLC Porsche 356 Racing comes in a deep black color. While the surface has a minimal pattern when on the wrist, this is barely visible. The overall design resembles those vintage rally-style corfam straps you could see on Omega or Heuer chronographs from the 70s. As far as the measurements go, we have the classic 20/16mm lug end/buckle end size with a 75/120mm overall strap length.
At 3.2mm, the strap is not unusually thick; another trademark GLC took from the vintage counterparts. I love the overall size and thickness; it makes it easy to put the GLC Porsche 356 strap on pretty much any 20mm watch regardless of the lug length. The strap is soft and flexible due to the leather’s characteristics, with no need for an additional break-in period. GLC offers the Racing in 19-20mm with a steel or gold buckle.
OK, this was a tough challenge and an ugly battle predictably ensued. Essentially, we scoured the vaults of Bob’s Watches and found some of the best fake Rolex GMT-Master options around. But which is the ultimate winner? From classic Coke to the freshness of the Pepsi’s iconic red and blue bezel, we’ll admit that tempers ran hot on this one as the Time+Tide team fought it out. Luke Benedictus’ choice: The cerachrom bezel Batman, ref. 126710
There’s one overwhelming reason that I’m rooting for the Caped Crusader here. Obviously, it’s got everything to do with the bi-colour bezel and, more specifically, the intersection where the two colours meet. Because, frankly, there’s some weird voodoo shit going on here. The two colours don’t actually blend together, but you have to really stare to see the dividing line where black hits blue. Like the horizon of the ocean, I can gaze at this for hours. Team Batman all the way. Price: $15,995 USD, available at Bob’s Rolex ref. 126710 replica watch with black and blue bezel. Nick Kenyon’s choice: The classic Coke ref. 16710
Don’t get me wrong. I love the classics. If it’s Vivaldi or Miles Davis, Oscar Wilde or Ernest Hemingway, Breguet or Dufour, the classics are enduringly brilliant because they can stand the test of time. But there’s also a part of me that is an enthusiastic contrarian. I love quartz watches from Japan, mostly because they are fantastic replica watches, but also because I think they’re generally underappreciated. And that’s exactly why I love the stainless steel case copy Rolex GMT-Master II ref. 16760, more fondly known as the “Coke”. While most vintage Rolex fans passionately argue that the “Pepsi” is one of the best watches in the game (and it is), there’s something about the comparative ugly-duckling with the black and red bezel that I just love. It was the first GMT-Master II reference ever made and it was also the first to feature the now iconic cyclops date magnifier. No Rolex Pepsi can claim those prizes. Plus, if anyone tells you that Pepsi tastes better than Coke, they’re either lying or … Actually no, they’re just lying. Price: $10,995 US, available at Bob’s Luxury Replica Watches.