High Altitude: Is the Rolex GMT Master a Good Investment?

High Altitude: Is the Rolex GMT Master a Good Investment?

The Rolex GMT Master is one of the most popular and sought-after watch models in history. Discover why it's a good investment, learn about market values, and find out which models tend to appreciate the most.

High Altitude: Is the Rolex GMT Master a Good Investment?
Guy Ovadia

ByGuy Ovadia

Updated Dec 25, 2022

MoneyMade

ByMoneyMade

Updated Dec 25, 2022

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  • Rolex GMT Master watches are some of the most popular and expensive watches in the world, going upwards of $10K.
  • There are many different versions and models of the Rolex GMT Master, each with its own unique features and price tag.
  • You can invest in a Rolex GMT Master II Pepsi on Rally for less than $15.

The Rolex GMT Master is one of the most sought-after watch collections in history, with many collectors clamoring for one. This makes it an attractive asset class for those looking to diversify their portfolios with a tangible asset—or bling out their wardrobe.

If you're looking to invest in a Rolex GMT-Master, you can expect to pay anywhere between $5,000 and $500,000, with a median asking price of around $20,000. It’s also important to consider the various models available.

GMT Master watches are a great choice for buyers who want to invest in something that's timeless and has the potential to return a healthy profit in the long term.

Many collectors prefer the "Pepsi" bezel model or the classic two-tone design, but there are several other options on the market as well. It’s important to understand which models are more likely to appreciate in value over time and which may not retain their value as well.

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Investing in a Rolex GMT Master watch can be an exciting and potentially lucrative endeavor for those with an eye for quality. With some research and due diligence, you can add one of these iconic watches to your portfolio.

Why is the Rolex GMT Master so popular?

The Rolex GMT Master is a timeless piece of traditional engineering and design excellence. It was first released in the early 1950s for pilots to keep track of different time zones, and it quickly gained popularity far and wide. For decades, Rolex has continued to make iterations of the GMT Master that have only increased its status as a worldwide icon.

And with its proven track record of standing the test of time, it's no surprise that many wealthy celebrities own GMT Masters—from athletes like Michael Jordan to business tycoons like Bill Gates.

NBA star Michael Jordan wearing a yellow gold Rolex GMT Master II (116758-SANR). This watch usually costs up to $170,000, but Jordan's is encrusted with diamonds.
Source: wristenthusiast.com

The GMT Master's historical association with Pan Am also adds to its collectability and keeps demand high. The watch was originally designed for pilots flying across multiple time zones in the 1950s, so its rich history is steeped in aviation lore. As such, GMT Masters have become associated with adventure and desirable pieces—the Swiss watchmaker commands a high market share worldwide.

Of course, other beloved popular versions include the Batman (with black on blue), Root Beer (brown), and Pepsi (red on blue) color schemes. With prices ranging from $9,500 to $35,000 and above depending on the choice of materials or development year, Rolex timepieces are truly timeless gifts for those who want to make an everlasting statement about their status in life.

In this article, we look at what makes the GMT Master an attractive investment and whether it's likely to hold its value over time. So, if you're thinking about picking up a GMT Master, read on.

Is the Rolex GMT Master II a good investment?

The GMT Master II is a great choice for those looking to invest in a luxury watch. With its timeless design and highly functional features, the GMT Master II will surely increase in value over time and remain a favorite among luxury watch aficionados for years to come.

The GMT Master II was first introduced in the mid-1980s and has since become an iconic watch. It features an instantly recognizable two-tone bi-directional bezel (replacing the original bakelite bezel with a more durable material), a scratch-resistant ceramic bezel starting in 2005, and a sapphire crystal for added protection.

The latest models, the GMT Master II blue and black bezel (references 116710BLNR and 126710BLNR), now feature an Oyster bracelet for added style and comfort. The GMT Master II is also available in a variety of colors, such as the popular "Pepsi" or "Spiderman" (red and blue bezel), "Coke" (red and black bezel), and root beer (stainless steel and brown bezel).

Not only is the GMT Master II a great investment, but it is also a highly functional watch with various features and functions, such as a 24-hour GMT hand, a quickset date function, and a variety of bracelet options.

How have watches performed as an investment asset?

The Timepeaks Luxury Watch Index reveals that wristwatches have grown steadily in the past year, with an impressive 21.6% return in value. Over the last 5 years, returns on these timepieces have even been more remarkable, surpassing 43.2% in 2022.

The current market value of the GMT Master II ranges from $9,000 to $24,500, depending on the model, whether it's new or used, and its condition. For example, the Rolex GMT Master II 126710BLNR "Batman" (blue and black) can cost as much as $14,500 when purchased new. On the other hand, a vintage Rolex GMT Master II (reference 16710) can cost as little as $5,000 when purchased used and in middling condition.

Rolex GMT Master II and GMT Master Pepsi are particularly good examples of eye-catching models whose appreciation is both near-certain and highly attractive to investors. Buyers love them, and that demand strengthens their resale value. With their sharp looks and reliable accuracy, these models offer a rare combination of style and substance that rivals any artwork or special collection found in any portfolio.

Is the GMT Master a good investment?

If you're looking for a good investment, then the GMT Master is worth considering. Not only do these watches hold their value well over time, Timepeaks index even shows that certain models, such as the GMT Master Pepsi, are consistently among the top 10 best-selling models purchased in pre-owned markets. And if all that wasn't enough to convince you, even Kevin O'Leary has invested in this Rolex model.

With its quality construction and timeless design, a GMT Master can offer a secure return on investment while also giving you something to show off on your wrist. And with Rally, you don't have to break the bank to get your hands on a piece of Rolex history. Signing up is free, and their secondary marketplace lets you sell whenever possible.

Rally is the best way to invest in collectible assets like classic cars, comic books, and rare documents. Their experts have sourced some of the world's most noteworthy items that they expect to appreciate in value over time.  And now, you can use Rally to invest in the Rolex GMT Master II Pepsi, one of the most sought-after watches on the market, for less than $15 a share.

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Most expensive Rolex GMT Master Watches

#

Watch

Price

1

The Rolex GMT Master II Ice

$450,000+

2

Rolex GMT-Master II, yellow gold, reference 116758-SANR

$170,000

3

Rolex GMT Master II Pepsi Patriot

$100,000

4

Vintage GMT-Master reference 6542

$40,000+

5

Vintage GMT-Master reference 1675

$14,000+

Is Rolex GMT Master II a good watch?

The Rolex GMT Master II is an iconic timepiece that has been popular since the introduction of its predecessor in 1954. It was designed as a tool watch for airline pilots who needed to keep track of multiple time zones, but it has since evolved into a status symbol.

How does the GMT Master II work?

The GMT Master is arguably the most functional timepiece offered by Rolex because it enables you to track more than one time zone. The GMT Master's bidirectional bezel and 24-hour hand made it easy to track a second time zone. The independent hour hand of the GMT Master II made it capable of tracking a third time zone since you could set it without moving the 24-hour hand.

Source: YouTube.com

Most popular GMT Master II

The most popular version is the "Pepsi" bezel which features a classic red and blue colorway. The original model (reference 16710) was produced from 1989 to 2007. It featured a Jubilee bracelet with an Oysterlock clasp. In 2018, Rolex released a modernized version of the "Pepsi" GMT (reference 126710BLRO). This version featured a blue or meteorite dial and was highly sought after.

Most expensive GMT Master II

In 2009, Rolex released the "Pepsi Patriot" (reference 116759) featuring a white gold case and a red-and-blue bezel encrusted with diamonds, rubies, and sapphires. An updated version of the Pepsi Patriot released by Rolex in 2019 (reference 116759SARU) goes for upwards of $100,000.

Rolex GMT Master II "Pepsi Patriot" reference 116759SARU.
Source: govbergwatches.com

However, the most expensive and sought-after Rolex watches of all time is the GMT Master II Ice (reference 116769TBR).

This stunning timepiece is a true work of art, combining 18 carat white gold, 79 round diamonds, and a beautiful baguette-cut diamond bezel. The watch also features a black GMT 24-hour hand, a date at 3 o’clock, and a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal. Inside the waterproof case is the caliber 3186 self-winding automatic movement with 31 jewels. It's finished with a matching 18-carat white gold Oyster bracelet also covered in diamonds.

In addition to its aesthetics, the Rolex GMT Master II Ice is also an incredible investment. The retail price of the watch when it was first released was $485,350, making it one of the most expensive watches ever produced by Rolex. The price of this watch has only increased over the years, making it an excellent investment watch.

Rolex GMT Master II "Ice" reference 116769TBR.
Source: govbergwatches.com

The appreciation of the watch has been extraordinary, with some models selling for hundreds of thousands of dollars more than what they were originally purchased for. This makes the Rolex GMT Master II Ice one of the most coveted and expensive investments you can make in the watch world.

Other GMT Master II watches

The red and black bezel version of the GMT master II was the "Fat Lady" (reference 16760), which was produced from 1983 to 1989. This version was slightly larger than the original GMT Master and featured a bezel in Coke, black, or Pepsi colors. Another popular version of the GMT Master II is the "Sprite," which features a black and green ceramic bezel and a left-handed crown, and a date at the 9 o'clock position. This version was released in 2007 and was produced until 2019.

Rolex GMT Master II "Sprite" left-handed watch.
Source: xancojewellers.com

The GMT Master II also has a version known as the Lunette Noire (reference 116710LN), which was the first version to feature a black ceramic bezel. This all-black version was released in 2007 and was produced until 2019. It featured an Oyster bracelet and a green GMT hand that made it stand out from the red 24-hour hand of other GMT Master models.

Chart tracking Rolex GMT Master II Lunette Noire price from August 2017 to October 2021.
Source: chrono24.com

The Rolex GMT Master II has come in many versions, colors, and sizes over the years and is a favorite among watch enthusiasts. Whether you're looking for something to complement your wrist or your portfolio, there is a GMT Master II for everyone.

How much can I sell a Rolex GMT Master for?

The GMT Master II is a reliable investment, with prices on the secondary market steadily climbing as its popularity continues to grow. Certified Pre-Owned Rolex GMT Master II watches retail from about $8,500 to $25,000 and growing. Prices can go higher depending on the specific reference, case material, and rare features.

To pay tribute to its historical importance, Rolex released two commemorative editions of the Rolex GMT Master II, the BLNR, and Pepsi. Dubbed the “Batman” and the “Pepsi” due to their blue and red bezels, respectively, these two versions of the GMT Master II are currently the most sought-after, being in high demand and, sadly, limited supply.

Rolex GMT Master II “Batman.”
Source: rolex.com

The popularity of Rolex GMT Master watches means they're likely to hold their value over time, making them excellent investments. Coupled with the advantage of being able to change the local time without affecting the 24-hour GMT hand, it’s easy to see why the GMT Master II continually tops the wish lists of savvy collectors.

Should you invest in the Rolex GMT Master II?

If you’re on the hunt for a reliable investment, it’s hard to go wrong with the Rolex GMT Master II. Since its inception in 1983, the GMT Master II has risen in popularity, and with that, its value has risen, too.

When finding a Rolex GMT Master watch to invest in, it’s important to pay attention to details like its condition and age since these factors ultimately determine its value. It’s also important to make sure that you're purchasing an authentic model and not one of the many counterfeit watches out on the market. Researching the original retail price and comparing it against current market values is a great way to gauge the potential of your investment.

Overall, GMT Master watches are a great choice for buyers who want to invest in something that's timeless and has the potential to return a healthy profit in the long term. With its prestige, quality materials, and chronometer certification status, GMT Masters offer investors an opportunity to remain connected with the past while staying fashionable in the present.

If you have a GMT Master watch to sell, timing is key if you aim to get a good return on your investment. Where you decide to list the watch for sale can make an impact. Authorized dealers are often preferred because their authenticity checks guarantee buyers that the product is genuine, plus may include a box and certificate. Additionally, the condition of the watch plays a crucial role in determining how much money it will fetch—with this in mind, it's worth conducting research and valuing the item accordingly. When done correctly, your GMT Master could bring in a tidy sum.

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