Rolex GMT-Master II 126711 Root Beer -The Rebirth of an Icon
The combination of gold and steel on a Rolex watch is something that has existed from Rolex for a long time. In fact, Rolex introduced two-tone as well as its own name for the combination (Rolesor) in the 1930s. And while full steel or full gold have been the best options in most people’s eyes, two-tone has gotten very trendy and in-fashion in recent times.
A two-tone watch is upscale from a full steel watch, but far from as flashy as a full gold watch. And this is something that a lot of people appreciate today if you look at where the market is going. Two-tone certainly is “in-fashion” right now. At Baselworld 2018, Rolex introduced the GMT-Master II 126711CHNR ”Root beer”. This watch is not just any watch, but for collectors and enthusiasts alike, it is so much more than that.
The original Rolex root beer is the GMT-Master 16753 which was first released in around 1963. Now, this watch is by no means identical to the modern interpretation of the Root beer, however, there is still a historical connection that we will look closer at further on.
Rolex GMT-Master II 126711CHNR root beer
The 2018 Rolex GMT-Master II 126711CHNR is certainly not your ordinary monochrome Rolex watch.
The watch is made of Rolesor – the combination of gold and steel. However, rather than the most common yellow gold, this watch uses Everose gold.
What is most noticeable about this watch is, of course, the bi-color bezel, with half made in brown and the other half in black.
Now, before we go into the specifications of the 126711CHNR, let’s go back to the very beginning.
As mentioned, in 1963, Rolex released a GMT-Master featuring a brown sunburst dial and a bi-color bezel with one half made in brown and the other half in a yellow/goldish color.
This watch came to be referred to as the ”Root beer” by collectors because of its color scheme.
In 2018, Rolex released the watch we are focusing on in this article, which was instantly acquired the same nickname due to its resemblance to the original model. Now, there are a lot of people who argue that they are not very similar, and there is some truth to that. The original root beer has a brown dial, whereas the new reference 126711CHNR has a black ceramic dial.
Furthermore, the original root beer had a bezel which was made in two colors, as mentioned above. The modern interpretation only has half of the bezel made in brown and the other half in black. However, due to the iconic status of the root beer amongst collectors, the 126711CHNR has been a well-received watch that reminds us of a model that has almost been forgotten in favor of the ”Pepsi” GMT in particular.
Something I have to say is that Rolex did a great job in creating unity in this watch. The Everose two-tone matches perfectly with the brown bi-colored bezel, which wouldn’t have matched as well with yellow gold. Furthermore, the use of Everose gold also ensures the watch stays a bit more true to the original.
The original root beer and the modern root beer Rolex are in no way identical to each other, but you can still see the resemblance. Not to mention the fact that it’s the same model (except for the fact that the original is a GMT-Master and the new is a GMT-Master II). This is why today, some people consider it wrong to call the ceramic 126711CHNR for ”Root beer”.
Focusing on the 126711CHNR Root Beer, this has quickly become an incredibly popular watch. It features a bidirectional rotating bezel made with a ceramic bezel. The numerals on the bezel are painted in the same color as the Everose gold on the case and bracelet, which matches perfectly. To further build on the theme of brown/rose gold, the ”GMT-Master print on the dial has been made in a matching color. What is really interesting is that Rolex has decided not to make all the dial printing in gilt as the original has.
This means the second markers, logo, and all text except for ”GMT-Master II” are printed in white. One reason could be legibility. But at the same time, the original had a brown dial and brown/gilt printing. The 126711CHNR has a black dial at least, which contrasts better.
In traditional Rolex fashion, the hour markers and hands are made in 18K gold. In this case, Everose gold. This goes together really well with the rest of the watch.
The Rolex GMT-Master II 126711CHNR root beer is equipped with the caliber 3285. This movement features Rolex’s Chronergy escapement which has an improved geometry over the traditional Swiss lever, offering better efficiency (the power reserve gets a bump to 70 hours, over the 48-hour power reserve of its predecessor, the caliber 3186). The movement also has a Parachrom balance spring – a niobium alloy spiral that offers better protection than standard Nivarox-type balance springs, against magnetism.
The bezel is, of course, the most important part about this model, due to the fact that it is the part that reminds us the most about the original root beer.
The bezel is colored in two colors so that you are able to keep track of night and day in the second timezone on the 12-hour bezel. Black is night, and brown is the day. The ceramic inlay as you know, as virtually scratch-proof, unlike the original which was made in aluminum.
Unlike the original, the fact that the bezel has been made in ceramic changes everything. An aluminum bezel tends to remain quite flat in color, however, the ceramic Root Beer bezel can change dramatically depending on how the light hits it. In some conditions, the bezel can look completely black, whereas, in other lights, the color can turn into a goldfish, bright brown color. This is something that really adds to the charm of the Root Beer.
The Rolex 126711chnr Root Beer features the ”maxi case”. On paper, this case is 40mm, just like the previous generation (and the original root beer), however, they appear completely different.
The reason is that the lugs have been made thicker and the crown guards have been made bulkier. So while the diameter on paper has remained the same, the original root beer and the new interpretation wear completely differently. If you like neat and slim cases, then the old original (five-digit reference number instead of six) is probably the better option for you. However, if you like to feel that you have something on your wrist – something robust and reliable, the 126711CHNR Root beer certainly won’t let you down. The bulky and robust case gives a great feeling of quality – equally so the bracelet.
The bracelet is an Oyster bracelet made in two-tone, with the middle links made in Rose gold. The clasp features an Easylink system but not the Glidelock clasp that a lot of people have come to love. But still, the Easylink adjustment system gives you 5mm of leeway to quickly adjust the fit.
The Rolex 126711CHNR ”Root beer” is not in any way identical to the original Rolex root beer. The case is different, the dial color is different, and the bezel color is different. However, what is a small nod to the iconic and almost legendary model is the use of Everose gold, combined with a brown touch. Rolex is a company that does not make ”Heritage” models or ”Reissues” – at least not officially, and therefore, a small nod to what has previously been is more Rolex’s style. Everyone knows that Rolex makes this as a nod to the root beer, but no one explicitly says so – especially not Rolex. They simply wink to their customers in an ”agreeing” type of way.
Looking at the waiting lists at official retailers for this model, the Rolex root beer 126711CHNR is a huge success. And this doesn’t come as a surprise exactly. Sure, the watch is not for everyone, but most people will say that it is visually beautiful. Plus, just like all Rolex’s sports watches in 40mm, they are just easy to wear, and will never let you down.