03 Sep Battle of the Pepsi Impression : Tudor GMT And Rolex GMT
One of the wishes often heard amongst collectors was the Pepsi GMT-Master. Although this model was introduced 4 years ago already, being available in white gold only kept it out of reach for many. This week their wishes became more realistic with the introduction of the new stainless steel Rolex GMT-Master II with ceramic Pepsi bezel. At the same time Tudor presented their first GMT Pepsi in the Black Bay line. Let’s have a closer look at both.
One of many Tudor releases from this year’s Baselworld, the BB GMT on the surface offers an incredibly well built, in-house GMT watch from an increasingly reputable brand at a very accessible price point.
It was released at the same time as another steel, Pepsi bezeled GMT (ahem, Rolex) where the price starts well over double the Tudor and the second-hand prices are selling for even double that; Tudor’s offering on the surface looks like a fantastic option. However, after spending some hands-on time with the watch, is it really as good as it looks on paper? Are stats everything?
With various changes from the current GMT master with reference 116710 the new Rolex GMT-Master Pepsi comes with the new reference 126710. Available only with a super jubilee bracelet with a folding clasp. For this model the case design has been changed which means that at this moment there is no option for an Oyster bracelet. This new reference also comes with he new-generation 3285 movement. Certified as a Swiss Chronometer it passed the Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute (COSC) tests. It also comes with a power reserve of approximately 70 hours.
Where the bezel of the white gold GMT-Master was criticised for the purple-ish colour of the blue you will find the same on the steel version. So for many this is the watch they have been waiting for. List price for the Rolex GMT-Master II will be around USD 20k which is on par with the other sport models. However their will be another problem as Rolex sport models aren’t exactly known for their availability as you will not find any on display at the dealers.
At the same time Tudor introduced their first Black Bay GMT version, extending their successful heritage line further. They found the inspiration for the GMT based on the red and blue Black Bay heritage models . The Pepsi bezel uses those combined colours for the bezel which gives it a bit of a vintage feeling. Furthermore it comes with a new Tudor movement MT5652 which also has a power reserve of 70 hours.
An appreciated return to this new Black Bay is Tudor’s almost signature anodised aluminium bezel insert. This bezel has such a warm, soft look to it which expertly allows the BB GMT to stay true to not just the watches tool watch DNA, but also Tudor as a brand. This understated matte finish allows the bezel to shift in colour tones from royal blue and dark metallic red to an almost black and deep burgundy colour. After unboxing the BB GMT, I instantly felt the bezel reminded me of those stunning Bakelite Rolex GMT Masters from the 50’s, not a bad thing at all.
Unlike the Rolex the Tudor GMT is available with different straps or a metal bracelet. Being part of the Black Bay collection the GMT comes with the same case dimensions and snow flake hands. The same style has been used for the GMT hand which has a little extension in with luminous material. As you can expect the Tudor is priced friendlier starting at just over USD 5k at the moment of the launch.
The overall lasting impression of the Tudor Black Bay GMT M79830RB-0001 is a relatively positive one. Was Tudor pressured and possibly rushed by Rolex to release the GMT at the same time as their own to drive hype and interest up on their own model and at the same time also increase Tudor sales? Who knows. Putting personal preferences aside, it’s pretty clear Tudor have done it again. Another release that punches well above its weight.
Where the Rolex GMT-Master was speculated for a long time, the Tudor GMT was quite a surprise although it makes a logical step. Also it was first that mother company was actually mentioned in the press presentation. As with other Rolex sport watches everything is done in perfection although it can be a disappointment that you no control over the look of your own watch. Having had several GMT-Master watches in the past myself I loved the versatility of this model. With a selection of multiple bezels and bracelets you could transform your watch into something different easily.
Perhaps I have to get used to the new Black Bay GMT to appreciate it more but the case is rather thick. Older Rolex GMT-Master watches would have a slightly slimmer case compared to the divers which is something I always enjoyed. Having the minute track and lack of crown guards a thinner case would have been a great addition to the vintage look and feel of this model. Nonetheless this GMT fist great in the heritage collection of Tudor and from the many responses so far this model already has many fans, just like the new steel Rolex GMT Pepsi.