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Iconic Bezels Review: Rolex GMT-Master II Coke Vs. Batman

Published on
Comparison
rolex coke vs rolex batman

Introduced in the late ’80s, Rolex “Coke” quickly garnered acclaim for its unique color scheme and functionality, symbolizing adventure and travel. Its aluminum bezel and Tritium lume speak volumes of the era’s design sensibilities, making it a sought-after piece for collectors who value the patina of history. 

On the flip side, “Rolex Batman“, debuting in 2013, brought a new chapter to the GMT-Master II lineage, showcasing advancements like the Super-Luminova and the robust Caliber 3186 movement, reflecting Rolex’s commitment to precision and durability.

Both watches stand as monuments to Rolex’s legacy of excellence and innovation in the world of luxury timekeeping. Join us in this detailed exploration as we compare these two iconic bezels, dissecting their features, values, and specifications. 

Comparison Table: At a Glance

The comparison table below highlights some of the main features of the Rolex Coke and Batman timepieces:

FeatureRolex GMT-Master II ‘Coke’Rolex GMT-Master II ‘Batman’
Introduction Year19892013
Design EraNostalgic design with a black and red bezelModern classic with a blue and black Cerachrom bezel
Bezel MaterialAluminumCerachrom
LumeTritium (1989-1997), LumiNova (1998), SuperLumiNova (2000 onwards)Super-LumiNova
MovementCaliber 3185Caliber 3186
Power ReserveApproximately 50 hoursApproximately 48 hours
Case MaterialStainless steel (Oystersteel)Stainless steel (Oystersteel)
Hour Markers and Hands SizeSlightly smaller compared to the BatmanLarger, more prominent for better legibility
Bezel FunctionalityBidirectional rotating bezelBidirectional rotating bezel with 24-hour graduated Cerachrom insert
Water Resistance100 meters100 meters
Bracelet OptionsOyster or JubileeOyster or Jubilee
Special FeaturesDistinctive “Coke” color scheme – Aluminum bezel susceptible to aging adds characterResistant to scratches and UV rays – Modern materials and design
Market AvailabilityDiscontinued, available in pre-owned marketContinues to be produced, available new and pre-owned
CollectibilityHigh due to its discontinued status and unique designHigh, modern classic with strong demand among collectors
Investment PotentialPotentially high due to rarity and demand among collectors. According to Chrono24, it sells for at least S$16,158Good, maintains strong popularity and demand, with positive price trajectory. WatchCharts indicates the ref. 116710BLNR has a retail price of S$12,522

Key insights: Choosing between the Rolex “Coke” and “Batman” depends on personal taste: the “Coke” appeals to vintage lovers with its classic red and black bezel, while the “Batman” suits those preferring modern aesthetics with its sleek black and blue bezel. Both embody Rolex’s unmatched craftsmanship and iconic design.

Brief History 

The Rolex GMT-Master II “Coke” has a story that’s as vibrant as its iconic red and black bezel. Born out of the golden age of aviation in 1989, it was originally designed for the skies. Pilots were flying longer distances, crossing multiple time zones, and they needed a watch that could keep up. Enter Rolex, with a solution as elegant as it was practical.

rolex GMT-Master II Fat lady 16760
Rolex GMT-Master II Fat lady 16760

It was an improvement of its predecessor, the ‘Fat Lady’, which had a thick, curvy case. It sported a slimmer 40mm steel case with smaller hands and hour markers for a more refined look. Additionally, it was easy to use considering the red hue of its dial marked day hours while the dark color symbolized nighttime.

Most modern watch enthusiasts wear the Rolex GMT Master II Coke for all types of adventures, not just airborne ones. Its rugged design and impressive water resistance make it a reliable everyday companion.

Over to the Rolex Batman, it was produced in 2013- an era when Rolex made major changes in its design philosophy. One of them is using Cerachrom for the bezel insert rather than aluminum for a scratch and rust-free piece.

It was a watch with the first two-color bezel in Cerachrom. This was a significant technical achievement because creating a single piece of ceramic in two distinct colors was a complex process. 

The black and blue bezel was not only aesthetically striking but also served a practical purpose, allowing travelers to distinguish between day and night hours in a second time zone.

Design and Aesthetics

The ‘Coke’ has a red and black bezel, reminiscent of the Coca-Cola color scheme, offering a vintage and adventurous vibe. It appeals to enthusiasts who value historical significance and classic style. The ‘Batman’, with its black and blue bezel, reflects a modern aura, reflecting the allure of its namesake superhero.

The Rolex Batman GMT’s blue and black bezel is made of Rolex’s patented Cerachrom material, which resists scratches and UV rays. Cerachrom ceramic was first used in GMT-Master II timepieces in 2005 and marked a crucial milestone in Rolex’s innovation.

In contrast, the Rolex Coke GMT features an aluminum bezel, offering a bold and energetic aesthetic.

Rolex may have stopped using aluminum on the bezel due to the material’s susceptibility to rust, but it gives the classic color combo a visually striking appearance when it ages with time. This is one of the features that make the Rolex Coke highly sought after among most watch collectors today.

Both of these luxury watches have Oystersteel cases, but their distinctive bezels give each a unique visual identity.

Technical Specifications

Caliber 3185 vs 3186

The Rolex Coke is powered by the self-winding Caliber 3185 movement which has a bidirectional rotor, 31 jewels, a 50-hour power reserve, and a 28,800vph frequency.

The Rolex Batman has the powerful Caliber 3186 under its hood, also with 31 jewels, a 50-hour power reserve, and beating at an equally impressive 28,800vph frequency. 

The difference is that this new movement is a certified Swiss chronometer- meaning it has met COSC’s high accuracy standards. Additionally, it has a blue Parachrom hairspring for better magnetic, temperature variation, and shock resistance.

The watches also include luminescent hour markers and hands, ensuring legibility in low light. 

While the Rolex Coke was treated to Tritium lume (from 1989-1997, LumiNova in 1998, and finally SuperLumiNova in 2000), the Rolex Batman boasts the more contemporary SuperLumiNova that boasts a longer life, better glow, and higher safety standards.

Water resistance for each model is rated at 100 meters, suitable for professional marine activity and serious surface water sports.

Wearability and Comfort

rolex jubilee bracelet and oyster bracelet

Each model comes with the comfortable Oyster bracelet or Jubilee bracelet, providing flexibility for users’ preferences.

The Oyster is the sportier of the two, sporting a three-link design with a wide and flat profile and a rugged Oysterlock folding clasp that ensures security around the wrist. 

On the other hand, the Jubilee bracelet is more elegant and dressier, flaunting a distinctive five-piece link design, consisting of three smaller central links flanked by two larger outer links. It first stepped into the scene in 1945 to celebrate Rolex’s 40th anniversary- adequately named Rolex Jubilee at first.

The Jubilee Bracelet’s Clasp and More About It

jubilee bracelets clasp

It comes with an Oysterclasp with an Easylink comfort extension link that offers quick adjustment for optimal fit. The comfort extension link is a practical feature developed by Rolex to enhance the comfort of wearing their watches. 

It allows the wearer to quickly and easily adjust the length of the bracelet by approximately 5mm without the need for any tools. This adjustment can be particularly useful in situations where the wrist size might change slightly due to temperature variations or physical activity, ensuring a comfortable fit throughout the day.

The bracelets and clasps reflect Rolex’s focus on wearability and adaptability to various wrist sizes and lifestyles.

Collectibility and Value

The Rolex Batman originally appeared in 2013 and has seen significant attention from collectors due to its contemporary design. The association with the Batman nickname adds an element of pop culture appeal, which can enhance the watch’s desirability and collectibility.

As per Chrono24, the ref. 116710BLNR’s price had increased between 2018 and May 2022- rising from S$12,118 on the open market to approximately S$29,622. It further indicates that the ref. 126710BLNR had a price tag of S$14,138 in 2019, which increased to S$25,987 in May 2023.

The Rolex Coke’s heritage, dating back to its first appearance in the 1980s, contributes to its nostalgic appeal. It’s discontinued and is only available in the pre-owned market, raising its appeal higher among watch collectors. It can fetch a higher profit if sold in mint condition.

According to Chrono24, its price rose by approximately 20 percent between 2018 and 2020. While a pre-owned piece sells for at least S$16,158, the site says that a new piece goes for approximately S$23,563.

Market demand for both models remains high, impacting their collectibility and resale value. 

Rolex has a reputation for limiting the production of certain models, which can create scarcity in the market. This scarcity, combined with high demand, can drive up the collectibility and value of both timepieces.

FAQ

1. Is the Rolex Coke discontinued?

Yes, the Rolex Coke, known for its striking black and red bezel, had been discontinued in 2007. It was part of the Rolex GMT-Master II collection but is no longer in production, making it a sought-after model among collectors.

2. What is the difference between Rolex Pepsi and Batman?

The main difference between the Rolex Pepsi and the Rolex Batman lies in their bezel colors and the era of their production. The Rolex Pepsi features a red and blue bezel, while the Rolex Batman has a blue and black ceramic bezel. 

Additionally, the cutting-edge materials used for the bezel have evolved, with newer Rolex GMT Master II watches utilizing Cerachrom inserts.

3. Is GMT Coke a good investment?

The GMT Coke can be a good investment due to its discontinued status, which often enhances a watch’s rarity and demand among collectors. However, investment potential can vary greatly based on condition, rarity, and market trends.

As per Chrono24, it has a higher price tag than its predecessor the Fat Lady ref. 16760, with a used Coke model going for about S$16,158.

4. Is the Rolex Batman a good investment?

The Rolex Batman might also be considered a good investment as it has maintained strong popularity and demand within the luxury watch market. It is known for its distinctive two-tone bezel and has had a positive price trajectory in recent years.

For example, WatchBase indicates its price has increased continuously between 2019 and 2024. It started with S$12,385 on March 20, 2019, and rose to S$13,326 on January 4, 2020, S$14,775 on January 20, 2022, S$15,789 on January 10, 2023, and finally S$16,440 on January 1, 2024.

Final Word

The Rolex Coke and Batman are unique in their own right. While the Coke boasts a red and black aluminum bezel, the Batman flaunts a blue and black Cerachrom bezel. Additionally, the Coke isn’t easily available since it’s no longer in production. Finally, although both watches have an admirable market perception, the Coke has a slightly higher edge over the Batman due to its discontinued status. 

Key Takeaways

  • Design and Historical Value: The “Coke” appeals to those who value vintage charm and historical significance, offering a nostalgic black and red bezel. The “Batman” suits modern preferences, featuring a contemporary blue and black Cerachrom bezel.
  • Durability and Material Innovation: The “Batman” features advanced Cerachrom for superior durability and UV resistance, ideal for longevity enthusiasts. The “Coke,” with its aluminum bezel, offers vintage appeal but less scratch resistance.
  • Collectibility and Investment Potential: The “Coke” is highly collectible due to its rarity and discontinued status, possibly offering better investment returns. The “Batman” is valued for its modern classic appeal and solid market presence, appealing to those seeking contemporary Rolex models with strong demand.

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