You are currently viewing Hands-On: Southpaw Rolex: The Left-Handed GMT Gets It Right

Hands-On: Southpaw Rolex: The Left-Handed GMT Gets It Right

When a brand new watch comes out, I attempt to reserve judgment. First impressions are positive and good, and essential to do what I do for a residing – and, hey, as soon as you have held a watch in your individual two arms you’ll be able to go nuts together with your opinions – however I do not love how everyone seems to be both in camp it is superb or camp it is lame earlier than they even see the factor in individual.

Rolex GMT-Master II ref. 126720VTNR

So I attempted to keep away from the partisan method after I first encountered essentially the most talked-about new launch at Watches and Wonders, the green-and-black Rolex GMT-Grasp II ref. 126720VTNR, with the crown and date on the left-hand facet. I did lastly come to a conclusion by the point I left the Rolex convention room, and I will share it right here, however first I will stroll you thru how I arrived at a verdict.

A Peek Behind The Curtain

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If you learn a commerce present Palms-On story, you are often studying a finely distilled product. Hardly ever do we provide any perception as to what it is like within the precise conferences the place we spend time with watches. And typically the expertise of interacting with the model is simply as fascinating because the product.

Rolex GMT-Master II ref. 126720VTNR

An appointment with Rolex to see their new watches is just like that at another model, aside from one factor: Each element is buttoned-up. Commerce reveals are typically chaotic, however Rolex engineers the entire chaos out of the expertise. You might be seated at an extended desk. Given water, nonetheless or glowing. After which walked by way of a formalized presentation about every new piece.

Rolex GMT-Master II ref. 126720VTNR

In my case, two Rolex representatives from the U.S. Public Relations and Advertising departments led the presentation, and one Swiss product designer from HQ was on-hand to reply any technical questions. We mentioned every launch and the U.S. workforce shared some particulars, historical past, and information about updates to the watches. I sat again and simply noticed till the brand new GMT-Grasp II was handed round.

Trying on the watch, I might see a vibrant inexperienced on the GMT hand and the identical coloration on the bezel – the very same inexperienced as on the Submariner Date. From right here, I developed a unfastened concept about how Rolex landed on inexperienced for this launch.

Rolex GMT-Master II ref. 126720VTNR on wrist

The primary Submariner, with a Cerachrom bezel, debuted in 2008 – ref. 116619L, and it was blue. Then, later, the Submariner ref. 116610LN with a black bezel and the Submariner ref. 116610LV with a inexperienced bezel got here out in 2010. So you may have a trinity of ceramic bezels: Black, inexperienced, and blue.

Now let’s evaluate the development of the GMT-Grasp II fashions with cerachrom bezels. That is essentially the most detailed breakdown on the web. I will condense it right here.

Rolex GMT-Master II ref. 126720VTNR

In 2007, we noticed the primary all-black cerachrom bezel. In 2013 got here the primary inclusion of blue. Then blue-and-red and the “root beer” colorway adopted. So the place might Rolex go from there?

If the GMT-Grasp II adopted the Submariner’s coloration introduction sample, then heading into this yr the one coloration lacking from the lineup would’ve been inexperienced. The clues had been there all alongside. In hindsight that is all apparent.

Rolex GMT-Master II ref. 126720VTNR on wrist

However you understand what’s not apparent? The reasoning behind a left-handed configuration, with the crown on the left-hand facet of the case and the date aperture at 9 o’clock, as an alternative of at 3 o’clock like another GMT-Grasp II (or unique GMT-Grasp).

Rolex, Southpaws, And a Thriller

In Danny’s preliminary protection of the ref. 126720VTNR he notes that there is historic precedent with regards to left-handed fashions from the Rolex manufacturing unit:

Rolex GMT-Master II ref. 126720VTNR

Public sale followers will keep in mind that in 2018, throughout each its Geneva and Hong Kong auctions, Phillips did promote two probably distinctive Rolex GMT-Grasp ref. 6542 fashions – one within the basic Pepsi configuration, and one other in gold with a brown bezel (each with out crown guards). However it’s extremely seemingly that these had been commissioned items. Actually, the gold mannequin appears to have been an issued watch. These two classic lefties did technically set up a destro precedent (one additional bolstered by the existence of left-handed Cellini and Submariner fashions).

All these examples are predated by essentially the most well-known Rolex “destro” mannequin of all: The one made for Charlie Chaplin.

Rolex for lefties. I assume it is an actual factor now. 

I have to confess that after I was enjoying with the brand new destro GMT, I did not put on the watch on my proper hand. However I did fastidiously observe how a lot I observed the crown on the left-hand facet of the case whereas I used to be sporting it on my left hand, and the reply shouldn’t be a lot in any respect. I can confidently say that for those who put on your watch in your left hand, this might be a non-issue. The crown and crown protectors are stubby sufficient that it simply does not matter.

Rolex GMT-Master II ref. 126720VTNR

I also can share that I attempted utilizing my left hand to cycle by way of time zones off the wrist, and that did really feel unusual – each on a bodily degree and a psychological degree. If you happen to’re a righty, it is simply disorienting to set your watch southpaw. It is even stranger when you think about that this can be a watch meant for journey, and you will be using the jumping-hour characteristic typically for those who’re a highway warrior. Utilizing it typically additionally means you will merely get used to it.

If you happen to’re questioning what it looks like, borrow a buddy’s GMT-Grasp II (or attempt to discover a Rolex boutique that has not-for-sale pattern fashions; they’re increasing this apply within the U.S.) and flip the watch upside-down in your left wrist. I feel you will see that it does not make it any much less wearable.

Planting The Flag

I am a contemporary GMT-Grasp II fan. I’ve had one for 2 years and it is my on a regular basis watch. I preserve it on my wrist for the whole lot in need of working with moist concrete. I am not treasured with it. Why? As a result of that is how I used to be launched to the watch. Not by way of the trendy hype prepare, however by observing what was on the wrist of figures who pushed boundaries. In an early draft of an article titled The Worst Factor You Can Do To A Rolex GMT-Grasp II Is Put It In A Secure that I wrote for HODINKEE journal vol. 9, I expressed my views on the GMT-Grasp II:

Rolex GMT-Master II ref. 126720VTNR

The red-and-blue bezel of the GMT-Grasp and the GMT-Grasp II meant journey; it was tied to science, exploration, and aviation. Past Yeager, Scott Crossfield, the experimental take a look at pilot who flew the Bell X-1, wore one. Astronaut Edgar Mitchell put one on for the Apollo 14 mission. Jim Lovell of Gemini 7, Gemini 12, Apollo 8, and Apollo 13 wore one. Astronauts Lloyd Blaine Hammond and Leroy Chiao wore theirs on shuttle missions within the ’90s. Pilots – each rotary and stuck wing – wore the watch through the Vietnam Conflict. José López Portillo, former president of Mexico, wore one in conferences with Presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan. The listing goes on.

However in a world the place they’re promoting for nearly $40,000, there’s an actual temptation to lock the GMT-Grasp II away in a protected and deprive it of the journey it was made for. This, I really feel, is a horological tragedy. It contributes to the softening of the watch’s ethos, and to the astronomical costs of the hyped-up hypothesis market.

With this perspective in thoughts, I took one have a look at the brand new GMT on my wrist and instantly imagined myself exterior. Inexperienced and black feels adventurous. It feels informal. It feels much less severe. It feels prefer it does not wish to be wherever close to a go well with and tie or a cubicle-filled workplace. And neither do I.

Rolex GMT-Master II ref. 126720VTNR on wrist

I am not offered on this watch with a go well with. 

I am drawn to the irreverence of the green-and-black bezel paired with the crown and date on the left-hand facet of the case. I like that it breaks the everyday sacrosanct Rolex formulation.

I am drawn to this watch as a result of it looks like an anomaly. The pragmatist in me does not prefer it, however the collector in me simply loves that Rolex got here out with a left-handed GMT-Grasp II. The transfer is so un-Rolex. Glitches within the matrix are what make life fascinating, and this looks like one in every of them. That stated, it will be very very similar to Rolex to introduce an ordinary model alongside the destro model within the subsequent few years. In spite of everything, the Pelagos LHD from its sister model Tudor has remained within the catalog alongside the usual Pelagos fashions since its introduction.

Rolex GMT-Master II ref. 126720VTNR on wrist

One final word that has nothing to do with left-handedness: If I owned one in every of these new destros, I’d do one thing sacrilegious. I would ditch the metal bracelet and throw it on a rubber tropic strap. This looks like the right GMT-Grasp II for that remedy. Put me in camp I prefer it.

Store this story

The HODINKEE Store options a wide selection of pre-owned and classic Rolex watches; discover the gathering right here. To study extra in regards to the GMT-Grasp II ref. 126720VTNR, go to the Rolex web site.