The first ceramic GMT Master II was released in 2005 with the 116710LN. For years, Rolex said they could not create their ceramic inserts with more than one color as Rolex inserts are made from a mono-bloc and not two separate pieces. Fast forward to Baselworld 2013 with the release of the GMT Master II 116710BLNR. It was the first watch for Rolex to release with a patented dual colored ceramic bezel. The black and blue ceramic insert was referred to as the “Day/Night” bezel but then was nicknamed among enthusiasts as the “Batman”. A nickname that stuck till its discontinuation in 2019.
Back in 2016, my first Baselworld was wrapping up when the team decided to take a day trip to Lucerne. A small picturesque city surrounded by snow capped mountains set alongside a lake. Even after a full week of watches, we all decided to browse the selection at the multi-brand store, Bucherer. I strolled into the Rolex section and casually asked the sales associate if they had a “black and blue GMT” for sale. He walks into the back room and to my surprise comes out with a brand new BLNR still in its coffin. After a quick chat, a bottle of water, and a few free Rolex spoons later, I left a happy owner of a new GMT Master II. It didn't help that I had my friend, @Rolexdiver, pushing me to make the bad decision. This wasn’t the first time I’d owned this watch. A few years earlier, I traded it for a Panerai PAM 233. A decision I would later regret which led me to re-purchase the BLNR.
Over the years, I’ve come to really appreciate the BLNR. As with most things, it has its pros and cons. A big positive is that it’s basically a Submariner with a GMT function. I’m not a professional diver, but the GMT Master II has offered me more water resistance than I’ve ever needed while still being able to keep track of multiple time zones when I’m on the road. When worn daily, my BLNR keeps great time holding at +/- 0 seconds a day! Personally, I’ve found the partially blue insert to be a pro and a con. Most days I enjoy the extra color but there are times where I wished it was a completely black watch. These days I’m fortunate enough to have more than one watch, so I can get my color fix when needed. I also think that Rolex chose the perfect shade of blue for this watch. It’s vibrant enough to stand out but it’s somewhat toned down by the black section of the insert. The polished center-link bracelet helps give the watch and bezel an extra “pop”. However, it also makes it more susceptible to visible scratches. I wear the BLNR on a Submariner bracelet a majority of the time because I prefer my bracelets with a brushed finish. It also looks great on an Everest strap!
The BLNR is by far my most worn watch of the last four years. It’s been through three Baselworlds, trekking through Hawaii in search of waterfalls and lava (twice), concerts, weddings, a sales trip across Italy, a Rolex event in Vegas, Wind-Up events in New York and San Francisco, Inhorghenta in Munich, and most importantly- the birth of my daughter.
Needless to say, of all the watches I own, the BLNR is the only one that I consider somewhat sentimental. I try not get too emotionally attached to watches because in the end they're just things. Will I keep it forever? Maybe. I’m not a flipper chasing profits. If that were the case, I would have sold the BLNR and my Hulk a long time ago. However, if I ever get the call for that ceramic Pepsi, I might remind myself that there’s too many watches and not enough time...