The Rolex “Root Beer” GMT-Master: A Beauty of a Watch

When it comes to ridiculously cool vintage Rolex watch styles, it’s impossible to leave the Rolex “Root Beer” GMT-Master out of the conversation. As most Rolex enthusiasts are well aware, this particular model of GMT-Master gets its Root Beer namesake (some spell it “Rootbeer”) from the rich dark caramel brown color of the dial, as well as the two-tone brown and champagne-colored bezel. Perhaps one of the most iconic models is the Ref. 16753 GMT Master (18 Karat gold & stainless steel) with a nipple dial and two-tone (brown and champagne) bezel. It achieves ultimate “vintage status” when fitted with a jubilee bracelet versus an oyster bracelet (though we’ll gladly take either one).

The GMT-Master Ref. 16753 has been called “tigerauge”, or “eye of the tiger” (try not to think of Survivor’s song), based on the resemblance of the color of the dial to the golden brown quartz mineral of the same name. These watches were made in the late 1970s and carry serial numbers in the 6 million range. For an example of a more recent model, here’s a pre-owned Root Beer Rolex GMT-Master 16713 from a recent eBay auction:

This watch in particular is serial number series N (manufactured circa 1992), and it has a gold and steel jubilee style bracelet (original to the watch), sapphire crystal, screw-down crown, bronze dial, automatic movement, and a steel and 18K gold case (40mm). As of this writing, it currently has 22 watchers checking it out, and is going for $5,995, so it doesn’t quite qualify for our post about Rolex watches under $5,000, but it’s still a gorgeous watch for a good price. It may sell today, so if you’re looking for a Root Beer GMT-Master, you might want to go ahead and snag it at this link. If it happens to already be sold by the time you read this post, you can check out the other Rolex Root Beer GMT watch listings here.

One of the most solid and consistent luxury timepiece sellers on eBay is Robert Maron Watches. They are a member of the International Watch and Jewelers Guild (IWJG) and the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors, and regularly feature new, vintage and pre-owned luxury watches.

The guys at Robert Maron Watches are the real deal; they have a stellar reputation on eBay with 100% positive feedback as well as several outstanding Detailed Seller Ratings. I recently came across a Rolex Rootbeer GMT-Master 16713 in their listings and it looks to be a beauty. Check it out here:

The seller commented that not too long ago it was the black two-tone dial GMT-Masters that were all the rage, but now the root beer or bronze-colored dials seem to be the favorite due to the relative rarity of these models versus their black two-tone counterparts. The watch featured above has a 40mm by 12.2mm thick case, a solid 18K gold bezel and solid 18k gold screw-down crown, fat uniform lugs and sapphire crystal. The bronze root beer dial has applied hour markers, luminous hands and date at 3-o’lock. The movement is certified C.O.S.C. chronometer, and it has 50-hour power reserve. The bracelet is 18k gold and stainless steel. Again, as with the first watch featured above, this watch can be sold at any time so there’s no guarantee that it will be there for a long time, but nonetheless Robert Maron’s eBay store has several authentic quality watches including Rolex, Patek Philippe and Audemars Piguet, that are well worth a look. Check out the Robert Maron Watches eBay store here.

A Little History on the GMT Watch

According to Fratello Watches, the GMT-Master was born of a need for Pan-Am pilots to be able to read the time in various time zones simultaneously. Rolex stepped up to the plate and created the GMT-Master as a way to service this need. After the initial wave of success among civil aviation enthusiasts, the GMT-Master soon caught on with other sky/space dwellers such as NASA astronauts and US Air Force pilots. It continued to increase in popularity, even showing up in James Bond movies (Pussy Galore wore a GMT-Master Ref. 6542 in the classic Bond flick “Goldfinger“).


It is important to note that the term “Root Beer” is not the official name of the Rolex GMT-Master model with the brown dial; it’s just a nickname that it came to be known by due to the unique color and affiliation with other soft drink-related GMT nicknames (e.g., the Pepsi bezel and Coke bezel GMTs). As it turns out, the Root Beer GMT-Master is one of the most sought-after watches now due to its relatively limited production in comparison with other GMTs that had colored dials/bezels. But beyond its perceived value based upon relative scarcity or vintage history, when it’s all said and done, it’s simply one heck of a nice-looking watch.

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