With the 2022 Watches and Wonders watch show being so close to the end of March, seeing a green bezel lefty GMT in the New Rolex lineup felt like an early April Fool’s joke. One of the other watch blogs must be circulating one of their prediction edits to fool the watchfam, right? Wrong.
A quick scramble to the official New Watches 2022 page on the Rolex site confirmed: it’s not a joke. The destro Rolex GMT-Master II (Ref: 126720, 126720VTNR) is the real deal. Left-handed leprechauns rejoice…. er, the Green Goblin? It’s green and it’s a goblin of a watch.
If that doesn’t fly then maybe we call it Swamp Thing.
Riddle me this, Batman. The Riddler it is. Or are you folks over the comic book character naming thing?
Since it’s a GMT we can’t just give it a superhero name without also referring to the bezel as a soft drink. Mountain Dew? No, there’s no red. 7UP or Sprite? Sprite, but no. Canada Dry Ginger Ale? No. Monster Energy?! It’s a different green and do you really want to go around talking about how dope the new Monster Energy bezel GMT is?
Back on the topic! This watch was unexpected and came out of left field. This is going to be the reaction rippling through most of the watch industry for the next few days, that no one would have placed a bet on Rolex releasing a lefty. Interestingly, KeepTheTime just published an article about destro watches and it seems that we were on the same wavelength as Rolex.
Looks like it is time to update that article now:
But I’m not left handed!
You don’t need to be left-handed to wear a lefty. It’s actually nice to wear one on your left hand to avoid the crown digging into the top of your hand.
If you are right-handed and not remotely interested in owning a lefty watch, look at the bright side – it’s not like you’d be able to get one anyway! If you’re on the fence about it, you could always test out a destro watch (or mod your own) to give the concept a test drive while you’re on the waitlist.
It’ll take some getting used to
So why does the title of this post sound like a diss on the new left-sided GMT? From the press images, it looks so strange. Maybe that will be its appeal in real life, but from the computer renders it just looks like a bad photoshop job.
What if it looked like this instead?
With the cyclops moved to the right side, it looks more balanced. This would have been better, albeit perhaps less “lefty”. (Rolex, if you’re hiring designers… You couldn’t afford me – what I mean is, I love what I do and I am happier working on my own thing, thanks anyway!)
Rolex usually doesn’t come across as being sloppy, but there some head scratchers with this new piece. For example, why stick with the 40mm diameter case? The 41mm Subs seem to be doing very well and a some Rolex enthusiasts have been holding out for a beefier GMT.
Same caliber 3285
Despite claiming to make modifications to the movement, Rolex is still using the same caliber number designation for the 126720-VTNR lefty.
“Adjustments were needed to move the winding crown to the left side of the watch case and the date aperture to 9 o’clock. Changes were also required to the process of measuring the precision of the watch during final testing.” –source
If the movement is so different and needed to be reworked, then it seems like a new caliber number would have made more sense for this piece.
Steps needed to get the lefty effect:
- Flip the case upside down
- Reverse the location of serial number and model number etchings between the lugs
- Turn the dial 180 degrees and swap the position of the triangle at 12:00 with the rectangle at 6:00
- Print a new datewheel with the numbers upside down
- Laser etch the coronet on the opposite side of the crystal
- Attach the bracelet in the other direction
What about parts?
So you can see from the steps above that that new lefty GMT will actually require several different parts not shared with any other models. At the very least, the different parts will be: the crystal (an older crystal will work, but the laser etched logo will be on top instead of the bottom, then some wacko will try to loupe it and claim it’s fake because they don’t see the crown), datewheel, dial.
Of course, when it comes down to Rolex certified watchmakers performing an overhaul, there will be different part numbers to distinguish between the models.
For the readers who already got a kick out of swapping their black datewheel for a roulette datewheel, this new model means that you can mod your sport watch to have an upside down date if you so choose (half serious here, but there will be someone who asks). It might be a while for the new parts to become available since Rolex sometimes doesn’t allow ADs to work on new models for a few years.
Love or hate the bezel?
The geometry nerds out there are going to love this part. When you place a circle (bezel) over another circle (case), it turns out that you can rotate the bottom circle 180 degrees and the top circle will still be the same. For the math flunkies, that means you may be able to use the green Cerachrom bezel insert (if you have a friend with a Rolex parts account) on the other GMT models and vice versa.
Price and Availability
The suggested retail price of the lefty GMT is set at $11,050 USD on a Oyster bracelet and $11,250 on the Jubilee. We all know how that goes. The availability of the lefty GMT is… we all know how that goes too 🤐.
“All Rolex watches are assembled by hand with the utmost care to ensure exceptional quality. Such high standards naturally restrict our production capacity and, at times, the demand for our watches outpaces this capacity.
Therefore, the availability of certain models may be limited. New Rolex watches are exclusively sold by Official Rolex Retailers, who receive regular deliveries and independently manage the allocation and sales of watches to customers.
Official Rolex Retailers can provide information on the availability of Rolex watches.” –source
Maybe Rolex wanted to release a watch that nobody will want, then they don’t have to worry about people complaining about them not being in stock.
All jokes aside, it’s nice to see left-handed watch collectors getting love from a big brand like this, but why the GMT-Master II? Will Rolex make other lefties in the future? Destro watches have existed for years, but what we can predict with certainty is that other brands will now start to make more left-hand versions of their watches.
Would you wear it? Comment below…
Article still progress, check back…