Initially released in 1955 in collaboration with Pan American World Airways, the GMT-Master allowed Panam's pilots to see the time in more than one time zone. The Rolex GMT-Master has always been one of Rolex's most popular models, but recently it has exploded in popularity. While the famous bi-colored bezel is functional in that there is a distinction between daylight and night-time, it also serves as a way to give the watch its own unique look amongst Rolex's other offerings, and help it to make a statement aesthetically.
Rolex has used this aesthetic aspect of the bi-color design to their advantage, and they have released numerous bezel combinations for the GMT-Master, the two most historic being the Rolex “Pepsi” and Rolex “Coke” bezels, which are blue and red and black and red, respectively.
Rolex Pepsi vs. Rolex Coke
The first bezel color combination seen on the GMT-Master was red and blue. This bezel has affectionately come to be known as the Rolex “Pepsi” bezel, due to its similarities to the eponymous soda company. It has consistently been one of Rolex's most popular bezel combinations, partly because of how instantly recognizable it is and partly because of how quintessentially Rolex the look has become, due to the length of time it has been available.
The next most historic would have to be the Rolex “Coke” bezel, so named because it is red and black. The Rolex Coke bezel was not available until the Rolex GMT-Master II ref. 16760 was offered in 1983, and this color later came to be discontinued in 2007. Its popularity amongst vintage collectors spurs the rumour-mill into action every year right around the time of BaselWorld, as enthusiasts dream of its return back to Rolex's catalogue.
Pepsi vs Coke: Is it just the bezels?
While the bezels of these two iconic pieces are the most obvious difference, there are some more details that set these styles apart. The latest Rolex Pepsi model has a Cerachrom bezel and uses Rolex's latest ‘Super Case’ which features larger lugs and a wider bezel, amongst other things. In contrast, the Rolex Coke uses the older, sleeker case with smaller lugs and crown guards, as well as an aluminium bezel insert.
Customizing the Rolex Pepsi
The best rubber band for Rolex watches is always going to be the band that plays to a particular model's strengths and iconic features. The Rolex Pepsi's Cerachrom bezel's colors tend to look slightly subdued compared to how they used to look on the aluminium model. Both colors make a stunning contrast, helped by the watch’s black dial. With this in mind, a white rubber Rolex strap will really allow the blue and red of the bezel to pop, highlighting the iconic color way of the “Pepsi”. For a more intense look, go for the “Pepsi” combo watch strap - which is half red, half blue, as you could likely guess.
Customizing the Rolex Coke
The Rolex Coke’s simple black and red bezel lends itself to a variety of straps. As the case itself is the older style case that doesn't quite have the physical presence of the Rolex Pepsi, a bolder, more eye-catching strap really makes this piece pop. Our Red Camo Rubber Rolex Strap matches the colors perfectly and adds a modern stylistic flair to what is becoming an increasingly vintage look. If you want a simpler look, you can’t go wrong with our Black Rubber Rolex Strap.
The Rolex Pepsi and Rolex Coke are two of the more iconic modern Rolex’s. Each bezel makes for an instantly recognizable piece on the wrist. While the Oyster Bracelet & Jubilee Bracelet makes for a beautiful, classic look, our Rolex straps serve to give your GMT Master II that extra flair, without compromising the integrity of the piece in any way.