Root Beer Rolex: A Timeless Icon in Watch Collecting

Root Beer Rolex

Welcome to the world of horological legend—the Root Beer Rolex. This iconic timepiece has earned its place among the most coveted watches in history. With its distinctive appearance and rich heritage, it’s no wonder that collectors from all corners of the globe are captivated by its charm. In the following words, we’ll delve into the captivating journey of the Rolex Root Beer, exploring its origins, evolution, and the recent revival in 2018. Whether you’re a seasoned watch enthusiast or just curious about this timeless icon, prepare to embark on a fascinating journey through the world of luxury timekeeping.

 The Origin of the Rolex Root Beer 

The Birth of GMT-Master: In 1954, Rolex unveiled a groundbreaking timepiece that would set the stage for the legendary Root Beer Rolex we know today. This horological marvel was the GMT-Master, introduced with the reference 6542. At its core, the GMT-Master was designed to meet the unique needs of Pan American Airways, commonly known as Pan Am. The airline had a specific request: they needed a watch capable of displaying two timezones simultaneously. Rolex, known for its innovation and precision, rose to the challenge.

The Red and Blue Bezel: One of the most distinctive features of the GMT-Master was its two-tone red and blue bezel. This bezel, now iconic, was inspired by Pan Am’s corporate colors. It not only served an aesthetic purpose but also had a practical function. The 24-hour bezel could be set against the GMT hand on the dial, allowing pilots and travelers to easily track both their local time and their home time zone.

Introducing the “Root Beer” Nickname: While Rolex never officially bestowed the “Root Beer” name upon these watches, it was a moniker that naturally emerged from their unique appearance. The bezel’s colors, reminiscent of the earthy hues found in a glass of root beer, gave birth to this charming nickname. Over time, it became an endearing term used by collectors and enthusiasts alike. Whenever “Rolex Root Beer” is mentioned, the watch world knows precisely which timepiece is being referred to.

 The Evolution of the Root Beer Rolex 

Bezel Color Experimentation: Rolex, a brand known for its commitment to innovation and design, didn’t stop with the iconic red and blue bezel of the GMT-Master. Over the years, the company embarked on a journey of experimentation, offering enthusiasts a spectrum of bezel colors that would come to define various GMT-Master models. However, it’s the warm, earthy tones that would give birth to the legend of the Root Beer Rolex.

The Birth of Brown and Gold: In 1963, Rolex introduced a pivotal variation of the GMT-Master with the reference 16753. This model marked a significant departure from the traditional stainless steel or full yellow gold construction. What set it apart was its luxurious two-tone composition, featuring both steel and gold elements. Yet, the real star of the show was the introduction of the brown dial paired with a two-tone gold and brown bezel. This exquisite combination would solidify the Root Beer Rolex’s place in horological history.

The Dial Dilemma: It’s worth noting that the reference 16753 came with a unique twist—it was available in two dial colors, black and brown. However, it’s the brown dial version that’s hailed as the true and original “Rolex Root Beer.” Despite this distinction, many enthusiasts also affectionately refer to the black dial variant as part of the Root Beer family.

Beyond “Root Beer“: The fascination with the watch didn’t end with its delightful nickname. The Root Beer Rolex also earned alternative monikers like “Tiger Eye” due to the dial’s chatoyant gemstone-like hue, which ranged from golden to rich red-brown. However, one name that stood out was “Clint Eastwood” – the iconic actor’s preference for the GMT Master 1675/3 contribute significantly to the model’s popularity, with the watch gracing the silver screen in several of his notable films.

Discontinuation and Rarity

The End of an Era: As time marched forward, the Root Beer Rolex, with its rich history and distinctive design, eventually met a bittersweet fate – discontinuation. The decision to retire this iconic model marked the end of an era, leaving collectors and enthusiasts yearning for more.

Rarity as a Driving Force: With the Root Beer Rolex no longer in production, the watches became increasingly scarce, stoking the flames of demand among the horological faithful. Collectors and Rolex aficionados, aware of the watch’s limited availability, began their quest to secure one of these rare treasures. **The 2018 Revival

Welcome to the Revival: In 2018, Rolex enthusiasts and collectors had reason to celebrate as the brand unveiled two remarkable timepieces that breathed new life into the legend of the Root Beer Rolex. These two models, the GMT-Master II 126711CHNR and the GMT-Master 126715CHNR, marked a resurgence of the beloved Root Beer aesthetic.

Embracing Everose Gold: What set these 2018 releases apart was Rolex’s embrace of their proprietary 18ct Rose gold, often referred to as “Everose Gold.” This choice was a significant departure from the traditional yellow gold seen in previous iterations of the Root Beer.

Inspired by Heritage: While these watches exuded contemporary luxury, they remained firmly rooted in the heritage of the original Root Beer Rolex. Their design was inspire by the warm and earthy tones of their predecessor, paying homage to the classic Root Beer charm.

A Contemporary Twist: One of the notable differences lay in the bezels. Instead of the traditional red and blue or brown, the bezels of the 2018 models featured a bi-directional black and brown Cerachrom bezel. This innovative material was virtually scratch-proof and added a modern touch to the classic design. Moreover, the dials of these models exclusively embraced black, departing from the brown dial option seen in the 1960s version.

The Price of Rarity: As the years rolled on, the rarity of the Root Beer Rolex began to have a profound impact on its market value. Prices steadily climbed, reflecting the scarcity and the enduring allure of this horological gem. Today, acquiring an original Root Beer Rolex requires not only a discerning eye but also a willingness to make a significant investment. **Why the Modern Root Beer Matters

Capturing the Imagination of Enthusiasts: The release of the 2018 Root Beer Rolex models holds immense significance for ardent enthusiasts and collectors. These watches manage to capture the essence of the classic Root Beer while infusing a touch of modernity. The allure lies in their ability to transport wearers back to the golden age of travel while catering to contemporary tastes.

A Quest for Rarity: The limited availability of the modern Root Beer Rolex models has ignited a fervor among watch connoisseurs. Authorized Rolex dealers find themselves grappling with soaring demand, a testament to the enduring appeal of this timeless icon. As these watches become increasingly elusive, their desirability soars, making them prized possessions for those fortunate enough to acquire them. Debate Over the “Root Beer” Name The “Root Beer” Identity Crisis: Within the passionate watch community, a spirited debate has unfolded regarding whether the 2018 Rolex models deserve to carry the cherished “Root Beer” title. This debate stems from the subtle yet significant differences in color schemes compared to their iconic predecessor.

Divergence in Color Schemes: While the 2018 models undeniably pay homage to the Root Beer Rolex, there’s a noticeable departure in color. The original Root Beer boasted vivid red and brown hues, reminiscent of the soda that inspired its name. In contrast, the modern iterations exhibit more muted tones, with the brown often blending seamlessly into black, particularly in lower light conditions. This choice aims to strike a balance between tradition and contemporary tastes, preventing the watch from overpowering in certain settings.

Technical Advancements

Elevating Precision and Performance: The 2018 Root Beer Rolex models are not just about aesthetics; they bring substantial technical advancements to the wrist. At the heart of this innovation is the caliber 3285 movement, a testament to Rolex’s relentless pursuit of horological excellence.

Caliber 3285: Powering these modern icons, the caliber 3285 movement is a marvel of precision engineering. Crafted entirely in-house, it embodies Rolex’s commitment to exceptional timekeeping. One standout feature is its remarkable 70-hour power reserve, ensuring uninterrupted accuracy even after days of wear.

A Legacy of Innovation: Rolex’s enduring commitment to innovation is evident in the caliber 3285’s impressive 10 patent applications. These advancements guarantee that wearers not only possess a timeless classic but also a state-of-the-art timekeeping instrument.

Design Changes

Evolution of Elegance: The modern Root Beer Rolex models embrace a refined evolution in design, seamlessly blending tradition with contemporary aesthetics.

Sculpted for the Modern Wrist: These watches feature a robust and sporty case design, offering wearers a distinctive presence on the wrist. The maximal case and larger indices enhance legibility while exuding a bold charm.

Root Beer Redefined: While paying homage to its heritage, the modern Root Beer Rolex stands as a testament to Rolex’s ability to adapt to evolving tastes without sacrificing its timeless allure. These design changes ensure that the Root Beer legacy lives on, captivating a new generation of watch enthusiasts.


In the realm of horology, the Root Beer Rolex remains an enduring icon, bridging the past and the present with its timeless charm. Its legacy of innovation, captivating design, and rich history continue to captivate collectors and enthusiasts alike, ensuring its place as a beloved and eternal symbol in the world of luxury watches.