Another hot launch from Rolex this year — a GMT-Master II with Cerachrom “Pepsi” bezel, in white gold case. After last year’s GMT “Black and Blue” (Ref 116760), this watch was wisely anticipated by many Rolex aficionados. Though the white gold case is somewhat of a surprise, this watch, like the GMT Black and Blue, will be another huge hit. The red and blue ceramic (Rolex trademarked their “Cerachrom”) bezel on this watch looks amazing — the bezel numerals are engraved and given a fine coating of platinum to enhance readability. The case stays at 40mm, with white gold Oyster bracelet with polished center links; same also is the Rolex Cal 3186.
The Cerachrom bezel – in red and blue
In 2013, after many years of research and fine-tuning the exclusive manufacturing process, Rolex unveiled the first two-color Cerachrom insert in the world – in blue and black. The name “Cerachrom” derives from a contraction of the word “ceramic” juxtaposed with the suffix “chrom” from the ancient Greek word for “colour”.
Now, in 2014, that mission has been brought to a successful conclusion with the introduction of a two‑colour Cerachrom insert in red and blue. Red, typically, is a color for which no stable mineral pigments exist to create a Cerachrom component. Rolex nevertheless managed, in the first instance, to produce a red ceramic according to a secret process.
The ingenious process consists of introducing an intermediate step in the manufacture of the standard Cerachrom insert. During the process, half of the red ceramic insert is colored blue. The color is achieved by impregnating the part of the insert representing night-time hours, between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m., with a controlled quantity of a solution of chemical compounds. The solution is added before sintering at more than 1,600 °C, when the ceramic acquires its mechanical resistance properties as well as its color. In the course of this firing, the ceramic densifies and the added compounds react with the basic elements of the red Cerachrom insert to conjure up the final blue colour. Although the idea in itself may appear simple, a number of major technical hurdles had to be overcome before it could be implemented.