Rolex’s New GMT-Master Is A Total Game Changer

After what’s felt like a lifetime, Watches & Wonders – the world’s biggest watch fair – is back for 2022. We’re here on the ground in Geneva for the fair, and the city is absolutely humming, with thousands of watch fans and dozens of the world’s top watchmakers all in town for a week of exciting releases.

Naturally, all the big names are here, including that titan of the watch industry, Rolex. The Genevan brand has kicked things off for the fair in a big way with an impressive swathe of new releases, including a new yellow gold Yacht-Master (plus a blingy white gold diamond bezel model too), an update to the often-overlooked Air -King and a new dial treatment for the Datejust 31 which features flowers with diamonds for pistils…

But the big news is that there’s a new GMT-Master II. The iconic watch is already one of the most in-demand timepieces in the world: you’ve no doubt heard of the ‘Pepsi’ and ‘Batman’, nicknames for the different bezel color combinations the GMT-Master comes in.

Well, here’s another nickname you’ll need to know – the ‘Destro’. Meet Rolex’s latest GMT-Master: maybe the most out-there watch Rolex has released in recent memory, and no doubt a name that’s quickly going to cement itself as a pillar of modern watch culture.

Why ‘Destro’? Well, it refers to the fact that this new GMT-Master is designed for those who wear their watch on their right hand. Generally speaking, that’s mostly left-handed people. Yes, these photos aren’t flipped: the Destro’s crown is indeed on the left-hand side, as is its date window, which is now at 9 o’clock instead of 3 o’clock.

If that wasn’t exciting enough, the Destro also features a brand-new and totally exclusive bezel color combination, black and green. The Destro’s GMT hand is also dipped in green. Looks like Rolex is paying attention to everyone’s obsession with green at the moment – ​​and a good thing, too. We reckon the Destro’s signature color combination is slick.

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In short, it’s one hell of a double-whammy. It’s hard to overstate just how radical the Destro is for a brand like Rolex, who’s normally fairly staid and is more about evolution than revolution if you catch our drift. It’s a bit of a niche play: only around 10% of the global population is left-handed, and most lefties are more than happy to wear right-handed watches. More to the point, over its 117-year history, Rolex has only ever made a handful of left-handed watches.

Even stranger is how the date window has been moved to 9 o’clock. Most left-handed watches (ie watches with a crown on the left-hand side) keep the date window in the typical 3 o’clock position. Rolex mentioned in their keynote how it required significant re-engineering to move the date window over. It makes the Destro quite visually unique… But yeah, it’s an oddball move.

That said, we doubt very much that most buyers will indeed be lefties. People will snap up this bad boy because it looks cool, and looks very different to any other GMT-Master.

We’re resisting the urge to make jokes about being green with envy…

DMARGE spoke exclusively with Paul Altieri, Founder + CEO of Bob’s Watches and an expert on all things Rolex, who’s completely rapt about the Destro.

“A GMT-Master II for lefties? No one saw this coming. It is known that Rolex produced left-handed watches in very small numbers as early as the 1950s, but more than likely by special request,” he explains.

“This is truly what revolutionary design looks like… A masterclass creation from the Crown. Years in the making no doubt. Bravo!”

Paul expects Rolex will only make a limited quantity so getting your hands on one will be difficult. “Exciting and reasonably priced at retail – not that the price tag would mean anything. No doubt this will be a tough piece to acquire either way.”

“It might encourage double wristers – I want one!” You and me both, Paul…

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