October 1st 1884, may not be a significant date for most people. But it was a day that helped to shape our global perception of time. On this day, Washington D.C. hosted the International Meridian Conference, resolutions from which created 24 time zones across the world. The British had been using Greenwich Meridian to set time for decades, and now Britain became known as the home of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). Each zone east or west of GMT now represented an hour of time forwards or backwards respectively.
The dawn of the jet age made the world a smaller place. This new jet-setting lifestyle also introduced the world to a new phenomenon, “jet lag”! With commercial jet flight in its infancy, people were still searching for the best remedy for jet lag. This is when Pan Am asked Rolex to produce a watch for their pilots that would tell the user the time for both home and destination time zones. This was due to, in retrospect, a rather naïve assumption that seeing both times simultaneously would trick the mind into not noticing the lost or gained hours!
The GMT Master II, reference 126711CHNR “Rootbeer”, was introduced by Rolex alongside the new “Pepsi” in 2018. Although this was technically the “Rootbeer 2.0”, with the first soda coloured bezel making an appearance on the GMT Master reference 1675/3 (which was introduced in 1959). Its release was a surprise move by Rolex, with many collectors not knowing what to make of it. Over the years; however, this bi-metal beauty has become a favourite amongst those looking for a sports watch that looks as much at home in the skies as it does at a gala ball!