Rolex Pepsi is one of the world’s most sought-after wristwatches. Interestingly, it’s the longest-running item on the Swiss company’s yearly catalogs. But what’s so special about it? Why is it named? Is it hard to source?
To help you find all the answers, we’ve curated a guide on everything you need to know about the iconic Rolex Pepsi. Keep reading as you’ll learn where it got the nickname, its features, functions, and whether it’s worth the investment.
Which Rolex Is Called Pepsi?
The GMT Master-II has been unanimously nicknamed the Rolex Pepsi for its trademarked blue and red bezel. Also known as the Pepsi GMT, the watch has traveled time since 1955 and is still hailed today as one of the best watches to have as a collector.
The signature red and blue bezel of the Rolex Pepsi was initially designed for the staff at PanAm Airlines. When the combination was revealed, it was appreciated by every eye on the market, and Rolex finally opened it for public retail in 1959.
Rolex watches are iconic. As a result, collectors of novelty watches came together as a community and forged nicknames for every luxury model. None of them, however, were officially recognized by the Swiss watchmaker company or even cataloged to represent.
The nicknames, like Rolex Pepsi, are simply an indicator of the model you want to purchase. GMT Master-II comes in two other models. Also, differentiating between them based on the 10-unit reference number can be frustrating.
It’s wise to research before you visit an authorized Rolex dealer. Placing an alias in front of them for a luxury watch may not translate well on the waitlist. Knowing the features first will help build a solid foundation with the retailer.
Rolex Pepsi — What’s So Special?
The Rolex Pepsi or the GMT Master-II model is best known for its incredibly reliable 3285 caliber movements. The luxury Swiss company describes it as excellent and has introduced it as a staple in the newest look of the iconic red and blue bezel watch.
It’s not the color combination that won over the collector community. The bezel was a marker of the GMT Master-II model, just as its official reference number. It helps everyone converse about the new Rolex in a fluid manner, locating a good seller for the watch.
The caliber movement is what sealed the deal for the new watch collectors. It took Rolex, not one, not two, but ten patent filings, to finally get the approval, and the project was a hit.
The 3285 movements were manufactured in-house by Rolex and are certified Swiss chronometers. With over 70 hours of power reserve, a waterproof design, greater shock resistance, and healthy reliability during extreme temperature variations, the architecture of the 3285 calibers is simply unmatched.
This is mainly why Rolex Pepsi has been pictured in the Rolex catalog every year since 1955. The vintage icon can only go up from here — there’s no downside to investing time and money in it.
What Are the Features of a Rolex Pepsi?
Now that we’ve unraveled why the Rolex Pepsi is special, let’s deep dive into the features it presents and learn how they stood the test of time. This will help you decide whether it’s worth the investment and meets your style. Let’s go!
Make of the Model
The iconic Pepsi GMT watch case is fitted out of proprietary Oyster Steel. An alloy of steel so durable that it’s employed for aerospace, high-tech units, including chemical industries. Safe to say, the watch case can handle a bit of roughhousing.
That’s the least of its benefits, though. The Oyster steel watch case is best known for its high rust resistance. It’s also waterproof, so whether you take it into the sea or rinse it to clean using tepid water, the Rolex Pepsi will shine with its natural luster.
The architecture of the GMT Master-II is so sturdy it holds up its own in extreme temperatures. This is especially important for frequent travelers. Whether it’s taken in the hot summers of Hawaii or the snowy winters of Switzerland, the watch case will be safe.
The finish of the watch case becomes superior when polished, and it’s durable.
Legible in its essence, the dial of the Rolex Pepsi is one of the best-engineered in the industry. It’s matte under the bright sun and luminous in the dark.
This is with the help of the Swiss company’s favorite Chromalight display. With a dual nature, the dial works intuitively according to the Earth’s standing. There’s no need to squint under the harsh sun to look at the time when running late for work or get flashed by bright reflections in a dark tunnel.
To ease up on the eyes, the time-telling hands of the Pepsi GMT are integrated with multiple shapes — triangles, rectangles, and circles. This way, there’s no confusion between the hour markers and the broad hands, a mere glance and you’ll know the time.
Each hand is filled with the Chromalight formula, and the best part — it doesn’t expire.
Contrary to the other models of GMT Master-II, the red and blue icon comes with a Jubilee bracelet, introduced in the watch’s prime in 1945. It’s a five-piece link that adds sophistication and class to the wrist.
Speaking of the wrist, the bracelet shapes so fluidly that it almost feels magnetic. Manufactured and patented by the Swiss luxury watchmakers, the Jubilee bracelet is outfitted with an Oysterlock that folds and clicks into place through a clasp.
So, no more fumbling around to get the bracelet fitted, the retention system aligned and locked into place. Simply fold and hear the click — that’s all it takes to wrap the Pepsi GMT in place. Don’t worry — it’s made not to open accidentally.
The Jubilee bracelet is, by far, the most comfortable wraparound designed for a watch. It’s glossy but doesn’t get dirty with fingerprints. It doesn’t feel cold to touch or warm up under the sun.
A Rolex’s unique Easylink system completes the project of the GMT Jubilee bracelet by adding a luxury element or extending the length by almost 5 mm. No need for a Rolex repairman to add or remove a five-piece link — it’s user-friendly and works like a charm.
The comfort extension link is perfectly concealed, so the Jubilee bracelet is flush with the polished watch case, and the art is seamless.
In the iconic picture of the Rolex GMT Master-II, the bezel is painted red and blue, bringing its alias, Pepsi, to life.
The signature bezel features a 24-hour bidirectional rotatable system. It’s one of the critical details when setting up the watch and makes winding a breeze.
Besides the traditional seconds, minutes, and hour hands, the Rolex Pepsi shows an arrow-tipped hand signaling a 24-hour marker. Once every day, it circles the dial to show the reference time.
Both hour hands work independently and are differentiated by a distinct color on the 24-hour hand. The classic hour hand winds in irregular hours, while the 24-hour hand marks noon and midnight when winding up the watch.
This way, one can adjust two different time zones within the Rolex GMT dial and enjoy automation at its finest. For travelers, this particular feature is a Godsend. Once a reference ‘home’ point is wound up with the 24-hour hand, the local time can be set automatically from hour to hour.
Previously a nod to an airline, the red and blue bezel of the Pepsi GMT has come a long way. Two colorways, two directions of motion, and two different types of hour hands — each with a distinct function that works seamlessly with the other.
Redefining luxury, Rolex gifted the GMT Master-II with a signature lens. Named Cyclops after the famous giant, the lens functions to magnify the date on the display screen.
Although this seems like a minute feature, the addition of the symbolic display makes the Cyclops lens the most recognizable element after the bezel. It shines with long-lasting gloss, works with the dial to display time-telling hands with precision, and erases any blur with Rolex’s history of research.
The Cyclops lens makes the red and blue bezel timepiece a signature of class, elegance, and agelessness.
Signifying the modern model of the Rolex Pepsi, the chronometer was specially established and updated to an excellent 3285 movement.
The distinctive feature of the 3285 movements is the Chronergy escapement which improves the efficiency of literal time-telling by over 15 percent, maximizing the precision and accuracy.
That’s just scratching the surface of everything the GMT Chronometer is. Besides efficiency, the 3285 movement boasts a power reserve of over 70 hours and is a certified COSC Swiss chronometer.
This was developed and patented after ten different filings, so safe to say the Pepsi GMT chronometer may just be the best high-class technology engineered.
Setting the gold standard feature in stone, the chronograph comes with a Parachrom hairspring which maximizes the timepiece’s resistance to temperature changes and shocks from harsh hits and makes it the most reliable.
Rolex Pepsi, or the GMT Master-II, is the Swiss company’s signature piece, and it’s the result of long years of consistent research.
How Hard Is It to Get a Rolex Pepsi?
It’s challenging to source an original GMT Master-II, especially the Rolex Pepsi. Every model watch from the Swiss company comes with a waiting list ranging from six months to five years and beyond.
The Pepsi GMT’s waiting time depends on how well-stocked or well-connected the authorized Rolex dealer is. Since the iconic watch is produced in minimal quantities, most official retailers do not receive a lot of GMT Master-II watches. This translates into more prolonged waiting times and an increase in retail price.
What also matters is your relationship with the authorized dealer. The better your history as a collector, the better your chances are of skipping the waiting list. You might also have better connections by this time, leading to faster sourcing.
Suppose you are a buyer with a newfound interest in collecting luxury watches or you’d simply like to invest in the red and blue icon. In that case, it’s recommended to dress smart and be personable with the official dealer. Do your homework and be patient — this is key to getting ahead of the line. You might still have to wait, but it’s worth it in the end.
How to Set the Rolex Pepsi?
When wearing a Rolex watch for the first time, you’ll notice the hands of time are still. To get the time-teller functioning precisely, you’ll need to wind it up manually. Here’s how you can set the Rolex Pepsi:
- First, unscrew the winding crown entirely and then turn it clockwise. Do this 25 times, and the watch will be partially wound.
- Take the unscrewed crown and pull it to the second notch to stop the ‘seconds’ hand. Set time to the precise second.
- Next, align the 12 o’clock indicator on the dial with the triangle on the bezel. This places the bezel in a neutral position.
- Now go against the graduations of the bezel to set the 24-hour hand reference time.
- Move against the graduations of the dial to set the reference time using the ‘minute’ hand.
- For steps 4 and 5, you can twist the crown in either direction. You’ll also notice the conventional hour hand move when setting the reference time. That’s okay — it sets the local time, which is why the reference time must be set first.
- Then, with the crown still unscrewed, pull it out to the first notch.
- Set the local time by turning the crown either way. Every incremental movement of the hour hand equals an hour.
- Now, strictly set the date. It changes when the hour hand passes midnight, i.e., two turns around the dial, so turn the winding crown as needed.
- When setting the local time and date, be aware of whether it’s noon or midnight on the watch. You’ll know it’s midnight when the date changes.
- Once the date and time are set up, carefully screw the winding crown back against the case. Then, placing light pressure, wind the crown clockwise. This ensures a waterproof seal between the case and the crown.
How to Take Care of a Rolex Pepsi?
With a luxury watch as iconic as a Rolex Pepsi, it must be looked after well. Thankfully, it does not require much day-to-day care and functions quite well under temperature variations and even underwater.
All you need to do is occasionally clean it. Here’s a stepwise guide on how to preserve the natural luster of the Pepsi GMT:
- Ensure the winding crown is tightly screwed down against the case before cleaning.
- Then, take a microfiber cloth and dust the lens every few days.
- Take a soft-bristled brush and dip it in soapy water for the case and the bracelet. Scrub both elements clean, making sure to keep a light hand.
- If the watch has spent time on the sea, rinse it using fresh water (preferably distilled) to get the sand and salt out.
Is Pepsi GMT a Good Investment?
Yes, Pepsi GMT is an attractive investment. Its value commands double the return on the pre-owned market.
At the forefront of watchmaking architecture, Rolex has consistently introduced a better remake of the vintage watch, and the modern version is considered the world’s best time-teller.
It’s not just the extended functionality or the exceptional reliability of the red and blue icon — it’s also the lightweight durability, the stark contrast between other models, and the comfort of the bracelet that makes the investment valuable.
This is why many collectors are willing to wait over five years to have their name called out from the waiting list finally. They bet their time and money on the Rolex Pepsi because it’s one luxury that pays off well.
The bezel is timeless, the caliber movements are advanced, and the structural integrity is flawless — no wonder why it’s the most sought-after watch in the luxury market.
Know that the return on a Pepsi GMT’s investment depends on the current market conditions and the purchase price. So, do your research and talk to the authorized Rolex dealer beforehand. In the end, every Rolex watch is a gold standard of investment.
Frequently Asked Questions
Will Rolex Pepsi Be Discontinued?
No, the GMT Master-II or Rolex Pepsi will not be discontinued any time soon. This is despite the rumors circulating the interweb and the Swiss watchmaker’s brutal crackdown last year on most models from the catalog. The news comes as a welcome surprise to collectors, novelty treasurers, and Rolex’s regular customers.
Will Rolex Pepsi Go Up in Value?
Yes, the Rolex Pepsi model from the GMT Master-II models may increase in value. It increased by a whopping 11 percent, whereas its partner models, which are relatively on the higher-end side, saw an increase of 3 to 4 percent. So, Pepsi GMT may just be a worthwhile investment.
What’s the Price of Pepsi GMT?
The price depends on the year it was made, the condition of its timepiece, and the retailer’s region. A Pepsi GMT can range between $13,000 and $75,000. You’ll find most sellers of luxury watches retailing for $19,950. Always ensure they’re an authorized Rolex dealer.
Is There a Waitlist for Buying Rolex?
Yes, there’s a waitlist for buying Rolex watches. The waiting time varies with every model. For instance, you can get a Rolex Milgauss in under a year, but you might have to wait over five years to get a Pepsi GMT in your hand.
Getting a Rolex Pepsi is a novelty watch collector’s most anticipated dream, and after reading this guide, you know why. So, having gone through the details of this Rolex watch, will you give it a shot? If yes, now is the best time to get your name on the Rolex waiting list and enjoy the fruits of your investment with the splendid features of the GMT Master-II.