How to Set up a Rolex GMT Master II?

Setting up your Rolex GMT Master II made easy. Never worry about resetting the date or time again with this timepiece that tracks up to 24 time zones.

May 4, 2023

For more than 60 years, the Rolex GMT-Master line has set the standard for high-end travel timepieces. By enabling them to keep track of both GMT time (UTC) and the local time at their final destination, it was created to aid the company's pilots in avoiding the worst effects of jetlag.

In order to achieve this, Rolex modified the rotating bezel design they had first used on its Turn-O-Graph a few years prior by marking it with a 24-hour scale and adding a second-hour hand that was geared to operate at half speed to the dial. Early Rolex GMT-Master models had two-hour hands that were physically connected to one another and could not be adjusted independently. Reading a second-time zone entails turning the bezel to line up the numerals with the GMT hand.


Setting up a Rolex GMT-Master II

To start, you should be familiar with two phrases we'll use throughout this article: "home time" and "present time."

Home time is when you are at home. Aside: Regardless of where you reside, many watch purists maintain that the GMT hand should always be set to Greenwich Mean Time, which is still the accepted global time reference. This makes it simpler to rapidly refer to a variety of time zones because all you need to remember is how many hours ahead or behind GMT each one is. Rolex GMT-Master II owners can set the ordinary 12-hour hand to the time at their destination (present time) and leave the 24-hour GMT hand set to display the time in their home city during the journey to aid the body in adjusting to the time change (home time). They may then use the dial to read the time regularly, and they can use the equivalent number on the bezel that the 24-hour hand points to read the time at home.


Position 1 -

After being unscrewed, the crown will automatically pop into Position 1. Manual winding is possible in this position, but no hand adjustments are possible.

Position 2 -

The crown is in the second position when it has been pushed out to the first notch. The main hour hand, which moves one hour at a time forward or backwards, is controlled by this. Additionally, when the hour hand approaches midnight, the date window will advance or recede; nevertheless, it is important to note that Rolex GMT-Master II watches lack the Quickset date feature, which would enable changing the day of the month in the three o'clock window by simply rotating the crown.

Position 3 -

In position 3, the crown is fully extended, giving access to the conventional time-setting features. In this position, the second-hand stops and the minute hand, together with both hour hands, may be moved forward or backwards by turning the crown.


Rolex GMT-Master II Third Time Zone Reading

It should be noted that only two time zones may be read at once even though all Rolex GMT-Master II watches can be used to show the third one.

For instance, if a person from California is now travelling to New York for business, they may read the time in New York as usual on the dial while the 24-hour hand displays the time in California as indicated by the 24-hour scale on the bezel.

The 24-hour hand will point to the appropriate number on the bidirectional bezel, which will show the time in London. If they later decide they want to know the time in London and are aware that London is 8 hours ahead of their home time in California, all they need to do is rotate the bezel in the opposite direction.

Since the Rolex GMT-Master II does not have an additional 24-hour scale printed on the dial, the 24-hour hand no longer shows the time in California as a result of the bezel being spun. Therefore, even though the watch can't display all three zones at once, switching it to reference a third is a rather quick and simple process.

The Rolex GMT-Master II differs from its near relative the Explorer II due to the revolving bezel. Throughout most of their individual lifetimes, the two watches—even in their most recent iterations—shared a movement. The fixed bezel prevents the Explorer II from being used to read the third zone, despite the fact that it can also adjust its two-hour hands independently of one another.

We now know how to configure the Rolex GMT-Master II to display three time zones. It may take some getting used to if you are not used to reading a 24-hour clock, but those recognizable split-tone bezels are not merely for aesthetic purposes. The two hues are selected to stand for day and night, making it easy for the wearer to tell the difference in a look.

How_to_Set_up_a_Rolex_GMT_Master_II_5_3257f69725.jpg How_to_Set_up_a_Rolex_GMT_Master_II_1_4924c062df.jpg The GMT-Master II is one of the most recognizable Rolex watches in the brand's catalogue and among the most recognizable timepieces in the entire luxury watch industry. It is currently offered with a black and brown surround (commonly known as the Root Beer), blue and black (the Batman), or the original red and blue (the Pepsi).


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