Not only left-handers will be scrambling for this version of the Rolex Oyster Perpetual GMT-Master II
Ask a southpaw watch-wearer what will make them happy and they’ll tell you: move the crown to the left side of the case. This way, they can wear their watch on their right wrist – the one they theoretically use less – and use their dominant hand to wind. Not a big ask, but not easy to find, either, the reckoning being that the market – 8% of the world’s population is left-handed – is too small to warrant development of a specific model.
Oh happy day! Rolex is making up for years of contorted winding with an entirely unexpected and highly desirable Oyster Perpetual GMT-Master II with the crown at 9 o’clock. The brand has even upped the rarity stakes by equipping this destro watch with a black and green Cerachrom bezel insert: a first for this model.
Rolex already released Datejusts for left-handers in the 1950s, as well as ten Submariner 1680 models in gold, in the late 1970s. Next came a Sea Dweller 16660 with its crown on the left side, made in 1987 for Comex (Compagnie Maritime d’Expertise). A previous collaboration produced the Sea Dweller in 1967, the left-handed version of which is an absolute Grail watch for collectors.
There’s a reason why the history of fake luxury watches with left-side crowns is tied in with diving. Before electronic dive computers made mechanical dive watches superfluous to needs, divers would wear their watch on their right wrist, and keep their left wrist for a depth meter or a compass. Hence watches with their crown at 9 o’clock still make regular appearances at brands, such as Panerai, that have strong associations with diving.
Especially for left-handers
Even though the Oyster Perpetual Rolex replica GMT-Master II has an Oyster case – water-resistant to 100 metres –, this new release isn’t a tribute to the underwater world. Instead, Rolex is focusing on travel with the GMT function.
The 24-hour scale on the rotating bezel displays the time in a second time zone. The green ceramic half corresponds to daytime hours while the black ceramic represents night-time hours. Lefties can rejoice in the fact that this is the first time this colour combination has been used on this model.
The Perpetual 3285 movement has been slightly modified in order to move the crown and the “cyclops” date window to 9 o’clock. This meant adapting Rolex’s Superlative Chronometer testing procedure. But the result was worth it.
(If you’re right-handed and feel you need to justify your desire to own a rare watch, as a purist of watch ergonomics, you can always claim you don’t like the feel of the crown against your left hand).