Did you know that Rolex timepieces have rather interesting nicknames?
Apparently, just like certain auto models in Nigeria carry the monikers, ‘baby boy’, ‘big daddy’ and ‘muscle’, among the Rolex collector community, names like ‘Pepsi’ or ‘Batman’ mean something completely different from what the rest of the world is used to. Of course, with very few exceptions, these nicknames did not originate from the brand itself and are mostly inventions of the community.
So, what are these nicknames? Well, here they are!
The Rolex Batgirl is none other than the GMT-Master II reference 126710BLNR with a blue and black bezel insert and a Jubilee bracelet.
This model got its nickname after the addition of the Jubilee bracelet in 2019 and a new generation movement. However, as this reference is currently available with either a Jubilee or an Oyster bracelet, it is hard to distinguish it from its ‘Batman’ counterpart without its box and papers or an expert to confirm the interior calibre.
The Batman is the GMT-Master II reference 116710BLNR introduced in 2013 with a blue and black bezel insert. This model was the precursor to the Batgirl, and, as explained above, unless you’re an expert in Rolexes, it will be hard to differentiate between both models.
Close your eyes for a moment and picture the very cheeky Bart from The Simpsons. Now, open your eyes and look at an example of the 5513 Submariners. You’d agree that this particular moniker is rather apt.
Made in the mid-1960s, certain 5513 Submariners – which were the last to feature “gilt” printing – have a coronet (the Rolex crown logo) that looks like Bart Simpson’s hair.
Early Oyster Perpetual models were outfitted with movements whose design necessitated a slightly raised, ovular case back that protruded from the plane of the watch case – hence the bubbleback nickname.
Rolex made gobs of these small yet beautiful timepieces from the 1930s through roughly the 1950s.
A type of Day-Date or Datejust dial that features painted Roman numerals rather than applied versions. The nickname for this Rolex model comes from one John Buckley, a collector and dealer based in NYC, and a big fan of this dial type.
Yes, Coke. The soft drink that is.
A Rolex Coke is a GMT-Master II with a red and black aluminium bezel insert which first appeared on the reference 16760, and subsequently on the reference 16710. Currently, there is no “Coke” in the Rolex catalogue.
This particular moniker does sound a bit offensive, so if it bothers you a bit, you can use ‘Sophia Loren’, which is the alternate nickname for the GMT-Master II ref 16760.
When this model debuted in 1983, it featured a case 0.5 mm thicker than its predecessor (the ‘Coke’) in order to accommodate a new calibre 3085 movement. ‘Sophia Loren’ here is in reference to an Italian actress famous for her curves. Ref 16760 included a sapphire crystal, white gold hour surrounds, and independent local hour setting, making it the first truly modern GMT-Master variant.
Earlier this year, Rolex released a left-handed GMT-Master II with a green and black bezel that technically has three aliases: ‘Green Lantern,’ ‘Sprite,’ or the ‘Destro’ (Italian for right because left-handers are meant to wear their timepieces on their right hands) depending upon whom you ask. It’s available on both Oyster and Jubilee bracelets.
A more robust version of the ‘Kermit’, the Rolex ‘Hulk’ is a green Sub with ref 116610LV that features a green Cerachrom bezel, a green dial, and a Rolex ‘Super’ case.
John Player Special
This is a Daytona ref 6264 or 6241 in solid gold with a black exotic dial.
It is named after John Player & Sons, a UK-based tobacco company and Formula 1 sponsor. The company’s cigarette boxes were black with gold lettering, hence the association.
The precursor to the ‘Hulk’, the Rolex Kermit is a ref 16610LV Submariner Date introduced in 2003 in time for the Sub’s 50th anniversary.
For the first time, a Rolex featured a green bezel insert, executed here in aluminium, which lent it its Muppet-themed nickname.
A ‘Paul Newman’ is any hand-wound Daytona with what Rolex referred to as an ‘exotic’ dial — a series of dials manufactured by Singer that featured blocky indices in the sub-registers as well as funky Arabic numerals and pops of colour.
This model earned its nickname because the famed actor wore at least two different Daytonas with these dials – most famously, his reference 6239, which hammered in 2017 at auction for close to $18M.
Any GMT Master or GMT Master-II with a blue and red bezel is a Pepsi, regardless of its ref. This colour combo originally came about as a nod to PanAm’s logo, as the GMT-Master was created for the airline’s personnel.
The Rolex ‘Polar’ is an Explorer II with a white dial, which could be a reference 16550, 16570, 216570, or 226570.
No, this nickname does not have its origins in any model created for a president. It is the colloquial name for the Rolex Day Date and is also the name used by Rolex to denote that timepiece’s bracelet — a special bracelet made specifically (and only) for the Day Date, and available at retail only in precious metals.
A GMT-Master or GMT-Master-II with either a half-brown, half-gold bezel insert – which is found on two-tone timepieces with brown dials – or one with a fully brown insert and gold text. (More modern references with Cerachrom bezels in black and brown feature two-tone Rolesor cases or solid-gold Everose cases.)
Why ‘root beer?’ Picture the A&W root beer logo colours.
The ‘Smurf’ is a white Submariner with a blue bezel insert and either a blue (reference 116619LB) or a black (reference 126619LB) dial, the latter being the newer model, and the one currently in the Rolex catalogue.
In late 2020, Rolex introduced a new Sub with a super case, a green Cerachrom bezel and a black dial, making for a timepiece sort of halfway between a Kermit and a Hulk, but one that’s visually closer to the Kermit. The difference is the new 41 mm case, thinner lugs, wider bracelet and the new calibre 3235 (or 3230 on the no-date version), offering higher energy efficiency.
The collector community has subsequently named this model the ‘Starbucks’ given its black and green colour combo, but maybe it would’ve been better to combine ‘Hulk’ and ‘Kermit’ into ‘Hermit?’
The earliest Explorer II, the reference 1655, has come to be known rather curiously as the Steve McQueen – despite there being no evidence that the iconic American actor ever wore one. (His Rolex of choice was a Submariner.)
This moniker belongs to vintage Day Date models from the 1970s featuring a type of exotic dial. These dials were manufactured by a Swiss company called Stella and were actually referred to by Rolex as “lacquered Stella” dials.
Made from coloured enamel, they’re instantly recognizable and were supposedly mostly sold in the Middle Eastern market.
Source: Robb Report