08.07.2021 - Rolex

Bat’s Life: Sir Alan Sugar reveals struggle to buy caped-crusader Rolex

Lord Alan Sugar has once again taken to his twitter handle to do battle – this time about luxury watches.

The Cockney businessman (71) asked if any of his twitter followers were Rolex dealers – and if they were – could they get him the Rolex GMT Batman watch, blasting that “Rolex are only interested in Roger Federer and won’t assist my usual dealer to get me the watch.”

Lord Sugar, whose lowly beginnings stemmed from shifting car aerials and electrical goods from the back of a van, now makes millions through his property empire and is famed for his snarky comments on the social media site.

But this time he received a barrage of abuse from his followers, who questioned why he didn’t have the cash to buy his own Rolex, given his already-vast luxury watch collection and offered him some money-saving solutions.

In one series of The Apprentice in 2016, he wore a different luxury watch every week, including White Gold Rolex GMT-Master II Ref 116759, a Steel Large Calibre De Cartier Ref W7100037, Yellow Gold Rolex Submariner Ref 116618LB and a Breitling Superocean Ref A3732024.B869.

The watch he does require of course, is the Rolex GMT Batman, rather than the Argos version above. But whether he’s after the highly-desirable discontinued version or the new steel bracelet version launched at Baselworld 2019, is anyone’s guess.

Which is the best Batman? Old or new?

The Rolex GMT-Master II Ref 116710BLNR Batman was the first timepiece to feature a bi-colour ceramic bezel. 

The watch was developed in the 1950s in response to Pan-American Airways’ desire for a watch that could display several time zones.  

Unlike the original Pepsi, though, the ceramic bezel of reference 116710BLNR is blue and black (BLNR stands for bleu/noir) hence the Batman nickname.

There is also a green ‘Hulk’ – otherwise known as a Rolex Submariner reference 116610.

And because Rolex made the Pepsi GMT-Master II (red and black bezel) in white gold, it became less accessible, paving the way for the Dark Knight to create its own following – and as a result, a big waiting list.

Batman Returns

The new Batman – launched at Baselworld last year is the Rolex GMT-Master II reference 126710BLNR.

Besides the Oyster bracelet on the original and a 5-link Jubilee bracelet on the new, there’s not a vast amount of visible difference to the naked eye. These bracelets are not interchangeable due to specially designed lugs on the Jubilee.

Spot the difference

The old case is the same as the new and the 40mm diameter size remains unchanged, along with the blue and black bezel.

The case remains the same as before – 40mm in diameter and 12.5mm thick. The blue and black bi-colour ceramic bezel is unchanged, as is the black dial. 

But on close inspection of the new Batman, you can spot a small crown logo between the words ‘Swiss’ and ‘made’ – that’s because the new reference has the new generation Rolex movement.

The old Batman only offered a power reserve of 50 hours with the calibre 3186, so 70 hours is a dramatic boost for the new.

Changes to the new Batman are all part of a need to be cohesive in the new GMT Master-II collection. From now on, all models will have the bi-colour ceramic bezel and the calibre 3285 – which does mean four references were discontinued.

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Our team here at Luxe Watches would strive to help you locate a Batman of your own. And we may even help the Dark Knight as well…should he approach us!