People have always liked to give names to the objects they use, whether out of necessity or for pleasure. A tradition that derives, perhaps, from what we did with ships from the earliest times, although a boat is a unique piece, while watches, at least usually, are instead mass-produced.
But this does not make them escape another mechanism ingrained in the human mind, namely the so-called pareidolia. A difficult term to indicate the human mind’s tendency to compare two different objects, relating them primarily to known shapes. Let us examine together, then, this phenomenon and how it applies to our beloved timepieces!
Pareidolia and watches
If we stay in the Rolex camp, we know that many timepieces from the Maison of the Crown have widespread nicknames, ranging from Pepsi and Root Beer to Kermit, the cute frog from the Muppets, and to superheroes like Batman and the Hulk.
And the first to receive such a nickname was precisely the 1954 GMT Master, with its red and blue bezel, which by similarity with the famous soft drink colors was named “Pepsi.” When the model with the red and black colors was introduced, of course, it was called “Coke.” And the brown and yellow model took on the name “Root Beer” instead.
However, when Rolex launched the black and blue bezel model, the reference 116710BLNR (BLeu/NoiRe), in 2013, the imagination of beverage enthusiasts went out. So, brand fans called this new watch “Batman,” in homage to the colors worn by the Dark Knight of the comic books.
What is the Rolex Batman?
The Rolex Batman is the first version of the GMT Master II in this oh-so-mysterious livery. As is often the case with Rolex, the watch itself doesn’t have many different features than its previous Coke or Pepsi watches: it was just a new two-tone bezel, created in ceramic for the occasion.
Ceramic bezels were not something new: Rolex had introduced them in 2005, but until then, it had proved impossible to create a single ceramic disc with two different colors. And the company succeeded in the feat precisely in 2013 with the first version of the Batman, followed the next year by a similar model in the Pepsi variant.
It is, therefore, possible that the Batman was born while the R&D department experimented with the pigments used during the development of the two-tone ceramics technology. And given the model’s success, the company decided to keep this darkly enticing reference in production even after they developed the Pepsi combo.
What is the Rolex Batgirl?
As enthusiasts know, the refinement process of Rolex references virtually never ends. Models often receive minor redesign touches and are reissued in these “revised and corrected” editions.
And this is precisely what happened with the reference 116710BLNR, i.e., the Batman, which has been reissued in a revised version in 2019: the reference 126710BLNR, i.e., the one that has been christened Batgirl by Rolex fans.
What is the difference between Rolex Batman and Batgirl?
Essentially, the two models are very similar and differ in a few details, some visible and some not, which prompted this disparity in treatment (and name) between the two references.
Movement – The Rolex Batgirl mounts an updated caliber, the 3285, while the original Batman mounted the older caliber 3186. The difference is that the new movement features a Paraflex shock-absorber and a longer power reserve of 70 hours, compared to the 48 of the previous version.
Case – Rolex has retouched he design and size of the lugs in the Batgirl watch to make them slimmer, more flowing and elegant, while the Batman has a more spartan and assertive design of the case, with chunkier lugs.
Bracelet – This is the most visible difference, at least until last year. The original Batman fitted a classic three-link Oyster bracelet, while the Batgirl, on the other hand, was initially launched with a five-link Jubilee bracelet. In 2021 Rolex allowed all steel models of GMT Master II to mount either an Oyster or Jubilee bracelet, as desired by the customer.
As far as the value of these watches is concerned, the Rolex GMT Master II, be it Batman or Batgirl, is one of the most sought-after Rolexes on the second wrist market. Despite the cooling of Rolex values taking place since the beginning of 2022, the Bat-whatever watch stands at the highest price range among the best Rolex timepieces, even surpassing the most iconic model, namely the Pepsi.
For this reason, we can say that both of these models are defending themselves very well value-wise, with prices starting at $16,000, while comparable Pepsis begin at $14,000.
Frequently Asked Questions
Many people write to us with questions about timepieces, and we think several of these questions deserve a public answer, as they represent curiosities that are often not highlighted by articles found online.
Is the Rolex Batgirl for ladies?
Not really. The Batman and the Batgirl have the same case size (40 mm) and a similar footprint, so both men and women can wear them equally well. Furthermore, the names chosen to distinguish these two references are just nicknames, and have never been used officially by Rolex. Virtually all of these names have been filed by other companies that have nothing to do with the House of the Crown.
How rare is the Rolex Batman?
Rolex watches in the steel Professional series, to which the Batman and Batgirl also belong, are by no means rare. On the contrary, Rolex produces a total of about a million watches every year. Still, demand from enthusiasts, and more importantly, the watch hoarding by investors, exceeds the Maison’s supply, causing the current scarcity of models on the market and the high street price tag that reaches almost double the official list price. However, we must say that in the past year, the quotations of many Rolex models have decreased precisely because the available supply of second-wrist timepieces has increased.
How long is the waiting list for Rolex Batman?
The waiting list for the Rolex Batman was and continues to be one of the longest in the Rolex household, reaching even several years. But We must remember that all Rolex dealers are autonomous, so their allocation criteria change depending on the importance of the customer and the relationship one has with that particular dealer. So, this means that some people can walk into a Rolex dealer and come out with a Batman on their wrist, while others wait years without ever getting “the call.”
Why is Rolex Batman so popular?
The Rolex Batman is so popular precisely because it is difficult to obtain. Like any other luxury item, it is in high demand. This fact, combined with a recent trend of investing in watches, has led the market to experience a chronic shortage of such timepieces, with prices soaring to the current levels.
Is Rolex Pepsi better than Batman?
Absolutely not. These are two versions of a virtually identical model, differing only in the coloring of the bezel. From a technical point of view, the Batman/Batgirl models are among the newest ever produced by Rolex, representing the most technically advanced watches from the Maison. Among the Pepsi models, on the other hand, we can find modern references, with the Cerachrom bezel, which are equivalent to the Batmans, and older models, with the aluminum bezel, which, although fascinating, are not as technically sophisticated as the last born.
Is the Batman Rolex discontinued?
Rolex has discontinued the original Batman model, and replaced it precisely with the Batgirl, which was launched in 2019. But apart from anything else, except for the Jubilee bracelet, which the Batman never had, it is challenging even for an enthusiast to distinguish a Batman from a Batgirl.
Is the Rolex Batgirl discontinued?
No, the Batgirl represents the current Rolex GMT Master II reference with the black and blue bezel in production.
How many links does a Rolex Batgirl have?
Rolex sold the original Rolex GMT Batgirl with the Jubilee bracelet, which has five links. Still, as of 2021, the traditional Oyster bracelet, with three links, is also available on this Rolex model. The original Batman, released in 2013 and discontinued in 2019, had only the classic Oyster bracelet.
Alternatives to the Rolex Batman from brands and micro brands
The Batman/Batgirl have launched such an unusual color combination for the bezels that, combined with the functionality of the second timezone, makes this watch a true “new classic” in contemporary watchmaking.
And if you do not feel like waiting on an endless waiting list or overpaying on the second wrist market to buy a Rolex, if you like this color combination, we have prepared a small list of references produced by other houses that may satisfy you.
1 – Davosa Ternos GMT 16157145
Davosa is a Swiss company that produces watches of excellent quality. Within its rather extensive catalog, we find this Ternos GMT, which brings back the typical aesthetics of the Rolex Batman in a larger case, 42 mm, and with better water resistance: 200 meters instead of 100.
The Davosa Ternos GMT features a unidirectionally rotating two-tone ceramic bezel, a sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating, and the GMT function that is provided by a robust Sellita-based DAV 3032 caliber. The watch, one of the most expensive of the house’s production, has a list price of $1,399.
2 – Squale Horizon GMT Ceramic
Any diving enthusiast can only be familiar with Squale because its history has always been inextricably linked to the undersea niche. The Squale Horizon GMT Ceramic is a true diver’s watch thanks to its water resistance of 300 meters.
Its 42mm case houses an ETA 2893-2 movement and mounts a 120-shot unidirectional ceramic bezel surrounding a sapphire crystal with a magnifying lens for the date. This is a limited edition, but it is available on the second-hand market for around $850 for a specimen in excellent condition.
3 – Steinhart Traveller GMT Blue
One of the companies best known for the quality of its homage watches, Steinhart has a reputation for quality recognized by its fans worldwide. This particular watch has an original design and a remarkable size, a full 45 mm, making it prominent and assertive on any wrist.
Its technical features are excellent: it offers an impressive 300 meters of water resistance and mounts a Swiss automatic movement with GMT function. This Steinhart mounts a two-tone ceramic unidirectional bezel and is available at a list price of about $850.
4 – Mondia GMT Automatic Professional
Mondia is a former Swiss Maison now based in Italy but continues to produce its timepieces in Switzerland. Again, the case is 42 mm, and the encased movement is Swiss-made – typically on a Sellita SW300 base.
The bezel unidirectional, in ceramic, the crystal sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating, and the watch has a water resistance rating of 200 meters – enough for occasional sports diving: the list price is about $1,350.
5 – Bernhardt Corsair GMT
The Bernhardt Watch Company is a small, family-owned American company that offers pleasant watches with an excellent price/quality ratio. Such is the case with this Corsair GMT, which echoes the company’s previous flagship timepiece, the Globemaster.
The watch has a 42mm case with water resistance of 200 meters, and mounts a Swiss ETA 2893 movement that shows through the visible case back. It features a sapphire crystal, a rotating ceramic bezel, and a reasonably original aesthetic with a military-style cut-out. The watch has an attractive list price of $689.
6 – Bell & Ross BR V2-93 GMT Blue
This French company usually specializes in watches that look like they came out of the instrument panel of an airplane, but in this case, it has made an exception. In its blue and gray version, this timepiece retains a personality of its own, harkening more to the skin divers of yesteryear.
The Bell & Ross BR V2-93 GMT Blue has a 41 mm steel case, where it mounts a BR-CAL.303 automatic movement, developed on an ETA basis, visible through the sapphire crystal case back. The watch has a water resistance of 100 meters and a pleasant blue dial with a sunburst effect, very readable, where the bright red GMT hand stands out. The list price is about $2,950, depending on the strap.
7 – TAG Heuer Aquaracer GMT
TAG Heuer also has a Batman version of the Aquaracer in its lineup. This GMT reference, launched in 2020, features all the typical elements of the model, such as the angular bezel and sloping horizontal striations on the dial.
The watch has a 43 mm case with an excellent fit and a water resistance of 300 meters. It mounts the caliber 7 GMT, derived from an ETA base, and is available at a list price of $3,050.
Despite the confusion engendered by the introduction of this somewhat far-fetched, and if we must say so, not even all that common, designation of “Batgirl”, the Batman/Batgirl duo proves to be one of the most sought-after in Rolex and beyond.
This is not the first time these two colors have been juxtaposed. Many diver watches have done so in the past, but to what turns out to the mischievous minds like us, Rolex launched the Batman because the red pigment in the Cerachrom bezels was not yet perfectly ready.
So if that were the case, the Batman would be something of an “accident in the making.” Well, if that was the case, it was indeed a lucky break for Rolex. And let’s face it, regardless of what watchmakers think of Rolex, the Geneva-based company’s success is punctuated by these episodes. So is it really luck or the results of a winning recipe?