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  • Writer's pictureLYN

HOW TO #3 : Set Time and Date GMT-MASTER & GMT-MASTER II 16700 16710 116710

Updated: Sep 2, 2021

Before we make this blog, we ran through our customers’ feedbacks and also the top-asked questions by our customers. Going through a Covid-19 Work-From-Home situation, we knew that most of our customers are staying at home, and therefore we feel that now is the perfect time to make a blog.

I believe that it can be a lot of fun to play with our watch while we stay at home.

Lets discuss the Rolex GMT-MASTER watch. Many of our customers own few different pieces of Rolex GMT-MASTER watches. One of our customers has a beautiful collection of GMT-MASTER watches, from the historical GMT-MASTER watch with Acrylic crystal to the latest GMT-MASTER II watch with Cerachrom bezel. One of the top-asked questions by our customers is: “how to set my GMT-MASTER watch?”

To set our GMT-MASTER watch, the key is to see if the watch we are setting is GMT-MASTER or GMT-MASTER II watch. Then setting the watch will be pretty straight-forward.

Some of us have both the GMT-MASTER & GMT-MASTER II watch, so sometimes we get a bit confused when we set the watch. Moreover in 1989, Rolex has released the respective two models at the same time. One is a GMT-MASTER II watch with reference number 16710, and the other is a GMT-MASTER watch with reference number 16700.

They are very similar watches.

The quickest way to differentiate is to take a close look at the dial of the Rolex GMT-MASTER watch. If we see the writing “GMT-MASTER II”, then we are setting the watch with the newer movement, and the writing “GMT-MASTER” indicates an older movement.

It is to be noted that in 1989, both of this movements are made available to watch buyers. During this time, the GMT-MASTER watch (16700) is offered as a more cost-effective watch. The GMT-MASTER II watch utilize a more modern movement, with independent hour hand, whose concept is still being used until today.

When setting a GMT-MASTER watch, we set the hour hand together with the 24-Hour GMT hand. In this video, our GMT hand will denote our home time, and the hour hand shall denote the current time wherever we are.

In the case of Rolex GMT-MASTER 16700, We will first unscrew the crown, and pull the crown to the first position to set the date.

To set the hours and minutes, we pull the crown to the second position, which is the maximum position the crown can be pulled. And then we turn the crown clockwise direction to move forward the GMT hand, the hour hand and the minute hand. Both the GMT and hour hands should move at the same rate when we turn the crown. Two full rotations of the hour hand is equal to one rotation of the GMT hand.

After we finish, the bezel can then be turned to denote the home time.

In this case, we set the date to the 8th and both the GMT (home) time to 8:20 pm and current time to 8:20 pm.

When setting a GMT-MASTER II watch referenced 16710, we pull the crown to the first position to set the independent hour hand to set the date. The hour hand moves two full rotations to increment the date.

To set the GMT hand and minute hand, we need to pull the crown to the outmost position, or the second position. All three hands will move at the same time, but we will focus on the GMT hand and the minute hand.

And finally we move the crown back to its first position to set the hour hand against the current time.

Watch set at 8:20

GMT-MASTER II Third time

The Rolex GMT-MASTER II can denote a third time zone.

Although it can be used to display a third time zone, only two different times can be read at one moment.

If we want to read the time, which is two hour ahead of our home time, we could rotate the bidirectional bezel two hours ahead and the time that we want to read will be indicated by the numeral on the bezel that the GMT hand points to.

For example, if a person who lives in Jakarta is currently in Makassar visiting his family, he can read the current time in Makassar on the dial as normal (from the hour and minute hands), while the GMT hand shows him the time back home in Jakarta against the 24-hour scale on the bezel.

If he wants to read the time in Jayapura, which is two hour ahead of his home time in Jakarta, he could rotate the bidirectional bezel two hours ahead and the time in Jayapura will be indicated by the numeral that the GMT hand points to on the bezel.

Take note that since the bezel has been rotated, the GMT hand no longer displays the Home time that it shows previously. So while the watch cannot show all three times at once, it is a rather quick and easy task to switch it to reference a third time.

The new improvement to the Cerachrom bezel is the ability for it to move in one hour increment, and thus is easier to turn it with precise. It helps us to quickly and accurately read the third time.


It seemed most effective if you set the GMT hand to be your home time. And when you travel, you can set the hour hand to be the current location time. The reason is that when the hour hand is set, it moves one hour ahead or behind, so we would not mess up the minute. In addition to that, the second hand will also continue running, therefore we will not mess up the time.

It is however totally up to you, because this boils down to personal preference. You should wear your watch however you like it.


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