Rolex Pepsi supply issues?

Published on Friday 16th of February 2024
Rolex Watch

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Rumours have been circulating in the industry for a little while that Rolex are experiencing production issues with the GMT Master II “Pepsi” models, which is resulting in supply issues to their authorised dealers and in turn the preowned market.

The speculated issues are said to be in relation to the production of the iconic blue and red ceramic bezel that give the watch its nickname. This specific colour combination is notoriously difficult to manufacture.

Upon its initial release in 2014, the GMT Master II with a red & blue Cerachrom bezel, was only available on an all 18ct white gold model, Rolex introduced an all steel option in 2018.

The time elapsed between these releases may very well be an indication of the difficulties that the brand has experienced in producing the Pepsi bezel in their signature material. There has also been notable variance in colour tone of earlier models, which again, may add weight to the possibility of issues regarding the production of this particular colour combination of ceramic bezel insert.

Reports suggest that as little as 2 or 3 bezels in each 10 made are of an acceptable standard, but it is important to note that Rolex have not confirmed that there are currently any issues with production.

The method of production for the two-colour ceramic bezel is known to be a difficult process, with the whole ceramic compound initially being red in colour and the blue half is then created by a chemical process to change the colour of the ceramic. During this process specific chemical compounds are added to half of the ceramic insert to achieve the desired colour, in the case of the Pepsi, the treated section will become the blue half of the bezel. The whole ceramic insert is then sintered, which means that the grainy substance is heated to a high heat, but not enough to liquify the particles and then compressed to create the dense and durable material that is the Rolex signature ceramic, Ceracrom. The sintering process induces a chemical reaction which results in the colour change. If the Blue and Red ceramic bezel is viewed under a UV light the whole bezel still appears to be red.

Many are speculating that the GMT Master II ‘Pepsi’ model ref 126710BLRO will be discontinued from the Rolex catalogue as a result of these rumoured issues with production.

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