In concept, aesthetic, name, luxury, and just about every other metric that makes watch people salivate, Rolex commands a special appeal. The seminal watchmaker attracts a lot of attention, often for more or less doing business as usual: building handsome, very expensive timepieces with broad appeal.
Every once in a while, though, Rolex swings wide. Recently, it sent relatively strong shockwaves through the watch world with a strangely simple stimulus: making a watch for lefties.
The Rolex GMT-Master II is what watch people would call a “destro” — a wristwatch designed to wrap around the wearer’s right wrist.
The Rolex GMT-Master II is the first series-production model designed for lefties to wear on the right-hand wrist.
The most obvious nod to southpaws is the crown on the opposite side of the bezel and the fact that the magnified date window is moved from the 3 o’clock position to the 9 o’clock for easier right-handed viewing.
Aside from those features, Rolex shoots the GMT-Master II pretty straight, right down to the black and green color scheme. Rolex designed the bi-color bezel to help GMT-Master wearers keep track of two different time zones during international flights. The 40mm case has an in-house 3285 automatic GMT movement with a 70-hour power reserve, and the watch is available on both steel Oyster and Jubilee bracelets.
Interestingly, the world has never rarely seen a Rolex built for lefties. And we do mean rarely — one auctioneer sold two individual Rolex destros in 2018, but iin all likelihood, the two examples were custom builds. Phillips put them on the block at their Geneva and Hong Kong events that year.
About 10% of the population is left-handed. Why did Rolex finally introduce a production watch for them? Is the GMT-Master II destro simply a product of market research, or does Rolex know something we don’t? Don’t know, but they sure can make a sharp-looking watch — no matter which wrist you wear it on.