Rolex GMT vs Submariner: A Showdown of Two Very Similar Rolexes

Rolex GMT vs Submariner_Feat

When it comes to Rolex luxury sports watches, the Rolex GMT and Submariner are two of the most well-known models from Rolex’s lineup.

Many friends and loved ones have asked me about which Rolex timepieces to buy and many inquiries are about the Rolex GMT vs Submariner. At first glance, it’s easy to think that the GMT Master and Submariner is basically the same watch.

However, the devil is always in the details.

So for today’s head-to-head comparison, we are taking a closer look at the Rolex Submariner and the Rolex GMT Master II, and how they stack up against each other.

Rolex GMT vs Submariner: Specs Comparison

For this head-to-head comparison, we’ll review the Rolex GMT Master II reference 116710 and the Rolex Submariner reference 116610.

But first, let us take a look at the key specs for both the GMT Master II and Submariner.

Model: Rolex GMT Master II Rolex Submariner
Reference #: 116710 116610
Model case: Oyster, 40 mm, Oystersteel Oyster, 40 mm, Oystersteel
Dial color: Black Black
Oyster architecture: Monobloc middle case, screw-down case back and winding crown Monobloc middle case, screw-down case back and winding crown
Material: Oystersteel Oystersteel
Bezel: Bidirectional rotatable 24-hour graduated bezel. Two-colour brown and black Cerachrom insert in ceramic, engraved numerals and graduations Unidirectional rotatable 60-minute graduated, scratch-resistant Cerachrom insert in ceramic, numerals and graduations coated in platinum
Winding crown: Screw-down, Triplock triple waterproofness system Screw-down, Triplock triple waterproofness system
Crystal: Scratch-resistant sapphire, Cyclops lens over the date Scratch-resistant sapphire, Cyclops lens over the date
Water Resistance: 100 meters / 330 feet 300 meters / 1,000 feet
Movement: Perpetual, mechanical, self-winding Perpetual, mechanical, self-winding
Caliber: 3285, Manufacture Rolex 3135, Manufacture Rolex
Functions: Centre hour, minute and seconds hands. 24-hour display. Second time zone with independent rapid-setting of the hour hand. Instantaneous date. Stop-seconds for precise time setting Centre hour, minute and seconds hands. Instantaneous date with rapid setting. Stop-seconds for precise time setting
Oscillator: Paramagnetic blue Parachrom hairspring
Power reserve: 70 hours 48 hours
Bracelet: Oyster, flat three-piece links Oystersteel
Clasp: Folding Oysterlock safety clasp with Easylink 5 mm comfort extension link Folding Oysterlock safety clasp with Rolex Glidelock extension system

Rolex GMT vs Submariner: Head-to-Head Review

Design

In terms of design, no one will blame you if you think that both watches look very similar.

Both timepieces are housed in the 40mm diameter which is often referred to as the “super case.” The case features thicker lugs and crown guards which give off a bolder and chunkier appearance. Of course, both cases are done in 904L stainless steel (with the GMT receiving it a year later than the Submariner).

Both watches also come with the signature Oyster bracelet. However, the style of clasp and the polish are done differently on each of the watches. If you look closely, the GMT Master II bracelet’s center link features a high-gloss polish while the Submariner received a brushed satin finish for its bracelet.

Being a dive watch, Submariner gets the folding Oysterlock safety clasp with the proprietary Glidelock extension system. On the other hand, the GMT’s Oyster bracelet comes with a simple folding Oysterlock safety clasp with the Easylink 5 mm comfort extension link.

The bezel design is one of the key differences between the GMT Master II and Submariner. The Submariner is fitted with a 60-minute scale bezel which is used as a dive timer. On the flip side, the GMT Master features a 24-hour bezel for use in combination with the GMT hand.

Other models of the GMT also adds a splash of color which makes it more interesting for more people. I particularly enjoy the GMT model with the iconic Pepsi bezel. The Submariner has retained its iconic black dial over the years. However, the Submariner does have other color options like the vibrant green “The Hulk” Submariner.

Movement

Aside from a number of cosmetic differences, one of the most major differences between the GMT Master II and Submariner are their movements.

Rolex 3135 Movement

The reference 116610 Submariner is powered by the venerable Caliber 3135 movement which remained unchanged since 1988. The Caliber 3135 is a standard 3-hand automatic movement (hours, minutes, and seconds) with a date complication. Nothing much to say here but it’s a workhorse movement that gets the job done.

Rolex 3186 Movement

On the other hand, the reference 116710 GMT-Master II is fitted with the in-house Caliber 3186 movement. It also comes with a date complication and the hour hand can be adjusted independently. Like with all GMT Master models, the GMT Master II has a 4th GMT hand. This allows you to adjust the hour hand separately from the GMT hand.

As a result, GMT owners can simultaneously reference three time zones when used in combination with the watch’s rotating 24-hour bezel.

Both movements are COSC certified and run at +/- 2 seconds per day. In addition, both movements are equipped with Parachrom Bleu hairspring which protects the movement from magnetic fields and shocks. It’s also worth noting that the aesthetic of both movements is also fairly similar.

The power reserve of the GMT is far superior to the Submariner. The former boasts a 70-hour power reserve while the latter offers 48 hours of power reserve. This should not be an issue for most people but should you go on a weekend without wearing a watch, the difference in power reserve should show itself.

Functionality

When it comes to buying Rolex watches, you’re not really looking at your options with functionality in mind. As you can see, both the GMT and Submariner have their own uses.

However, just how do they stack up when it comes to day to day use?

For overall functionality, I reckon that the GMT Master II has the upper hand over the Submariner. The GMT function is just so robust and flexible that I can see myself using it more in daily life. From timing something while on the kitchen to deciding whether it’s time to call a loved one from another country, the GMT Master II can handle these tasks with little to no problem.

Sure, a smartphone is good enough for such tasks but there’s just something satisfying about looking down on your wrist to tell the time. With that said, jet-lagged travelers and jet-setters will have a lot to love about the GMT functions of the GMT Master II.

As for the Rolex Submariner, I can also time things but that’s about it. If I am a professional diver or someone who’s always near the water, the possibilities for the Submariner certainly do open up. After all, the Sub can handle depths to 300 meters. The Submariner’s water-resistance does add a great deal of ruggedness to the watch.

But alas, I’ll never come close to 300 meters of depth which means that the Submariner’s greatest asset is now moot. However, you really can’t underestimate the ruggedness and reliability of the Submariner for everyday use.

This feels like I’m grasping for straws here but the GMT Master II certainly has the upper hand when it comes to pure timepiece functionality.

Pricing

Looking at the price of the Submariner Date and the GMT Master II, they are about in the same price range. The GMT Master II is the pricier between the two but the price difference won’t be much of an issue – at least to an avid Rolex collector.

However, if the budget is tight and every dollar matters, the Submariner Date is the no-brainer option. It might be the less expensive watch between the two, it’s certainly not the inferior model. You will be getting your hands on a legendary timepiece that’s literally timeless. If you want, you may even opt for the more affordable standard Rolex Submariner, if you think you won’t miss the date aperture.

There’s more watch here than you can shake a stick at.

However, for pure functionality alone, the Rolex GMT Master II is hands down the better value for the money. This is especially true if you are always traveling abroad or simply want a watch with a GMT feature.

Rolex GMT vs Submariner: The Verdict

Rolex GMT vs Submariner_Feat

This concludes our Rolex GMT vs Submariner head-to-head review, so what’s the verdict?

From the design to the specs and features, you could swear that the Rolex GMT Master II and Rolex Submariner are essentially the same watch. However, as you can see, there are numerous key differences that set apart one from the other.

If you are giving me the choice between the Rolex Submariner or GMT Master II, I’ll have to give it to the GMT. Give me the Pepsi-bezeled GMT and all bets are off.

Don’t get me wrong though.

If you are an avid reader of WatchIdeas, you’ll know that I am the biggest fan of the Submariner. However, in this particular head-to-head comparison, the GMT edges out the black-dialed Rolex classic.

It is just that I think I’ll be able to use the GMT Master II in the spirit it was intended when compared to the Submariner. There’s just more watch that the GMT can offer more than the Sub. However, when it comes to the price, it’s really hard to go wrong with the Submariner and you won’t be missing much.

If you’re someone who’s having this conundrum, I’d say that it’s a good problem to have – but it’s also a very tricky choice. One has a GMT feature and a more complex movement while the other offers superior water resistance and ruggedness.

It’s really up to you to decide where you think your money is worth.

Frederique Constant Worldtimer Review: A Serious World Time Watch for the Money

Fredrique Constant Worldtimer Review Featured

When it comes to luxury watches, people tend to stick with the usual suspects like Rolex and Omega. However, if you are such a collector, you are missing out on some of the best high-quality luxury watches out there. This is exactly why I have decided to write this Frederique Constant Worldtimer review.

Personally, I really like the Frederique Constant brand because they are quite great at offering high-quality timepieces with in-house movements at fairly reasonable prices. Many luxury brands still demand absurd prices for their watches while using classic ETA movements.

For me, the brand name alone just won’t cut it.

Frederique Constant is a brand close to my heart since they have brought unique watches to the table for reasonable. Is this the case with the Frederique Constant Worldtimer?

Let’s take a closer look!

Frederique Constant Worldtimer Review: At a Glance

As you can see, the Frederique Constant Worldtimer is a true worldtimer, it’s not just a GMT watch with cities ring. Before we get into the nitty-gritty details, let us first take a look at the key specs and features of the watch:

Model:

Frederique Constant Classic Worldtimer Manufacture

Reference no.

FC-718NWM4H6

Movement:

FC-718 Automatic movement. 26 jewels, 28’800 alt/h with Hours, Minutes, Seconds, Date, Worldtimer

Power reserve:

42 hours

Case material:

Stainless steel

Case diameter:

42 mm

Crown:

2-O-Rings crown

Crystal:

Convex Sapphire
Water-resistance: Water-resistant to 5 ATM

Height:

12.1 mm

Dial:

Navy, world map, applied white luminous indexes.

Strap:

Alligator Strap

First Impression

 

Today, we’ll be taking a closer look at the Frederique Constant Classic Worldtimer Manufacture, reference FC-718NWM4H6.

As I held the watch in my hands, my eyes are immediately drawn to the worldtimer dial. I am too fond of dials that are way too busy but it seems Frederique Constant knows how to pull it off well. If you like your information with an in your face approach, this watch might just be for you.

With that said, Frederique Constant did a great job with this stunning dial. It certainly sports a very unique look and it’s how you pull off a dressier traveler’s watch. Despite the sheer complexity of the dial, I can see traditional watchmaking design elements such as the elegant alpha hands and the beautiful sunburst finish.

But surely, this watch would be difficult to use, right? Despite its busy profile, the Frederique Constant Worldtimer features one of the easiest world time complication I’ve used.

The predominant navy blue works rather well with the multi-layered approach of the design. While it does feed you information that you probably don’t need each and every time, pulling out the info that you need becomes a non-issue once you get used to the watch.

Also, I’ve been getting compliments and “where did you buy that” questions while wearing the watch.

The Worldtimer Dial

Fredrique Constant Worldtimer Review Dial

The Worldtimer dial is easily the star of this timepiece.

The dial’s centerpiece is the gray anthracite world map with illuminated applied hour markers. The innermost ring is the bi-color 24-hour ring, the white refers to the traditional day hours and blue for the traditional dark hours.

The outermost ring is the city-ring which can be operated via the crown. The different cities correspond to each major time zones. The city ring is aligned with the 24-hour ring and is used to display the corresponding time.

Fredrique Constant Worldtimer Review Dial_2

Now, this may seem to be confusing but the watch is actually quite simple to use. Basically, you simply have to set the city that represents your home timezone to the 12 o’clock position. This is done by rotating the crown counterclockwise at the first stop. Once the ring is set to your home time in the city ring, you can then look at any other time zone to know the time. The rest of the work is left to the movement.

It’s a really elegant solution without complicating things so much.

As for the actual design of the dial, it is fairly stylish with an upmarket look. While there’s a lot going on in the dial, it’s wonderfully legible including the names of the cities.

If there’s one thing I’m not sure of is the large date sub-dial at 6 o’clock. On one hand, I appreciate that they made the date dial large enough for legibility but it annoyingly obscures five of the twenty time zones and a considerable part of the world map. A simple date window or even an “oversized” date window is a much better solution.

Regardless of the date dial, the Frederique Constant Worldtimer’s dial is a resounding success.

Construction and Wearability

Fredrique Constant Worldtimer Review Bracelet

The Worldtimer is 42 mm in diameter and 12.1 mm in thickness. The three-piece case is made with polished stainless steel and the case back is sapphire. The 42 mm might seem a bit too large for many people but it’s actually the perfect size for this watch.

The complexity of the dial alone warrants a larger diameter, any less would negatively impact the Worldtimer’s legibility. Even with the larger diameter, the Frederique Constant Worldtimer doesn’t feel like a 42 mm watch. This can be attributed to the designer’s decision to include a domed case. As a result, the watch looks and feels smaller than it is.

Comfort is also a non-issue which is a way of saying that it wears comfortably. It never felt too heavy and sits nicely on the wrist. The curve of the lugs is rather smooth unlike in other watches that are sharp. I don’t know about you but I don’t like the feel of lugs poking against my skin.

The Worldtimer comes with a navy alligator strap with off-white stitching. Along with the polished case, the inclusion of the alligator strap adds up to a rather sharp-looking timepiece. Imagine yourself wearing a dressier travel watch as you jaunt from one country to the next.

The watch oozes with traditional elegance but with a contemporary twist as well.

The other brown dial version (ref: FC-718WM4H6B) comes with a light brown leather strap with white stitches.

Timekeeping

You can’t have a Frederique Constant Worldtimer review without talking about its in-house movement. The entire Worldtimer collection is powered by the in-house FC-718 caliber movement. Other watchmakers could have thrown in a standard GMT movement and called it a day.

However, that’s not the case with Frederique Constant’s world time watch.

The FC-718 Manufacture automatic caliber features 26 jewels and a 42-hour power reserve. World times generally need at least one additional pusher for advancing things but not so much here. With the FC-718 movement, everything is done via the crown and that’s a design decision that I can get behind.

Frederique Constant not only made an in-house movement but they also made it in a way that everything can be adjusted via the crown – no additional pushers or buttons here. This makes the watch a breeze to operate despite looking complicated in the surface.

Fredrique Constant Worldtimer Review Movement

The movement is a thing of beauty as well and thanks to the transparent crystal case back, viewing the movement is made possible. The movement is designed to be clean and simple from the ground up. Timekeeping works great and I have yet to encounter any issues.

For this price point, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a timepiece with a stunning in-house movement.

Pricing

Fredrique Constant Worldtimer Review Dial_3

Watch folks are a tough crowd and they will turn up their noses just with the price alone. This is quite a shame since many collectors would probably shy away from Frederique Constant Worldtimer just because of the accessible price.

True enough, the Frederique Constant Worldtimer is offered at a rather unexpected price. With a high-quality, polished design and an in-house movement, many of you are probably asking: “what’s the catch?”

Honestly, there is none!

What we have here is a full-featured World Time watch that delivers in quality and features. There are also some smart design decisions here which make the watch a cinch to use. Even if you are not familiar with using world time models, the Worldtimer is a good model to get you started.

Seriously, one of the most attractive aspects of the watch is its price point. This package offers great value for the dollar.

Should You Get the Frederique Constant Worldtimer?

Fredrique Constant Worldtimer Review Featured

This Frederique Constant Worldtimer review won’t be complete without our final verdict.

So should you bother looking in the direction of the Frederique Constant Worldtimer? Absolutely!

If you are looking for this style of world timer, the Frederique Constant Worldtimer offers a value unlike anything you’ve seen before. While the complex dial makes it seem like a tough piece to use, operating the watch is actually very intuitive. Everything is done via the crown so you don’t have fiddle around with pushers or buttons for setting the watch.

The Frederique Constant Classic Worldtimer Manufacture is highly recommended for buyers who are looking to get into the realm of world time watches. It’s also a great option for jet setters who prefer a classier and dressier watch than the sportier GMTs on the market. Overall, it’s a unique timepiece that offers excellent versatility.

On the other hand, this watch is not for you if you like your dials plain and simple. There’s really a lot going on with the watch and there’s a bit of a learning curve to it. The date dial obscuring many of the dial elements can also be a deal-breaker for many collectors.

The Frederique Constant Classic Worldtimer looks great, inside and out. Plus, it’s versatile and very easy to use with a low entry barrier in terms of price.