The biggest surprise from Rolex in 2022: a left-handed GMT-Master II.

Steve Jobs famously said, “People don’t know what they want until you show it to them.” And if one watchmaker could agree, it would be Rolex. Every Crown release stirs collectors’ desires into a frenzy. For Rolex, creating an epic blockbuster would be as easy as giving its fans what they want.

Yet Rolex rarely delivers the expected, and that’s why it is the most famous watch brand in the world.

Catching the expectant watch world by surprise, Rolex released a left-handed GMT-Master II at this year’s Watches and Wonders fair in Geneva. Why, might you ask? The official reasoning was, “We simply want to offer a greater selection to our clients.” Nothing more..

For Rolex, incremental change is de rigueur. New launches might be as simple as a new dial color, an old watch rendered in a new material, or a movement modification that might not be visible. In that context, shifting a crown from right to left can be seen as a seismic change. The green-and-black color scheme is instantly recognizable, divided into two halves that represent day and night on the 24-hour bezel. The hour and minute hands supply the time, while the separate 24-hour hand allows for multiple time zones to be read simultaneously. Highly practical, the GMT-Master II is the ideal watch for today’s world traveler.

Expect the unexpected: a Rolex GMT-Master II for left -handed travelers. PHOTO COURTESY OF ROLEX
Expect the unexpected: a Rolex GMT-Master II for left -handed travelers.

The left-handed crown looks disorienting at first glance, and while the date can be viewed through the cyclops window, it has also shift ed to the left -hand side of the GMT-Master II(!). The 40 mm stainless-steel case is waterproof to a depth of 100 meters (330 feet) with a “triplock” crown to bolster water resistance, protected by a pair of crown guards. A perpetual caliber 3285 powers the self-winding GMT-Master II with a power reserve of 70 hours. The watch’s Oyster bracelet, a Rolex icon since the 1930s, is as identifiable as the crown on the dial.

Has Rolex offered left-handed watches before? Only with rare examples of custom-ordered timepieces popping up at auctions in years past. Will the new watch have mass appeal? Probably not, but for red-hot Rolex, anything is possible. A jaw-dropping addition to the slowly expanding Rolex universe, the left-handed GMT-Master II is a delightful and charming surprise.