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Review: Rolex 116759SA Sapphire & Diamond White Gold GMT-Master II

Review: Rolex 116759SA Sapphire & Diamond White Gold GMT-Master II

Rolex 116759SA review

Today we are reviewing a very special Z-series Rolex, the 18K white gold, sapphire and diamond Rolex Oyster Perpetual GMT-Master II reference 116759SA

This 18K white gold GMT-Master II is among a rare breed of Rolex sports watches that actually has gemstones set into the watch by Rolex themselves. 

Yes, this is completely factory made. Nothing on this watch is aftermarket. 

The Rolex GMT-Master II 116759SA case is exquisitely paved with diamonds and it features a sapphire and diamond GMT bezel. This is one of the few entirely handmade Rolex watches you will come across in the modern era. 

sapphire and diamond rolex gmt-master ii


The GMT-Master II is the successor of the GMT-Master line. The original GMT-Master was developed in 1955. It was made to be a navigation instrument for professionals criss-crossing the globe, hence the GMT dual timezone complication. 

The GMT-Master II was first unveiled in 1982. It was an updated, more advanced version of the GMT-Master. While the original GMT-Master continued production for more than a decade after the first GMT-Master II was released, it is now discontinued and Rolex only produces GMT-Master II’s, with the two most iconic versions being the Pepsi and the Batman.

The white gold GMT-Master II reference 116759SA with sapphires and diamonds that you see here was a special edition watch, part of a Z-series, released in the late 2000s. This specific model was produced in 2009. 

It is a very rare specimen and it is highly collectible. You can only find it on the secondary market, since it is no longer in production.

If you are lucky to find one, you will need to pay the heavy price it commands. We are selling the white gold sapphire and diamond Rolex GMT-Master II at an unbeatable price of $78,995

sapphire gmt-master II review


The watch is made from Rolex’s very own white gold, which they make in-house at their foundry. Rolex’s white gold isn’t like other white golds, it is not plated. Ergo, it won’t fade, tarnish or need to be re-plated. They use only the finest metals for their white gold alloy. It’s easily one of the best white gold alloys that exists. 

Some people don’t love a white gold watch because it is too similar to steel, so you don’t have that high-end metal appearance like you would with yellow or rose gold. But that is actually wrong. Rolex’s white gold is noticeably different than their steel. It is whiter, icier and more sumptuous. It has a luster that immediately lets you know it is white gold.

A white gold Rolex is great for someone who wants a premium watch without being too loud. A yellow gold and rose gold watch can sometimes appear a bit gaudy, especially for sports watches. Of course, this is personal preference. We think all of Rolex’s metals are great.

What’s more to love about the white gold is how it contrasts with the sapphires and compliments the diamonds so beautifully. While yellow gold would also be great, and they do have this version of the watch in yellow gold (reference 116758SA), we much prefer the white gold option.

A white gold Rolex sports watch with diamonds and sapphires is purely one of a kind. You won’t be seeing this watch on other guys or gals wrist unless you look very far and wide. 

rolex 116759SA price


The case is solid white gold with a super case profile. The “super case” was an update to Submariner and GMT-Master II Oyster cases back in the 2005. It is also known as the Maxi case. It is a more robust version of the Oyster case, and as such, it offers a bigger, more dominant wrist presence, even though the main dimension of 40mm is the same. 

The super case has broader and fatter lugs and a wider bezel, which is perfect for the gemstone touch that this watch was blessed with. The diamonds set into the lugs are, of course, the finest quality you will ever find. They are brilliant cut diamonds that have been graded electronically to ensure they all have the highest grade of cut, color and clarity. The diamonds are gradient in their carat size as well, so you will see they grow as they move up the lugs towards the bezel.

The crown guards are also set with flawless, round brilliant diamonds. And even with the diamonds, the Triplock crown ensures 100 meters of water resistance. While it is a pilots watch, it is clearly set up well for recreational swimming. 

Although it is a 40mm super case, the watch is reasonably slender, measuring only 11.8mm in height. Thus, it will easily slide under the cuff or a sleeve when you want to get dressed to the nine. 

Lug to lug, the watch is 48mm, and if you include the solid end-links, the full measurement across the wrist is 51mm. With that, this watch will wear great on a watch even as small 14 centimeters in circumference. It is a very versatile watch in terms of the wrist sizes that can wear it. It offers a proportional look on most people’s wrist. 

Of course, Rolex always uses solid casebacks, even on their precious metal watches. So, while you can’t see the movement, you do get even more white gold, which means more heft. 

sapphire and diamond gmt-master II price


Like the diamonds of the case, the baguette diamonds and sapphires have been meticulously chosen to ensure perfect color, cut and clarity.

The gem-set bezel uses an invisible setting, which is different than the prong-set pincer setting of the lugs and crown guards of the case. With the bezel, there is an outer track and an inner track but no intermediate pincers for the gems setting. This allows the diamonds and sapphires to display all of their beauty without any disturbance, as slight as a prong-setting may be. 

As we mentioned earlier, this is a handmade Rolex watch, so the gem-setting was done manually, which guarantees absolute security of the sapphires and diamonds set into the bezel. You will never have to worry about these stones falling out. 

Needless to say, the sapphires are real and untreated. Their exquisite blue color is all natural. Only the best of the best from Rolex.

Even with the bezel being gem-set, you can still approximate the different GMT timezone offset using the strategically placed sapphires and diamonds. The bezel is rotatable bidirectionally. And note the magnificent oversized triangular diamond index at the top. That marks the start of the day…

Blue & White = Night & Day

As the Rolex GMT-Master II is a dual timezone watch, the bezel represents the second timezone. It would normally have a 24 hour graduation, with the inverted triangle being the 24 hour marker. Like the bezel of the GMT-Master II Batman, this sapphire and diamond watch deliberately uses a two-tone style to represent day and night. The top half of the bezel is blue, which represents night 0:00-6:00 and 18:00-24:00, and the white is day 6:00-18:00. The white diamonds in the blue indicate jumps of 2 hours, as do the blue sapphires in the white. 

As always, there’s a rhyme and reason behind Rolex’s designs.

Rolex 116759SA gmt-master ii


The black lacquer dial features the green GMT Master II text above the 6 o’clock and white gold hands and indices. As this is a Maxi dial, the hands and indices are very prominent and full of powerful lume, so you can read the time at night as easy as you can during the day. 

The watch has a date complication, displayed in the window at the 3 o’clock. Over the impenetrable sapphire crystal you have a cyclops eye to magnify the date window. 

Like all modern GMT’s, you can set the hour hand (forward or backward) independently. So, the minute and seconds hand won’t stop.

Also, if you pull the crown out two clicks, you can move the 24 hour hand. This is a GMT after all. You have two timezones, one in 12 hours on the main dial and one in 24 hours which is the reference time indicated by the bezel. 

rare gmt-master II watch


The spacing between the lugs is 20 millimeters, so the Oyster bracelet is quite substantial. Moreover, it has solid end links, solid center links, and a milled clasp to give it an even more significant feeling on the wrist. 

The bracelet is extremely well made, and for a lack of better words, it is very handsome. As a solid white gold GMT, it has polished center links, satin end links, and polished outer faces. The gaps on the underside of the bracelet are perfectly calculated to ventilate heat and avoid pinching skin or pulling hair. All of which makes this bracelet both stunning and comfortable. 

It also has sizable, removable links fixed in place by screws, so you can resize the bracelet as needed. 

EasyLink Oyster Clasp

The beautiful and iconic Oyster clasp features a beak and hook system, known as the clamshell lock, so it locks once and then it latches over for additional security.

Like the bracelet, the raised center of the clasp is polished, as is the Rolex coronet, and the sides are satin. 

The EasyLink mechanism in the clasp allows for 5mm of quick adjustments. The divots drilled inside of the clasp enable you to change the stationing of the bracelet in the claps when the clasp is open. It is the equivalent of adding or removing one sizable link. 

gmt watch


At the heart of the watch is a calibre 3186 movement. It has 31 jewels, bidirectional automatic winding, 48 hour power reserve, a stop seconds dual time, and it beats at 28,800 vibrations per hour (aka 4hz). 

The movement features a free sprung index and full balance bridge for shock resistance, an over-coil hairspring (made by hand by Rolex) adjusted in five positions, and COSC chronometer certification guaranteeing accuracy to +2/-2 seconds per day. 

This is a workhorse movement through and through.

gmt-master II sapphire and diamond on the wrist


When this watch is on the wrist, it makes itself known. It has a heft to it that only a pure gold watch has. The diamonds and sapphires only add to this substantial feeling. It’s nice when a metal watch feels as heavy as it costs. It lets you know you have something of intrinsic value, and this watch has a ton of value both for the material and the brand name that is Rolex.

As for the aesthetics, this Rolex GMT-Master II has the presence of royalty. The colors are stunning, the light performance is unparalleled, and the size is ample. It owns the wrist real estate proudly and loudly yet in a very elegant manner thanks to its white gold construction. 

If you want a watch that makes a big impression, this is the one. It can be worn casually or formally to perfection. It would look just as good with a white tee and jeans as it does with a suit and tie.

To top it all off, with the scarcity of this reference, the value is going to continue to rise with time, making it a great investment.

All in all, the Rolex GMT-Master II 116759SA is a winner.

18K White Gold Sapphire & Diamond Rolex GMT-Master II 116759SA For Sale in Boca Raton

If you love this watch, it is for sale at Diamonds By Raymond Lee in Boca Raton. It comes with its original Rolex card and box and it is in excellent condition. 

See the full sales listing for the white gold sapphire and diamond Rolex GMT-Master II 116759SA

Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you are interested or have any questions. 


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