Probably one of the most left-field releases of 2022 was the Rolex GMT “Southpaw”. Rolex announced that the new iteration of the GMT-Master II would not only be sporting a new green and black bezel, but it would also be a “left-handed” watch.
This means that the crown (guards) and date window (cyclops) are located on the other side of the watch.
I was excited to see how Rolex managed to deliver something so bold and whether this was a step too bold. What I can say, is this watch took me by surprise.
Initial Reaction and Takeaways
Image Credit: A Blog to Watch
It is safe to say that my initial reaction was a mix of excitement and intrigue, I tried to reserve any form of judgement until I was able to handle the watch.
The aspect which fascinated me, but also made me think at length about Rolex’s tactics was the “left-handed” approach.
Of course, this doesn’t mean this model is exclusively for those who wear their watch on the right hand, it’s also easily worn on the left wrist. But for those more accustomed to wearing a watch on the left wrist, visually it may take some time to get used to.
For a brand known for following tradition and often playing it safe with releases, this was definitely a step away from what we expected from Rolex. Many will think the left-handed Rolex is a first, but Hodinkee did note in their coverage of the release that the Geneva and Hong Kong auctions saw a couple of left-handed GMT models before.
It is also known that there is a Cellini and a Submariner model in the left-handed configuration. So, it certainly isn’t a first for the brand, but on a larger scale, this is definitely a new direction for Rolex.
Can I wear this if I’m a right-handed, left-wrist, watch wearer?
Image Credit: A Blog to Watch
The question you will probably ask is, if I wear this watch on my left wrist because I’m in fact right-handed, does this configuration make the watch uncomfortable on the wrist.
The straight answer is no. As we know, the crown and guards on modern GMT-Masters are fairly non-obtrusive and so this doesn’t become an issue when worn on the opposite wrist.
For those who do indeed wear their watch on the right-hand wrist then this is likely to be a welcome introduction to the modern Rolex world for you.
Tech and Specs…
As with all of the current GMT-Master IIs in the Rolex lineup, the Southpaw comes in at 40mm, which is a good size for those with medium to large-sized wrists.
I’ve always found the case size on the modern GMTs and Submariners a tad on the bulky side and they certainly don’t come close to being subtle on the wrist. But let’s not forget that these are tool watches, and they are designed to serve a purpose, so larger proportions certainly help in that regard, making them more tactile and legible.
Interestingly, although it may seem like an easy change, switching the side of the crown required Rolex to redevelop the COSC-testing equipment in order to adjust to the change in orientation of the movement.
This model sports the self-winding calibre 3285 which boasts a 70-hour power reserve, hour, minutes, hacking seconds and a date window.
As with all modern Rolex, the movement is extensively tested and improved, meaning this is one of the more reliable and accurate movements on the market.
So, Rolex has undoubtedly brought to market a left-field model in their ever-expanding professional range of watches. I must say that my initial hesitations and presuppositions have all been corrected since wearing this piece.
The crown is not intrusive for left-wrist wearers and the aesthetics don’t make the watch seem, at all, gimmicky. This release certainly makes me question why Rolex hasn’t introduced a green or black bezel before or indeed done a production run of southpaw watches.
All that being said, I do feel that this new release has already found its place in the modern offerings from Rolex.
Although it may stand out somewhat visually it does feel right at home. You certainly cannot go wrong with a Rolex GMT-Master II and, in my opinion, the green and black bezel takes an already fantastic model to the next level.