We’ve discussed a number of Rolex bezel styles on the site—there’s the Pepsi, Coke, Batman—and their more affordable alternatives. This article will feature another Rolex bezel style, the “root beer.”
This Rolex GMT model may not be as well-known as the Pepsi and Coke variants, but it’s quite popular among watch enthusiasts and Rolex collectors. Like all Rolex watches, however, these don’t come cheap. Below, we will take a look at some of the best alternative watches that have friendlier price tags.
Rolex Root Beer Alternatives
Nicknamed the “Root Beer,” the Rolex GMT Master II is a colorway in the brand’s GMT line, which includes the Coke and Pepsi models. The bezel has a combination of black and brown, thus the nickname.
The case is a 40mm and what Rolex calls “Everose Rolesor,” which is a combination of 18ct Everose gold color, and Oystersteel. The strap is an Oyster bracelet with flat three-piece links, and a folding safety clasp with an extension link. The two-tone bezel is unidirectional, the crystal is the scratch-resistant sapphire, and the water resistance is up to 100m.
The watch runs on a mechanical GMT function, the Rolex caliber 3285, with a power reserve of up to 70 hours.
Below, we’re going to feature watches that are more affordable but have similar designs and features as the Rolex Root Beer.
Stuhrling Meridian 3968 GMT Quartz
This one’s from the American brand Stuhrling, which is known for its mid-range watches.
The Stuhrling Meridian 3968 GMT Quartz watch is a 42mm diver with a screw-down crown and a water-resistance to 330 feet.
The case is 42mm, with a black dial, applied luminous circle markers, and a large date window at 3 o’clock. Like the Rolex GMT, the bidirectional coin edge bezel of this watch is two-toned.
The strap is a link bracelet, with a screw-down fluted crown with the brand’s “S” logo. This GMT has a number of versions, with bezels similar to Pepsi and Batman models. You can check them out on the Stuhrling website.
Gigandet Men’s Automatic Dive Watch Brown Gold
This watch by Germany-based watch brand Gigandet is a Rolex homage, but instead of a black and brown color combination on the bezel, this one is just plain brown.
The 43mm Gigandet automatic watch 43mm watch is a diver’s watch with a black dial and a unidirectional bezel, as well as a brown leather strap. The circle markers and hands are luminous, and there is a date window at 3 o’clock. The watch is water-resistant to 300m. The strap is a genuine calfskin leather.
The watch runs on a Japanese Seiko automatic movement (caliber NH35).
Mathey-Tissot Mathy Vintage GMT Two-Tone Root Beer Dial ( H903RNM)
The Mathey-Tissot Watch Company has been around since 1886, producing watches assembled in Chiasso, Switzerland.
This Mathey-Tissot GMT watch looks very much like the Rolex Root Beer but is way more affordable. The case is 42mm stainless steel, with a pink gold and silver bracelet. It has a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal and a solid case back, with a fold-over safety release clasp.
Running on a quartz movement (RONDA 515 H24), this Swiss-made watch has a brown dial and luminous rose gold-tone hands. Like the Rolex, the bezel is two-tone, with silver and rose gold-plated colors. The water resistance is up to 100m.
Squale ATMOS Heritage Ceramic 1545
This one is from Swiss watchmaker Squale, which is known for its diving watches. This watch has a matte black dial and a brown ceramic bezel with gold-filled index markers.
This is an upgraded model, featuring the unique Root Beer color combination. This model is no longer available on the Squale website), the numbers on the bezel are engraved by machines, heated to purify the ceramic, and filled with gold gilt.
Running on a Swiss Automatic movement, this 40mm watch has a stainless steel case, flat sapphire crystal, and a water resistance to 200m.
One of the newer models that has a similar color scheme is the Squale Matic Chocolate Leather model, a 44mm watch with a steel case, domed sapphire crystal, and Super Luminova. This one’s still available on Squale’s website.
Meccaniche Veneziane Nereide GMT
This GMT watch by Italian brand Meccaniche Veneziane is a tribute to the Nereide, a Venetian submarine built-in 1913.
The Meccaniche Veneziane Nereide GMT has a 42mm stainless steel case and a unidirectional, two-tone Rootbeer-style bezel. The watch is powered by the Swiss Made CAL.MV295 mechanical movement, with a power reserve of up to 40 hours. The hands and markers are filled with Super Luminova.
What’s special about the bezel is that it’s made from BK7 Crystal, which is lead-free and lighter than other glass crystals. The Jubilee bracelet with a butterfly strap is made with a double-brushed and polished finish (an Italian vintage leather strap is also available on the brand’s website).
Alpina Seastrong Diver 300
The Alpina Seastrong is not a GMT watch, but it’s a good model for those looking for a watch with colors similar to the Rolex Root Beer.
The 44mm Alpina Seastrong Diver 300 has a black stainless steel dial with a unidirectional brown bezel, beige luminous markers, and a brown leather strap (a rubber strap is also an option). There is a date window at 3 o’clock, as well as a transparent case back.
This dive watch is water-resistant to 300m and is powered by Caliber AL-525, with a power reserve of up to 38 hours.
A review by TBWS refers to this watch as an “overlooked dive watch,” highlighting its high quality and uniqueness from similar watches by different brands—read more here.
MKII Key West
MKII is an American watchmaker known for its high-quality tool watches. The brand is also sometimes known for taking inspiration that it takes from well-known luxury brands. Some call it homage, while others see MKII as a company made by watch enthusiasts who produce watches with the same specs, but are much more affordable and with improvements. Check out this discussion on Watchuseek, where many also speak fondly of its founder Bill.
The MKII Key West watch is a good alternative to either the Rolex Batman or the Rolex Pepsi. The watch is a 39mm model with a Swiss Made automatic movement, steel case and strap, and a double domed sapphire crystal.
The watch is also powered by Super Luminova and is water-resistant to 200m. To read more about how the watch is assembled, visit this page.
Tudor Heritage Black Bay
This Brown Black Bay watch by luxury watch brand Tudor has a brown dial and bezel, with a combination of circle and Arabic numeral markers.
Running on Tudor caliber MT5601 self-winding automatic movement, this model has luminescent hands and markers, a screw-down crown, and a unidirectional bezel. It also has a domed sapphire crystal and is water-resistant up to 200m.
Another similar model is the Black Bay Bronze, a 43mm model with a bronze case and a black leather strap. The dial is a slate grey, and the bezel is unidirectional and rotatable. Powered by Manufacture Caliber MT5601 (COSC), this has a power reserve of up to 70 hours.
Grand Seiko GMT
This Grand Seiko model may not look exactly like the Rolex Rootbeer, but it’s a watch to consider if you’re looking for a luxury GMT timepiece by a reliable watchmaker.
The Grand Seiko SBGE263 model from the Seiko Sport collection is inspired by the eagle, which is both majestic and confident. Like the Rolex Rootbeer, this watch has warm tones, a deep brown dial with a ceramic bezel.
Powered by caliber 9R66 (with a power reserve of up to 72 hours), the watch has a stainless steel case and bracelet, with a dual-curved sapphire crystal and an anti-reflective glass coating. The hands and index markers are luminous, and the water resistance is up to 200m.
Some of the main functions include a calendar-linked time difference adjustment, a date display at 4 o’clock, and a stop-seconds hand.