How to Use a Rolex GMT Master II

The Rolex GMT line has a rich history dating back to 1954. Back then, Pan American Airways ruled the skies. When every second counted, their pilots relied on their trusty Rolex GMTs to keep them on time no matter where in the world they flew to.

The original GMT Master was so popular that, in the 1980s, Rolex re-imagined the watch with the Master II line. On the outside, the original and the Master II look nearly identical other than minor details like changing the face and materials. The original version was only in stainless steel. Modern versions come in that as well as gold and even precious stone inlays.

So what’s the main functional difference between the watches? The Master II has a feature that lets you adjust to local time without losing seconds. More recently, a 50th-anniversary edition was released in 2005.

how to use a rolex gmt master II

How to Set Your Rolex GMT Master II

So how do you operate your new Rolex? All adjustments can be made with just a few simple twists.

Winding the Watch

If your watch is new or hasn’t been used in a long time, it’s recommended to wind it. To do this, your watch needs to be in the first position. Reach this position by twisting the crown counterclockwise until it pops up. Then turn it clockwise for 20 full rotations to manually wind the watch.

Setting the Time

To adjust the time, you’ll need to set the watch to position 2. Pull the crown out one notch. This lets you set the hour hand (the small hand with a circle) to your desired time zone.

To adjust the minute and 24-hour hands and date function, place the watch in position 3. Turn the bezel so the arrow aligns with the crown and then pull the crown out another notch. The 24-hour hand is the colored hand with an arrow.

Setting the Time Zone

To change this setting, you will need to adjust the bezel. If your Rolex was made after 2005, your bezel will be the ceramic piece that surrounds the face. It features 24 numbers, one for each hour of the day. Set the bezel to the current hour where you are. This lets you keep track of current time while the watch is still set to your home time and Greenwich Mean Time.

Your Final Step

Once you’ve finished adjusting various features of your Rolex GMT Master II, you’ll need to return it to its original state. To do this, push the crown down past the first position, then turn it clockwise. Ensure that the crown has a tight fit so that your watch remains waterproof.


Has your Rolex GMT Master II stopped working for a few hours? This watch has a self-winding mechanism that is triggered by movement. If you haven’t worn it on your wrist for an extended period of time, the watch may need to be manually wound. This is done from the first position as described above. Once you have wound your watch you’ll need to adjust the minute, hour, and 24-hour hands.

Does your watch show the wrong date? The Rolex is created to count 31 days in every month. For months with fewer days, you will need to make adjustments. This is done from position 2.

The Rolex is designed with precision and durability in mind. However, if your troubleshooting efforts fail and the timepiece is still malfunctioning, you’ll need to take it to a watch repair specialist. Rolex has a listing of official service centers across the world. You can look up which one is nearest to you on their website.

Where to Buy a Rolex GMT Master II

Rolex is one of the most-emulated brands in the world. With the market overflowing with cheaply made knockoffs, it’s important to look for a reputable vendor. The right watch seller can guarantee you have an original product with the quality that has made Rolex a world-famous name. At DavidSW, we have over a decade of experience matching new and pre-owned authentic timepieces to customers. We have a wide variety of Rolex watches available, both vintage and new. Take a look at our catalog to see what’s available.

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