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Hulk versus Batman — which Rolex superhero should you choose?

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Paul Altieri.

Many Rolex watches have acquired charming nicknames since coming to market, and among the various names ranging from athletes to cola flavours are a couple of superhero-inspired nicknames, namely the Batman and the Hulk.

The Rolex GMT-Master II “Batman” with its blue and black ceramic bezel insert and the Rolex Submariner “Hulk” with its green dial and bezel are among the most famous Rolex watches with nicknames, but they are two completely different models – the Submariner is a diver’s watch, and the GMT-Master II is a pilot/traveler’s watch.

So, that begs the ultimate question, which one is better? The Rolex GMT-Master II Batman? Or the Rolex Submariner Hulk?

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Both Rolex watches boast colorful design sets and all-steel construction but they are very different when it comes to functionality. Additionally, the Submariner Hulk is often seen as rather polarizing with its bright green dial and bezel, while the Batman is arguably more versatile with its more toned-down colorway (this opinion, of course, is completely subjective and open to debate).

Origins Of The Rolex Batman And Rolex Hulk

In 2010, Rolex introduced two new stainless steel Submariner models with beefier super cases, characterized by thicker lugs and crown guards, despite retaining the same 40mm diameter. This pair of new-gen Subs also had ceramic bezels and bolder “Maxi dials” with larger hands and lume plots. One was the Submariner ref. 116610LN with a black bezel and dial, while the other was the Submariner ref. 116610LV with a green bezel and dial.

The reference 116610LV was not the first green Submariner Rolex made (that honor goes to the 50th-anniversary Submariner 16610LV with a green aluminum bezel and black dial). However, it was the first Submariner with a green Cerachrom ceramic bezel and also the first to have a matching green dial. Given the heftier shape of the new green Submariner and the prominent use of green throughout the dial and bezel, the “Hulk” nickname makes perfect sense for the ref. 116610LV.

THE SPLIT-COLOR CERACHROM CERAMIC BEZEL

Three years later, Rolex unveiled a new stainless steel GMT-Master II with a blue and black Cerachrom ceramic bezel. Not only was this the first-ever blue and black bezel made by Rolex, but it was also the brand’s first two-color Cerachrom ceramic bezel. Up until then, Rolex maintained that it would be impossible to make a bi-colored ceramic bezel, thus explaining why the then-current GMT-Master II models were only available with monochromatic ceramic bezels. However, the brand proved itself wrong, signaling the return to the split-color bezel that made the original GMT-Master watch famous.

Previous GMT-Master bi-colored bezels already had nicknames; there’s the blue and red “Pepsi,” the red and black “Coke,” and the brown and gold “Root Beer.” Therefore, it was only natural that the BLNR-edition (where BLNR is shorthand for the French words for blue and black) bezel would get one too, and the “Batman” label stuck thanks to the color scheme’s similarity to the fictional Caped Crusader. It’s important to note that the nickname is attached to the bezel and not to the particular reference, clarifying why both the previous ref. 116710BLNR and the new ref. 126710BLNR (released in 2019) are both known as Rolex Batman watches; however, the new edition is also known as the “Batgirl” due to its slightly more refined case shape and the option of the Jubilee bracelet.

Design And Functionality Of The Rolex Batman And Rolex Hulk

The Batman and the Hulk both feature 40mm stainless steel cases, rotating bezels, similar dial layouts with Mercedes-style hands, date indications, and lume-filled plots for hour markers. Both are also fitted with sapphire crystals that have the familiar Cyclops magnification lens over the date window.

However, the Hulk is a dive watch, which means that its bezel only rotates in one direction, and it is graduated to 60 minutes to track immersion times. On the other hand, the Batman is a GMT watch. Therefore its bezel rotates in both directions and is marked with 24 hours to indicate the hour in another time zone. Furthermore, the Submariner has a traditional three-hand configuration (hour, minute, seconds), while the GMT-Master II has four hands (local hour, reference hour, minute, seconds).

DIFFERENT MOVEMENTS AND BRACELETS

Naturally, because these watches offer different functions, they also run on different movements. The Hulk Submariner is powered by the Caliber 3135, while the Batman GMT-Master II relies on either the Caliber 3186 (ref. 116710BLNR) or the Caliber 3285 (ref. 126710BLNR), with the newer Cal. 3285 offering a longer 70-hour power reserve. Additionally, although both models are fitted with Triplock screw-down winding crowns, the Submariner is water-resistant to 300 meters while the GMT-Master II has a 100-meter depth rating.

Moving onto the bracelets, the Hulk watch is fitted with a three-link Oyster bracelet with brushed surfaces, equipped with a Glidelock clasp, allowing divers to lengthen the bracelet up to 20mm in 2mm increments to fit over a diving suit. The first Rolex Batman 116710BLNR was exclusively offered on an Oyster bracelet with polished center links; however, the Batman 126710BLNR was initially only offered on the five-link Jubilee bracelet but has since become available on the three-link Oyster bracelet as well. The Oysterlock clasp differs from the Hulk, featuring the 5mm Easylink extension system rather than the 20mm diver’s Glidelock clasp.

Rolex Batman Vs. Rolex Hulk: Which One Wins?

Overall, the Batman and the Hulk are two different Rolex watches with different functions. They may sport similar silhouettes, near-identical materials, and both feature vibrant colors, but one is a GMT timepiece able to indicate three time zones, while the other is a professional diver with the ability to plunge to 300 meters below the surface of the ocean.

So, picking between these two highly popular Rolex tool watches is a matter of deciding which function would be most practical for you and which colorway suits your taste better.

Click here for Bob’s Watches Ultimate Buying Guide on the Rolex Submariner.

Click here for our Ultimate Buying Guide on the Rolex GMT-Master II.

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