Rolex enthusiasts are an interesting lot, especially when it comes to their knack for nicknames. The Pepsi, for example, aptly refers to the Rolex aviator series that has a blue and red bezel. I came across this name when I was looking for a unique gift for a loved one. In this post, I will be sharing what I found out by comparing it with another Rolex piece that bears the name of yet another beverage, the Rolex Starbucks. By the end of it, you’ll know what each has, how they compare, and which one you should get. Enjoy!
What are the differences between Rolex Pepsi vs. Starbucks?
Rolex Pepsi vs. Starbucks: How do they compare?
What it’s made of (material)
Rolex’s steel watch cases, such as the Rolex Pepsi and Starbucks, are made of oystersteel. Oystersteel is a steel alloy developed specifically by the brand that pertains to the 904L steel family, which is commonly used in high-technology, aerospace, and chemical industries where maximum corrosion resistance is required. Oystersteel is extremely durable, has an excellent finish when polished, and retains its brilliance even in the toughest conditions.
It is a draw for material, as the two watches are made using the same oystersteel material.
The two watches have similar cases, composed of a case back and a middle case made of Oystersteel and a sapphire crystal. The middle case is the backbone of the entire case and provides it with a secure structure. Both have a crown guard set on the edge of the middle block. The sapphire crystal is positioned on a gasket that meshes against the case’s lip, enhancing the Oyster case’s waterproof and dustproof properties.
It is a draw for the case, as these two watches have similarly constructed oyster cases.
Starbucks has a unidirectional rotating bezel in green made from Rolex-patented Cerachrom ceramic, with silver gear-like edges for grip and a glowing marker on the zero for legibility in the dark. The Pepsi has a bi-directional rotating red-and-blue bezel that bears moulded numerals for 24-hour graduations. While the Starbucks bezel is meant for timing dive and decompression durations, the Pepsi bezel is meant to assist in telling the time for two different locations. However, both are made from the same Rolex Cerachrom ceramic which is a UV-resistant, fade, and corrosion-proof material.
Both watches feature the attractive and durable Cerachrom, so it is a draw in the bezel category.
The two watches bear luminous markers with Chromalight material that Rolex is currently using across its professional watches. The luminescent hour markers are simple shapes, with a marker on the minute hand and the hour hand bearing the distinct Mercedes sign.
Similar markers for the two watches make them a draw in the luminous marker category.
The Pepsi features the Jubilee bracelet made of 904L stainless steel, which is a five-piece link bracelet equipped with an Oysterlock folding safety clasp, the Easylink extension system, and a half-link.
The Starbucks, on the other hand, features an oystersteel three-piece link, which has an Oysterlock clasp, half-link, and the Rolex’s Glidelock system that allows on-the-go adjustment.
The Starbucks bracelet wins for its easy-to-adjust Glidelock extension system.
Although you can go swimming with the Rolex Pepsi on as it has a guarantee of 100m/330ft depth water resistance, it is the Rolex Starbucks with three times the water resistance at 300m/1,000ft that you can take deep ocean diving.
Starbucks, therefore, wins for having greater water resistance.
The two watches come with a black dial, with a date aperture included in the Pepsi and the Starbucks submariner date versions. These watches offer excellent legibility in all situations thanks to the Chromalight display that emits a long-lasting glow and is a feature in all modern Rolex professional watches.
It is a draw in this category as well because the two watches feature similar dials.
Starbucks has a 40.5mm (pronounced as 41mm) case diameter, while Rolex Pepsi has a 40.2mm which is generally said to be 40mm. The difference between the two cases, although small, has some significance for the size of watch components and visibility.
Starbucks wins for a slightly bigger case diameter that enables it to have longer, more visible hands.
The two watches have Rolex’s new-generation movements patented features that make them top of the class in their respective watch types. The features include a paramagnetic oscillator balance mechanism for greater synchronization; a paraflex shock absorber, which better protects the watches from trauma and heat compared to earlier versions; a patented Chronergy escapement, which is an improvement on the earlier standard Swiss lever escapement and increases about 70-hour power reserves.
It is a draw for Calibre. Both watches have incorporated patented features that make them function at the same level.
Although the two watches debuted at around $9,250 each which is a reasonable mid-range price, scarcity and demand have seen the pieces offloaded on the secondary market at much higher prices, with the Pepsi commanding the lead at around $ 23,000, while you can get a Rolex Starbucks at about $13,000.
Rolex Pepsi wins for having a higher price and therefore more value compared to Rolex Starbucks.
Authorized dealers from all over the world have extended wait lists for these two watches that are still in production, with most people on the list hoping to get either or both watches new before Rolex discontinues making them. The issue is not just on the demand side, but more because Rolex delivers very limited numbers that are quickly picked up by a few people on dealers’ VIP lists. It then becomes easier to get the watches second-hand, usually at much higher prices but even then, they remain scarce. Currently, Rolex Pepsi has a higher demand compared to Rolex Starbucks.
Because of the lower demand, Starbucks is more available than Pepsi and thus wins in terms of availability.
Both watches have very high-quality clasps as far as flexibility and workmanship are concerned. The Pepsi has the Oysterlock folding clasp with Easylink extension, which can lengthen the bracelet by 5 mm. It has a half-link that allows for the bracelet to be adjusted without making a noticeable change to the bracelet’s overall look. Starbucks features the same Oysterlock folding clasp, but this one has the Glidelock extension system that allows for up to 20 mm of no-tools adjustments at 2 mm intervals, making it very convenient to use if you need to keep adjusting the size, over a swimsuit, for example. It also has a half-link piece.
The Starbucks clasp type wins for ease of adjustment.
Rolex Starbucks features a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal that has a magnifying lens over the date for the submariner date version, which is similar to what is on the Rolex Pepsi. However, whereas Starbucks crystal has anti-glare, Pepsi does not.
Starbucks is therefore the easy winner in the crystal category.
Both watches have a solid threaded case back made of 904L steel, a feature that Rolex applies to most of their professional watches.
It is a draw in the case back category, as both watches feature the same back.
In addition to the basic time display, the Starbucks bezel is intended to help divers time their dives and decompression. The Pepsi bezel and extra hand are designed to assist travellers in telling time in two locations from a single watch.
A date window is included on the Pepsi and the Starbucks submariner date versions as an added date calendar function.
It is a draw in the complications function as well. Neither is better compared to the other. Each watch has its unique additions for the use that it was initially intended for.
With a 41mm case and a height of 12.3 mm, the Starbucks is ever so slightly bigger compared to the Pepsi 40mm, which has a height of 12.1mm. Both watches, however, weigh about the same.
Starbucks wins for its bigger size, which gives it more presence.
Rolex Pepsi vs. Starbucks: A Comparison Overview
Rolex Starbucks Overview
The Starbucks, officially Rolex Ref.126610LV, where LV stands for Lunette Verte or green ceramic bezel, is a diver watch that received a 41mm case size upgrade from 40mm and the new Calibre 3235 in 2020. This release also reinstated the black dial Submariner and the green bezel insert, this time with a fade-resistant Cerachrom. Many collectors compare the coffee store’s black interior and green edge emblem to the watch’s black dial and green bezel, hence the name Starbucks.
The Rolex Starbucks comes with calibers 3230 and 3235, for the Submariner and Submariner Date models, respectively. The balance mechanism of the 3235 automatic caliber movement is a paramagnetic oscillator, which gives the caliber greater synchronization and winding factor reliability.
The 2020 submariners bear the paraflex shock absorber, an advanced feature that protects the watches from shocks that could impair their precision. Rolex watches equipped with this new movement are 50% more shock resistant than older calibers.
In addition, the submariner uses Rolex’s newly invented Chronergy escapement, which improves on the standard Swiss lever escapement used in older calibers. As a result, both 323X movements’ power reserves have been increased to approximately 70 hours.
Other notable changes introduced by Rolex to Starbucks make the watch appear more elegant. The bracelet is a little wider, creating a more streamlined transition and an improved proportion to the slightly larger case. The inclusion of the new movement identifier, a tiny coronet logo between the words “Swiss” and “Made” at 6 o’clock, is noticeable on the dial. The hands have been reworked—the minute hand is larger, and the “Mercedes” hour hand is also bigger.
What I liked
- Elegant design.
- Better shock resistance.
- 70-hour energy reserve
- Self-winding movement
What I didn’t like
- The long waiting lists
- Too much writing on the dial
What are customers saying?
Although the Rolex Starbucks has proven underwater capabilities, it is understated enough for everyday wear and fun enough for special occasions like dinners and business meetings.
Rolex Pepsi Overview
This 2018 Rolex Ref 126710 BLRO has the distinguishing blue and red (BLRO for bleu rogue in French) bezel color scheme, named “Pepsi” for the similarity of its colors to those of the soft drink. These colors set it apart from other GMT-Master II watches, such as the black and blue ‘Batman’, the red and black ‘Coke’, and the black and brown ’Rootbeer’.
Rolex 126710BLRO is not the first nor the only “Pepsi”. Rolex GMT-Master 24-hour display watches have a history going back to 1954. The color specification came from Pan American Airways, for their pilots who were now making regular intercontinental flights with the introduction of jet engines to the fleet. With time, the desire to own a pilot’s watch pushed the GMT-Master’s popularity. While GMT Master watches have undergone many variations, including color changes, it is the iconic red-and-blue that is the most sought after.
The color scheme was reintroduced on a Cerachrom bezel under Ref.116719BLRO, a white gold watch from 2014 to 2018. The problem with the white gold watch is that it was very expensive, with a retail price above $40,000. Collectors breathed a sigh of relief when the more affordable Rolex Ref. 126710 BLRO, with a Cerachrom bezel, was introduced in 2018. This Pepsi was seen to represent the restoration of the classic in a modern form.
In addition to the normal hour, minute, and seconds hands, the Pepsi has an arrow-tipped hand that goes round the dial in 24 hours, and a bidirectional graduated bezel. The 24-hour hand displays the base time in “home” time, which is read on the transitions on the bezel. You can adjust the regular hour hand independently of the local time. There is a tiny Rolex crown between the words “Swiss Made” at 6 ‘o’clock on the dial, which is an identifier for the new movement.
The 126710BLRO is powered by a Calibre 3285, a new generation that features a Chronergy escapement with a 70-hour power reserve, a ball bearing for the oscillating weight, and a Parachrom hairspring for greater shock and temperature variation resistance, making it more reliable. This caliber is a certified Swiss chronometer.
A Ref. 126719 BLRO White gold and a Blue dial are some of the newer Pepsi variations in circulation, together with many discontinued references, available in the secondary market.
What I liked
- Sophisticated design.
- It shows the time for two locations at the same time.
- Accurate timekeeping
- Long 70-hour energy reserve
What I didn’t like
- a very expensive watch
- Long waiting list
What are customers saying?
The Rolex Pepsi is a comfortable watch that weighs just right, with a very elegant steel bracelet that is well made and polished, making it easily mistaken for white gold.
Final Verdict: So, which is better? Rolex Pepsi vs. Starbucks?
The watches are equally good; we did not find one better than the other in terms of looks, movement, and versatility. Whereas the Rolex Pepsi has a dual-tone bezel, black dial, and a 5-piece link steel bracelet, the Rolex Starbucks green bezel, black dial, and 3-piece link bracelet are equally attractive, proportionately fitted, and feel just as luxurious. The Starbucks is powered by a modern Calibre 32XX movement that gives it an extended 70-hour power reserve with better shock absorbers, with similar capabilities to those of Pepsi’s 32XX caliber. The Pepsi is an aviator watch that can be worn by any traveller as an everyday dress watch, while the Starbucks is a diver’s watch that is understated enough for day-to-day wear. Either watch is a good buy.
Is Rolex Pepsi more expensive than Rolex Starbucks?
Yes, Rolex Pepsi is currently more expensive than Rolex Starbucks.
Which has the better appearance between Rolex Pepsi and Rolex Starbucks?
It depends on personal preferences. The Pepsi, with its red and blue bezel, black dial, and Jubilee bracelet, is attractive, and so is the Starbucks, with a green bezel, black dial, and oystersteel bracelet.
Which is more popular Rolex Pepsi and Rolex Starbucks?
Because of its long history, Rolex Pepsi is more popular than Starbucks.
Which is rare between Rolex Starbucks and Rolex Pepsi?
The Rolex Pepsi is rarer and has a long waiting list compared to the long Rolex Starbucks list.
Which one has better movement between Rolex Pepsi and Rolex Starbucks?
Caliber 3235 and 3285 for the Starbucks and Pepsi, respectively, are the latest movements for Rolex watches and feature near-identical functions, so neither is better compared to the other.
Which one is easier to service between Rolex Pepsi and the Rolex Starbucks?
The two watches will undergo similar levels of service; neither is easier compared to the other.