A watch that truly needs no introduction, Rolex’s GMT-Master has remained a keystone offering of the brand since it was first unveiled in 1954. So the story goes, as commercial flight roared into modern life in the early 1950s, Pan American World Airways demanded a dual-time zone wristwatch fitting the needs of their pilots. Pan Am brought their request, specifically, to Rene-Paul Jeanneret, Rolex’s public relations manager, and the rest was history.
From the first iteration, the reference 6542, and continuing on for over 65 years, the GMT has long stood out thanks to an honest tool watch backbone and differentiation of color compared to other Rolex offerings. Be it vintage or modern application, the dual time-zone complication remains incredibly usable for the average wearer. The request from Pan Am really hit Rolex at a perfect time, the oyster case had grown to a flagship piece of design thanks to Submariner and Datejust development. In a vintage watch community where tropical hues and natural color fading command extreme premiums, the GMT’s many colors— Pepsi, root beer, Coke, burgundy, blueberry, or all-black— allow examples to stand out from the busy vintage sport Rolex crowd. This all contributing to one of, if not, the most collectible Rolex model of all time.
The GMT-Master for sale today hails from the ever-growing in collectibility, neo-vintage era of sport Rolex. The ref. 16710 GMT-Master II was introduced in 1989 and continued on in the crown’s catalog until 2007, making it a very long-running reference number and spanning the important luminous material changes from Rolex. The second GMT-Master II, replacing the 16760, this reference can be found with coke, pepsi, and all-black bezels as well as tritium, luminova, and superluminova lume material. The most sought after of which is likely the tritium dialed coke bezel variant, this example is such.
Case condition of this GMT is good to great, showing signs of a very light polish if any, and a life of wear but retaining the factory geometry of lug chamfers and lug brushing. The caseback presents nicely with few scratches and the crown is correctly signed, it is presumed original.
The watch is accompanied by a period-correct Rolex 78790 Oyster bracelet that is in slightly worse condition than the watch showing some stretch with a Z date code (1997/8). Well-fitting Rolex 501B endlinks pair the head to the bracelet.
The Dial and Hands
The dial on this example is in great condition with no major flaws to the black gloss finish. The tritium lume inside the white gold surround hour markers is denoted by “SWISS-T<25” at 6 o’clock. The case serial dates the watch to 1997 or 1998 and the tritium lume suggests a marginally earlier year leaving the factory. Other examples with this same discrepancy are regularly seen, we believe there to have been more trit GMT dials than other models making the transition slower.
The hands are in great condition, matching the dial well in terms of lume.
The Rolex caliber 3185 is currently running. Service history is unknown.
|Location||New York City|
|Reference Number||Ref. 16710|
|Movement||Automatic, Rolex Caliber 3185|
|Case Material||Stainless Steel|
|Band Material||Stainless Steel|