A watch that, to many, 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 a 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 GMT-Master is a reference 1675 dating to 1971, nearly the midpoint in the reference’s 21 year run from 1959 to 1980. As Rolex is prone to do over a long production run, many changes were made to the 1675, allowing collectors to focus even further than simply the case reference. Dials differ in gilt and matte finishes, font serif styles, and lume application trends, just to name a few. As our Rolex ref. 1675 library builds here on Dial + Bezel, hopefully additional clarity can be drawn on each of these variances.
Condition of the 40mm Oyster case is great but not perfect. The lugs appear to have been refinished or polished in the past exhibiting sharp attractive bevels and period-correct brushed finish.
This example is fitted with an all-black bezel insert that has faded to a deep, rich indigo. It appears to be a Rolex service replacement due to its ‘round eights’ rather than ‘oval eights’ exhibited on original inserts. All-black inserts are considered period-correct for the 1970s but this particular one is believed to be a later, genuine replacement.
The caseback shows little to no signs of improper removal marks or scratches.
The Dial and Hands
The “Mark 2” matte dial is in excellent condition, the crown jewel of this example. Little to no marks or spotting are seen with an even matte black finish. Hour marker lume plots have aged to a warm pumpkin like yellow / orange / brown.
The hour, minute, and seconds hands all appear period-correct and likely original to the watch. Length is correct on the lollipop seconds, mercedes hour, and minute hands with appropriate convexity on the hour and minute. Little to no scratches are seen on the handset’s metal borders or luminous material.
This example sports a controversial all-red GMT hand. The later added red paint is well done and shows no imperfections. The finishing and dimensions inform that this is likely a genuine Rolex part added as a service replacement.
Lume in the handset matches the dial’s aging. However, with the service GMT hand in mind, the entire handset has likely been professionally relumed to match the beautiful dial.
The caliber 1575 is running and keeps time at +2 seconds per day according to a recent timegrapher test and a recent service is also claimed but there is no paperwork to substantiate this. This example is among the first GMTs fitted with a hacking feature, added by Rolex in 1971.
|Movement||Rolex Automatic Caliber 1575|
|Dial||Black Mark 2|
|Case Material||Stainless Steel|
|Band Material||Stainless Steel|
|Clasp Type||Single Deployment|