Vintage GMT Master (Ref: 1675 & 16750)

Ref 1675 & 16750

+ - model info
To understand the Vintage Rolex GMT-Master (Ref. 1675 & 16750), you have to understand the history and significance of the GMT Master line as a whole. In the early 1950โ€™s, Pan American Airlines partnered up with Rolex to design a watch for their pilots. The result, released in 1954, was the Rolex GMT-Master (Ref. 6542): a watch that tracks two time zones using a 24-hour hand (in addition to the 12-hour hand) and bezel. While GMT watches are abundant (at all price points) in todayโ€™s market, the concept was very new in the early 1950โ€™s. Pan America provided Rolex with the perfect opportunity to create the best GMT watch on the market โ€“ and Rolex delivered.ย 

The first GMT-Master (Ref. 6542) featured the infamous โ€˜Pepsiโ€™ bezel: two-toned red and blue. This bezel has become an horological icon, emulated by countless brands to this day. This two-tone bezel motif has become a flagship property of the brand accompanied by incredible nicknames: the green and black โ€œSpriteโ€, brown and gold/black โ€œRoot Beerโ€, red and black โ€œCokeโ€, blue and black โ€œBatmanโ€, etc.

Like anything in production since the early 1950โ€™s, the Rolex GMT-Master has gone through a lot of changes. In 1959, Rolex released their second GMT-Master โ€“ reference 1675. This reference was a monumental change for the watch, including an improved movement (caliber 1565), the addition of crown guards, and a size increase from 38mm to 40mm. In many ways, reference 1675 is to the GMT-Master what reference 5512 is to the Submariner. The 1675 defined the trajectory of the GMT-Master, bringing it closer to what we see today. In 1982, Rolex unveiled the first GMT-Master II (Ref. 16760). The GMT-Master II cemented a lot of variables for the GMT line: sapphire crystal, glossy dial, and a quick-set date. However, the GMT-Master II is known for the addition of an independently-adjustable hour hand. This feature, in tandem with the 24-hour bezel, allows wearers to track three separate time zones as opposed to just two. The GMT-Master and GMT-Master II were produced at the same time for about 17 years. In 1999, the more capable GMT-Master II definitively replaced the GMT-Master.

Most modern Rolex watches are products of slow and steady evolution: decades of small changes resulting in a nearly perfect purpose-built tool. The modern GMT-Master II is no different. At a glance, the modern GMT-Master II (Ref. 126710) and 1959 GMT-Master (Ref. 1675) arenโ€™t all that different. They share the same core elements: rotating two-tone 24-hour bezel, Mercedes local hour hand, extended arrow GMT hand, Rolex circular hour indices (found on other models), rounded crown guards, etc. Theyโ€™re categorically similar watches. Over the decades, materials, proportions, and mechanics have slowly changed. Rolex will not change a watch unless the change is an obvious improvement: acrylic to sapphire, Bakelite to metal to Cerachrom, etc. Today, the GMT-Master II is a symbol of perfection. Itโ€™s an insanely durable, hyper-accurate, drop dead gorgeous tool watch.

As previously mentioned, The GMT-Master 1675 was a monumental reference. It defined the trajectory of the GMT-Master line. The 1980 GMT-Master (Ref. 16750) pays homage to the 1675, but features some major technical improvements (movement, quick-set date, water resistance). That said, both references are beloved by collectors. Everestโ€™s Curved End leather straps are tailor fit to the dimensions of the Vintage Rolex GMT-Master (Ref. 1675 & 16750), seamlessly hugging the case and lugs. Dress it up or just reduce the weight โ€“ Everestโ€™s Curved End leather straps have you covered. If youโ€™re looking for a strap for your Vintage Rolex GMT-Master (Ref. 1675 & 16750), Everest bands are your best bet.