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Why We Love It
Out of the entire Rolex model line, the GMT Master rise above others as our collective favorite here at A/S.
The GMT Master has a rich history, and there are a wide variety of options on the table when considering a to purchase. From the earliest 6542 & 1675s to the more contemporary pieces such as this 16700 - GMT Masters are, for many, the end all be all.
This particular example features a classically scaled 39mm Oyster case that shares all of the same design cues that its predecessors inspired. With a generally simple black and steel design, its red GMT hand adds a dash of color, and offers a more subtle alternative to the slightly more loud "Pepsi" bezel variation of this reference. Just above 6:00, the 'Swiss Only' signature is indicative of Rolex's late 90's transition to the modern luxury powerhouse it is today. This piece also comes with punched papers from Oriental Watch Co. LTD in Hong Kong.
This is an excellent example of a rare transitional model!
As the legend goes, Pan-Am approached Rolex in 1953 looking for a watch specially designed for their pilots, and a partnership was quickly formed.
That first reference of GMT-Master, the Reference 6542, was essentially a heavily-modified Turn-O-Graph with the Caliber 1035 movement upgraded to include a 24-hour driving wheel and a 24-hour-hand. The case was modified to include a rotating 24 hour Bakelite bezel in a distinctive blue and red, but lacked the crown guards that would adorn all subsequent references of GMT-Master. But the Reference 6542 was only produced from 1954 to 1960, and was the replaced with what was to become the gold standard of vintage Rolex GMTs- the Reference 1675.
In addition to the GMT's association with Pan Am, the model also has another surprising connection: to NASA. While a Rolex was never flight-tested by NASA for manned space missions, unlike the much-vaunted Omega Speedmaster, Rolexes did in fact make it to space on the wrists of astronauts. Jack Swigert, from the crew of the Apollo 13 mission, credited his Rolex GMT-Master--not his Omega Speedmaster--for allowing him to make life-saving calculations that allowed the astronauts to fly back to Earth after their spacecraft's oxygen tanks ruptured. Another visited the moon in the pocket of Ron Evans' space suit.
Stainless steel Oyster case is approximately 39mm (excluding the crown). Rolex automatic-winding movement. Rolex Reference 16700. Circa 1999.
Overall Condition: The case is in very good condition overall showing normal wear from age and use. Luminous gloss black ‘Swiss Only’ dial is in excellent condition with applied white gold indices and matching handset. Signed crown.
Includes solid link stainless steel Oyster Bracelet (78790/501B) with signed Flip Lock clasp. Also includes punched papers dated March 1999 from Oriental Watch Co. LTD in Hong Kong.
Analog/Shift stands behind the authenticity of our products in perpetuity.
We back each Analog/Shift vintage timepiece with a one-year mechanical warranty from the date of purchase.
All of our watches include complementary insured shipping within the 50 states. We are happy to hand deliver your purchase in Manhattan or you may pick it up at our showroom.
Please contact us prior to purchase for additional details on shipping and payment options