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I asked a friend and new 1675-owner how he would describe his GMT Master in fifty words. He responded sharply with no hesitation: "I don't need fifty words. I just need two:
Horologically speaking, our wordsmith friend is right on point. The Reference 1675 GMT-Master seems to be on the top of every collector’s wish list these days. That’s no surprise and after playing second fiddle to the Submariners and Daytonas for far too long, the GMT is finally getting the attention it deserves!
During the 1970s, Rolex pushed to introduce new movements with higher beat rates and quick-set dates to keep up with their competition, and the Reference 16750 is the first GMT-Master to come equipped with these features. Swapping the 1675’s Calibre 1575 movement for the upgraded Calibre 3075, Rolex increased the beat rate to the modern standard of 28,800 vibrations per hour (for improved accuracy), while the quick-set date was a welcome convenience for owners.
The 16750 is often referred to as a "transitional model" by Rolex collectors today, as they began producing it with a matte dial but transitioned to a glossy dial with white gold surrounds on the hour markers after a few years. The glossy dial was the wave of the future, and is the same type of dial design that was carried over into the modern GMT-Master II references sold today. When matte-dialed owners sent their 16750s to Rolex for service, many had their dials swapped out for glossy dials, making a matte dial example a true rarity on the market. Combined with a short production run, and subtracting the pieces that were damaged or lost over the years, and you’re left with very few quality examples of the 16750 surviving to this day.
It’s not hard to understand why the 16750 GMT-Master is viewed as the Reference to own by many knowledgeable collectors. This example, with its strong case, classic "Pepsi" bezel and lovely patina to the luminous material, is the perfect watch for the enthusiast who values vintage looks and contemporary wearability!
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. A Submariner became the base for this new watch, and several important modifications were made to turn a Sub into the GMT-Master that we know today. Rolex added a date function with a cyclops lens magnifier, GMT complication, and two-colored bezel to provide long-haul pilots with the info they needed as they circumnavigated the globe.
The GMT-Master’s 24-hour hand works in conjunction with the rotating bezel to make tracking a second time zone incredibly simple. When the bezel’s triangle is aligned to 12 o’clock, the red arrow hand points to the time on a 24-hour military scale, which in itself is valuable as a day/night indicator (at least if you’re a cave explorer). The usefulness of the complication really shines when the wearer rotates the bezel so that the numbers around the bezel correspond the a 2nd time zone (such as Greenwich Mean Time), allowing the watch to track any two time zones in the world at once.
Five decades later, the GMT-Master and its “Pepsi” bezel has become a true icon of the watch world. Instantly recognizable and eternally stylish, the watch represents vintage Rolex at its best.
Stainless Steel Oyster case is approximately 39mm (excluding crown). Rolex Reference 16750. Circa 1981.
Overall Condition: The case is in great condition over all, with no signs of over-polishingg. Lugs remain thick and sharp. Original matte dial is in excellent condition with an even patina to the luminous elements. Hands have been professionally matched. Original "Pepsi" bezel insert. Genuine Rolex case back and signed crown.
Includes solid-link Oyster Bracelent (78360/580) with signed clasp and two 20mm nylon straps by Crown & Buckle.