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Technology advances so quickly in today's world that we often lose track of the fact that a mere fifty years after Orville and Wilbur Wright took their first flight at Kitty Hawk, the flight paths of commercial airlines spanned multiple continents and timezones.
Imagine: In 1911, it took Calbraith Perry Rodgers nearly 20 days to fly across the continental United States. By 1953, airlines like Trans World Airlines and Pan Am were servicing non-stop commercial transcontinental flights. In four short decades, aviation evolved from gliders made of staves of white pine that could only stay aloft for minutes at a time, to jet liners made of aluminum alloys that could hold over 13,000 gallons of fuel and traverse thousands of miles in just hours.
But in addition to the technological advances it summoned, the Jet Age changed the way humans beings conceived of travel. Suddenly, Atlantic crossings by steamer were antiquated. Those that would have luxuriated aboard the Queen Mary now sought to breakfast in New York and sup in Rome, and in doing so, formed a new elite class, the Jet Set. Further, these deep-pocketed Jet Setters - a ticket from Paris to New York on Trans World Airlines, for example, cost $295 in 1953 ($2388 in today's currency) - were the harbingers of today's vibrant travel ethos.
As jet technology made the surmounting of natural and national borders nearly common-place, people responded, adapting old technologies to suit the unprecedented proliferation and relative ease of global travel. The frequency at which these transatlantic and transcontinental flights occurred made it necessary for a type of wristwatch that could display two timezones at once.
It was Pan Am that approached Rolex with that conundrum, and Rolex came up with the solution--the GMT Master. The pilots of Pan Am adopted the GMT Master as the official wristwatch, and the airline even commissioned a white dial for its ground crew. Other airlines soon followed, making the GMT Master synonymous with aviation. According to Skeet & Uhrl's Vintage Rolex Sports Models, a Rolex advertisement from 1960 stated that the GMT Master was the preferred timepiece of "twenty out of twenty-one aircraft navigators."
In 1960 Rolex released a new reference of GMT Master, the Reference 1675. The 1675 featured crown guards and was powered by the Caliber 1565 movement, and later, the Caliber 1575. In addition to being a perennial favorite of pilots, the GMT Master also attracted the attention and appreciation of astronauts.
Purchased from the person who bought it from the original owner, this particular Reference 1675 dates from the late 1970s, in the waning days of the Jet Age. The handsomely-ghosted bezel speaks of years of travel and loving use. Looking at it conjures images of La Dolce Vita, seemingly asking, "where are we going next?"
Stainless steel Oyster case is approximately 39mm (excluding crown). Rolex GMT Master Reference 1675. Rolex Caliber 1575 GMT Self-Winding Movement. Circa 1977.
Overall Condition: Stainless steel Oyster case is in very good condition, with sharp lugs. Case shows signs of use and wear commensurate with age, including some dings and scratches throughout, but particularly on the side of the case near 9 o'clock and on the lugs. Rotating Pepsi bezel shows heavy signs of age and use, having "ghosted" over time. Bezel also shows signs of use, including one scratch from 14 to 16 hours. Black matte dial is in very good condition, showing puffy lume plots that have aged to a fine even patina over time. Rolex screw-down crown. Rolex case back has some scratches but is in otherwise very good condition.
Includes one 20mm Rolex Oyster C&I rivet bracelet stamped 1978. Bracelet shows signs of age and use, namely stretching.
Also includes green Rolex inner box, which shows some signs of wear, and GMT booklet.