Rolex GMT Master

Rolex GMT Master

Though early aviators often carried pocket watches with them in the cockpits of their dirigibles and Demoiselles, it was with the Cartier Santos—created for Alberto Santos-Dumont, inventor of the Demoiselle line of airplanes—that wristwatches really took off… quite literally.

Later in the 20th century, the advent of jet power necessitated a new type of watch. Like Harrison’s marine chronometer (which allowed mariners to determine their longitude as they sailed across the seas), it needed to be accurate. But it also needed to be robust enough to withstand the shocks and tremors in an airplane’s cockpit.

Furthermore, the advent of transcontinental flights generated the need for a specific type of wristwatch—one that told the time in two time zones at once.

In the 1950s, Pan-American Airlines commissioned Rolex to create a watch that solved that dilemma, and the watch that resulted would soon secure a place in the annals of horological history.

We mean, of course, the Rolex GMT Master.

From its introduction in 1954, the Rolex GMT Master became a runaway—or shall we say flyaway—hit. Pilots from Pan-Am and other airlines soon began to rely on it, and even an astronaut or two wore it in spaceflight. It was touted in a Rolex advertisement as being the preferred timepiece of "twenty out of twenty-one aircraft navigators." 

Over its five decades of production, the model has seen a series of different references, each of which has its fervent admirers.

But perhaps the most desirable reference of GMT Master is the Reference 1675, which debuted in 1960 and ended its run in 1980. This was the reference that Jack Swigert wore during the ill-fated Apollo 13 mission famous for never making it to the Moon. Later, it would actually go to the Moon on the wrist of Edgar Mitchell in Apollo 14.

For a watch with such a lineage, it’s no wonder that it tops the list of GMTs that collectors simply have to own. We admit we’re not immune to its charms. In fact, a 1675 owned by our founder has become the designated travel watch for many a member of our team.

It’s safe to say that we’re familiar with the 1675, and have offered many over the years. We’ve seen some excellent examples, many of which we’d be happy to own ourselves. But the one that we offer here is without a doubt the nicest we’ve ever had our hands on.

We hate using the word “unpolished,” because without a crystal ball there’s no way for us to know a watch’s entire history—particularly a watch of this age. But this one is as close to unpolished as we can tell. We’re talking chamfers as crisp as a freshly-pressed shirt and thick, beefy lugs.

From the serial number, we can date its year of production to roughly 1967, which is also the date that's featured on the bracelet. There are other “tells” that designate it as an early example, like the hooked 7 in the date wheel, which was a feature used before the manufacture switched to the open 6 in the late 60s. Coming complete with an inner box and punched chronometer certificate, not to mention hangtag with matching serial number, it’s a veritable time capsule from a pivotal era in aviation history.   


Detailed condition report coming soon!

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