Rolex GMT Master

Rolex GMT Master

Though the emergence of jet travel in the 1950s and 1960s made the world seem so much smaller, it was by no means the great equalizer. For example, a ticket from New York to Paris on Trans World Airlines cost $275, the equivalent of $2388 in today’s money. A whole subculture sprung up around this new means of travel—the Jet Set, who had the means to chase the sun from resort to resort.

And the watch that many of them wore was the Rolex GMT Master. 

While owning a Rolex—any Rolex—was a way to broadcast success, owning a GMT Master (a watch that was literally designed for the Jet Set) was the horological equivalent of flashing your Pan-Am tickets in casual conversation. Throughout its lengthy production run, it has maintained the same prestige and status, sought after by collectors who admire the model’s origin story or wish to capture the glamor of la dolce vita. While some collectors favor the Bakelite-bezeled early models, many view the the Reference 1675 as the quintessence of the model.

But the 1675 was only produced from 1960 to 1980. Though it enjoyed a healthy production run, the desirability of matte dial examples from the 1960s and 1970s has created a scarcity of them on the market. Meanwhile, examples of the Reference 16750—with which Rolex replaced the 1675—are now becoming vintage at 30 to 37 years of age.

The 16750 is what’s known as a transitional model by Rolex collectors today. Early versions boasted a matte dial, just like its predecessor. After a few years of production, Rolex began transitioning to a glossy dial configuration with white gold surrounds on the hour markers—the same style of dial that was carried over into the modern GMT-Master II references. 

It isn’t hard to understand why the 16750 GMT-Master is viewed as The Reference to own by many knowledgeable collectors. Virtually identical to the classic 1675 on the outside, it features a more modern and improved movement on the inside. With the upgraded Caliber 3075 movement, the 16750 had an increased beat rate of 28,800 vibrations per hour (avant-garde for the time), and the quick-set date was a welcome convenience for owners.

The example that we’ve sourced here features all the elements you'd want in a wearable vintage Rolex sports model. With the telltale signs of a visit to RSC in the past, this late production matte dial has a very strong case with professional refinishing and is replete with the creamy tritium indices that give vintage Rolex sports models their character. It also comes complete with its full set of inner box and outer boxes, punched papers, polishing cloth, wallet calendar, and serialized hangtag!

With a short production run (only eight years) and a cult following of its own, the Reference 16750 deserves to be considered as a classic in its own right, and not just as a more affordable alternative to the 1675. 


SKU: AS02172

Stainless steel Oyster case is approximately 39mm (excluding crown). Rolex Reference 16750. Calibre 3075GMT Self-Winding Movement. Circa 1986

Overall Condition: Case is in very good condition, having been professionally refinished by RSC at an earlier date. Matte black dial is in excellent condition with light even patina to the luminescent elements. GMT hand has been professionally color matched due to dropped lume. Signed crown. Case back show some signs of wear in keeping with age and use.

Includes one 20mm Rolex 78360/580 Oyster bracelet. Bracelet is in very good condition with some normal signs of wear.

Also includes inner box, punched papers, calendar dated 1987/1988.

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