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Of all the watches in Rolex’s catalog, the Rolex GMT Master—with its connection to Pan Am—has the most alluring origin story. While the airline’s passengers were members of the Jet Set, the pilots who got them from place-to-place were decidedly not. In the airline’s early days, it wasn’t unusual for a pilot to work his way up through the ranks, starting as a mechanic. Sometimes, if the pilot found himself stranded somewhere without a mechanic, he could find himself needing to repair the plane himself - imagine if that still happened today!
From its beginnings in the 1950s, the GMT Master—with its 39mm stainless steel case and highly legible dial—was as rough-and-ready as the pilot who wore it.
In the 1960s, Rolex made some changes to the model’s distinctive appearance, resulting in a watch that could be seen outside of the cockpit, in the first class of one of Pan Am’s famed international flights.
The watch that we offer here is a Reference 16753, the sister reference of the Reference 1675 worn by astronauts such as Jack Swigert and Edgar Mitchell (the sixth person to walk on the Moon).
However, unlike the base model 1675, the Reference 16753 has flashes of gold on the bezel, crown, bracelet, and even on the dial itself. The bezel insert is gold and red-toned instead of the the red-and-blue “Pepsi” configuration most associated with the steel model.
But the most striking feature is the dial, a shimmering deep brown that is positively mesmerizing, giving rise to the nickname “root beer” thanks to its similarity in hue to Calamity Jane's favorite fizzy drink. Certain examples of these root beer dials have developed a very distintive patina over time consisting of a reddish discoloration, seen here. Similar discoloration occurs on certain variations of blue dialed Submariners as well, which some enthusiasts have coined "galaxy dials". While root beer dialed GMTs are always colorful and interesting, the added patination seen on examples such as this one is truly unique and breathtaking.
We’ve offered numerous root beer GMTs before, but seldom have found an example with a case as nice as this, which boasts thick, fat bevels on the lugs and no signs of prior polishing. Indeed - the case back sticker from the factory is still in place on the case back! The colors on the bezel and dial are vibrant, and the luminescent material are positively creamy.
Collectors today are finally beginning to look past the aged stigma and see the desirability in classic two-tone sports watches such as the 16753, and we've started to see some notable sales prices in recent months. Compared to steel models, values are still very much reduced - but they may not stay that way for long, so don't miss it!
Stainless steel and gold case is approximately 39mm (excluding crown). Reference 16753. Circa 1979.
Overall Condition: Case is in excellent, likely unpolished condition with thick bevels and only signs of wear from handling. Factory case back sticker is intact and in place. Dial is in very good condition with normal signs of age and patina throughout. Rolex crown.
Includes one 20mm 62523H Jubilee bracelet.
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