Rolex GMT Master

Rolex GMT Master

Born of an association with Pan American Air Lines, an airline known in its early days for the rough-and-ready nature of their pilots, the GMT needed to be as rough-and-ready as they were. In turn, each feature of the watch—down to its colorful bezel—was born from need, not aesthetics. Every element that went into it stressed form over function, necessity over adornment.

But something happened that changed the watch industry forever: the Quartz Crisis. Consumers bought quartz watches in droves, and sales of mechanical watches fell drastically. Those Swiss manufactures that adopted the new technology were not always met by success; many went out of business.

Not so, Rolex. Instead of foundering, the venerable manufacture elected to follow a risky—but ultimately rewarding—strategy. If the other watch companies were falling over themselves to offer the same thing, then Rolex would offer something different.

And that was… gold. So at a time when the desirability of mechanical watches hit an all-time low, Rolex opted to go upmarket and offer more pieces in precious metals, raising prices across the board in the early 1980s.

Of course, Rolex had cased dress watches such as the Datejust and Day-Date in gold for decades, and started phasing the metal into its sports lines like the Submariner and GMT as early as the 1960s. But during the quartz crisis, production of gold variants saw an increase in production, particularly on sports watches such as the GMT-Master. Of course, as a stop-gap price point between base steel models and range-topping solid gold variants, Rolex also increased production on models that combined touches of gold to a steel case, and integrated features such a quick-set date and a newly designed glossy dial, which made the GMT both sleeker and more functional.

The Reference 16753 might have Miami Vice styling, but it’s at heart, its the same GMT-Master  Pan Am pilots and astronauts alike strapped to their wrists. With two-tone watches making a return to current styling sensibilities, this Reference 16753 from 1985 looks fresh and new while still possessing a vintage pedigree.

Paired with a two-tone Jubilee bracelet—not to mention box, hangtag, stamped papers, and booklets—you can channel your inner Crockett (or Tubbs) and still be en vogue.


SKU: AS02505

Stainless steel and gold Oyster case is approximately 39mm (excluding crown). Reference 16753. Circa 1985.

Overall Condition: Case is in excellent condition overall, very thick with sharp bevels and signs of light use and wear. Bezel is in good condition with crisp printing. Gloss dial is in very good condition with crisp printing and patina to the luminescent (tritium) elements of the hour markers and hands. Rolex crown. Caseback has some signs of use and wear but is in otherwise very good condition.

Includes one 20mm two-tone Jubilee bracelet with extra links.

Also includes box, warranty card, papers, pamphlets, and booklet.

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