Rolex GMT Master II
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Rolex GMT Master II

There are vintage watches, there are modern watches, and then there's the Rolex GMT Master II Reference 16710.

Like its cousin the Submariner, the GMT Master was intended from its inception to be a tool watch. Its no-frills appearance (a clean, black dial with healthy dollops of luminescent material on the hour plots) and its trademark two-tone bezel set the standard for a particular breed of pilot’s watch. Not as martial in appearance as Breitling’s Navitimer, nor as spartan as the Glycine Airman, the GMT Master was meant for commercial pilots, specifically the enterprising men of Pan-American Airlines.

The references from the mid 1960s to the 1980s represent the pinnacle of collectibility for GMTs in the eyes of collectors. The Reference 1675 in particular is often dubbed the reference to obtain. 

However, the desirability of matte dial examples from the 1960s and 1970s has created a scarcity of them on the market.

Many collectors turn to the Reference 16750, with which Rolex replaced the Reference 1675, as the next best thing. Produced for only eight years, the Reference 16750 has the hallmarks of the 1675—matte dials in earlier examples—with the added benefits of a sapphire crystal and a quickset date. However, due to the Reference 16750’s short production run, it’s less plentiful than the Reference 1675.

A collector seeking to snatch up a GMT Master for himself might be tempted to throw up his hands and buy a Submariner, but the good news is that Rolex didn’t stop making the model when the last 16750s rolled off the production line in Geneva.

In 1989, Rolex rolled out this watch, the Reference 16710. This, along with the Reference 14060 Submariner, is the last of 'old guard' sports Rolexes. Whereas the current crop of GMT Master IIs have gotten fatter and larger with white gold cases, the Reference 16710 is still a svelte 39mm, having the proportions of a GMT of yesteryear, with thin lugs and a bracelet with brushed—not polished—center links.

The only concessions to modernity are the glossy and and the ever-present sapphire crystal. Earlier versions (such as this one) had tritium on the dial, before transitioning to Super Luminova. The movement is different, too, a COSC-certified Calibre 3185 hacking movement with a quick-set date.

The Reference 16710 is a seamless blend of old and new, with vintage looks and modern technology—all that we could ask for in a Rolex.

Details

SKU: AS02198

Stainless steel Oyster case is approximately 39mm (excluding crown). Reference 16710. Calibre 3185 Self-Winding Movement. Circa 1993.

Overall Condition: Case is in very good condition overall with thick lugs and only minor signs of use and wear. Bezel is in very good condition with crisp printing. Dial is in excellent condition. Slight chip in luminescent element of minute hand. Signed crown.

Includes one 20mm 93150/501B HD Oyster bracelet.

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