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Almost from its inception, the Rolex GMT Master became a runaway--or shall we say, flyaway--hit. The GMT Master has its roots in aviation. With the advent of the first transcontinental flight in 1953, the pilots of Pan American Airlines required a watch that could tell two timezones simultaneously. As the story goes, they approached Rolex, and in short order the Rolex GMT (as in Greenwich Mean Time) Master was born, its name a bold declaration of what Rolex intended the watch to be: a true master of the jet-set era.
That first reference of GMT Master, the Reference 6542, was essentially a heavily-modified Turn-O-Graph with the cal. 1035 movement upgraded to include a 24-hour driving wheel and a 24-hour-hand. The case was modified to include a rotating 24 hour Bakelite bezel in a distinctive blue and red, but lacked the crown guards that would adorn all subsequent references of GMT Master. But the ref. 6542 was only released from 1954 and 1960, to be replaced by the standard of vintage Rolex GMTs, the Ref. 1675.
The Reference 1675 is when the GMT Master took on the appearance that it would carry for the rest of its run. Here now are the crown guards, and the 24-hour bezel is now painted a distinctive blue and red, giving it the nickname "Pepsi." Another new modification is the inclusion of the words "Superlative Chronometer Officially Certified" on the dial, indicating the high accuracy of the new movement, the Calibre 1565.
In addition to its association with Pan Am, the Rolex GMT Ref. 1675 also has another surprising connection: to NASA. While a Rolex was never flight-tested by NASA for manned space missions, unlike the much-vaunted Omega Speedmaster, Rolexes did in fact make it to space on the wrists of astronauts. Jack Swigert, from the crew of the Apollo 13 mission, credited his Rolex GMT Master--and not his Omega Speedmaster--for allowing him to make life-saving calculations that allowed the astronauts to fly back to Earth after their spacecraft's oxygen tanks ruptured.
The GMT-Master is deeply rooted in aviation history and is one of those watches that has a place in every watch collection, big or small, and collectors are constantly on the hunt for the perfect example. And having owned a handful ourselves, we can say without a doubt that a good GMT is a companion not easily matched in another watch.
Stainless steel Oyster case is approximately 39mm (excluding crown). Reference 1675. Rolex Caliber 1570 Automatic Movement. Circa 1978.
Overall Condition: Stainless steel Oyster case is in excellent condition, with sharp lugs and signs of light polishing, and only minimal signs of use or wear in keeping with its age. Matte black dial is in very good condition with fine even patina and only some slight discoloration from 10 to 12 o'clock. Luminescent elements on the hour markers and hands have aged to a fine even patina. "Pepsi" bezel is in excellent condition with light fading. Bezel shows a small smudge between 1 and 2. Underlined Rolex-signed crown; Rolex case back is in very good condition with only slight signs of wear, including some light tool marks.
Includes folded link Oyster bracelet (9315/280 end links). Also includes two 20mm nylon straps from Crown & Buckle