Released in 1983, the Rolex ref. 16760 was the first model of the brand-new GMT-Master II collection. Following on from their immensely popular GMT-Master collection that debuted back in 1954, the GMT-Master II was a modernised version of the previous collection thanks to its new dimensions and visual upgrades. Fitted with a larger case, thicker lugs, wider bezel and larger crown guards, the GMT-Master II ref. 16760 was bigger in just about every way.
This rather rotund profile earned the ref. 16760 the nickname "Fat Lady". Produced until 1988, the Fat Lady was only produced for a total of five years, joining the ref. 6542 as the shortest production run reference in the whole GMT-Master collection. Alongside this achievement, the Fat Lady was also the model to introduce three visual upgrades to the GMT collection; a sapphire crystal, white gold indices and a new black and red bi-colour bezel insert.
These changes added to the modernisation of the collection as sapphire crystal is far more durable than the acrylic crystal Rolex used before, white gold indices would not tarnish like the previous steel ones, and the black and red bezel insert introduced fresh life into the collection following almost 30 years of the same colourways. Another improvement that Rolex decided to make was upgrading the Fat Lady's movement to the cal. 3085. This meant the centre hour hand could be adjusted independently; an invisible upgrade, but noticeable nonetheless.
Following the Fat Lady's discontinuation in 1988, Rolex reversed their decision to use the broader case of the ref. 16760 and so, the Fat Lady is sought after for several reasons. Its long list of firsts, unusual case design, distinctive black and red bezel and short production period all ensure that the Fat Lady is a collector's favourite. Amazingly, the example I have on offer here is in unpolished condition, has sharp lines throughout and comes with its original crisp Rolex factory finish. A testament to how the watch was previously owned, the lume also has a gorgeously even patina giving off a beautiful orange hue.