The Rolex GMT-Master is a watch that speaks for itself. It stands as an undisputed icon in the world of timepieces, effortlessly enabling its wearer to keep track of two separate time zones concurrently. Initially conceived in the 1950s to cater to the needs of Pan Am pilots, who were embarking on increasingly frequent transatlantic flights, this invaluable instrument watch served a multitude of purposes. It not only ensured precise monitoring of both home and local time but also played a pivotal role in minimizing scheduling discrepancies, mitigating jet lag, and even boosting pilot morale.
Many would say that the Ref. 1675 is the most iconic vintage reference for a GMT-Master and it is easy to see why. With a production run of just over 30 years, there are many variations and iterations which makes collecting this reference so satisfying.
This particular Ref. 1675, however, is far from ordinary. It features a beautiful matte “radial dial” with well-patinated luminous markers and hands. For context, radial dials are typically distinguished by the size and placement of their luminous hour markers. In contrast to the standard Ref. 1675 GMT dials, the lume plots seen here appear a tad smaller and sit slightly closer towards the center of the dial, giving it quite a distinctive aesthetic. If you look closer, you’ll notice that the font used for the ‘GMT-Master’ text also differs from the rest, particularly the ‘Superlative Chronometer Officially Certified’ text, which appears noticeably slimmer in this instance. Furthermore, it's worth mentioning that GMT-Masters with radial dials were only produced from the mid to late 1970s, with many of them eventually replaced by service dials, making examples like these not only highly sought-after but also remarkably elusive.
To travel with a GMT-Master on the wrist is certainly to travel in style, combining practicality with that mid-century cool. As John Mayer once said, ‘the GMT-Master is the best contemporary watch that Rolex makes’, a sentiment I find myself inclined to share, simply because the GMT function is truly the most practical modern-day complication to have on the wrist. All it takes is one look at the wrist and you will be able to tell the time for your selected timezone. For someone like me, or I am sure many of you, who travels a lot or even conducts business on the other side of the world, a GMT-Master is undoubtedly a welcomed tool. It certainly is faster than fumbling around with your iPhone to find out.