The Rolex GMT-Master needs no introduction. It is perhaps the most iconic travel watch, allowing its wearer to simultaneously tell two time zones. Developed originally in the 1950’s for PanAm pilots, who had then begun flying transatlantic routes more frequently, this handy tool watch was vital in order to track home and local time.
The Ref. 16750 superseded the Ref. 1675 in the early 80’s and along with it came some significant advancements. While the physical watch itself looks nearly identical, the new Ref. 16750 came with an upgraded higher beat movement and the addition of a quick-set date. I am sure if you are a vintage collector reading this, you will understand how annoying it is to set your watch if it is a non-quick set date, having to wind the watch for 24 hours for every day change.
While the GMT-Master Ref. 16750 is a fairly common watch, this example is extremely rare. A true transitional timepiece, this watch features a matte dial, similar to the ones that were on the previous Ref. 1675. An intersection between the old and new era, matte dial 16750’s were only made for a short period in the early 80’s, before Rolex swapped the dial to the more modern, glossy dial variant with white gold hour marker surrounds. You will not find many examples available in the market.
An interesting way of telling the 1675 and 16750 matte dials apart is via the stacking of the hands on the dial. Whereas the 1675 stacks the GMT, hour minute and second hand in that order, the 16750 stacks the hour hand first, followed by the GMT, minute and seconds.
To travel with a GMT-Master on the wrist is certainly to travel in style, combining practicality with that 20th century cool. A genuine tool watch, I really do feel that the GMT function is the most practical complication to have on the wrist, even today. All it takes is one look at the wrist and you will be able to tell the time in your selected time zone. 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 without a doubt, a welcome tool. It certainly is faster than fumbling around with your iPhone to find out.