Frankly speaking, the Rolex GMT-Master is a watch that requires no introduction. It is perhaps the most iconic travel watch, allowing its wearer to simultaneously tell two time zones. Developed originally in the 1950s for Pan Am pilots, who had then begun flying transatlantic routes more frequently, this handy tool watch was vital in order to track home and local time.
While you might be more accustomed to seeing the typical Ref. 1675 GMT-Masters in stainless steel, Rolex also produced them in two-tone variants, just like the example offered here today with a root beer-themed dial and a matching aluminium bezel insert. It also features, what collectors like to call, a ‘nipple dial’. If you are not familiar, the name comes from the smaller, and perkier (if I can even say that) applied hour markers with their centres filled with luminous material. This particular example comes fitted on a matching two-tone ‘VC’ stamped ‘78363’ folded Oyster bracelet.
Powering this Ref. 1675 from within is Rolex’s Cal. 1575, a robust self-winding movement that beats at a rate of 19,800 vph and carries a power reserve of 42 hours on a full wind. It is also worth noting that, while the movement's rotor bridge is stamped '1570', which denotes the calibre number, this is actually a legitimate discrepancy. The Cal. 1575 is essentially identical to the Cal. 1570, differing only by the addition of a calendar module. The internal components of both movements are fundamentally the same, and Rolex employed a single part labelled with the base calibre number, a practice that contrasts with today's highly standardized Rolex production process.
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 without a doubt, a welcomed tool. It certainly is faster than fumbling around with your iPhone to find out.
While steel Rolex GMT-Masters are undoubtedly cool in their own right, there is a distinct appeal for those who lean towards two-tone variants like this particular example of a reference. These watches evoke an era where diverse design choices were not just embraced but celebrated. It is also worth noting that while some individuals may find a solid gold Rolex a bit ostentatious for daily wear, a two-tone Rolex serves as a more understated alternative, representing a blend of the best of both worlds. Whether you love it or not is a matter of personal taste. However, one thing remains certain – this two-tone Ref. 1675 ‘Root Beer Nipple Dial’ is as cool as it gets.