It was in the early 80s that my parents decided to take me and my sis all the way to
This is prelude to the main reason for this article/review though. Pan Am although no longer flying is partly responsible as well for my most recent acquisition. The Rolex GMT Master. I believe it was in 1952 that Pan Am approached Rolex to create a GMT watch for them. Pan Am had already established routes to far flung destinations from the US much earlier than that but the increasing issue with pilots facing jet lag must have spurred them to make this request to one of the best Swiss watch houses around (IMO) And so it was that Rolex worked together with them to come up with the GMT Master. The first generation of this model did not have crown guards, came with gilt dials, and had a blue and red bezel (affectionately termed pepsi bezel) to help pilots know what was home and local time and adjust better to the other timezones. The second generation of it is now on my wrist.
the bezel insert makes the watch – the pepsi bezel… red and blue is the only way to go on the GMT
I wrote in the past about how straps can make a watch. Rolexes should be on bracelets most of the time and the old Rolex oysters are some of the most comfy bracelets out there. The only watch in their range that gets off the bracelet should be the old subs and milsubs that also belong or have to be on NATO straps in the case of the latter. for the GMT the bezel insert makes the watch. it does not deserve the boring black or the coke bezel with black and red... its gotta be pepsi for me ;) nice and faded too as brand new ones just don't cut it for a vintage piece...
my assessment of the watch
Its got the looks
Matte tritium dials and hands are da bomb. Aged and patina’ed to perfection. Nice old fonts and tall slim sexy coronet. 3 lines of text on the lower half isn’t that bad. The date wheel in silver is gorgeous. Red GMT hand to match red on bezel insert works.
High quality and cool functions
The ability to see a second timezone is useful. ( I sometimes turn the bezel to 17 on the top so that i can see the time in London). The blue represents nite and the red represents day.
The bezel doesn't turn with clicks but is really solid on my watch and a fair amount of pressure is needed to turn it which means no slack and slippage. The date changes have the most satisfying click on any watch I have had and it almost makes me happy that its not a quickset.
The quality of this watch is excellent. My watch was serviced recently, maybe a couple of months ago and when put on the machine it was slower by 0.5 to 1 sec a day. Not bad for a 30+ year old watch.
No quickset date – this came in with the 16750 model. When asked if i would choose between the 2, the 1675 wins out everytime for me.
Cyclops – I just don’t like it much but its true to the watch so I aint changing the crystal
Twinlock instead of triplock – twinlock is a bit small, harder for folks with fat fingers ;)
Whats best about it?
Character and although I hesitate a little on using the word, soul... Before you baulk at these terms being used to describe what is essentially metal, small bits of other materials and a bunch of gears and pivots, vintage Rolexes have it in my opinion and have it in spades.
For the new fangled bigger and fancier pieces from other brands, some of them do have character but some are pretty, faddish, trendy and soul-less shells. what does it say about the wearer who buys and wears watches without much character...
I guess whats most important is that I really enjoy wearing this watch. Its beautiful to me, sits wonderfully on my wrist and I would choose this model over any of the later GMT models every single day and twice on sundays ;) Actually I would choose a good condition vintage Rolex (condition and authenticity is everything for vintage) over any modern Rolex.
If Rolex were to issue a GMT II ceramic with pepsi ceramic bezel, red GMT hand and red lettering on the dial though, i would probably be all over it :)