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Rolex GMT Master

The legendary GMT Master owes its iconic status mostly to its bi-color 24-hour bezel, which can display a second time zone. Especially the red / blue "Pepsi" coloring inspires watch fans and jetsetters all over the world! Buy your GMT Master vintage or used.

Rolex GMT Master
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Discover more about the Rolex GMT Master

Buy Rolex GMT watches new, certified pre-owned and vintage

The GMT Master and with it many other Rolex series was initially developed for professional use. Thanks to its 24-hour bezel, the GMT Master can point out a second time zone with an extra hand, making it perfect for use in the cockpit. Its striking design and high functionality makes it popular far beyond the circles of connoisseurs, making them one of Rolex flagship models.

The history of GMT Masters and their references

There are rumors that the watch was allegedly inspired by a proposal request issued by the luxury airline Pan American Airlines (PanAm), to which Rolex applied. It does not matter if it's true or not, it is clear that the watch is still closely associated with PanAm today.
When the wristwatch was introduced in 1954, it was primarily geared to the needs of the pilot and on-board crew. While expanding the airline network, these flying personnel flew more and more routes and faced new challenges. Pilots and crew on PanAm flights were equipped with GMT Master, as they could read the time at the point of departure as well as in the destination country at any time on its 24-hour lunette. It is best known for its two-tone bezel in blue-red, which is called "Pepsi bezel” because of the color combination which reminds to the famous soft drink brand. The two different colors mark day and night and are a striking recognition feature of the series.

The "GMT" in the name stands for Greenwich Mean Time, the mean solar time at the Greenwich meridian, which was previously considered world time, before it was replaced in 1972 by the currently used UTC (Coordinated Universal Time).
Meanwhile, the GMT Master has been replaced by the GMT Master II, so it is only available in used or as a vintage model. In addition to the iconic "Pepsi" design, it is also available with a full black bezel or black and red bezel, known as GMT Master "Coke".


Here is an overview of the references produced between 1954 and 1999 and their main differences:

  • The GMT Master 6542 was produced between 1954 and 1959. It is actually a further development of the Turn-O-Graph 6202, which has been equipped with a 24-hour function. The first two years it was made with plastic a bezel, which was then replaced by a metal bezel, as it was less prone to scratches. Watches with this reference number are waterproof and pressure-resistant up a depth of 50 m. The reference bears the unofficial nickname "Pussy Galore" because it was seen in the 1964 published "Goldfinger" on the wrist of Pussy Galore actress Honor Blackman Bond fans.
  • The successor, Ref. 1675, was produced from 1959 to 1980. Until 1964 it was equipped with the caliber 1565 movement, which was then replaced by the 1575th as innovations it received a crown protection on both sides of the winding crown and its dial was for the first time provided with the two-line lettering "Superlative Chronometer officially certified", a big step for Rolex. In addition, the second hand stopped now when you pulled out the crown, to guarantee adjustability in high accuracy.
  • In the years 1981 to 1988, the ref. 16750 was produced. In it the caliber 3075 ticked, unlike its predecessors, it was waterproof up to 100 m depth and is equipped with some innovations: There was a quickset option and from now on it was available with two different dials. The matte version without white gold indices is rare today and in great demand, as the matte dials were later often replaced by shiny ones. The shiny version with white gold indices is more common with vintage models.
  • In 1983, the GMT Master II Ref. 16760 was introduced, which was nicknamed "Fat Lady" because of its somewhat thicker body. New features included the independently adjustable additional hand and the rotating bezel, which made it possible even to refer to a third time zone. In addition, a new lunette color was added with the combination of red and black. The original design of the watch with the iconic, mostly two-tone bezel has been largely retained and still gives the watch its recognition value today.
  • GMT Master and GMT Master II were produced in parallel until the late 90s, 1988 - 1999, the GMT Master Ref. 16700 was sold with the caliber 3175 as the last reference in the series.
As the GMT Master is best known for its eye-catching bezel, its condition is an important criterion in the evaluation of vintage watches. In the case of the "Pepsi" bezel, however, the red part of the bezel may fade, the so-called "bezel fading". By sunlight, it turns rose to pink. What could be a blemish, however, aroused great enthusiasm among Rolex collectors and makes the watch even more valuable today: The more uniform the bezel is discolored, the more collectors will offer. Vintage models with nice fading are rare, as they were often replaced with new lunettes. However, one should be careful that the aging process of the bezel is genuine and not artificially accelerated by the use of chemicals. When buying certified, used luxury watches from sellers like Watchmaster, you're on the safe side.

The GMT Master in Film, Art and Revolution

As absolute icons among the Rolex watches, it is no wonder that you are in good company with a GMT Master on your wrist. On one hand, it convinces with its high functionality: If you travel a lot or for professional reasons have to deal with different time zones, the watch is ideal for you. At the same time, it has a high recognition value due to its unmistakable bezel and quickly became famous outside of the circles of flying personnel as well. Its most famous screen appearance was in the James Bond movie "Goldfinger" on the wrist of the character Pussy Galore, incarnated by actress Honor Blackman, who wears a Ref. 6542. Orlando Bloom was also photographed often with his Vintage GMT Master 1675 with "Pepsi" coloring.
Another famous model was worn by Che Guevara, who was said to have been given the ref. 1675 by Fidel Castro. Even the world-famous painter Pablo Picasso had a weakness for watches. In his private collection was also a GMT Master 1675 with "Pepsi" bezel.

More exciting Rolex series

  • The Rolex Datejust is the epitome of classic Rolex design. As the first wristwatch with today's typical date display with magnifying glass, it dispenses with other ornaments. At midnight, the date display jumps to the new date within milliseconds - a sensation at that time, today an integral part of all Rolex series and an important milestone in the history of watchmaking.
  • The Rolex Air-King is a perfect entry-level model that was worn by British fighter pilots during World War II for its simplicity and excellent accuracy. Today, the gentlemens watch is equally elegant to a suit and casual outfit.
  • The Rolex Submariner was developed as a diver's watch, but today has also gained icon status outside of the water. Its rotatable bezel and luminescent indices make it easy to read dive and decompression time even in low light conditions, giving it the sporty look that fans love.
  • The Rolex Milgauss was originally designed for scientists and still has a special status in the Rolex series: With its lightning shaped orange second hand and the green sapphire crystal, it is a real eye-catcher. In addition to the usual functions for Rolex, it has a special strength: magnetic fields of up to 1,000 Gauss have no influence on its accuracy.
  • The Rolex Pearlmaster is a special series as well: while Rolex relies on minimalist design, this exclusive wristwatch is available in different gold variants with diamonds. Rolex shows with the noble series how jewelery watches attract attention without appearing pretentious.
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