One of my favourite references has to be the 1675 that comes in so many variations. This one from 1968 has a beautiful matte dial and clear tritium markers and hands-set. The Pepsi bezel is crisp and refreshing plus the case is still razorsharp. Get it while it is still kind of affordable.
Fasten your seatbelts for the story of the Rolex GMT-Master. Aviation company Pan-Am requested Rolex to create a wristwatch that would display multiple time-zones simultaneously, as their flights got longer; crossing multiple time-zones. Rolex came up with the GMT-Master (‘GMT’ stands for ‘Greenwich Mean Time’) in 1954. The watch features a date-function and an extra hour hand (with triangle) that points out the second time zone on the bi-directional turning, 24hour bezel.
Still linked to aviation and although meant for professional use, it enjoys a much wider fan base ever since it first saw light. Over the years it underwent some changes and there are so many wonderful variations of this all-time Rolex classic. Some GMT’s are great as a single purchase, others are a wonderful addition to any collection and some of them can be considered as the crowning glory.
Introduced in 1959 and with a very long production run of little over 20 years: the 1675! On this model they added the ‘pointed crown guards’ (1675 with PCG AKA ‘Cornino)’ that got replaced by regular rounded crown guards in 64/65. The dial also underwent some changes from glossy gilt chapterring to a matte radial dial in the end. (with a lot of variations in between, like the rare ‘exclamation mark’, ‘underline’ and ‘Double-swiss’ dials). There was a change in the red GMT hand as well as the small arrow was replaced by a bigger one.
The 1675 was mainly produced in steel, but was also available in 18k yellow gold or a combination of both materials. In the early 70s it became the first Rolex Professional watch with – optional – factory fitted jubilee bracelet.
The red/ blue bezel inserts on the steel GMT’s are referred to as ‘Pepsi bezels’ as it assembles the same colours, but in fact Rolex chose this combination because of the Pan-Am colours. The heritage of the Pepsi bezel starts in 1959, when the rare bakelite bezels were used. Up until 2007 aluminium Pepsi bezels were used (optional, next to an all-black or black/ red aka ‘Coke bezel’). After being discontinued for 7 years, Rolex re-launched the beloved ‘Pepsi’, yet this time made out of Cerachrom and only available on the white-gold model.