Rolex GMT-Master History

Discussion in 'Watch Reviews' started by barbrine, Feb 22, 2011.

  1. barbrine

    barbrine

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    Here is the original introduction of Rolex GMT-Master History,http://www.rolex-chat.com/rolex-gmt-master-cosmopolite-that-travels-through-time.html, continuous improvements have always happened from Ref.6542, 1675 to Ref.16750 and GMT-Master II 16710.

    At the BASELWORLD 1954, it was a memorable moment for Rolex and watch industry. In this year, Rolex introduced Explorer, Submariner and Turn-O-Graph in the exhibition, each of them was specially designed for explorers, divers and the general customers, Rolex converted the concept of Utility Watch into specific image, and took the lead in the whole watch industry. This achievement was certainly the result of efforts that whole Rolex staff had made, but Rene-Paul Jeanneret, the Public Relations manager of Rolex in the year, loved a number of sports himself and actually contributed a lot in the forming and modeling stages of concept. Because Rolex was obviously in a leading position in the design and manufacture of Utility Watch, this highly attracted the interest of Pan Am, which was the biggest airline in the world at that time, Pan Am expected that Rolex could design a practical watch for their pilots who often needed to travel across various time zones. After contacting with Rene-Paul Jeanneret, the two companies began to cooperate, so the famous GMT-Master was born.

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    Turn-O-Graph

    Pan Am sent Frederick Libby to provide technical advice, he was a famous captain and participated in the air war of the World War II. In conception, Jeanneret added a rotatable 24-hour bezel, and added an extra hand to indicate the second time. In technology, Rolex used Turn-O-Graph(Ref. 6202, Cal. 1030) as the basis for modification, after installing the 24-hour indicating wheel and the new date wheel, a brand new movement was born – Cal. 1065. Besides the distinctive bezel, which had 24-hour markers, red and black plastic and could be rotated, Ref. 6542, as the first generation of GMT-Master, the appearance was very similar to Turn-O-Graph and Submariner, also had no Crown Protecting Shoulders. But it was worth noting that: Ref. 6542 was the first Rolex watch that equipped with a Cyclops for the date window. In 1956, the 24-hour bezel of GMT-Master was changed from plastic to metal material. GMT-Master became the official timer of Pan Am, this airline allotted a GMT-Master watch to every senior executive and pilot.

    [​IMG]
    GMT-Master Ref.6542

    From 1960, GMT-Master Ref. 1675 was produced, this watch was equipped with Crown Protecting Shoulders, the GMT hand was also much bigger, very similar to the modern GMT-Master. "Superlative Chronometer Officially Certified" words were printed on the dial of Ref. 1675, which was different to the "Officially Certified Chronometer" of Ref. 6542, Ref. 1675 used Cal. 1565, this movement equipped with Micro Stella Free Sprung Balance, it was more accurate. Ref. 1675 was not only loved by the pilots of Pan Am and a lot of other civil airlines, but was also very popular among the general customers, it was hot for nearly 20 years, and could be said one of the best-selling watches of Rolex.

    [​IMG]
    GMT-Master Ref. 1675

    GMT-Master was not only favored by civil airlines, the military also gave a high evaluation, more and more fighter-pilots wore it. In the 1940s and 50s, NASA started a series of experiments to challenge flight speed and altitude, finally in 1967, North American X15 created the world record – 4,534 mph(7,269 kph) or Mach 6.72, this record has not been broken until today. Pete Knight, the pilot of X15, was exactly wearing GMT-Master, he praised that, GMT-Master at an altitude of 45,000 feet off the ground, bearing intense actions and centrifugal force of more than 3.5G, but still worked normally and maintained the precise level of a Chronometer watch. Why did Pete Knight choose GMT-Master ? There was some trace to search: the Edwards Air Force Base he belonged to gave birth to a multitude of heroes, in 1947, Chuck Yeager piloted Bell X-1 airplane and broke the Sound Barrier, in that historic moment, he was wearing a Rolex Oyster watch, which has accompanied him for many years in the World War II.

    [​IMG]
    Pete Knight

    [​IMG]
    Chunk Yeager Was Wearing Rolex Submariner

    In 1976, GMT-Master was improved again and introduced the model that had "hacking" seconds movement; in 1980, GMT-Master unveiled Ref. 16750, which added the "quickset" feature. Later, GMT-Master re-facelifted as Ref. 16700, the glass face evolved into sapphire. In 1983, Rolex launched the newly evolved modern GMT-Master II Ref. 16710, it was equipped with Cal. 3085 movement, which enabled the GMT hand to be adjusted seperately, because both 24-hour bezel and GMT hand were bi-directional rotating, so GMT-Master II had the ability to display three times.

    Viewed from above, you could find that not only GMT-Master adhered to classic design, but has always continued gradual and continuous improvements, it was such a watchmaking culture that has maintained Rolex's rising brand value and lasting love from consumers.

    [​IMG]
    GMT-Master II Ref.16710

    [​IMG]
    GMT-Master II Ref.16710 Black and Red
  2. RW16610

    RW16610

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    Pretty much my favourite at the moment :thumbsup: Thanks for posting these here, they never get boring to look at :cheers:
  3. G.J.

    G.J.

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    Very nice thread...:thumbsup::thumbsup:

    I enjoyed reading it.
  4. Baco Noir

    Baco Noir

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    That was a great read. I love :love: the timeline of the incremental changes to the watches accompanied with photos. Nicely done :thumbsup:
  5. Erwin

    Erwin

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    Very informative! Thanks for sharing! Wearing the GMT while going mach 6.72....incredible watch!
  6. Cmaster03

    Cmaster03

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    Nice info, thanks. Great watch, too, of course. :thumbsup:
  7. gregcar

    gregcar

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    great history, and the gmt is awesome, my next purchase for sure
  8. Vincent65

    Vincent65

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    Me too - 1675, on Monday! It will be my second (had a 16710 GMT II before). Great info, thanks.
  9. DSimon9

    DSimon9

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    Thanks for the post. Enjoyed reading it. Here is my baby:

    GMT.JPG
  10. bendtsen

    bendtsen

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    Great post and nice reading..! wonderful pictures aswell