SOLD – 1961 Rolex GMT Master Ref. 1675 PCG
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This early Rolex GMT-Master reference 1675 features its original “Type 1” gilt chapter ring dial in excellent condition with correct small arrow pointer GMT hand. Notably, the “Type 1” gilt dials were the first GMT-Master dials to feature the “Superlative Chronometer Officially Certified” text, referred to as the “SCOC” dials, and corresponds with the case serial number 62x,xxx. The sharp case features pointed crown guards with defined chamfers on the lugs, with original caseback dated IV.60 (fourth quarter of 1960). To add to the overall originality of this watch it retains its original Rolex Oyster riveted bracelet dated 1.61 (first quarter of 1961), which is correct and exactly as you would expect to find as bracelets were assigned to completed watches. The bracelet condition matches with the overall condition of the watch which is excellent. The “Pepsi” bezel insert appears to be a later Rolex service replacement. The base cal. 1560 automatic movement housed inside appears clean, well maintained and original. Overall, this watch seems to have been rarely worn through the decades and places it amongst one of the very few to remain in such exemplary condition. This “time capsule” GMT is one of the best examples we have come across from this period.
The GMT-Master’s Raision d’être
Released in 1954, the GMT-Master resulted from Pan Am and Rolex collaborating on a watch that could tell the time in two different places at once. With the further innovation and popularisation of commercial flying, the distances of flights became greater. This resulted in pilots crossing into different time zones more frequently. Thus, a need for uniformity across the industry was borne as potential issues could arise when communicating with ground teams in a different time zone to the pilots. To eliminate these errors, the aviation industry adopted a standard time-zone, Greenwich Mean Time. As such, the GMT-Master’s fourth hand, the 2nd-hour hand, was to stay on Greenwich Mean Time – which is where the name for the watch comes from.
The GMT-Master’s Evolution
Produced between 1954 and 1988, the GMT-Master experienced a rough start within the world of horology. The first GMT reference, the ref. 6542, for example, was just a regular Turn-O-Graph with a modified movement, additional hour hand and its famous bi-coloured blue and red “Pepsi” bezel. Unfortunately, this bezel, made from an early form of plastic called Bakelite, would famously crack due to its fragility. This meant the watch was not off to the best start as a tool watch, given its need to be robust. To solve this, Rolex swapped these Bakelite bezels in 1956 for anodised aluminium bezels, which they kept in the collection until 2007. With a relatively short 5-year production, the ref. 6542 was discontinued in 1959 for the mechanically superior ref. 1675, the watch we have on offer here.
The ref. 1675
Released in 1959 and discontinued 21 years later in 1980, the Rolex GMT-Master ref. 1675 is viewed by collectors as the archetypal GMT-Master. Of course, it wasn’t the first GMT-Master to be produced, but it was the reference that established the GMT-Master within the public conscience as a worthwhile tool watch to own. With its long production run, the ref. 1675 has been subject to numerous changes throughout its lifetime, some minor and some rather major. The entire reference itself, however, built upon the earlier ref. 6542 with some significant differences. As mentioned, the ref. 1675 came with a new aluminium bezel insert which replaced the previous material, Bakelite. The second change was the introduction of crown guards, together with the new bezel, the ref. 1675 is a far more robust timepiece than its predecessor.
Aside from the changes that the ref. 1675 introduced to the GMT collection, the ref. 1675 itself is split into two mini-references. These are delineated by the type of dial, crown guards and calibre of movement the watch has. A gloss dial with a gilt inscription identifies early examples produced between 1959 and 1964. The latter models, built between 1965 and 1980, are identified by a matte dial with a white inscription.
Furthermore, the same early 1959-1964/65 models feature pointed crown guards, with the later 1964/65-1980 models featuring round crown guards. Far rarer and more distinctive than modern watches, the early gilt dial pointed crown guard ref. 1675 variants are considered the golden standard in collector’s circles as far as the GMT-Master is concerned.
As mentioned, the movements used in both of these versions are also different. The earlier gilt models come equipped with the cal. 1565 beating at 18,000vph, while the later matte dial examples come equipped with the cal. 1575, beating at 19,600vph and providing 48 hours of power reserve as opposed to the cal. 1565’s 44 hours. A trivial change in the context of vintage collecting, these were significant differences at the time.
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