SOLD – 1978 Rolex GMT Master Pepsi Ref. 1675 Radial Dial
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This Rolex GMT-Master “Pepsi” reference 1675 features its original matte “Radial” dial in excellent condition. This dial type, also referred to as the “Mark 3” dials, are where the lume plots are slightly smaller and positioned more towards the centre of the dial, similar to the gilt dials from the early 1960s. The tritium on the dial hands appears original. These Radial dials were only produced for two years between 1976-78 with serial number ranges between 4,2xx,xxx – 5,5xx,xxx. The case serial number of this watch is 5,1xx,xxx which fits in perfectly to the “Mark 3” range and corresponds with the original Rolex guarantee paperwork showing the sale of the watch in 1978 by retailers Mappin & Webb in Oxford. The case condition is very good with “fat” lugs and small signs of wear. The “Pepsi” bezel insert appears to be original and showing a light fade and great character. To add to the overall originality of this watch it retains its original Rolex Oyster jubilee bracelet reference 62510H dated 1.76 (first quarter of 1976), which is correct and as bracelets were assigned to completed watches. The base cal. 1570 automatic movement housed inside is original, clean and fully functioning. Inside the case back there are some watchmaker service marks so overall the watch has been well maintained through the years. Overall, this is a great collectors watch due to the rare “Radial” dial type, overall originality, and the fact it is accompanied by its original box and guarantee which many from this period do not have.
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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