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Rolex is known to create purpose-built watches specifically for the populations of adventurers, sportsmen, divers, flyers, scientists, etc. International travel began in the 1940s and 1950s when pilots started flying long distances. They required a timepiece that could allow them to refer to two different time zones simultaneously — one, the destination time zone and second, the time zone of their local area.
Rolex released the GMT-Master in 1954 with Ref. 6542, which became the official wristwatch for the Pan Am flights. The watch gained quick success and owed its iconic status to the bi-colour bezel with a 24-hour scale and the second time zone display. This unique feature helped pilots to read the two different time zones. The most common and popular GMT-Master models come with Ref. 1675 and are known as the ‘Pepsi’ and ‘Root Beer’ variants. The name Pepsi credits to the iconic red and blue bezel colour scheme and Root Beer to the gold bezel and brown dial inlay.…
In the early 1980s, Rolex dropped the GMT-Master II boasting another striking feature of displaying three time zones. Additionally, the wearer could adjust the secondary hour hand separately. Like its predecessors, the GMT-Master II also released two most sought-after variants, the ‘Batman’ & ‘Batgirl’, both characterised with a black and blue bezel.
The GMT-Master was released for airborne adventure and soon became the world’s most famous travel watch for its impeccable qualities, be it visually or functionally. The watches enjoyed a cult status among the collectors for their luxurious appeal, and what started as a tool for the pilots soon transcended to the other parts of society. With effortless style and peerless functionality, the GMT-Master presents itself as a timeless and vibrant time-keeping tool that is instantly recognisable.
The luxury GMT-Master watches are available in numerous stylish variations from dial to bezel, case and bracelet. As a leading and premium provider of pre-owned luxury watches, we host a wide inventory of GMT-Master models,and we’re sure you’ll find your pick. The second-hand watches, including vintage and rare pieces, are in excellent condition and available in various price ranges. Also, we offer 0% APR finance over 6 months to ensure you have a stress-free shopping experience.
It all started when former airline Pan-AM requested Rolex for a proper pilot’s watch. The officials needed a timepiece capable of displaying the second time zone helping pilots during transatlantic flights as Pan-AM was planning to schedule international travel.
Following the request, Rolex developed an accurate and reliable timepiece, the GMT-Master, in 1954.
Rolex launched a watch that abided by all the specifications and displayed the second time zone. The GMT-Master was a self-winding and waterproof watch with a date function, local time display, a secondary arrow-tipped ‘GMT’ hand, and a 24-hour rotational bezel scale. The two most notable qualities (24-hour scale & secondary hour hand) made it easy for pilots to read their destinations and original time zone.
These characteristics made it popular amongst the Pan-AM pilots and put them in the good books of the US Air Force pilots, NASA, and people flying worldwide.
Rolex released the first GMT-Master watch in 1954 with reference 6542, coming with a luminous bakelite bezel insert and a classic 38mm steel Oyster case. The watch enclosed one of the greatest innovations of the time, the dual time zone complication.
However, it was discontinued after two years (1956) as the bezel cracked easily. Rolex soon changed it with a new metal bezel in 1959 with Ref. 1675. The collectors lovingly refer to the first GMT-Master model as the ‘Pussy Galore’. Actress Honor Blackman from the James Bond movie Goldfinger influenced the nickname. Due to its short run, the watch is in high-demand amongst collectors.
The GMT-Master is easily recognisable for its eye-catching bezel combinations. Over the years, Rolex has designed the bezels in various combinations allowing watch lovers to nickname them as per the colour scheme. Here are the various nicknames of the loved GMT-Master models.
Pepsi: The iconic red & blue ‘Pepsi’ bezel was out in 1955 on Ref.6542.Today, you can find both GMT-Master & GMT-Master II watches with a Pepsi bezel.
Root Beer: Rolex introduced the Root Beer in 1963 on references 1675/3 & 16753 that flaunts a unique colour palette combining yellow and brown with two-tone steel and yellow gold.
Pussy Gallore: The GMT-Master Ref.6542, featuring a bakelite bezel and brown and yellow dial, is famously called ‘Pussy Gallore’ for its association with the James Bond movie Goldfinger where Honor Blackman wore it for her portrayal of Pussy Gallore.
Dirty Harry & Clint Eastwood: Other nicknames of the GMT-Master II Ref.16753 include Dirty Harry & Clint Eastwood after actor Eastwood wore a Root Beer in his film Dirty Harry that quickly earned the nicknames.
Coke: Another beverage-inspired GMT-Master model is Ref. 16760, with the red and black ‘Coke’ bezel that draws its inspiration from the classic Coke bottle with a red label. The coke is a fan favourite.
Fat Lady/Sophia Loren: Fat Lady or Sophia Loren is another nickname presented to the GMT-Master II Ref. 16760 for its noticeably thicker & heftier structure.
Batman: Coming with a more modern model Ref. 116710BLNR in 2013 is the ‘Batman’ bezel. Fans presented the moniker for its colour resembling the comic book superhero.
Phantom, Bruiser, and Dark Knight: These are other nicknames given to the Batman model with Ref. 116710BLNR.
After the great success of the GMT-Master II Ref. 16760 in Oystersteel with a ‘Coke’ bezel, Rolex updated and released an all-gold version with a bright green dial in 2005 with Ref. 116718LN to mark the 50th anniversary of the iconic GMT-Master collection.
A few changes graced the new model, including Parachrom hairsprings and a ceramic bezel.
Here are some features you’ll find in any typical GMT-Master timepiece.
Material: Oystersteel & gold (white, yellow and everose)
Dial: Black, white, gold, champagne, brown and meteorite
Bezel: Incredible options (Black, red, blue, gold, burgundy, white, brown) and also with diamonds, rubies and sapphires.
Bracelet: Oyster or Jubilee (Steel, gold, two-tone styles)
1954: Rolex launched the first-ever GMT-Master Ref. 6542 featuring a bakelite bezel
1956: The brand replaced the bakelite on Ref. 6542 with steel due to cracking issues
1959: Introduction of the new GMT-Master Ref. 1675 with Calibre 1565
1965: The Ref. 1675 comes with the new calibre 1575
1970: Release of the first black version of GMT-Master with ‘LN’ after the reference number
1983: Rolex launches the GMT-Master II watches featuring 3 time zones. Additionally, the ‘Fat Lady’ appeared, and it was also the first time the GMT-Master dials came with white gold outlines on the hour markers
2005: Rolex celebrated the GMT-Master’s 50th anniversary with Ref. 116718LN comes in an 18ct yellow gold case with a vibrant green dial and black cerachrom bi-directional rotatable bezel
2013: Release of the first ever GMT-Master II Ref. 116710BLNR model with a ‘Batman’ dial at Baselworld 2013
2014: Launch of the first GMT-Master II Ref. 116719 with ‘Pepsi’ bezel at Baselworld 2014
2018: Rolex released the latest GMT-Master II at Baselworld in 2018 with Ref. 126710BLRO
2019: The brand presented the GMT-Master II with Ref. 126710BLNR
Since its debut, the GMT-Master has grown into a broad collection of models ranging from vintage to the current ceramic with various bezel and dial options. Here are the most popular GMT-Master models you can consider:
Ref. 16710 – Most popular with the nickname ‘Fat Lady’, the Ref. 16760 comes in a 40mm stainless steel case with a red & black bezel, black dial, and Oyster bracelet. The watch design is iconic and receives high recognition in the market.
Ref. 126710BLNR – Popular as ‘Batgirl’, the GMT-Master II 126710BLNR came out in 2019 with a dressier jubilee bracelet. The watch has a 40mm Oystersteel case, black and blue bi-directional rotatable bezel, and a bright black dial.
Ref. 1675 – It is a vintage GMT-Master reference and one of the most easily recognisable watches. The Ref. 1675 comes in a 40mm case (steel, gold, two-tone), bi-directional aluminium insert, 24-hour bezel, black or brown dial & oyster/jubilee bracelet.
Ref. 116710LN – Another highly sought-after GMT-Master model is Ref. 116710LN with a 40mm steel case, large black dial with luminous markers & hands, black ceramic bi-directional bezel, and steel Oyster bracelet.
Ref. 126710BLRO – Rolex GMT-Master II ‘Pepsi’ with Ref. 126710BLRO greatly contributed to the model’s popularity and comes in a 40mm steel case with blue and red Pepsi cerachrom bezel, black dial, and jubilee bracelet.
When it comes to buying premium quality used luxury watches, there’s no better place than The Luxury Hut. We have a wide inventory of vintage, rare and special edition watches, including Rolex and other major watch brands that we’re confident will appeal to your taste. We carry all the models in excellent condition and provide the best service to all our customers.
You can either browse our online shop to find the model you love or visit us at our Hatton Garden store with a prior appointment, where our team is readily available to assist you. If you buy the GMT-Master online, we will ship your watch via FedEx for worldwide delivery and via RoyalMail for next-day UK delivery. It’s free! As trustworthy second-hand watch sellers in the UK, we provide each watch with a Certificate of Authenticity, a 12-month Comprehensive Guarantee and a 14day Easy Return Policy.
Whether you want to buy a GMT-Master or sell your used Rolex, you can do both at The Luxury Hut with complete peace of mind. Moreover, we offer a fully secure part-exchange service where you can exchange your watch for any second-hand timepiece in our collection.
If you just want to find out the value of your GMT-Master or any other luxury watch, our in-house watch specialists will accurately appraise it for you.
Our 40 years of combined experience in the industry allows us to provide our customers with an accurate valuation. So, whether you buy, sell or part-exchange your watch, you can trust that you are in safe hands.