The Rolex Oyster Perpetual GMT-Master is the prince of pilot watches and a perennial favorite of watch collectors with affection for aviation. And nothing “hits the spot” like a vintage Rolex GMT-Master 1675 “Pepsi” bezel in outstanding condition.
The classic Rolex GMT-Master is the father of all serious aviation watches. A true aviator’s watch, the GMT-Master was a joint venture between Pan-American World Airways (Pan Am) and Rolex. The final product was issued to Pan Am flight crews as an approved professional instrument. Upon its debut in 1955, the Rolex GMT-Master became the first watch to combine a bi-directional 24-hour bezel, automatic winding, and a fourth hand moving at half-speed (a “24-hour” hand).
This timing tandem granted pilots the unprecedented ability to view universal time (GMT) while retaining easy access to local times via the rotating bezel.
This example of the second generation Rolex GMT-Master features a number of outstanding vintage highlights. With a serial number in the 1.6 million-range, this watch can be dated to approximately 1965-1966.
Its “big arrow” 24-hour hand and larger crown guards are characteristic of the GMT from the late 1960s onward, and both features present in outstanding condition. Inside the case, this GMT-Master 1675 features the upgraded Rolex automatic caliber 1575. Introduced during the mid-1960s, the 1575 raised the GMT-Master’s beat rate from 18,000 VpH to 19,800; the result is greater resistance to vibration and shock-induced timing errors.
The highlight of this example is the outstanding white-printed matte black dial and signature “Pepsi” bezel. From the mid-1960s, Rolex redesigned the GMT-Master’s dial to feature the more legible combination of tones and surface treatments seen on this example. While earlier “gloss/gilt/chapter ring” GMT-Masters were romantic, they were difficult to read, and even pilots complained.
With this Rolex GMT-Master 1675, the white/matte dial features in tandem with the star of the show: Rolex’s famed “Pepsi” bezel. Although designed during the 1950s as a two-tone AM/PM indicator for the 24-hour hand, the color scheme entered collector immortality as the “Pepsi” – and so it remains. As of 2015, Rolex does not offer the Pepsi GMT-Master in stainless steel, but with all due respect to Coke, watchuwant.com has the “Real Thing” available for immediate delivery.