This rare, 1675 GMT was purchased on the 5th of August, 1972, from Chronometrie Beyer, Zurich. The watch comes with its original guarantee booklet (stamped by Beyer) and punched Chronometer Certificate, from Rolex. The watch is also accompanied by its original purchase receipt from Chronometrie Beyer (matching the date on the original guarantee), original inner and outer boxes and Rolex passport booklet.
The GMT-Master was originally created for Pan American World Airways (commonly known as ‘Pan-Am’), who sought a highly-legible, accurate and functional wristwatch, to be used by pilots for long-haul flights. With pilots flying longer and longer distances, the need for an intuitive timekeeping tool, capable of displaying multiple time zones, became a necessity.
This example, in 18-carat yellow-gold, is affectionately referred to as the “Concorde”, owing to its placement in Rolex advertisements from the late 1960s, celebrating the inaugural flight on the aircraft. These rare, Concorde 1675s feature Daytona-style, stick hands, seen only on this variation of the reference.
In addition to the unconventional Concorde hour and minutes, the GMT complication was designed to allow for setting of a fourth hand, referred to as the GMT hand, to local time, followed by adjustment of its rotatable 24-hour bezel, to a second time zone. The name GMT derives from this functionality and abbreviates 'Greenwich Mean Time' - the time at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, London.
This GMT-Master 1675/8, from 1972 (with serial number 204 XXXX), has its original, matte-grain finished brown dial in exceptionally good condition, with gilt ’ROLEX’ and ‘OYSTER PERPETUAL - GMT-MASTER' text referenced on it. The original "bicchierini" tritium hour markers have aged to a warm patina, whilst the Concorde GMT handset displays a similarly aged tone. The watch also has an iconic, faded 24-hour bezel and comes equipped with its stamped, 18-carat Rolex Oyster riveted bracelet and clasp (stamped 4 70). The bracelet is preserved in exceptional condition, with uncharacteristically-little stretch throughout.
Whilst the aesthetics are undeniably attractive, it’s the condition that stands out. Vintage sports watches typically have tell-tale signs of being over-worn. However this rare, 18-carat gold ref. 1675 has been remarkably well preserved. Sized at 38mm, the case appears unpolished, with clear bevels displayed on its lugs and defined hallmarks on the reverse (including its engraved stock number). The brushed finish on the lugs is clearly visible, while the polished sides are in remarkable condition.
Inside the watch, it houses Rolex’s calibre 1575 bi-directional, self-winding movement. The mechanism features a lever escapement, 26 jewels, mono-metallic balance and a KIF shock-absorber, beating at a rate of 19,800 A/h, with a power-reserve of 42 hours. Interestingly, some GMT-Master 1675 examples display ‘1570’ engraved on the bridge of the calibre. The engraving ‘1570’, is a reference to base-calibre in which the 1575 is derived from (the ‘5’, indicating the inclusion of a date function).
The present example was manufactured circa 1969, based on the serial number. From here, the watch was delivered to famous Swiss retailer Chronometrie Beyer, Zurich.
According to its original guarantee, this ref. 1675/8 was sold by the retailer in August 1972. The original sales receipt is also supplied, which retains the date of sale to the original owner. Interestingly (although unverified), the name and address of the owner, corresponds to documented accounts of the CIA Iran/Contra affair, in the 1980s. Attached to this - the original purchase price can be found, totalling 3,500 CHF. With this, the stock number seen on the original receipt, matches the number engraved on the reverse the case’s lower-left lug perfectly.
As with any design, there is a “sweet spot”; this watch hits that perfectly. The unpolished, yellow-gold case, plexi-glass and perfectly faded bezel gives this example a vintage feel which is so desirable in today’s demanding market place. With a rare, brown dial, set in an 18-carat, precious metal case, this Rolex GMT truly stands out from most examples of its type and era.
Viewings can be arranged in Central London by appointment.