ROLEX GMT-MASTER 1971 ‘GHOST’ BEZEL POA
One of the most iconic watches of the 1960s / 1970s, the Rolex GMT-Master 1675. Making its debut in 1954, the Rolex GMT-Master, as its name implies, was created for civil aviation pilots. Today, the demand by collectors for unmolested GMT Masters & Submariners is breathtaking. Demand continually outstrips supply, and only ever increasing price rises keeps a balance to a buoyant market.
Item description: This stunning reference 1675 example dates from 1971 (just before UTC time superseded GMT time). Typical stainless steel case with protected crown. The case with designations between the lugs, ‘REGISTERED DESIGN 1675’, and the other side with, ‘STAINLESS STEEL’ and the serial number in the 2.8 run. Rolex GMT-Master dial with red fourth hand, and calendar at 3.00.
Domed plexi-glass with magnifier for calendar. 24 hour so-called ‘Pepsi’ rotating bezel. Inside of case-back stamped with date code of 11.71 (November 1971). Automatic 1570 movement with 26 jewels. The watch complete with a tan leather saddle stitch strap and stainless steel Rolex branded buckle. The watch comes in its original Rolex green leather ‘service’ pouch, with the gold Rolex crown and name to front.
Case size: 48mm x 42mm (to end of crown protectors)
Condition report: Case in excellent to near mint condition with a near perfect polished and satin finish remaining (free from major scratches or other damage). Original 1971 Rolex dial with a nice ‘soft’ age patination, in particular to the hour markers, which have now aged to a beautiful cream colour. The watch retains its original so-called ‘ghost’ bezel, where through natural aging the red and blue have faded. This bezel remains in close to mint condition.
The 1570 automatic movement fitted to the Rolex GMT-Master remains in mint condition and is in fully working condition. The movement has been recently serviced by a Rolex specialist. The timepiece may have been opened, so it should not be used near moisture or water without being checked by a qualified watchmaker. This example of a pre-1972 GMT-Master, is undoubtedly one of the best and most original examples on the market today.
Background to Rolex: Alfred Davis and his brother-in-law Hans Wilsdorf founded Wilsdorf and Davis, the company that would eventually become Rolex SA, in London, England in 1905. Wilsdorf and Davis’ main commercial activity at the time involved importing Hermann Aegler’s Swiss movements to England and placing them in high-quality watch cases made by Dennison and others. These early wristwatches were sold to jewellers, who then put their own names on the dial.
The earliest watches from Wilsdorf and Davis were usually hallmarked “W&D” inside the caseback. In 1908 Wilsdorf registered the trademark “Rolex” and opened an office in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland, and by 1914, Kew Observatory had awarded a Rolex watch a Class A precision certificate, a distinction normally granted exclusively to marine chronometers.
In 1919 Wilsdorf left England for Geneva, due to wartime taxes levied on luxury imports as well as to export duties on the silver and gold used for the watch cases driving up costs. Once established in Switzerland, Wilsdorf traded as the Rolex Watch Company, later changing the name to Montres Rolex SA, and finally Rolex, SA.
Upon the death of his wife in 1944, Wilsdorf established the Hans Wilsdorf Foundation, a private trust, in which he left all of his Rolex shares, making sure that some of the company’s income would go to charity. Wilsdorf died in 1960, and since then, the trust has owned and run the company.
Special notes: With flying distances ever increasing during the late 1940s, early 1950s; and pilots travelling across multiple time zones; it was obvious there was a need for a watch which could tell different time zones simultaneously. Pan Am (Pan American Airways) took up the gauntlet, and contacted Rolex at the beginning of the 1950s, asking if the company could manufacture a watch which could tell different times simultaneously. Hence the Rolex GMT-Master was born, making its debut in 1954.
The new Rolex GMT-Master introduced a fourth hand allowing the display of an additional time zone, with the corresponding number markings on the outer bezel. Pilots would use the second time to display the Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), which led to the well chosen name for the model, GMT-Master. The aviation industry replaced Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) in 1972, superseding it with Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), however, the name GMT-Master has always been retained by Rolex, although pilots today use the watch to set UTC time.
Additional notes: We can also supply a mint condition correct brick link Rolex stainless steel bracelet to go with this Rolex GMT-Master, which is dated 1.72.
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