Rolex GMT-Master: Ref. 1675 as a Travel Companion

by Barbara Wilson

In the world of luxury watches, few timepieces hold as much historical significance and timeless appeal as the Rolex GMT-Master Ref. 1675. Renowned for its dual-time functionality, robust design, and association with world travel, the GMT-Master Ref. 1675 has earned its place as an iconic travel companion for explorers and adventurers alike. In this article, we delve into the rich history and evolution of the Rolex GMT-Master Ref. 1675, exploring its connection to the spirit of exploration, its rare variations, investment potential, market trends, and the importance of maintaining and restoring these horological treasures.


I. History and Evolution of Rolex GMT-Master: Ref. 1675

The Rolex GMT-Master Ref. 1675 holds a significant place in horological history, with its innovative design catering to the needs of pilots and travelers. Let’s delve deeper into the history and evolution of this iconic timepiece:


1. Collaboration with Pan American Airways:

Introduced in 1954, the Rolex GMT-Master Ref. 1675 was developed in collaboration with Pan American Airways (Pan Am) for their pilots and crew members. It was designed to assist pilots in tracking multiple time zones, particularly during long-haul flights.


Pan Am needed a reliable and accurate watch that could display both the local time and a second time zone, helping pilots adjust to new time zones while minimizing confusion.


2. 24-Hour Hand and Rotating Bezel:

The most notable innovation of the Ref. 1675 was the introduction of the 24-hour hand and a rotating 24-hour bezel. The watch allowed wearers to track a second time zone, indicated by the 24-hour hand, which could be adjusted independently of the regular hour hand.

The bidirectional rotating bezel could be used to read a third time zone, making the watch an essential tool for pilots and travelers.

3. Evolutions and Enhancements:

The Ref. 1675 underwent several evolutions and improvements throughout its production run, spanning from the 1950s to the late 1970s.

Various dial configurations were offered, including versions with pointed crown guards, later replaced with more rounded crown guards for enhanced comfort.

Different bezel insert options were available, including the iconic “Pepsi” bezel with blue and red coloration, as well as all-black and “Coke” (red and black) variations.

Over the years, Rolex made technical and aesthetic improvements, such as introducing the “hack” feature, which stops the second hand when the crown is pulled out for precise time synchronization.

4. Enduring Legacy:

The Rolex GMT-Master Ref. 1675’s combination of functionality, durability, and timeless design contributed to its enduring popularity among collectors and enthusiasts.

The watch’s association with aviation, its iconic appearance, and its historical significance as a tool watch for pilots have solidified its status as a sought-after vintage timepiece.

Despite being replaced by later GMT-Master models, the Ref. 1675 continues to hold a special place in the hearts of watch aficionados, embodying the spirit of adventure and exploration.

Introduced in the 1950s, the Rolex GMT-Master Ref. 1675 was designed in collaboration with Pan American Airways for their pilots. The watch’s primary innovation was the 24-hour hand and rotating bezel, allowing wearers to track multiple time zones simultaneously—a crucial feature for pilots traversing different regions. Over the years, the Ref. 1675 evolved with various improvements and enhancements, solidifying its reputation as a reliable and functional timepiece for frequent travelers and professionals.

II. Rolex GMT-Master: Ref. 1675 and Explorer’s Spirit

The Rolex GMT-Master Ref. 1675 is deeply intertwined with the explorer’s spirit, embodying the essence of adventure, travel, and the pursuit of the unknown. Let’s explore how this timepiece became a symbol of exploration:

1. Vibrant “Pepsi” and “Coke” Bezels:

The iconic “Pepsi” bezel, with its red and blue coloration, and the “Coke” bezel, with its red and black hues, became iconic symbols of the GMT-Master Ref. 1675. These bezels not only added a distinctive and eye-catching aesthetic to the watch but also served a functional purpose.

The red and blue “Pepsi” bezel represented the day and night hours, aiding wearers in distinguishing between different time zones. This feature was particularly useful for pilots, travelers, and explorers crossing various regions.

2. Dual-Time Functionality for Explorers:

The dual-time functionality of the GMT-Master Ref. 1675 catered to the needs of explorers who frequently traveled to different time zones. Whether crossing continents or navigating across hemispheres, the watch’s ability to simultaneously display two time zones allowed adventurers to stay connected to their home base while exploring new territories.

3. Reliable Companion for Journeys:

The GMT-Master Ref. 1675 was designed with durability and reliability in mind. Its robust construction and accurate timekeeping made it a trusted companion for individuals embarking on expeditions, whether traversing oceans, jungles, or deserts.

Explorers needed a timepiece that could withstand the rigors of their journeys while providing accurate timekeeping in diverse environments. The GMT-Master’s reputation for ruggedness and precision made it a natural choice for those seeking dependable wristwatches.

4. Enduring Legacy of Exploration:

The GMT-Master Ref. 1675’s association with exploration and adventure has left a lasting legacy. Its appearance on the wrists of pioneers, travelers, and explorers has solidified its status as a watch that symbolizes the spirit of discovery and curiosity.

The watch’s legacy has continued through subsequent GMT-Master models and Rolex’s commitment to creating timepieces that cater to the needs of modern explorers.

5. Inspirational Symbol:

The GMT-Master Ref. 1675 serves as an inspirational symbol for individuals who embrace the spirit of exploration, whether through physical journeys, intellectual pursuits, or personal growth. It encourages wearers to venture beyond their comfort zones and embrace the unknown.

The GMT-Master Ref. 1675 quickly became synonymous with the spirit of exploration. Its distinctive red and blue “Pepsi” bezel, or the black and red “Coke” bezel variations, not only added a vibrant touch to the watch’s design but also represented the day and night hours. This dual-time functionality was particularly useful for pilots, world travelers, and explorers who needed to keep track of time across different time zones. The GMT-Master’s robustness and reliability made it a trusted companion for those embarking on journeys into the unknown.

III. Rare and Valuable Rolex GMT-Master: Ref. 1675 Variations

The Ref. 1675 had several variations throughout its production run, each with its unique characteristics that appeal to collectors and enthusiasts. From different dial configurations to various bezel colors, these variations contribute to the watch’s allure. Notable examples include the “Blueberry” GMT-Master with a blue dial and the “Root Beer” with a brown dial and bezel. These rare variations are highly sought after by collectors and often command premium prices at auctions.

These rare and valuable variations add an extra layer of intrigue to the watch’s history. Let’s explore some notable variations that have become sought-after gems among collectors:

1. “Blueberry” GMT-Master:

The “Blueberry” variation refers to GMT-Master Ref. 1675 models with striking blue dials. This vibrant and distinctive dial color sets these watches apart from the more common black and blue “Pepsi” bezel versions.

The “Blueberry” variation is particularly rare and highly sought after due to its unique appearance and limited production. Its scarcity has contributed to its elevated value in the vintage watch market.

2. “Root Beer” GMT-Master:

The “Root Beer” variation, also known as the “Root Beer GMT,” features a brown dial and a brown and gold bezel insert. This warm and rich color combination offers a distinct and elegant aesthetic compared to the traditional color schemes.

Some “Root Beer” GMT-Master models also featured a two-tone case and bracelet, further enhancing their visual appeal. These watches are coveted for their unique character and luxurious charm.

3. Exotic Dial Variations:

Certain Ref. 1675 models feature what are known as “exotic” dials, characterized by unique textures, patterns, and color combinations. These dials often exhibit intriguing features such as grids, patterns resembling wood or stone, or unusual color contrasts.

Exotic dial variations add an element of rarity and individuality to the watch, making them highly sought after by collectors who appreciate distinct design details.

4. Early and Transitional Models:

Early examples of the Ref. 1675 may have distinctive features that differentiate them from later production models. These transitional models can include pointed crown guards, meters-first depth rating dials, and other subtle variations.

These early and transitional models are valued by collectors who appreciate the historical significance and evolution of the GMT-Master lineup.

5. Limited-Edition and Special Versions:

Throughout its production, Rolex occasionally released limited-edition or special versions of the Ref. 1675 with unique design elements, materials, or dial configurations. These watches often carry an added level of exclusivity and desirability.

Limited-edition versions, commemorative editions, or models produced for specific markets can command premium prices due to their limited availability and distinct attributes.

IV. Investment Potential of Rolex GMT-Master: Ref. 1675 Watches

The investment potential of Rolex GMT-Master Ref. 1675 watches has garnered attention from collectors and investors alike. Several factors contribute to the enduring value and appeal of these timepieces as investment assets:

1. Historical Significance:

The Ref. 1675’s historical relevance as a tool watch designed for pilots and travelers adds a layer of significance that resonates with collectors. Its association with aviation and exploration enhances its desirability and investment appeal.

2. Iconic Design:

The iconic design of the Ref. 1675, including the dual-time functionality and vibrant bezel variations, has solidified its place in horological history. Its aesthetic appeal and recognizable features contribute to its timeless allure.

3. Rarity and Limited Availability:

Vintage GMT-Master Ref. 1675 watches, especially those with rare variations or specific features, have become increasingly rare over the years due to natural wear, loss, or modification. This limited supply contributes to their collectibility and potential for value appreciation.

4. Growing Collector Demand:

The global interest in vintage watches, driven by a growing community of collectors and enthusiasts, has contributed to rising demand for iconic and historically significant timepieces like the Ref. 1675.

5. Rarity of Unaltered Examples:

Collectors place a premium on Ref. 1675 watches that retain their original components, such as dials, hands, and bezels. Unaltered examples are highly valued because they reflect the watch’s authentic condition and historical integrity.

6. Provenance and Documentation:

Watches with documented provenance, including service records, original boxes, and papers, often command higher prices. Provenance adds authenticity and transparency to the watch’s history.

7. Consistent Value Appreciation:

The investment potential of Ref. 1675 watches is underscored by their consistent appreciation in value over the years. Well-maintained examples have demonstrated their ability to serve as tangible investment assets.

8. Symbol of Heritage and Craftsmanship:

Rolex’s reputation for exceptional craftsmanship and enduring quality contributes to the lasting value of their timepieces. The Ref. 1675 embodies Rolex’s commitment to producing reliable and functional watches.

9. Emotional and Historical Connection:

Beyond financial considerations, owning a Ref. 1675 watch allows collectors to connect with horological history, craftsmanship, and the stories of exploration and adventure associated with the watch.

The Rolex GMT-Master Ref. 1675 holds significant investment potential due to its historical significance, iconic design, and limited availability of well-preserved models. As vintage watch appreciation continues to grow, collectors recognize the enduring value of the Ref. 1675. Watches in good condition, especially with rare variations or provenance, have seen substantial appreciation in value over the years, making them attractive investment pieces for those with a keen eye for horological history.

V. Pricing and Market Trends of Rolex GMT-Master: Ref. 1675

The pricing and market trends of Rolex GMT-Master Ref. 1675 watches reflect the unique characteristics and historical significance of these timepieces. Here’s an overview of how pricing and market trends have evolved for the Ref. 1675:

1. Factors Affecting Pricing:

Condition: The condition of a Ref. 1675 watch significantly influences its price. Well-preserved examples with minimal wear, original components, and intact dials and bezels command higher prices.

Rarity and Variations: Rare variations, such as “Blueberry” and “Root Beer” models, can lead to higher pricing due to their limited availability and unique characteristics.

Provenance: Watches with documented provenance, including original boxes, papers, and service records, tend to command premium prices, as they offer transparency and authenticity.

Originality: Watches with unaltered cases, original hands, and original dials are highly prized by collectors and can fetch higher prices.

Collectibility: Watches with unique historical significance, such as those with ties to notable individuals or events, can hold higher value due to their enhanced collectibility.

2. Market Trends:

Consistent Appreciation: The market for vintage Rolex watches, including the Ref. 1675, has demonstrated a consistent appreciation in value over the years. Demand from collectors, enthusiasts, and investors has contributed to this upward trend.

Growing Collector Interest: The global community of vintage watch collectors continues to expand, driving demand for iconic models like the Ref. 1675. The watch’s historical importance and unique design features make it a sought-after piece.

Auction Performance: Ref. 1675 watches have performed well in prestigious watch auctions, often surpassing pre-auction estimates. Unique variations, unpolished cases, and provenance-rich examples have fetched impressive prices.

Limited Supply: As time goes on, the supply of well-preserved Ref. 1675 watches decreases due to natural wear and the passage of time. This limited availability contributes to their value appreciation.

3. Investment Considerations:

Long-Term Value: The consistent appreciation in value of Ref. 1675 watches suggests their potential as investment assets. However, it’s important to note that investment in watches should be approached with a long-term perspective.

Collecting Enjoyment: While the investment potential is appealing, collectors should prioritize their enjoyment and passion for vintage watches. Owning a Ref. 1675 allows collectors to connect with horological history and craftsmanship.

The pricing of Rolex GMT-Master Ref. 1675 watches varies widely based on factors such as condition, rarity, provenance, and variations. Collectors can expect to pay a premium for watches with original components, unpolished cases, and unique features. Market trends have shown a consistent upward trajectory in the value of these watches, with demand from both collectors and investors contributing to their appreciation.

VI. Restoring and Servicing Rolex GMT-Master: Ref. 1675

Restoring and servicing a vintage Rolex GMT-Master Ref. 1675 is a delicate process that requires expertise and care to maintain the watch’s integrity and value. Here’s a guide to ensuring proper restoration and servicing:

1. Importance of Proper Servicing:

Regular servicing is essential to keep the watch functioning accurately and reliably. Over time, lubricants degrade, components wear out, and adjustments may be needed to ensure precise timekeeping.

Proper servicing can prevent further damage and extend the lifespan of the watch, preserving its historical significance and value.

2. Finding Qualified Professionals:

When seeking restoration or servicing for a Ref. 1675, it’s crucial to work with skilled watchmakers who specialize in vintage Rolex watches. These professionals are knowledgeable about the watch’s unique features and construction.

Look for watchmakers with experience in handling vintage timepieces, preferably those who are certified by Rolex or have a reputation for working on high-end watches.

3. Authenticity Preservation:

When servicing or restoring a vintage Rolex, it’s important to prioritize authenticity. Any modifications or replacement parts should be carefully considered to maintain the watch’s historical accuracy.

Retain original components whenever possible, including the dial, hands, and bezel. Using authentic Rolex parts is crucial to preserving the watch’s value and authenticity.

4. Restoration vs. Preservation:

Consider the difference between restoration and preservation. Restoration involves addressing visible wear, scratches, or damage to restore the watch’s appearance. Preservation focuses on maintaining the watch’s original condition while addressing mechanical issues.

Restoration should be approached conservatively, as excessive polishing or refinishing can diminish the watch’s value and historical charm.

5. Regular Maintenance:

Vintage watches benefit from regular maintenance to prevent issues from escalating. Routine cleaning, lubrication, and adjustments are part of proper care.

6. Documenting the Process:

Keep detailed records of the restoration or servicing process, including the work performed, replaced parts, and any adjustments made. This documentation can be valuable for future owners and collectors.

7. Recommendations from Experts:

Seek recommendations from trusted watch collectors, enthusiasts, or forums when looking for skilled professionals. Word-of-mouth referrals can guide you to reputable watchmakers who specialize in vintage Rolex watches.

Maintaining the integrity of a vintage Rolex GMT-Master Ref. 1675 is essential to preserving its value and functionality. Proper servicing by skilled watchmakers ensures that the watch continues to operate accurately and reliably. However, finding qualified professionals who specialize in vintage Rolex watches is crucial to avoid compromising the watch’s authenticity and value.


The Rolex GMT-Master Ref. 1675 remains a testament to horological innovation, functionality, and enduring design. As a travel companion, it has accompanied adventurers, explorers, and professionals around the globe, cementing its status as an iconic timepiece. The Ref. 1675’s history, rare variations, investment potential, and appreciation within the collector community make it a sought-after treasure for watch enthusiasts who appreciate the fusion of history and craftsmanship. Whether worn on a wrist embarking on new journeys or safeguarded as a valuable investment, the Rolex GMT-Master Ref. 1675 continues to shine as a symbol of exploration and timeless elegance.


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