The GMT has been a fundamental piece in the Rolex product line ever since its introduction in 1954. And to be honest, I can't imagine Rolex without this master piece. The Swiss luxury manufactory has introduced many different variations of the GMT over the course of the years, spanning from the very rare Fuchsia insert bezel to the famous GMT Batman.
Originally, the wristwatch was designed in collaboration with Pan American World Airways (an airline, which filed for bankruptcy in 1991 and was partially bought by Delta Airlines). In the 1950’s, the aviation industry gained more and more popularity and pilots and their crew started to take more long-distance flights than ever before. This was the reason Rolex introduced the GMT Master for Pan Am. The bezel (24 hours indication) was an innovative key feature that allowed the wearer to simultaneously reference two different time zones. The fourth hand (24-hour display) enables the wearer to set the watch to any time zone for the main time view, then set the rotatable 24-hour scale bezel to a second time zone. For the ones who didn’t know, GMT stands for “Greenwich Mean Time” (often referred as Coordinated Universal Time or UTC). The time zone is used as a reference in aviation, weather forecasts or even on your iPhone’s schedule (for example Switzerland’s time zone is UTC +2:00).
One of the previously mentioned important and rare GMT’s is the reference 16718. Our friend @horology_ancienne (that’s his Instagram name) provided The Collectors Circle with some pictures of his stunning piece. As you can see, the wristwatch features a 18k yellow gold Jubilé bracelet with an invisible clasp, which we know from the Jubilé bracelets of the current 36mm (and smaller) Datejust models. Unfortunately, Rolex replaced the invisible clasp with the new clasp on all GMT watches which, in my humble opinion, is a downgrade from an aesthetic point of view.
The sunburst brown dial, also referred sometimes as “root beer” or “tiger eye brown” dial, shines beautifully in the sun. The diameter of the case is 40mm and features a sapphire glass with date loupe, as all GMTs do.
The watch is definitively an iconic and very attractive unisex Rolex for travelers with its 2nd time zone and is, at least for me, a must-have for every (vintage) Rolex collector.
Rolex GMT Master II 16718 Yellow Gold
current market price varies from CHF 10,000 to CHF 35,000 depending on the condition of the watch. You can find cheap ones, polished with no original papers in the lower range. But collectible valuable pieces are upwards of CHF 25,000
Discontinued, but no official limitation
case diameter 40 mm
According to our friend @horology_ancienne the watch “sits very well on the wrist” and although it is a sports watch it “can be used in more formal settings” thanks to the precious metal it is made of.
See the picture below…not much left to say.
Images: Instagram account @horology_ancienne