Rolex is a brand known for its luxury watches, specifically the professional collection that taps into the features and functions required by individuals in different professions and following different lifestyles. The Submariner Rolex is one of the most famous within this collection, alongside the likes of the Daytona, the Sea-Dweller, and today’s subject: the GMT-Master.
The GMT-Master was designed with pilots in mind, and facilitates the ability to tell the time in two different time zones. The name, GMT-Master, is derived from the GMT Greenwich Mean Time as standard, with the release of this professional timepiece in 1954 targeted at those flying long haul on a regular basis.
Aside from the functional features of this timepiece, the GMT-Master is also directly linked to the classic Rolex reputation in terms of its aesthetic look and elegant design – with the integrated function concealed within a sleek and stylish wristwatch.
Here’s all you need to know about the Rolex GMT-Master as the ultimate traveller’s companion.
The History of the Rolex GMT-Master
We’ve already shared a little about the purpose behind the GMT-Master, its intricate workings, and of course its release to the wider market in 1954. But what inspired it and how popular was the GMT-Master model upon its release?
One of the first things you need to note, whether you’re a prospective buyer, a seller, a luxury watch enthusiast, or a Rolex investor, is that the GMT-Master was released in 1954 and ceased production in 1999, but was joined on the market by the GMT-Master II in the early 1980s – with the latter still being developed today.
The GMT-Master was created by Rolex at the request of Pan-Am, which, around the early 1950s, was looking for a solution to the new problem of jet lag that was sweeping the industry of international travel. The creation of different time zones, and the sudden need to know the time in different places, created a challenge for pilots and those flying regularly, whereby they needed or wanted to know the time both at home and in their destination – thus sparking the so-called commission of the GMT-Master between Pan-Am and Rolex.
The original GMT-Master was a 24-hour watch with four hands and a rotating bezel, which was calibrated to read the 24-hour function and tell the time in two different locations. The use of red and blue rendered the original GMT-Master the “Pepsi” bezel for years to come, which was only superseded on the market by the release of the GMT-Master II.
The new release meant more upgrades and further elevated reinforcements, combining the complex interior workings and GMT function with the durable case and scratch-resistant watch face cover for maximum protection.
Features of the Rolex GMT-Master
The GMT-Master looks from the outside like a standard watch, and it’s this that renders virtually every Rolex release and design a popular and coveted timepiece among regular buyers as well as those within the catchment audience type of the brand.
As well as being able to tell the time in two different locations, the Rolex GMT-Master was pressure proof to a height of 50 metres or 165 feet in its very first iteration, with later editions taking on other benefits of the Rolex brand and various models, as required by the buyer market.
In terms of how the watch itself works and how it tells two different times at once, you need to understand the purpose of the four individual hands and how they interact with the bezel. The Rolex GMT-Master has a fourth hand in addition to the three standard hours, minutes, and seconds hands, which displays the same time zone as the existing hands. The watch is set to the home time zone of the wearer, before the bezel is rotated and set to a second time zone for dual time display.
The various versions and models of the GMT-Master mean that every watch we see is slightly different, with buyers often seeking those with integrated gems and refined details, different bracelets, and upgraded materials. However, for the most part, a classic GMT-Master is a vintage investment, whereas the more modern GMT-Master II watches offer a newer aesthetic.
Is a Rolex GMT-Master a Good Investment?
There are two ways to answer this question, because while the GMT-Master is not necessarily as coveted as a Rolex Submariner or Daytona timepiece, the very brand is enough to garner huge interest and ensure that any well-maintained and authentic Rolex will sell for an elevated price on the second-hand market.
The Rolex brand operates under a number of benefits that push the price of each individual timepiece sky high. The first is the exclusivity factor and the limited numbers which are released in each collection, with the second being the quality of design and craftsmanship. Then you have the coveted celebrity status of Rolex as a brand – for example, Pussy Galore famously wore a Rolex GMT-Master in the Sean Connery James Bond film Goldfinger, which created new demand and added a new dimension to the brand’s marketing efforts.
A vintage GMT-Master can ignite huge interest and collect high prices, making it an excellent investment, provided you can guarantee the quality and authenticity of the piece. Similarly, a modern GMT-Master II with high-value materials and details can also spark a high price at auction, depending on the market and value.
How to Buy a Rolex GMT-Master
If you’re looking for a genuine Rolex GMT-Master to wear, keep for yourself, or act as a future investment, it’s important to source your piece from a reputable and reliable seller like Love Luxury.
Combining the highest level of service with authenticity and valuation checks, as well as all the paperwork required to protect your investment, we promise an excellent experience to buyers and sellers alike. What’s more, the rolling and ever-changing nature of our business means we always have new timepieces and other luxury accessories to browse, both online and in our boutiques in London and Dubai.