|Estimate:||$15,000 - $30,000|
|Model Name:||GMT-Master 1675|
|Case Serial Number:||1837XXX|
|Bracelet:||Stainless steel Oyster|
|Signed||Case, dial, movement, and bracelet.|
The watch has been checked for proper functionality
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This Rolex GMT-Master watch is in overall great, honest condition. The case shows some scratches, wear and nicks. There are some signs of wear and scratches between the lugs and the engraved numbers are still legible. The red-back bezel insert (Rolex Pepsi) is in good condition with wear and scratches and has faded throughout. The dial is in attractive condition and has developed patina and wear with some darker patina around the edges. The hour markers have developed patina and have aged to a creamy off-white color. Some of the plots show signs of degradation/wear around the edges. The hands are in good condition with patina. The hour and GMT hands show some slight cracks in the lume and are hard to notice. The lume in the hands has aged to an attractive off white/pale yellow color. The lume in the seconds hand shows signs of previous repair/relume to a crack with the color matching well with the other hands. The Swiss rivet bracelet is in good, honest condition with some stretch between the links; this is not uncommon for this style bracelet.
Matte black w/ tritium hands
Stainless steel case; the inside caseback is stamped "1675 I.68".
Stainless steel 7206 rivet Oyster with 11 links and 80 end links. The clasp is marked 3/69 indicating it is from 1969.
Box and Papers
Rolex box, Outer box, GMT Pamphlet, Rolex wallet, punched Chronometer papers (with corresponding case and movement numbers to the watch), punched "Your Rolex Oyster" booklet, Cigarette card, and chronometer hang tag.
The GMT-Master is Rolex's signature pilot's watch, complete with dual-time capabilities. It came to market in 1955, with ref. 1675 following shortly after in 1959. It's one of the most sought-after vintage Rolex watches on the secondary market because it's instantly recognizable with its 24-hour bezel and dedicated GMT hand. The Rolex 1675 was also notably the first GMT Master to use crown guards. Rolex initially used glossy dials in the 1675 until around 1966 and switched to matte dials.
The watch up for auction is from circa 1968 from the original owner. The particular dial variation on this watch is referred to by the collectors as the Mark I "Long E." When looking at the text "ROLEX" on the dial, the "E" has a central bar which is the same length as the top and bottom bars. This design feature is where the nickname "Long E" comes from as the other dial variations of the GMT 1675 have a shorter central bar. This watch also has the correct date-wheel for the time period with the closed 6's and 9's as well as hooked 7's.
The original owner, Tom Finley, purchased the watch in Hong Kong at Artland Watch Co. in 1969. He was on a week-long "shore leave" during the Vietnam War. The opportunity lined up as his issued field watch had flooded, and he recognized the importance of investing in a reliable watch. He was not well-versed in watches at the time, but he had heard from other service members that if he wanted a reliable watch, Rolex is the one to get. Taking their advice, he purchased this GMT 1675, and it has remained as his prized possession until present day.
When asked why he picked the GMT, he said, "I liked the way it looked and the overall red, white and blue colorway." The watch became one of his favorite possessions, so much so, that he wanted to keep the box and papers. He kept everything it came with for all these years. To exemplify his endearment for his watch, he had written down his name and rank on the bottom of the box.
Tom just happened to pick a GMT-Master when he went to Artland Watch Co. that day in 1969, but interestingly enough he picked a watch that was the personal watch choice of multiple astronauts. There are photos of Edgar Mitchell, Stuart Roosa and Alan Shepard wearing Rolex GMT-Master watches. There are also photos of Edgard Mitchell and Stuart Roosa wearing their personal GMTs during the Apollo 14 mission. Edgar apparently was wearing two GMTs, one on each wrist. We spoke with Tom about this coincidence and this makes him even more pleased with his watch choice!
Tom continued to wear the watch throughout his 28-year career, during every mission and exercise. He also wore this GMT 1675 during one of the most significant moments of his career, which was also one of the most historically important missions, the recovery of Apollo 14 astronauts on February 9, 1971. Apollo 14 was the eighth crewed mission by the United States and the third to land on the moon. The prime crew members of the Apollo 14 were Alan B. Shepard, Jr, Stuart A. Roosa, and Edgar G. Mitchell. On February 9th, the astronauts returned to earth and landed in the south Pacific ocean. Tom was assigned as the co-pilot on the helicopter to recover the astronauts from the ocean and back to the USS New Orleans aircraft carrier. Days later, Tom transported the crew members to American Samoa.
This watch along with the box and papers is being sold with an assortment of items that Tom collected over the years from his career from his G1 flight jacket to photos of him personal and from the Navy where the watch is visible. This also comes with a notarized letter of provenance from Tom.
See the list of all items in this lot and descriptions below:
This is a Navy issued G1 Flight Jacket from circa 1967 and is a size 44. The jacket is made of goatskin and is in overall great condition with wear and scratches, the tag is also worn. This jacket was issued to Tom in 1967 and worn throughout his entire career. The patches on the jacket were swapped from time to time, and the collar and cuffs were replaced over the years.
This is Tom's flight log book where the Navy required him to keep records for all his missions, including the Feb 9th 1971 Apollo 14 recovery (that page is marked off).
Copy of the flight schedule of the Apollo 14 Recovery showing Tom’s role that day.
This is the tri-fold which shows the UDT Frogmen of the Apollo 14 Recovery Team who were in the water assigned to recover the astronauts on Feb 9th. 1971. This document shows each diver's signature near their names/drawings.
Tom received this tri-fold a few days after the recovery, folded up with a piece of the external outer gold foil "skin" from the the spacecraft. The divers removed some of this foil and gave the pieces away as souvenirs. Years later, this piece was proudly displayed in Tom's office. However, one day, a cleaning person accidentally discarded the piece. Tom, very much attached to this sentimental piece, decided to keep this tri-fold as part of his cherished memories.
A quick note about one of the UDT divers involved with the recovery; Fred Schmidt. Fred was a Navy Seal Lieutenant and he participated in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics for swimming. He won a gold medal for the the Medley Relay and a bronze medal for the Butterfly. He was also involved with the Apollo 15 recovery mission.
This is a piece of external gold foil "skin" from the Apollo 14 "Kitty Hawk" spacecraft which was given to Tom around mid-2010's. Tom was giving a tour on the Midway to a group from NASA and during this tour he told the story about the gold foil which was accidentally discarded by the cleaning person (see #5 above). After a few weeks, to his surprise, he received this gold foil from the "Kitty Hawk" Spacecraft in the mail.
The skin is approximately ¾" by ¾" on a 3 x 5" card.
Hand-carved Philippine mahogany plaque presented to Tom when he left the squadron in 1972.
Approx. 11.5" tall x 9." wide
Tom would add/remove patches from his G1 flight jacket over the years and here are five loose patches and one Apollo 14 sticker.
This "Cruise book" was offered to the crew of the USS New Orleans for purchase, it is similar to a Yearbook students would get. These were pre-ordered and sent to the crew members who purchased them. This was Toms and it has his photo in the back, along with other crew members. The two photos of Tom in the book are marked off.
All of the people involved with the Feb 9, 1971 recovery practiced all the different aspects of the mission many times before the actual day. This included the news crews too.
This was the master painting (currently mounted on foamboard) used to make the nose art decals on the helicopters of his squadron. “Indian Gal” was the call sign for Tom's squadron. Dimensions: 36" tall by 21.5" wide.
This is a framed photo that was taken by NASA on Feb 9th of the helicopter Tom was co-piloting. This was in Tom's office for years. Dimensions: 23.5" tall by 21.5" wide.
Pilot standardization manual on how to operate the SH-3A/G, HH-3A helicopter.
15. Notarized letter of provenance from Tom Finley
MOVEMENT: Movement is functioning. This vintage Rolex comes with Bob's Watches one year warranty.
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