We’ve said it many times before, and we’ll say it again: the true beauty of watch collecting is the personal story behind each timepiece. A watch is often a man’s most intimate possession and because it lives on one’s wrist for so long, it goes well beyond being a practical object to becoming an artifact of one’s life. A watch’s emotional side is especially evident when it is left behind for the next generation to cherish.
A GMT-Master 1675 Story To Remember
Roger recently reached out to us to trust his family’s heirloom to Bob’s Watches, but more importantly, to share a very personal story of his father’s Rolex GMT-Master 1675. We are delighted to share his father’s story here with you and we are honored that he chose Bob’s Watches to find this important Rolex watch a new home.
A Rolex Story of Time
By Roger Pavane
It started after the President Kennedy assassination, and Lyndon Johnson became our 36th President. My father had been in the military most of his life, entered the Air Force as an officer and fulfilled his duties serving in both WWll and the Korean War. He then came up through the ranks and eventually became Head of the Science and Technical Office for The United States Air Force Systems Command. On a trip to Hong Kong in 1967, during his stint under the Johnson administration, my father while strolling past the shops one day stopped to peek into a window of a small watch dealer and was immediately drawn to it. It was a Rolex GMT-Master model 1675. Back then Rolex was not a status symbol but a symbol of craftsmanship and my dad being the perfectionist that he was had to have it. So after the purchase transaction which I believe was around $120 their life together began.
Traveling the globe, from inside the Cheyenne Mountain Defence Command to the White House, shaking hands with Generals, Cabinet Members and President Johnson himself and every day his GMT-Master strapped on his wrist. He eventually retired from government service in the early 1970’s and became Director of a quasi-government funded agency providing grants to private sector companies developing new early stage technologies from Coal Gasification to Cellular Telephone development, including many technologies we use in everyday life today.
The 1980’s came, and he retired, took on a second life as a photographer after investing in some very expensive Hasselblad gear, traveling the world with his GMT-Master on his arm. From Europe to the Pyramids of the Middle East, my father, and his second wife traveled just about everywhere, and every place he went, so went his Rolex GMT-Master. I remember as a kid he always made a point when back in the States to drop his watch off at Rolex on 5th Avenue in New York City for regular cleaning and tune-ups. As a perfectionist my father always made sure his GMT-Master was in perfect running condition.
My father died in 1999, and I kept his watch in a box in my closet ever since. I recently presented it to the light of day, and after having it serviced one last time by Rolex, I placed his GMT Master back into a self-winding box for safe keeping. A couple of weeks ago I decided this old gal needed a new home but not just any home; it needed to be in the care of true Rolex collector who would respect the provenance, after all, this 1967 GMT-Master was vintage at its best with a rich history. After reaching out to several of the top auction houses and very close to having it listed in an upcoming watch auction, I paused and thought if I auction it off to the highest bidder I would have zero control over where the watch would go. After all, this was a watch that came from a man who kept every receipt including the original certification document from Switzerland.
A few hours of online research, I found Bob’s Watches. Now I was skeptical at first since I did not want the watch to get resold to just anyone. It needed a proper home with a collector who would appreciate its history and age. After reaching out and having several conversations with Samantha from Bobs’s Watches and telling her the story of my fathers GMT-Master she assured me that she would find a proper home.
So I parted with my father’s watch. Many would say I was crazy to let it go. I look at it this way; the watch lives on with a proper collector who would take care of it properly and not treat it as a status symbol but rather a unique piece of history.
Nothing gets us more excited than to learn the tales behind the timepieces. If you have a personal watch story you’d like to share with us, we’d love to hear it.