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The Minute Details: The GMT-Master Ref. 1675 Part I

December 7, 2017

BY Paul Altieri


The differences between a $30,000 and a $7,500 GMT-Master ref. 1675

In this edition of The Minute Details series, where we explore the small details that make vast differences in vintage Rolex watch values, we examine the famous GMT-Master ref. 1675 pilot’s watch. As a model that was in production for over twenty years—from 1959 until 1980—it’s not surprising that there are plenty of differences to be found amongst GMT-Master ref. 1675 watches from different eras. Let’s find out which features make the biggest prices differences when considering a vintage GMT-Master ref. 1675.

GMT 1675

The GMT-Master 1675 is a fascinating watch for its many iterations.

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GMT-Master Ref. 1675: Pointed Crown Guards vs. Regular Crown Guards

The GMT-Master ref. 1675 was the second reference to join Rolex’s family of pilot watches after the inaugural ref. 6542. With its debut, Rolex introduced crown guards to the GMT-Master watch.

Early models came equipped with pointed crown guards, often nicknamed “El Cornino” by watch collectors for their resemblance to horns. Rolex eventually replaced the pointed shape with non-pointed crown guards in the mid-1960s. Naturally, due to their limited production run, GMT-Master ref. 1675 watches with pointed crown guards are typically more expensive than ones with regular crown guards.

GMT 1675

Here is an example of the small GMT hand.

GMT-Master Ref. 1675: Small GMT-Hand vs. Large GMT-Hand

The GMT-hand—also known as a 24-hour hand—is an integral feature of the GMT-Master watch. The hand, in conjunction with the rotating bezel marked to 24-hours, allows the wearer to read the time in a second time zone. It is, of course, this specific function that made the GMT-Master watch the go-to timepiece for commercial pilots. The red GMT-hand includes a luminescent arrow tip for visibility in low light.

Early examples of GMT-Master ref. 1675 included a smaller arrow on the end of the 24-hour hand. However, in the late 1960s, Rolex replaced the smaller arrow tipped hand with a larger GMT-hand. While the larger hand offers more legibility, in the vintage Rolex market GMT-Master ref. 1675 with smaller 24-hour hands typically command higher prices.

GMT 1675

This GMT 1675 displays a glossy gilt dial.

GMT-Master Ref. 1675: Matt vs. Glossy Dial

True to the era, the first generation of GMT-Master ref. 1675 watches included glossy black dials with gilt printing. This was the case up until 1964 when Rolex exchanged them for matt black dials with white text. It’s worth noting that there are in fact two types of glossy/gilt dials—earlier ones with a chapter ring and later ones without a chapter ring.

As expected, GMT-Master ref. 1675 watches with glossy dials and gilt writing are normally more costly to own than matte black dials with white printing—particularly the ones with the chapter ring. However, there is one particular matte dial style that is quite rare, therefore more expensive than standard matte dials, which are the so-called Radial Dials. Not only do Radial Dials include smaller lume plots, but those hour markers are also positioned further away from the minute markers around the periphery of the dial.

If entirely original, glossy dial versions of the GMT-Master ref. 1675 should also have the smaller GMT-hand and pointed crown guards. However, keep in mind it is common to find vintage Rolex watches with replacement dials, replacement hands, and other newer features that were added during servicing.

Stay tuned for Part II of our in-depth look at other details that impact the overall value of the vintage GMT-Master ref. 1675.





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