The dual time zone (some say triple) Rolex GMT Master has a long, rich, and well-recorded history. The Rolex model was conceived in the late 1950s to help intercontinental pilots keep to regular sleep schedules, and thus remain safe to fly their routes. Pan American World Airways teamed with Rolex in the development of the watch due to an obviously vested interest.
Vintage Rolex Two-Tone GMT 1675 with a nipple dial.
So for a long time, the GMT Master and its successor, the GMT Master II remained a workhorse, a tool for those traveling and working internationally – or at least across multiple time zones.
But as in all watches bearing the crown logo, the workhorse gradually gained some refinements. We all realize Rolex is well-known for evolutionary rather than revolutionary improvements. So calibre improvements, a sleeker profile, bracelet options, and more came along. And so did precious metal.
Rolex Two Tone GMT Master known as the Root Beer.
The 16710 was produced from 1989 to 2007. The steel and yellow gold version, ref. 16713, is known to aficionados as the Tigerauge, or Eye of the Tiger, a fitting name for a watch of black, steel, and gold. The new 16710/16713 was slimmer than the 16760, which it replaced. In fact, it featured all the improvements mentioned above.
Vintage Bezel Two Tone GMT 1675, the theme with black and gold are perfect.
The dial and hands of the Tigerauge sported Tritium indices until 1997, when Luminova replaced it. In 2000, the brighter SuperLuminova came along. The lume-bearing indices, as well as all hands, were 18K yellow gold. in fact, all gold on the 16713 was 18K yellow gold.
Solid end links also appeared on the bracelet in 2000. 2003 saw the laser-etched crown logo appear at six o’clock on the sapphire crystal. The same year drilled lugs disappeared (the lugs of course, were still there – the holes were gone).
If you look carefully there is a micro-etched crown on the crystal at the 6’o clock hour marker.
Finally, in 2007, just at the end of the reign of the 16710/16713, the watch received an updated movement. The calibre 3186 replaced the 3185. The difference between the two was Rolex’s new Parachrom-Bleu hairspring.
During its production period, the 16713 was available with either an Oyster bracelet or a Jubilee bracelet. The Oyster was typical of the Rolex sport watches while the Jubilee gave the watch a dressier, more refined look. The two bracelets give the watch two very different looks – one sportier, one dressier. Deciding which bracelet to choose is a great problem to have as you make your selection.
Oyster or Jubilee, that is the question.