Initially, the Rolex GMT Master was created especially for professionals who were travelling around the world, but due to its rugged aesthetics and superior functionality the model was equally appealing to the regular globetrotter that preferred a fashionable and utilitarian timepiece as a loyal companion on his journeys. In time, the watch became a true style icon among luxury GMT watches, a wonderful design that captivates.
Developed and produced in collaboration with Pan American Airways exclusively for their navigators and pilots, the Rolex Oyster Perpetual Date GMT Master was launched in 1954 as a part of Rolex’s Professional Watch collection. The GMT Master II is not just a good looking watch with a charismatic personality. It is a highly sophisticated instrument that keeps perfect time and displays two different time zones. The robustness and versatility that defines this model make it an excellent choice both for casual travel attires and special occasions.
The GMT abbreviation stands for Greenwich Mean Time also known as Coordinated Universal Time. This is the time zone required for all weather forecasts, aviation planning, schedules and other paperwork. The initial GMT Master was designed with a fourth hand that displayed 24 hours. This was connected directly to the 12 hours hand so once it was set to show the time in the travelling country they moved in the same rhythm. Basically, this GMT hand allowed the wearer to set the timepiece to GMT or another time zone by turning the rotatable 24 hours scale bezel. The bezel had also the function of displaying the second time zone.
At the beginning of the’80s the Rolex GMT Master II was unveiled although the regular GMT was in production until the late ‘90s. From the exterior both versions look pretty much the same. There are no major differences. The most important upgrade was at the interior of the watch where Rolex decided to add a better quality automatic movement that has a quickset hour hand that can be adjusted independently to the local time without interacting with the minutes and 24 hour GMT hand or stopping the seconds hand. The watch was available with the same rotatable bezel thus it was able to display a third time zone.
Even though Rolex manufactured its original GMT Master only in stainless steel because it was supposed to be a functional, rugged, utilitarian watch, starting with the ‘70s the brand produced the first luxury versions both in all gold and in two-tone. Due to the high demand of more luxurious versions, the GMT Master was created even in precious variations that included precious stones.
The update for the Rolex GMT Master II was introduced in 2005. This was the version that presented some of the most notable technical improvements to this model. The novelties were a larger triplock crown, a bigger case, Rolex’s patented Parachrom hairspring, the Maxi dial that meant bigger hands and hour markers, an innovative Cerachrom bezel that was an extremely hard ceramic material that was resistant to corrosion and scratches, a more elegant bracelet with heavier solid links and a better clasp with a Glidelock feature. There are many variations of the GMT Master II. Besides the stainless steel version there are also precious metal versions that have exquisitely polished center links that enhance a more elegant look for the watch.
Some of the most important celebrities that were seen wearing a Rolex GMT Master are Fidel Castro, Che Guevara, Chuck Yeager, Clint Eastwood, Keanu Reeves, Daniel Craig, Tom Selleck and Gerard Depardieu. Its sporty appearance, sophisticated forms and modern functionality are the main characteristics that make it incredibly appealing to professional travelers, globetrotters and watches enthusiasts.