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Rolex GMT Master History and Information

Originally designed in collaboration with Pan American Airways, the Rolex GMT-Master wristwatch was the first to offer the functionality of viewing multiple different time zones simultaneously, and was issued by the airline to the crews on long-haul flights. However, it soon became popular outside of the field of aviation, due to it boasting a combination of high functionality and a rugged, sturdy look. The watch’s name derives from an abbreviation of Greenwich Mean Time, which is now often referred to as Coordinated Universal Time.

Original GMT Master watches have a 24 hour display fourth hand complication, which is directly linked to, and displays the same time zone as the standard 12 hour hand. To use the GMT feature, crews would set the watch to GMT or any another world time zone by rotating bezel to a different offset. This allowed a second time zone to easily be set and meant that there really was no better choice for aviators of the time, and this popularity has endured ever since.

The Rolex GMT-Master II (2) was released in the early 1980's and ran alongside the original GMT Master until the late 1990's. Although GMT 1 and GMT 2 look almost identical, on the newer model the quickset hour hand can be adjusted to local time, without stopping the seconds or disturbing the minutes and 24 hour GMT hand. The movement has the capability of working independently and becoming totally adjustable. Due to the watch continuing to use the adjustable bezel, it is able to quickly compute a third time zone reference, should pilots – or just those with a passion for jet setting – require it.

Designed as a functional "work watch", the Rolex GMT Master was originally only available in stainless steel. Since the late 1970's, however, Rolex have mixed both steel and gold to create a more desirable watch for style and watch aficionados alike. There are many variations that incorporate bespoke designs and precious stones, as well as specially-crafted white and yellow gold.

50th Anniversary Edition

In 2005, Rolex released an updated version of the GMT Master. The new model features a number of changes, this includes Rolex's patented Parachrom hairspring, as well as a larger Triplock crown which was taken from another model of Rolex the diver's watch.

Along with several cosmetic changes - including the introduction of a larger case, hands and hour markers - a new bezel was incorporated, made from an extremely hard ceramic material, which prolonged the life, due to the watch being better protected against scratching and colour fade.

Along with the new bracelet, boasting heavier solid links and a machined clasp, the bracelet was polished in the centre of the strap to give the more upmarket appearance, and making the watch more formally oriented. The new model was not regarded as an everyday model, rather as a dress piece, as it was less rugged, and the bracelet was prone to scratches when used as work watch.

Today’s Versions

We have many colour variations of the GMT Master, some of which include.

Rolex GMT Master History and Information Global Watch Shop

Global Watch Shop buy and sell a wide range of Rolex GMT Master watches, coming in a variety of sizes and designs, from the practicality of the original models, to the more style-oriented modern classics. If you have a watch to sell or part exchange, or you are just looking to upgrade or buy yourself a new watch, we can help. Browse our GMT Master range to find your perfect model today.

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