The High Flying Gold GMT Master
Four Ways to Wear the Gold GMT Master
When Rolex first debuted the stainless steel GMT Master in 1955 for Pan Am, there probably weren’t any immediate plans to make the pilot’s watch in solid gold. This was, after all, a tool watch to permit pilots to tell the time in two different locations. However, in the 1960s, that’s precisely what happened. Rolex rounded their GMT Master collection with an ultra-luxurious solid yellow gold GMT Master model—perhaps for those who flew Concorde!
From the original model to the most current one and some in between, here are four ways to wear the gold GMT Master.
The Gold GMT Master ref. 1675/8
Crafted almost entirely in 18k yellow gold, the GMT Master ref. 1675/8 featured a “nipple” dial with gold faceted hour markers on either a black or brown background. For a polished look, the black dial model came outfitted with a matching black bezel while the brown dial version of the ref. 1675/8 paired beautifully with its brown bezel.
The brown bezels on GMT Master watches are often referred to as “Root Beer” bezels. For even more variety, there was also the choice between the sporty Oyster bracelet and the more formal Jubilee bracelet.
The Gold GMT-Master ref. 16758
The 1980’s version of the gold GMT Master was the ref. 16758 and it brought along sapphire crystal to protect the dial. Looks wise, there were similar options to its predecessor—black dial/bezel and brown dial/bezel combinations, along with the two bracelet options. Plus, the early “nipple” dial style eventually gave way to the flatter indexes.
Technically, however, the Rolex GMT Master mens gold watch ref. 16758 is powered by the Caliber 3075 with the handy quickset date feature. As a result, wearers could now quickly change the date independently from the hour hand.
A lavish edition of the gold GMT Master ref. 16758 is the SARU variant, which along with diamonds, includes sapphires and rubies on the bezel to mimic the look of the iconic blue and red “Pepsi” bezel.
The Gold GMT-Master II ref. 16718
Introduced in the late 1980s, Rolex manufactured the gold GMT Master II ref. 16718 until 2007. As a GMT Master II model, the ref. 16718 ran on Caliber 3185 (and later Caliber 3186), which now allowed the Rolex pilot watch to indicate three time zones. While the GMT Master models had the center hour and extra 24-hour hands linked, the newer GMT Master II version had them autonomous from each other.
Just like previous versions, the gold GMT Master II ref. 16718 had plenty of variety including the black or brown bezels, black or brown dials, and Oyster or Jubilee bracelets. There were also the gem “Serti” dials with diamonds and rubies on the face of the watch.
The Gold GMT-Master II ref. 116718
In 2005, the Rolex GMT Master watch celebrated its 50th anniversary. To honor the occasion, the Swiss watchmaking giant unveiled a completely redesigned GMT Master II. While there have been many variations since, the very first one was the yellow gold GMT Master II ref. 116718 with a green anniversary dial.
Along with the green dial, other new features included a broader shape, a Cerachrom ceramic bezel, an enhanced Oyster bracelet with polished center links, and an updated Caliber 3186 with improved resistance, precision, and reliability. Today, the yellow gold GMT Master II ref. 116718 is only available with a black ceramic bezel and Oyster bracelet, but dial variations include green and black. There are also plenty of gem versions in 18k white and yellow gold with diamonds, rubies, and sapphires.
Whether you prefer vintage glam or modern luxuries, there’s a gold GMT Master out there to suit any highflier. In addition, you can view more selections of used Rolex GMT Master timepieces here at BeckerTime.