Why we Love It:
Sophisticated, sleek and impressive, the Rolex GMT was designed for pilots: the world’s weariest travelers.
As the story goes, young American airmen returned from WWII to a grand reception. Pan AM employed many veterans. With post war technology advancing at lightning speeds, aviators began to fly passengers further distances. Flight time and services improved and air travel popularity boomed. As a result, these busy pilots experienced severe and frequent jet lag. In the 1950s, Pan AM partnered with Rolex to create the first aviators watch to help remedy the issue.
The theory behind the Rolex GMT line is that if pilots had a way to track the time in a new location as well as back home, their perception of time would balance. Aviators were better able to tell when they needed to rest in order to maintain their circadian rhythms but also stay oriented with two or more separate locations.
Styles and Changes:
Launched in 1954, the first GMT line featured similar technology to the Turn-O-Graph, with a few minor adjustments to details and refined designs. The 6542 featured a beveled edge incandescent insert made from Bakelite. This timepiece graced the wrist of James Bond in early classic films.
The updated 1675 GMT Model was introduced in 1959 and included many of the original features, with newly added crown guards and altered GMT hand. This type was popular with pilots until the late 1960s. The earliest 1675 series watches were decorated with a pointed