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Back To Basics: Rolex GMT

We all know about this watch; it really needs no introduction. But, as the title of the series states, we’re going back to the basics.

Introduced in 1954, Rolex made a leap forward in complication technology by creating a watch that featured a 24-hour bezel for pilots to track and read a different time zone, as requested by Pan-Am Airlines. That watch, the Rolex GMT 6542 has evolved and become easily one of the most iconic and recognizable timepieces in history. From the iconic multi coloured bezel, to the additional hour hand, it’s not an “if you know, you know”. It’s simple a watch, where, everyone knows.

So, what makes it special?

It’s what it represents. With the 1950’s representing change and improvements in virtually every sector of life, watches also evolved. The technical feat of having a movement that controlled two separate hour hands was previously unthinkable. It showed that timepieces, although created to be a tool, was an art. An art that we appreciate to this day.


Over the years this watch has undergone changes that make each piece unique. From changing the original, fragile Bakelite bezels to a virtually indestructible ceramic, to different dial variations including the mesmerizing meteorite. We’ve seen the case manufactured in the working mans stainless steel, to the precious gold models. Even today, it has become more than a tool watch, but a versatile and wearable statement piece.

The Build

Comparing Original 6542 to Modern Day GMT Master II

Vintage – Modern

Caliber 1036 - Movement – Caliber 3285

Stainless Steel - Case Material – Stainless Steel/Gold/White Gold

38mm - Case Size – 40mm

20mm - Lug Width – 20mm

Bakelite - Bezel Material - Ceramic

To me, this is the most amazing watch ever made by Rolex. What it can do, what it represents, and how it showed why Rolex is one of the best of the best all time. Even though it doesn’t have the hype of a watch like the Daytona, it is spectacular in its own special way. I mean, I may be biased because it is my favourite watch ever. Nah, not biased. It’s just that great. With almost 70 years under its belt, I don’t see it going anywhere, anytime soon.

Fun Fact: "GMT" in the name, stands for Greenwich Mean Time also known as Coordinated Universal Time


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