Blueberry 1675 Rolex GMT-Master
Here begins the controversy. Meet the ‘Blueberry’, an enigmatic 1675 GMT-Master that comes with a fully blue bezel and more unsolicited opinions from armchair experts than OJ Simpson (he definitely did it). The Rolex community across Instagram, VRF, Watch Pro, and anywhere else you’d care to look are divided right down the middle on whether this has ever existed. They’ve been polarized from the start and remain so today. Where did they originate from? When were they produced? How can one be certain it’s not a reproduction? (Hah, good luck.) This is the amongst the most desirable and trickiest watches one could set out to acquire, arguably impossible to have any certainty, and I’m just here to give a lay of the land.
Pre-2010s, the narrative was that these were launched alongside the black bezel (which is a known quantity) available from Cartier and Tiffany only, after a few auctions. Following, a few more higher-profile auctions and players in Rolex cited them as having originated in Middle Eastern Air Force branches, most notably the UAE, and a handful were seen coming out of Dubai. But no individual pilot has even come out saying they were issued or given one, ever. Others still say these were made in small quantities and offered as a service bezel, which would account for why, prior to the 2000s, it seems no one had ever seen or heard of a Blueberry 1675. One guy claims his father worked at Rolex and they made 200, that sort of bar for credibility.
In the words of Paul David Maudsley, of both Phillips and Bonhams, ‘I can only say in my 20+ years in the auction world, sourcing and selling over 100+ GMT 1675s, all mostly from original owners, not one had the blue bezel in question.’ Perezcope heard these inserts originated from a Rolex service center, possibly ordered by the service center directly without going through regular channels. This is, though, pure speculation. Since posting the article, Eric Ku has added this in response, ‘I know that circa early 2000, there was a find of these bezel inserts that were backdoored out of an official Rolex service center somewhere around the world. I know it because I was offered them at the time from the primary source. I do agree that they likely never existed on watches delivered from “the factory”, but their origin story does come thru Rolex at some point and to me were service parts of some sort. The Tiffany/Cartier story is absurd, as is the UAE old wives tale that was perpetuated. Also, I put absolutely zero weight into the purported images of a Rolex correspondence circulating on IG that claims Rolex stated they never made the all blue inserts.’
In the words of Ben Clymer Talking Watches with Daniel Dae Kim, ‘I really don’t know . . .I believe that Rolex made them and that there are a lot of fake ones out there.’ There are ardent opinions on both sides of the Blueberry. As someone who studied physics, I’m really great at saying I don’t know. So I will. At least if we’re all right or all wrong, this is a still a gorgeous pumpkin dial either way. Fugazi or factory, it’s a beautiful palette. This bezel should be a meme, in the sky with I WANT TO BELIEVE underneath.
This particular GMT, a Mk3 radial dial with a 5.3M serial dating to 1978, comes to market from its original family, the widow of the original purchaser. After his passing, she is said to have worn it every day for the last decade on her gardening endeavors. Not just a bit tragic and poignant, but quite a bit more beautiful for it. It’s one of the best 1675 dials I’ve seen this year, if you can look past the bezel to that alone. Its case is razor sharp as well. It comes recently serviced from a well-regarded retailer.