Fuchsia, Gilt Dial 1675 Rolex GMT-Master
To any sane outsider, perhaps someone who just bought their first 40mm 5226G Calatrava, vintage Rolex lovers seem a bit deranged. Like Tolkein’s Ringwraiths, we scour Middle-Earth in search of the one, obsessing over its most insignificant minutia. We have our own tongue, whispering things to each other like rail SCOC, RCO, frog foot, Concorde, Eagle beak, Simpson, JPS, and exclamation point. We’ll battle until death and/or financial ruin every fall auction season, just so that we can have a slightly longer ‘E’ in the word Rolex on our dial, and expose our bones to low levels of radiation for fun. It’s not difficult to understand the outside judgement. But some watches have a gravity or allure so massive that even non-vintage Rolex people just sort of ‘get’ it instinctually. I can think of a handful of references whose appeal is that weighty, and the fuchsia 1675 is in the top 5.
Bright playful colors didn’t happen on Rolex professional lines back then, and the purple here was an accident which only was revealed in hard wear and corrected by the 70s. Now, never wanting to miss a good debate, there’s some controversy over what production year fuchsia bezels are correct in. Everyone agrees that mark 1 dials with serial numbers around 1.8M, roughly 1967-1968, are correct. But others will say that anything from 1965-1970 is fair game could have gone fuchsia. This is the conservative doctrine and the liberal doctrine of fuchsia bezels, your interpretation is up to your own research. You’ll find the big three auction houses have all sold examples from as early as ’65 regularly, not that that is any standard of truth. This one lies somewhere in the middle, a late gilt dial from ’66 with gloss, golden tritium, and superlatively sexy bezel.
Honestly, I couldn’t care less about the debate. The fuchsia bezel, to me, signifies better than almost any single element a time when Rolex made watches to do the job. They were allowed to be imperfect, and that imperfection is how we faulty humans bond to things. A modern GMT with its ceramic bezel will look the same for eternity, but its high polish case will grow obviously scratched. By contrast, a vintage GMT aged coherently, faded bezel, warmed plots, scratches blending in on the brushed lug upper. It would live and breathe with you on wrist, showing age proudly with grace. There is no right or wrong here, but a 1675 ages like George Clooney and modern GMT will age like George Michael. Careless Whisper is still a jam for eternity though.
This example has been through many years on wrist and is so much better for it. The case, still, is extremely strong. There’s a super defined bevel and a good width on all lugs. Probably not touched. The dial is gloss, gilt, and lovely. All lume is beautifully warmed. And that bezel is simply an all time great. The dial is just starting to go just the very edge of tropical, a beautiful thing. It’s on a rivet and the whole thing is a perfect aesthetic. It comes with box, papers, and service papers from a well-regarded California retailer.