Gilt Dial 1675 Rolex GMT-Master

The 1675 GMT-Master is what you would call a classic of the genre. It’s casual, refined, and still very capable. But finding a great gilt example seems to be getting harder by the day, but not as hard as this watch is getting me. The 1675 was introduced in the very heart of the gilt dial era in 1959, but gilt was phased out for the matte dial until around late ’66 or early ’67. Gilt is very often considered the next bump up in serious vintage Rolex, from matte dials, but it’s also a harder world to buy for both condition and relative scarcity. But that’s a good thing because it means that, for the most part, it’s usually still only truly watch-interested people who wear gilt GMTs today.

This one comes from the very tail end of gilt in ’66, the chapter ring and hypen between Oyster and Perpetual had gone. But you still have an undersized GMT hand, which you’ll find often has been replaced at service. Some bezels are fat font some aren’t. Some crown guards are pointed, most aren’t. Getting into gilt GMT is accepting that you’re going to have to acquire some expertise to buy. It’s like buying a 60s Mustang. You could buy any in a range of condition that will cause order of magnitude differences in value. But it’s the GT350 you want; similarly, gilt dials are desired for good reason. And because there’s a premium there’s also considerable tomfoolery.

Moreover, the 1675 was where the GMT-Master really became durable and utilitarian, to the extent that you can bang one around today and it’ll be just fine. Gilt dials can age in peculiar ways, sure, and they are more fragile than matte, definitely. But it’s way more confidence inspiring than your 100K 6542 that will be worth half that if you crack the bakelite and whose radium bezel is actively trying to kill you. Gilt dial GMTs are considerably softer than two years ago now, almost a value. If you’ve been waiting for a sign to go four digit, here it is. No one regrets it (unless you don’t read paragraph two and go in blind, that story ends in divorce). I call it a classic of the genre because it’s never out of style, never out of place, and not trying too hard in the way that a Batgirl is. It’s very much the jeans and leather jacket of sport Rolex, cool guy vibe included. Chef recommends pairing with above Mustang.

This example looks honest and great. The dial is a standout, with no fractures in the lacquer, creamy plots, and correct print. The bezel is lightly ghosted. Its case may have seen only the very lightest polish, but still with great bevels and and even lug profile. It’s rocking a T39 crystal without cyclops, which will be divisive but I quite love it. It comes on a 7206 rivet that appears hard worn, stamped 68 so could be close to correct for this ’66 serial. It includes a full set, with papers from Caracas, Venezuela in 1968.