Gilt Dial 1675 Rolex GMT-Master
Volkswagen’s GTI has many unique talents, but one is criminally overlooked. It looks right dropping off McDonalds at your kids football match or friends of the royal family at Balmoral castle. It makes sense in the parking lot of a Moxy or being valeted at Four Seasons. Somehow, it exists outside of the class structure, floating between all occasions with equanimity and grace. It is the cashmere sweater in fall, never wrong. I’m only aware of three watches that, in my estimation, manage the same trick. And the 1675 in steel does it best.
Because it’s vintage and you generally have to know a bit to pick one up safely, it says you know the ropes (particularly in gilt). But it’s also not a Concorde in gold, it’s not here to flex. The 6542 is magnificent, but far too serious today to manage the same effortless air. Five digit gets close, particularly pre-white gold surrounds. But most of what came after feels like it’s trying a bit too hard to peacock, which leaves just the 1675 and 16750 with the ability to wear to In-N-Out in shorts or the Oscars with a suit, even if technically faux-pas it’s appropriate. Perhaps this is why so many celebs seem to have one in rotation. James Bond wears a Sub, but in the real world Daniel Craig wears a 1675, I suspect for the reasons outlined above.
The merits of that vibe take a bit of wisdom to understand and the watch takes some knowledge to land (a good one, at least). In vintage, rarity matters. But condition matters more, in many ways condition is rarity in four digit Rolex. This ’65 example sports a fantastic type C gilt dial with gloss beautifully uninterrupted, smooth a glassy Minnesota lake on a still morning with honey tritium. The case backs it up with proud bevels. And the printed text has a warmth in these early gilt dials that is unparalleled. Discretion is a lost art. But this 1675 oozes it while rewarding a closer look in every element. Depth of character; vintage has it. This 1675 really has it. You don’t even have to be Orlando Bloom to pick one up. All things to all watch lovers.
The dial is the clear standout here. It’s gilt, gloss, no visible damage, and remarkable. Same, too, for its cream tritium on the markers and hands. The bezel is lightly ghosted which matches perfectly the overall patina. Its case has seen a very light polish but presents honest and still very well defined lugs. The date 6 and 9s are open. It comes from a well-regarded German retailer.