Tropical, Gilt Dial 1675 Rolex GMT-Master
At a collector meetup last year, I encountered a very tan, thin, well-dressed Italian man. He had the kind of skin that let you know he’d spent every day of summer strolling around outside Capri. His glasses were Tom Ford. The calfskin boots he wore had been on foot at least ten years. He spoke great accented English, mostly with his hands. On his wrist was different tropical GMT to what is pictured here, with many bangles, and I’m not sure a watch has ever looked more at home. That image stuck with me. It’s easy to forget context when scrolling through your explore feed, but some watches are just made by their lifestyle. This is surely one such case. A lot of the time we wear watches, we inhabit their character. This GMT has a lot of that feeling to give and, surely, that’s why we love vintage.
There really are levels to this tropical dial thing, intensity is high here and it’s not ‘just’ a 1675. This is an early gilt dial with Swiss-only signature, chapter ring, and tone that’s moved through the coffee/chocolate range to orange citrus or some similar. Great parrot’s beak pointed crown guards here too for the Rolex geeks. This ’62 GMT is from just after the ‘OCC’ dial and just before the exclamation point made an introduction. It’s quite classic and introduced the microstella-regulated caliber 1565 with its 18000 vph.
There’s obvious patina in details when you look closely, but you don’t get this kind of tone without it (unless you’re the sort of cun*. . . erm, I mean person, who gets your dials from an oven). You want it like this. Mostly though, it’s one of those rare cases where an object has been made more beautiful for being loved. When those things align, well does it get any better? I’m reminded of clay teapots, which one should never wash. Or even the way a Termignoni exhaust ‘beds in’ on a Ducati over time. The way a suede jacket breaks to your body over time and whiskers. In all cases, the object gets better when it serves its purpose and starts to tell your story on its skin. Now I just have to practice my Italian and pick up bangle wearing as hobbies. I think you or I could count on this GMT to do the rest.
This case is great too. It’s been touched, but the bevels are strong. Its sporting a ghosted black bezel that really does bring the character of the dial to life. Radium is strong still, little burn. It should be noted the GMT pointer hand has had its lume fall through. It comes on a matched bracelet from a well-regarded retailer.
Find this Tropical Gilt 1675 here from Grey & Patina for 43000 USD.