A technical review of the Rolex GMT Master 1675 MK1 "Fuchsia Dial

Before talking about this exceptional timepiece, let's talk about this mythical reference that has been able to stand the test of time (or rather "fly over time"): the iconic Rolex GMT Master.

Every evolution of this watch has marked its time and entered the pantheon of collectors. Each of us, amateur, aficionado or experienced collector, has one day taken an interest in one or more of these models. Who hasn't heard of the 1675 "Gilt-Dial", the 6542 "Pussy Galore", the 1675 "Cornino", the 16760 "Fat Lady", the 16750 "Transition", the 1675 "Long E"... It is the latter that we present to you today, in a perfect configuration that makes it a “rare bird”.

Collecting a vintage Rolex today means owning a perfect, or near-perfect watch. But what does it really entail?

It simply means that, whatever the reference you own, it must have integrity, e.g. matching its production year and, if possible, come with certain parts making it a “rarity”. Let's take the example of the first GMT-Master, introduced in 1954 under the reference 6542. A very, very rare model despite a certain number of samples still for sale on the market. But today, the quantity of them that are worth being collected is minimal. The reason lies in their fragility. Loaded with radium for the first of them (1954 to ... a theoretical 1963), the lifespan of some materials against the radioactivity of radium was rather ephemeral. Among these parts, the most important of the watch: dial, hands and the famous Bakelite bezel (loaded with radioactive material). Radium has the specificity of turning yellow over time and cracking the Bakelite, literally “destroying” everything around it, so very few GMT-Master watches kept their bezel and dial in good condition. The result today is a very high percentage of this reference equipped with aftermarket parts.

This is just one example. The "lacquered dial" references, both 6542 and 1675 (1954 to about 1966) also met an unfortunate fate for many of them. If some dials managed to become beautiful "tropical", many were largely damaged by an important oxidation of the varnish, cracking, losing its glossy aspect, becoming rusty… and had to be replaced by the manufacture. And a replacement of the original part implies a consequent loss of value.

When a watch survived the aftermath of time, remaining “original”, thirty or forty years after its production date, we can then speak of an iconic piece. And that is what we are presenting to you here today, an iconic watch, whose rarity lies in four points:

The Insert

The first thing you can observe on this watch is the incredible color of its bezel, its insert to be more precise. These bezels were produced at the end of the 60's and are part of a "batch" in which red ink is simply mixed with a poor quality yellow (probably transparent) that did not resist to light (UV). As a result, the magenta (fuchsia), of better quality, resisted better. This small production of inserts (the great majority of which have been replaced during Rolex services) is an asset that gives this watch a significant value as a collector's item.

The Dial

We are in 1969 and the correct dial for this watch is the "MK1" or "Long E". "Long E" because the "E" of “Rolex” has three horizontal bars of identical length. But that's not all, the present dial is in an exceptional original condition and has kept a perfectly white and thick ink quality, an exceptional grain and immaculate indexes which still have the "tapestry" effect, typical of some dial production.

The Case

In the 52 years of its existence, a watch has usually undergone a number of polishing operations. Natural polishing of time and "daily use" for many of them, but also mechanical polishing during its service by the brand or by independent watchmakers. The present watch has a "Thin Case" in perfect condition, including chamfers with perfect angles. A "must" you will say, yes but so rare...

The Hands

The watch comes with a set of original homogeneous hands, in a perfect state of preservation... perfect.

These four factors alone make it an exceptional watch. And if we look today at the quantity of GMT-Master watches available on the market, a brief comparison puts it at the top, "very top" of the heap. It was with undisguised pleasure that we were able to appreciate this "pearl" in our showroom. Unfortunately for us, we only appreciated it for a very short time because it very quickly found a true “exceptional watches” collector.

Fabrice Guéroux

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