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ROLEX GMT-MASTER 'FLYING ACROSS THE TIME ZONES' LUEL MAGAZINE SEPT.2014

When Pan-Am introduced Boeing 707 into its fleet, the era of passenger jets truly opened up. Thanks to this move which drastically expanded cruising distance and cargo volume, Pan-Am became a world-famous civilian airliner. 

Privilege follows fame, and in such a way Pan-Am pilots were treated. Pan-Am pilots enjoyed the exclusive benefit of receiving as an issue item Rolex GMT-Master first launched in 1954. This partnership between Pan-Am and Rolex continued until the 80's when Rolex released GMT-Master II with the new 'jumping hour hand' function.

Rolex provided Pan-Am pilots with GMT-Master watches for free when they joined the company, and this policy was intended to have their watch field-tested by a group of people who professionally traveled between different time zones.

GMT-Master is characterized by the additional red hand showing second time zone as well as the unique 24-hour bezel. The bezel has red and blue arcs as an intuitive indicator of day and night, which quickly became a symbol of GMT-Master model. Its streamlined case and submariner-ish dial face deliver the feeling of both gentleman's watch and professional apparatus. On top of these features, its functional convenience adds the finishing touch to put the GMT-Master on the rank of the best GMT watch of all time.

For marketing purpose, Rolex first emphasized the dual time zone feature and its professional association with pilots, but GMT-Master grew into a legendary watch by virtue of harmonious case design and its unique color layout. As with other steady-selling commodities, GMT-Master's charming appearance had been a major factor for its popularity. So it broke many fans' hearts all the more when Rolex decided to discontinue good ol' smart-looking GMT classic and changed the model design ever since 2007.

Novelty of the sturdy case and ceramic bezel may be a selling point, but the current GMT can never compare with the legendary vintage GMT-Master. A watch Che Guevara loved; most favored flight equipment by the man who first broke the sound barrier; an unofficial watch for NASA astronaut, and a military issue item for the US Special Forces during Vietnam War - it is only the classic GMT-Mater that is blessed with all these never ending behind stories.

Che Guevara  with Ref.1675  1960s

Marlon Brando with Ref.1675 (Missing Bezel)  1977

Charles Elwood Yeager with Ref.6542 1964

NASA Astronaut with Ref.1675 1970s

 

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