Sunday, January 26, 2014

Review Rolex GMT Master

We are on a roll. Our second Rolex review. This time it is the Rolex GMT Master reference 16750. This watch is not mine but belongs to a good friend who was kind enough to let me review the watch.

A bit about the 16750. The reference 16750 was introduced circa 1981 and was in production up to 1988. In Rolex timeline, it was a short production run. The 16750 was introduced to replace the reference 1675. With the introduction of the reference 16750, came the quickset feature. With this change, the positions of the hands changed (seen from bottom to top):

1675: GMT/ Hours/ Minutes/ Seconds
16750: Hours/ GMT/ Minutes/ Seconds


The case on this reference 16750 is made from 316L stainless steel. Yes, there are Rolex with cases made with the 316L stainless steel. The serial number of this watch places it circa 1983 to 1984. The 904L stainless steel was introduced circa 1987 if I not mistaken.

The case is well made and is of the 3-piece design, i.e. bezel, mono-block middle case and a screw-down case back. The watch is 39.5 mm in diameter (across the bezel) and 14 mm thick (at extreme and 13 mm without the Cyclops). The lug to lug is 47.5 mm long and the lug width is 20 mm.

The case has the traditional Rolex sports model trademark brushed top and polished sides. The entire case is well made, to typical Rolex standards. Well polished, smooth to the touch and no rough edges. No tool mark evident anywhere. :) and best of all, lug holes.

The bezel is serrated at edges but it is smooth to the touch. The bezel is non ratcheting and is the 'push down and turn' design. It is easy to use and does lock in place rather well. The bezel can be rotated both clockwise and counter-clockwise.

The bezel insert is made of aluminium and is the red and blue bezel, commonly known as the Pepsi bezel. The blue occupies the top half of the bezel, from 1800 to 0600 hours, while the red, from 0600 to 1800 hours. The blue signifies night and red, day. The hours markers on the bezel is rendered in 'gray (?)' or aluminium (?).

The screw-down case back is standard Rolex, unmarked with a brushed center disc. Serrated edge provides the grip to unscrew the case back.

The crown measures 5 mm in diameter and is 2.5 mm thick. It is signed with the Rolex crown. The crown is of the Twin-lock double waterproof system design (line under the crown), which means the watch is water resistant to 10ATM. I have to admit that the crown is a tad small for the watch and can a bit fiddly to use. Having the crown shoulder protectors does not help either.


I love the dial. This watch comes with the rarer matte dial without the white gold surround indexes. The dial is just gorgeous. The hour markers are simple Tritium plots (that have begun to patina). It is a simple dial making time telling easy. I like it. Sadly the plots are no longer luminous.

At the 12 o’clock position we find the Rolex crown and signature. It is interesting to note that the crown or coronet on the 16750 is very long, longer then on most Rolex models. Under it we find the legend ‘Oyster Perpetual’ for water resistant case design and automatic. Below the 6 o’clock hour marker we find the legend 'Swiss - T 25' which tells us the watch is Swiss made and the luminous material used is Tritium. Just above the 6 o’clock hour marker, we find the legends 'GMT-MASTER', the model and ‘Superlative Chronometer Officially Certified', telling us the watch meets COSC requirements for accuracy.

The date is displayed via a window at the 3 o’clock position. The date wheel is black on silver/ white, and it is very easy to read. The date wheel is the still the old version with the open 6 and 9. I love this watch.


The watch has the Mercedes type hands, common is Rolex sports model. The hands are well made and I believe it is made of white gold. The sweep seconds hand extends all the way to the minute markers. Sadly the minute hand does not as it is a tad shorter. The GMT hand extends all the over to the edge of the dial. The stalk of the GMT hand is red. Sadly as with the dial, the hands are no longer luminous as it is Tritium filled. As with the dial, the Tritium on the hands have started to patina.


The watch is fitted with an Acrylic crystal and has the Cyclops over the date window (providing 2.5 times magnification). The Cyclops is 1 mm thick. The crystal itself is 30 mm in diameter. The crystal does extend beyond the bezel by about 1 mm. I love the warmness of the acrylic crystal. The crystal is prone to scratches but these can easily be polished out with toothpaste and polywatch for the deeper scratches.


The watch is powered by Rolex caliber 3075. It is an automatic movement with a GMT and date complications. The 3075 has been in service from 1981 to 1988. It is robust and reliable movement with the following characteristics: It is COSC rated, it has Microstella adjustment screw and Kif shock absorption. It beats at 28,800 BPH, hacking, hand-wind capable, quick-set date, bidirectional self-winding Perpetual rotor, instantaneous date change at midnight and 27 jewels.


The bracelet is of the Oyster design or aka Oyster Bracelet, reference 78360. I believe the bracelet is made of the same material as the case, 316L stainless steel. The bracelet (cross section) is made up of 3 pieces, all brushed. Very tool watch like. The sides of the links are polished. The links are solid. A very well made bracelet indeed.

The end links, reference 580, are not SEL (solid end links) and have the same brushed finish and is well made (for its time). The end links are basically folded stamped pieces of stainless steel. It sits well between the lugs and has a ‘closed’ design. Removal is easy due as access is via the lug holes.

The end-links.

The clasp is made of (I believe) steel inox. It is well made (again stamped out pieces of stainless steel). There is no twin lock on the clasp and it does not need it. The clasp is signed with the Rolex Crown. The clasp is easy to use and easy to open, yet you feel safe that it will not inadvertently unlock.

Standard length adjustment is via adjustment holes on the folding clasp. There are 7 adjustment holes and allows the bracelet to be adjusted by 20 mm in length. The unique aspect about this adjustment is that the holes are not of equal spacing. The first 3 holes have larger gaps between the holes while the remaining 4 have smaller gaps, allowing for a finer adjustment.

If there is a need to adjust the bracelet longer or shorter, there is a need to physically alter the length of the bracelet by removing or adding links. And this can easily be done with the provided links with screwed attachments.

The folded part of the clasp/ bracelet is polished and like the clasp itself is made of stamped stainless steel. It has the Rolex signature on both sides and Registered Swiss Made and Steel Inox on one side. It is thin but does the job and does it well.


To me, the GMT Master is as iconic Rolex as it can be. I love the GMT Master and am fortunate enough to own the reference 1675. It is a comfortable watch on the wrist and has the complications associated to the field I spent 20 years of my working life, aviation. In my opinion, if possible, everyone should have a GMT Master (or its off springs) in their collection.


  1. The functionality of the Rolex watches is always good but I like the dial of the watch that is really awesome and I love to have this watch that will give me a good style that I never have before the hour digits are also looking so innovative that really attracts me to read the whole post.
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