Worldwide traveler: GMT-Master II

23 Oct 18, Sofia

Worldwide traveler: GMT-Master II

The name of the watch is inspired by the GMT abbreviation meaning Greenwich Mean Time that marks mean solar time at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, London – the historic location of the official prime meridian used for calculating longitude and determining different time zones around the world.

Launched in 1955, the Oyster Perpetual GMT-Master witnessed the rapid expansion of intercontinental travel in the latter half of the 20th century. It even became the official watch of Pan American World Airways, better known worldwide as Pan Am, the most prominent American intercontinental airline at the time. In 1959, a major event marked the partnership: the first non-stop Pan Am Jet Clipper flight from New York to Moscow. The captain was wearing a GMT-Master, which was used as a navigation aid during the flight.

On the original GMT-Master, the conventional hour hand, the minute hand and the 24-hour hand were synchronized. In 1982, Rolex introduced a new movement that allowed the hour hand to be set independently of the other hands. To clearly mark this evolution, and to avoid any confusion with the existing GMT-Master watches, the models fitted with the optimized movement were named the GMT-Master II. From then on, using and setting the watch became easier and more intuitive.

In addition to conventional hour, minute and seconds hands, which display the local time (the time in the wearer’s current location), the GMT- Master II features an arrow-tipped hand which circles the dial once every 24 hours. Setting the local time is easy thanks to a mechanism operated via the winding crown that allows the hour hand to “jump” from hour to hour. The adjustment can be made independently of the minute and seconds hands, and without affecting the 24-hour hand. As a result, travelers can simultaneously read their local time as well as the time “back home”. The time in an alternative time zone can be displayed by turning the rotatable bezel.

The most distinguished feature ot the GMT-Master line is definitely the bidirectional rotatable bezel that appeared in different configuration through the years – two-colored or single-colored. On the original 1955 model, the insert was divided into two halves – one red, to correspond with daylight hours, and one blue, for night-time hours. At the beginning, the bezel’s 24-hour graduated insert was made from Plexiglas, with the colours, numerals and graduations painted on the reverse. In 1959, the Plexiglas was replaced with aluminium, followed by ceramic in 2005. In 2007, the brand registered the name “Cerachrom”, and the components have since been known as the “Cerachrom bezel” and “Cerachrom insert”. The exclusive components are virtually scratchproof and are unaffected by the sun’s ultraviolet rays.

In 2018 Rolex added 3 new versions of the GMT-Master II in its product line. The first is in Oystersteel, fitted onto a five-link Jubilee bracelet for the first time. It has a bidirectional rotatable bezel and a 24-hour graduated two-colour Cerachrom insert in red and blue ceramic, calling to mind the colours used on the original GMT-Master in 1955. The other two versions are in 18 ct Everose gold. The design of the Oyster case is slightly modified while the watch is empowered by a new generation movement caliber 3285 with 70 hours power reserve, extremely shock resistant and protected by 10 patents.

GMT-Master II is presented for the first time in 18 ct Everose. One of the options is made entirely from 18 ct Everose gold, while the other is an Everose Rolesor version – combining Oystersteel and 18 ct Everose gold. Attention to detail is not a surprise - on the dial, the GMT-Master II inscription is in powdered rose. All three new versions have black lacquer dials, while the bezels come in brown and black.

GMT-Master II is among the most demanded models – either because of the fact that traveling today is more accessible or because of its status of a “watch icon”. What is indisputable is that the reliability of the mechanism, silent sporty-elegant design and excellent precision of the watch will keep its front position among the best ones.

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