The term tool watch is one that we associate with watches that were utilised in professional contexts as a ‘tool of the trade’. Divers used the bezel on the Rolex Submariner to measure elapsed time when working under water, which was a necessary and life saving function. The other famous face in the Rolex tool-watch line up is the GMT Master, which was developed as a tool in the aviation trade for airline pilots. Today we are going to ‘Style Up’ the stalwart of the Rolex GMT Master line – the amazingly versatile reference 1675…
The vintage watch world is now, more then ever, facing the stark reality of supply and demand…the latter far out-stripping the former. In short, finding high quality watches is harder than ever. With this issue comes a secondary effect, namely escalating costs. So now is the time to make the most of your beautiful watch and enjoy playing with different looks and creating different moods with just one watch.
And with a Rolex watch, there can be now better way than with a classic Oyster link bracelet. The Oyster bracelet was first introduced in the 1930s on the Bubbleback or Ovetto watches and continues to be the most popular steel bracelet in today’s Rolex range. For a timeless classic look, nothing can beat the clean lines of the Oyster bracelet.
Joy Of The Jubilee
The ‘other’ steel bracelet option is the Jubilee. Core complex in construction and arguably less clean aesthetically, the Jubilee works beautifully on the 1675. The chainmail-esque way the Jubilee sits on the wrist makes for a very comfortable wearing experience; the bracelet almost melts onto the wrist. Perfect for a more casual feel paired with your t-shirt, sneakers and a mojito at your favourite beach club on Ibiza!
What a difference an insert can make. The pepsi bezel was first seen in 1954 on the first GMT reference 6542; a no-crown-guard watch which featured two complications – a date function and a 24-hour hand that enabled the wearer to track two time zones by rotating the bezel as appropriate. The first bezels were made out of a brittle bakelite material, which were superceded by more robust aluminium bezel inserts. The interesting thing about the aluminium bezels was that they aged and patinated in totally unique ways, depending on how often and under what conditions the watch was worn. The ability to change the look of your watch with a great insert is striking. The deep red of the original colour gives the watch a strong visual appeal. That red can fade across a vast range of red and pinks – from fuchsia to pastel pink; from dusty rose to magenta…each bezel is unique and can afford your GMT its own unique identity.
Remember all images show the same watch…
Back In Black
The GMT Master ref 1675 was introduced in 1959 and remained in the Rolex line-up until around 1980. In 1972 Rolex introduced a different bezel insert option – black. As we know all too well from the GMT’s cousin, the mighty Submariner, black bezel inserts can change just as much if not more than the pepsi inserts. From deep oily black to matte faded grey, via navy blue and charcoal hues – the black bezel takes the GMT to so many different levels of cool. The difference in the thickness of the fonts on the bezel can also be striking. The early so-called fat font bezels accentuate each of the 24 hour markers beautifully. The thinner font bezels can give the watch a sleeker, aerodynamic look.
Dare to Be Different
Just because it never appeared in the official Rolex catalogue doesn’t mean you can’t try a different look that ‘speaks to you’. Whilst we would never claim this as an all-original look we just love the look of a Rootbeer bezel installed on our all steel 1675. The cream tones of the insert compliment the dial’s hour plots and luminous fill in the hands.
Naked Like Brando
The movie legend Marlon Brando wore his GMT Master in ‘Apocalypse Now’ without any bezel at all – the naked look. Whilst this look never really took off, why not give it a go. Do you like this look? Then enjoy it…wear what you like, not what the market dictates is ‘hot’!
Changing bracelets and bezels is great fun and can make a world of difference. Add into that mix different straps and the different combinations are almost unlimited! Whether it’s a buckle strap, leather nato, vintage rubber tropic strap or nylon G10 strap you can style your watch depending on your mood. What a great look when putting a black or charcoal leather nato on a watch with a black bezel – it really lends the watch a utilitarian and rugged military look. Or MN-esque looks can be created by using a blue/black insert with a nicely patinated blue fabric nato strap.
With leather buckle straps there are different ways of matching the patina of the hands or hour plots with subtle details such as the cream side stitch on a caramel brown strap. Or why not pair the blue side stitch of a caramel strap with a navy GMT bezel for subtle ton sur ton styling?
There are times when we have to wear our finest clothes for an important event or occasion. When we dress up what better way to celebrate than to dress up our watches. A fine horween shell cordovan strap is the perfect match with a cashmere sweater or your Savile Row tailored dinner jacket. Equally elegant is a subtle side-stitch strap; especially our prime range of straps.
Mix and Match
Dressing up or dressing down, the GMT Master reference 1675 is one of the most versatile watches that you can have in your collection. A couple of spare bezel inserts and a selection of straps and you have myriad options to style up your watch. Whatever takes your fancy – if you like it, wear it!
The Bulang and Sons Team wishes you great fun.