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Julie Jølsen - December 2023

The Iconic Vintage Rolex
GMT-Master 16753 - The Root Beer


Rolex GMT-Master ref. 16753 from 1979

The Rolex GMT-Master ref. 16753 stands out as a distinctive edition among the renowned pilot’s watches, showcasing warmer tones and a unique design. While most Rolex GMT-Master timepieces sport bezels in black, blue, or red, the ref. 16753 diverges with its brown and cream hues. Unlike the conventional GMT-Master design featuring luminescent hour markers, this vintage variant boasts faceted nipple hour markers in yellow gold, adding another layer of uniqueness to its character. Let's take a look at the captivating features of the GMT-Master 16753.

A Historical Perspective

The GMT-Master, introduced in the 1950s, holds a paramount position among dual-time watches. The initial model, ref. 6542, gave way to ref. 1675, featuring a distinctive red and blue aluminum insert to distinguish day and night hours. This innovation catered to the needs of transatlantic travelers in the early days of long-haul flights. The arrow hand against the bezel allowed wearers to track two time zones simultaneously, setting the standard for GMT watches. The red and blue "Pepsi" bezel became iconic, though the unique Root Beer insert of the 16753 has also earned its place as a highly collectible variation.

Design and Materials

Reference 1675 marked the introduction of crown guards, a glossy or matte dial, and Tritium lume. The 4-digit series eventually transitioned to ref. 16750 and its two-tone counterpart, ref. 16753, featuring improved movement and increased water resistance. The production of ref. 16753 continued until the late 1980s, coexisting with the GMT-Master II, but remaining the sole two-tone option.


The 'Root Beer'

Distinctive Features

The vintage Rolex GMT-Master 16753, a two-toned variant of the 16750, blends stainless steel and yellow gold. Its dial and bezel steal the spotlight, featuring a rich brown dial adorned with gold nipple hour markers and Mercedes hands. The watch maintains GMT-Master standards with a date window at 3 o'clock and a magnifying Cyclops lens. The rotatable bezel, a visual highlight, combines stainless steel and yellow gold with a monochrome brown and cream aluminum insert, earning the watch the endearing moniker "Root Beer Rolex."

The Clint Eastwood Rolex

Renowned actor Clint Eastwood, a connoisseur of luxury watches, famously sported the Root Beer Rolex GMT-Master ref. 16753 both on and off the screen. This association earned the watch the nickname "Clint Eastwood Rolex," enhancing its collectible allure.

The Movement 

Internally, references 16753 and 16750 share the same caliber 3075 movement, a waterproof Oyster case, and a 3000 series movement, offering enhanced precision with a higher frequency.

The Root Beer Rolex, with its distinctive aesthetic and historical significance, remains a timeless collector's piece, embodying the spirit of unconventional luxury in the world of vintage watches.

Find your next Rolex GMT-Master at Investment Watches

Are you looking for an Rolex GMT-Master? Find it in our current inventory or pre-order one here.

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