All About the Rolex GMT Pepsi
We recently acquired a classic Rolex GMT 1675 – also known as the Rolex GMT Pepsi. Among the most iconic of Rolex watches, the Pepsi stands out due to its red and blue bicolored bezel. Part of the Rolex GMT-Master collection, the 1675 is the longest running version of the Pepsi model.
Back in the 1950s, Pan American World Airways approached Rolex about designing a timepiece that could display a second time zone for their commercial pilots. That’s where the ingenuity of Rolex’s designers came in. In addition to the standard hour, minute, and second hands, Rolex added a red triangular-tipped hand and a bi-colored rotating bezel, both meant to indicate 24 hours. The rotating bezel could then be adjusted to the time difference based on Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) and depending on which color aligned with the red triangular-tipped hand, a pilot could then gauge whether the destination time was am or pm. And thus, the GMT-Master was born.
Introduction of the GMT 1675
The maiden GMT-Master was replaced just a few years later with a host of changes to the model. The most obvious change was the color of the rotating bezel. The dark red was replaced with a bold, bright red, making it easier for the wearer to identify between day and night hours when reading the second time zone. This distinctive hue, immediately recognizable as the Pepsi brand colors, is what led the GMT 1675 to be nicknamed the Rolex GMT Pepsi!
The face of the watch was incrementally larger than the original GMT-Master and also had crown guards around the winding crown, making it more durable. Additionally, the date feature now “jumped” from one date to the next at midnight, as opposed to its predecessor’s slow and gradual turn.
The GMT 1675 is the longest running GMT-Master in Rolex’s history, produced between 1959 and 1980. Its longevity encouraged the creation of other versions, which included an all-black bezel version, and two-tone variations. One such variation was known as the “Root Beer” GMT-Master due to its distinctive bronze and gold bezel set on a gold and stainless steel band.
Generations of GMT
What was once meant as a tool for commercial pilots quickly became a pillar of the Rolex catalog. In later years, Rolex introduced new versions of the GMT-Master that had minimal yet significant alterations. However, the rotating bezel remained a hallmark. Future iterations included increased water depth, ease-of-use for wearers, scratch and fade resistance, better temperature variation control, brighter illumination, and more.
With each generation of the GMT Pepsi, Rolex continues to only make an iconic watch better. It’s one of the many reasons we love Rolex watches! Their thoughtful designs, while practical in nature, make them a valuable and functional addition to anyone’s collection of watches. Not to mention, they hold their value well – and in some cases, increase their value significantly depending on its rarity and condition. You can never go wrong with a Rolex.
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