In recent years, the vintage Rolex GMT-Master with its multi-time region show has become quite possibly the best Rolex watches to own.
The absolute first GMT-Master, Reference 6542, is effectively the most uncommon and generally pursued of all the vintage GMT-Master references. With a production period that endured just a short small bunch of years somewhere in the range of 1954 and 1959, Reference 6542 is quickly recognizable to a prepared eye by its 40 mm case breadth, meager 24-hour hand, and lack of crown guards.
As the vintage Rolex market continues its fantastic extension, I accept this timepiece gets raised to an unheard of level for its extraordinariness compared to other GMT-Master references. While most of this reference was made in treated steel, the yellow gold model appeared here is a significantly more extraordinary bird.
Since its introduction in 1954, Rolex’s GMT-Master line has gone through various changes and updates consistently, most recently reflected by Reference 126710BLRO, the “Pepsi” GMT-Master II in tempered steel announced at Baselworld 2018.
However, the first GMT-Master Reference 6542, has various distinct highlights that have not been rehashed since.
Notable highlights of Rolex GMT-Master Reference 6542
Most outstanding among this current reference’s attributes is the bezel, which initially had an addition crafted in Bakelite , an early plastic, with brilliant radium numerals set into it.
Due to the fragile idea of Bakelite embeds and their moderately significant degrees of radioactivity on account of the radium, Rolex quit utilizing this combination out and out and switched to aluminum bezel embeds that didn’t glow.
Durability issues and the exceptionally short window of production of unique Bakelite embeds have made them incredibly uncommon, and it is getting increasingly difficult to track down a Reference 6542 GMT-Master that actually has its unique Bakelite bezel insert.
The larger part of Reference 6542 GMT-Master watches were manufactured in tempered steel and fitted with black dials and red/blue bezel embeds that fans have nicknamed “Pepsi” bezels.
However, a modest number were crafted in 18-karat yellow gold and received distinctive earthy colored dials and matching earthy colored Bakelite bezel inserts.
Unlike the black dials on the tempered steel forms, the gold Reference 6542 watches received “areola dials” with applied, yellow gold hour markers loaded up with iridescent material.
Additionally, to match the more lavish and extravagant appearance of the watch, the 18-karat gold adaptation of Reference 6542 received “alpha” or “leaf” hands as opposed to the “Mercedes-style” hands that can be found on the hardened steel variation of the equivalent reference.
Brown and gold: a very Rolex combination
The earthy colored and gold “root brew” color profile that is regularly associated with all-gold and two-tone forms of Rolex’s GMT-Master line was carried back at Baselworld 2018 with the announcement of the Reference 126715CHNR GMT-Master II .
While the color earthy colored has returned, it is restricted to just 50% of the bezel embed on this new watch, compared to the all-earthy colored Bakelite embed and matching earthy colored “areola dial” on the 18-karat gold rendition of Reference 6542.
Additionally, rather than customary yellow gold, the new “root lager” GMT-Master II reference is crafted in Rolex’s exclusive 18-karat pink gold (“Everose” in Rolex language) combined with treated steel for a contemporary turn on a classic Rolex aesthetic.
Due to their brief time of production and moderately early place inside Rolex’s set of experiences, all Reference 6542 GMT-Master watches are presently considered very uncommon and important; discovering one by any means – not to mention one of only a handful few made in full 18-karat yellow gold – is becoming an increasingly difficult task.
Additionally, for one of these watches to in any case have its unique Bakelite bezel embed implies that not exclusively was the watch manufactured during the principal couple long stretches of the GMT-Master’s set of experiences, however that it has likewise figured out how to get by for well over 50 years without supporting any significant harm to the famously weak, and basically irreplaceable, bezel component.
As far as vintage Rolex GMT-Master watches go, a Reference 6542 in yellow gold with this hand shape and a unique Bakelite bezel embed is probably pretty much as uncommon and collectable as it gets.
Any Reference 6542 GMT-Master with a Bakelite bezel embed is considered a “chalice watch” by numerous collectors; notwithstanding, one of these early GMT-Master watches in 18-karat yellow gold hoists it to an altogether new degree of significant worth, extraordinariness, and collectability.
Quick Facts Rolex GMT-Master Reference 6542
Case: 40 mm, yellow gold with Bakelite bezel embed
Development: automatic Caliber 1036; 2.5 Hz/18,000 vph frequency, chronometer certified
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds; date, GMT
Long periods of production: 1954-1959
Paul Altieri is the author and CEO of the mainstream used watch site Bob’s Watches .
This story was initially posted on June 5, 2018 at First Rolex GMT-Master, Reference 6542, And Why The Gold Version Is Much More Desirable .
You may likewise enjoy:
Why I’ve Never Owned A Rolex – And Why I Might Yet (Update: I Do Now!)
5 Tool Watches I’d Buy If I Didn’t Want to Spring For A Rolex Submariner
The Golden Age Of Rolex Movements Part I: Sowing The Seeds Of Greatness