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Rolex “Full-Set Tropical 6542” GMT-Master



Up for grabs is an exemplary and stunning example of my personal favorite Rolex reference, the very first GMT-Master – reference 6542 – circa 1957 in stainless steel.  The GMT-Master was designed by Rolex originally for use by pilots (a former Pan-Am pilot had requested a watch for aviation use) in order to quickly and accurately tell the time in multiple time zones.  The earliest GMTs were fitted in 38mm steel cases with no crown guards (similar to the early Submariners), and were fitted with a red and blue large bakelite rotating bezel, which allowed the use to adjust said bezel in order to display the time in two different time zones.  This particular 6542 Rolex GMT-Master comes complete with its original box, Warranty Certificate, Chronometer Timing Certificate, Rolex cigarette card, and hangtag.

The condition of this early Rolex GMT-Master is excellent.  The case has likely been polished in the past, but retains thick and even lugs with beautifully beveled edges.  The dial, as seen in the photos, has aged to a striking and gorgeous caramel brown color, very uniquely aged, with no major damage, scratches, or chips.  Further, the original radium lume is still present on both dial and hands, aged to a golden orange color.  And finally, the original bakelite bezel is in excellent condition, with no major cracks or wear.  Please Note: due to the high radioactivity and fragility of the earliest 6542 bezels (which interestingly enough, Rolex was sued over, and forced to recall), most were replaced with tritium-filled bakelite bezels around 1960, which the current example has been fitted with.

The watch is fitted on its original Rolex Swiss stretch-rivet bracelet, dated to 1957 and with correct 65 endlinks, and has 12 full links, remaining in excellent condition with no stretch.

One of the most interesting and stunning 6542s we have had the pleasure to offer for sale, and complete with its original box and papers, this is one not to be missed!


Additional information


Stainless Steel




Date, GMT, Time