Year of manufacture1956
ROLEX GMT MASTER REF. 6542, CIRCA 1956
Three body tonneau Oyster stainless steel case, n. 262773, bidirectional blue and red 24 hour bakelite bezel, beveled concave lugs, screw back stamped 6542 and marked I.57, Twinlock crown. Steel Rolex Oyster bracelet reference 6636 with riveted extendible links, deployant clasp, end links 80.
Signed black dial, gilt writings, luminous circular, bâton and triangular indexes, minutes/seconds division on single rail, aperture for the date, “Swiss”. Skeletonized and luminous hands, red GMT hand, centered seconds.
Signed self-winding movement, rhodium-plated caliber 1066, n. N702694, 25 jewels, lever escapement, monometallic balance with screws adjusted for temperature and five positions, Breguet hairspring, KIF shock-absorber.
Diameter Ø: 39 mm
The GMT 6542 was launched in 1954, when the growing popularity of intercontinental flights prompted Pan Am, then the largest airline in the world, to commission a Rolex model capable of contemporarily keeping track of the time in two different time zones.
Rolex adopted a simple but clever system, creating a model with a rotating bezel and a central 24-hour hand. Bakelite was initially chosen as the material for the bezel insert to reduce glare and not to disturb the pilots during flight.
Its red and blue colour scheme, later renamed “pepsi”, has become iconic over the years, when the insert was produced in aluminium, which is more resistant than fragile bakelite.
The 6542 reference was also made famous by the James Bond film “Goldfinger” when it appeared on Pussy Galore’s wrist, earning this model the same nickname among collectors.
The watch in the catalogue features a case with full proportions and crisp lugs, a gilt dial with original luminescent material and matching patina, a moderately worn insert consistent with the authentic conditions of the watch, and a rare extendible riveted bracelet.