Rolex Ref. 6542 GMT Master
Why We Love it
Why We Love it–
Why We Love It
Ask any vintage Rolex collector worth their salt what the most collectible reference of GMT is and the answer will invariably be “6542, of course.” They could also, if pressed, tick off the selling points of this reference: Bakelite bezel, gilt chapter ring, small arrow GMT hand, and a case with no crown guards. However, he might also say, under his breath, “Good luck finding one that’s untouched.”
Because the fact is that while “untouched” 6542s are out there, you wouldn’t dream of actually wearing one outside of a padded room. If you came across one, you’re more likely to keep it in a safe and take it out only to admire it under the light of a full moon. Which is a shame, because these watches were meant to be worn—more than that, they were meant to fly.
Offered here is a perfect compromise for anyone who wants a wearable 6542. The seconds hand and small arrow GMT hand, as well as the case, are as they appeared when the watch left the factory in Geneva. But as often happens throughout a watch’s lifetime, the original Radium dial was switched out in favor of a tritium version during the course of a routine service at Rolex, and the fragile Bakelite bezel was eschewed in favor of a red-back aluminum service replacement. But the tritium dial has taken on a fine patina over time, and the strong case—along with a Jubilee bracelet—makes this a 6542 which you can actually wear.
By 1953, Pan American Airlines was the leader in around-the-world flights, and the problems these flights posed necessitated a new kind of timepiece. Pan Am’s pilots were among some of the best-trained in the industry—even though the airline embraced the most modern technology, each pilot was able to navigate using dead reckoning and celestial navigation. However, Pan Am realized that even the most well-trained of pilots needs a watch that could show two timezones at once, making navigation that much easier.
The watch that Rolex made for Pan Am—this watch—has become nothing short of an icon.
Among collectors, the very first reference of GMT Master—the Reference 6542—has attained a reputation that’s perhaps unmatched by any other model of GMT. As such, the prices have climbed as high as the altitude at which these transatlantic flights would travel. But for the savvy collector, bargains can still be had…
Analog:Shift stands behind the authenticity of our products in perpetuity.
Since our pieces are vintage or pre-owned, please expect wear & patina from usage and age. Please read each item description and examine all product images.
We back each Analog:Shift vintage timepiece with a one-year mechanical warranty from the date of purchase.
Please contact us prior to purchase for additional details on shipping and payment options.
Shipping & Returns
Shipping & Returns+
All of our watches include complementary insured shipping within the 50 states.
Most of our products are on hand and will ship directly from our headquarters in New York City. In some cases, watches will be shipped directly from one of our authorized partners.
We generally ship our products via FedEx, fully insured, within 5 business days of purchase. An adult signature is required for receipt of all packages for insurance purposes. Expedited shipping is available at an additional cost. We are also happy to hand deliver your purchase in Manhattan or you may pick it up at our showroom.
Returns must be sent overnight or by priority international delivery, fully insured and paid for by the customer. A restocking fee may apply. Watches must be returned in the same condition as initially shipped.
We welcome international buyers, please contact us prior to purchase for additional details on shipping and payment options.
Rolex Ref. 6542 GMT Master