top of page

The GMT story began in 1954 when Rolex introduced the reference 6542. The watch was housed in the classic steel Oyster case, which was 38mm in diameter. This was one of the first sports watches from Rolex and construction-wise, it set the standard for the foreseeable future. As with the present-day watches, the 6542 case was essentially of three-piece design.

The watch had two innovations that were big news at the time, but aspects we take for granted in the modern era. The first and less obvious was the date magnifying bubble, or to use Rolex terminology the cyclops. This was a new feature introduced the year before (1953) on the Datejust line. The second was, of course, the dual time zone complication.


The dual time zone was a useful tool for pilots and those who were travelling a lot across different continents. The ability to track local and home time was especially useful for commercial pilots. The American airline company, Pan American Airlines (or Pan Am for short) approached Rolex and asked them to develop a watch for their pilots. This partnership led to the development of the GMT-Master and in particular the first reference 6542. The commercially released watches housed a base caliber 1030 which was modified to include the 24 hour hand and was given the caliber number 1065. This chronometer rated movement was a four-hand calibre with date function. The 24 hour hand completed one full rotation every 24 hours and the bi-directional bezel could be rotated to allow the wearer to monitor the home time once they had adjusted their watch to local time or vice versa.


This is the Steeldive Tribute to this historic watch and the Specs are as follows -