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http://www.thewatchbox.com The early 1980s were a time of transition for Rolex as a watchmaker and a cultural symbol. This Rolex GMT-Master 16753 embodies both currents of transition: mechanical and philosophical. By 1982, the approximate production date of this GMT-Master 16753, Rolex was beginning to embrace its shift from a supplier of professional implements (the GMT-Master was developed in 1954 for Pan-Am pilots) to a purveyor of status symbols and luxury lifestyle accessory. The two-tone stainless steel and 18-karat yellow gold GMT-Master was the embodiment of this shift. The 16753's yellow-gold-and-steel hybrid construction literally split the difference between Rolex's blue-collar diver/military/explorer heritage and its dawning gilded age. A matte black "nipple dial" with applied gold indexes sets the tone with reserved upscale ambiance. The all-black bezel presents a striking contrast to the traditional "root beer" and "pepsi" two-tone pilot setups, but its chromatic coherence and sharp gold highlights are the perfect match for this GMT-Master's complementary bezel arrangement. Rolex seals the "nipple dial" with a charming relic of the original GMT-Master: a plexiglas crystal. The unique distortion effects of the acrylic compound never hinder legibility, but their characteristic warping at extreme angles is a romantic throwback to the mid-century heyday of the GMT in the sky and Rolex Oyster-cased dive watches in the seas below. Transitional engineering comes to the fore in the Rolex GMT-Master 16753. This family of the first five-digit reference GMT-Masters ran from 1980-1988, and it introduced a number of historic refinements to the line. First, the movement - caliber 3075 - was upgraded from the veteran 1575 to include a convenient quick-set date and a modern beat rate of 28,800 VpH (from 19,800). Second, the GMT-Master's Oyster case was revised and upgraded to 100 meters of water resistance from the previous rating of 50 meters. While the Rolex GMT-Master 16753 was available on Jubilee or Oyster bracelets, the example seen here features the sportier and more rugged three-link Oyster model. See this Rolex GMT-Master 16753 transitional two-tone model in high-resolution images at www.thewatchbox.com Video and content by Tim Mosso.