Rolex GMT Master Ref 6542 Bakelite with box and papers

Year of issue:
Reference number: 6542
Condition: worn
Status: sold
Dealer country: United States
Price in US $ n/a


This is an incredible example of the Rolex GMT reference 6542 known as the Bakelite bezel from the 1950s. The reference 6542 is first model GMT that was ever produced. This particular example is one of the best I have seen in a long time. The case, dial and bezel are minty. Typically the dials of these watches are badly aged or refinished but this example has a beautiful shiny original gilt dial. The case is very sharp with well defined lugs. Most importantly the bezel is in excellent condition which is also very difficult to find due to the fragile material of Bakelite. Typically these bezels are destroyed or replaced. If you are looking for an investment quality example of an early GMT then here it is.


Matthew Bain


The GMT-Master was developed to meet the specific needs of airline pilots. It became the official watch of several airlines, among them the famous Pan American World Airways, better known as Pan Am. Its most distinguishing visual feature was the two-tone bezel which marked daytime from nighttime hours.


As intercontinental travel developed in the 1950s, airliners began to fly swiftly across several successive time zones. For the first time it became important to know the time in various places in the world, simultaneously. It was the dawn of the jet age, and Rolex responded with a watch to match the spirit of the times.