Since its 1954 launch, the Rolex GMT Master has remained virtually unchanged, with only a few minor upgrades being added over the years. This Rolex has also built an impressive cast of clientele over its lifetime. Pan Am adopted the GMT Master as their official watch, where it sat shot-gun during the first transcontinental flight, and Chuck Yeager was an advocate of this timepiece, although he wore an oyster perpetual while being the first person to break the sound barrier. While being the first to fly across the country and faster than sound is notable, this gem also found its way into space and onto the surface of the moon.
Although Omega was the official watch sponsor of NASA, several notable astronauts and one of the only twenty-four men to touch the moon sported a GMT Master. Late last year, Ronald Evans’ Rolex, which he placed in his Personal Preference Kit during Apollo 17 (the last manned moon mission), went on the auctioning block where it ended up selling for $131,000. Apparently, upon reaching the moon, Evans gave his GMT to one of his crew mates to take to the lunar surface in the Challenger module while he orbited, where it would spend the next 75 hours.
The Rolex GMT Master is a solid timepiece, and along with the Submariner, has been one of my favorites for some time. Coming in between five and ten grand, it’s by no means an A. Lange & Söhne, but it gets the point across all the same. Along with its precision and attractive atheistic, one of the best parts of the GMT Master is its story.
Commander Ronald Evans’ 1968 Rolex GMT Master
Evans proudly engraved, “FLOWN ON APOLLO XVII 6-19 DEC 72 ON MOON 11-17 DEC RON EVANS” on the back of his GMT Master to mark the occasion.
The crew of Apollo 13 taking in a steak & eggs breakfast before lift off. Jack Swigert sporting his GMT Master.
Edgar Mitchell setting his two GMT Masters.
Edward H. White II, the first American to spacewalk during the Gemini IV mission, with GMT Master strapped outside his space suit..