Rolex - WINNING ICONS – Legendary Watches of the 20th Century New York Thursday, October 26, 2017 | Phillips

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  • Manufacturer: Rolex
    Year: Circa 1986
    Reference No: 16758
    Movement No: 1’100’712
    Case No: 9’067’514
    Model Name: GMT-Master ‘SARU’
    Material: 18K yellow gold, rubies, diamonds and sapphires
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. 3075, 27 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: 18K yellow gold and diamond-set Rolex President bracelet, max. length 185mm
    Clasp/Buckle: 18K yellow gold and diamond-set Rolex concealed folding deployant clasp
    Dimensions: 40mm diameter

  • Catalogue Essay

    The iconic Rolex GMT-Master was designed as an aviator’s watch. With the introduction of jet engine technology and the rise of the ‘jet-set’, flight distances increased, creating a need for pilots and travelers to keep track of multiple time zones simultaneously. Recognizing this need, Rolex worked with Pan American Airlines to develop a tool watch for their pilots to keep track of time as they flew through multiple time zones. Launched as the reference 6542 in 1954, the original model featured a blue and red Bakelite bezel with luminous 24-hour indication. The present GMT-Master is exceptionally rare. Known as the “SARU” due to the sapphires and rubies used on its bezel, the precious gemstones pay tribute to the blue and red Bakelite bezels of the earliest GMT-Master models. Since the 1950s, all Rolex tool watches were manufactured in
    steel followed by gold. The reference 16758 stands out as the first Rolex sports watch to be fitted with precious stones. Produced in a very small number, this Rolex reference 16758 GMTMaster from 1986 is one of only a handful of SARU examples to appear at auction to date. Its rarity is further enhanced by its exceptional, original condition, with perfectly sharp lines and crisp beveled edges as delivered from the factory. Amongst the rarest and most prestigious of all Rolex sports wristwatches, it's an exceptionally well-preserved trophy watch for the connoisseur.

  • Artist Biography


    Swiss • 1905

    Founded in 1905 England by Hans Wilsdorf and Alfred Davis as Wilsdorf & Davis, it soon became known as the Rolex Watch Company in 1915, moving its headquarters to Geneva in 1919. Like no other company, the success of the wristwatch can be attributed to many of Rolex's innovations that made them one of the most respected and well-known of all luxury brands. These innovations include their famous "Oyster" case — the world's first water resistant and dustproof watch case, invented in 1926 — and their "Perpetual" — the first reliable self-winding movement for wristwatches launched in 1933. They would form the foundation for Rolex's Datejust and Day-Date, respectively introduced in 1945 and 1956, but also importantly for their sports watches, such as the Explorer, Submariner and GMT-Master launched in the mid-1950s.

    One of its most famous models is the Cosmograph Daytona. Launched in 1963, these chronographs are without any doubt amongst the most iconic and coveted of all collectible wristwatches. Other key collectible models include their most complicated vintage watches, including references 8171 and 6062 with triple calendar and moon phase, "Jean Claude Killy" triple date chronograph models and the Submariner, including early "big-crown" models and military-issued variants.

    View More Works


Ref. 16758
An extremely rare, important, and highly attractive yellow gold, sapphire, ruby and diamond‐set dual time wristwatch with diamond-set bracelet.

Circa 1986
Case, dial, movement and bracelet signed
40mm diameter

$180,000 - 360,000 

Sold for $237,500

Contact Specialist
Paul Boutros
Head of Watches, Americas
+1 212 940 1293

WINNING ICONS – Legendary Watches of the 20th Century

New York Auction 26 October 2017