At an early age, around six or seven years old, I saw the Rolex GMT Master for the first time. I was doing what any kid does while hanging out at his parent's office: playing with the copy machine. My siblings and I were making copies of our hands and faces, and taking hordes of office supplies into the conference room to draw and make paper airplanes. I noticed a number of Rolex posters hanging on the wall, showcasing their current offerings: the Datejust, the Submariner. But it was the GMT Master that had me in awe and wonderment. I stopped and stared at the amazing colors of the bezel on the "Pepsi" and "Rootbeer" and all gold GMT Masters, while paper airplanes whizzed by in the background. Over the years, I always made a point to visit that conference room to see the GMT Master poster.
Over a decade later, I was working at Carlyle & Co. Jewelers in Greensboro, NC. I was very fortunate to own a Rolex by this point; an amazing Rolex Stainless Steel Datejust with smooth bezel and Roman Rhodium dial that was a gift from my parents. I still wanted a GMT Master and told myself I would one day own one. Around this time, I learned that there was an “error” dial on the Rolex 16710 GMT Master where the number 2 as indicated with Roman numerals was made in small numbers without serifs. I used most of the money I had saved from working to buy a 16710. I was so proud and happy to finally have a GMT Master.
A few years later, I had finished college and was contemplating my next move. At the time, I was very active in buying and selling collectible shoes and jerseys. I started to bring my attention back to vintage watches. The vintage watch market then was nothing like it is today. Vintage watches were selling for twenty to forty cents on the dollar, and in many instances much less.
I found myself going through some old bins of broken and non-working vintage watches. It seemed like they had not been touched or viewed in years. Near the end of my search, I was caught by an old dusty gold watch. I could not believe what I had found. It was an old Rolex plastic crystal gold GMT Master. The band was in pieces and it was not running. I decided I had to have it. I quickly moved out of a dead stock grouping of Nike Dunk shoes to pay for the watch. Over the next four months, I learned everything I could about this model and was able to restore it to proper working order. This GMT Master instantly became my prized possession. I did not even realize how special this watch was at the time.
After a few more years, it was time to pursue my passion of vintage watches as a career. I decided to provide consulting services within the fine watch and jewelry industry given by experience and named the company CMT Fine Watch and Jewelry Advisors, Inc. How did I come up with this name? It was a play on GMT (as in Greenwich Mean Time and the Rolex GMT Master) and my name.
Over time, my business has evolved to focus on vintage watches. My initial fascination with the Rolex GMT Master poster has lead me to where I am today. Although we are no longer known as “CMT”, our passion and fascination with the GMT Master is stronger than ever. Oh, and that Rolex 18K Yellow Gold 1675 GMT Master I fixed up years ago turned out to be what is known as a “Concorde”. It is the model featured in the old Rolex ad with the Concorde airplane, and the watch that is shown in the image above.
While we have recently rebranded our company as Veralet, our passion for vintage watches and the GMT Master in particular lives on.