The Revolutionary GMT
The GMT was one of Rolex’s most groundbreaking models when it initially launched in 1954. It was the first wristwatch to allow the wearer to read the time in multiple time zones simultaneously. This was a game changer for pilots and avid travelers alike, and it came at the peak of intercontinental travel. Though global travel is much more commonplace now, the GMT continues to be one of Rolex’s most popular collections today.
Air travel has undoubtedly continued to grow and progress over the past 65 years since the debut of the GMT. In turn, the needs of pilots and jetsetters have also evolved. Rolex has developed the GMT collection specifically with those shifting demands in mind. Nearly 30 years after its initial release, the brand decided to totally revamp the line. In 1983, the GMT Master II was born. They introduced the reimagined collection with the Reference 16760, and the model garnered the nickname the “Fat Lady.” The term might sound a bit disparaging at first. However, there’s a reason the original GMT Master II has this unconventional moniker.
Explanation of the “Fat Lady” Dub
There’s one key characteristic that really sets the GMT Master II apart from the original GMT. The GMT Master II has the ability to display three time zones simultaneously as opposed to two. In order to achieve this added functionality, Rolex developed an all-new movement with a quickset hour hand: the caliber 3085. As is often the case in watchmaking, the more complex the complication, the heftier the movement. This is true with the original GMT Master II, Ref. 16760. The model required a larger movement to accommodate the new capabilities. In turn, the model needed a larger case to house the more substantial movement. Rolex took advantage of the extra thick case size and made it part of the model’s stylistic appeal. They complimented it with more robust crown guards and a wider bezel. The Ref. 16760’s larger than life appearance gave it the famous nickname, the “Fat Lady.”
Other Nicknames for the GMT
In addition to the aesthetic changes necessitated by the model’s increased utility, Rolex made some other updates to its design. The original GMT Master II featured more elegantly curved lines than its predecessors, which highlighted its enhanced proportions. Thus, the model has garnered another more affectionate nickname than the body-shaming “Fat Lady.” You might also hear the Ref. 16760 referred to as the “Sophia Loren,” after the voluptuous Italian actress. The first GMT Master II also debuted an all-new colorway for the collection featuring a two-tone red and black bezel. Collectors and fans of the brand dubbed the color scheme the “Coke,” giving the Ref. 16760 a third moniker.
Whether you refer to it as the “Fat Lady,” the “Sophia Loren,” or the “Coke,” the original GMT Ref. 16760 is undoubtedly an icon. It has one of the highest number of nicknames of any model in the Rolex catalog. More importantly, it’s a revolutionary watch that performs just as well as it looks.