Rolex GMT-Master "SARU" ref. 16758
Famed for its status as one of the most iconic aviator wristwatches of all time, the Rolex GMT-Master was released in 1954 as the ref. 6542. With its blue and red bi-directional bezel and second hour hand, the GMT-Master improved the ability of pilots to navigate the skies and communicate to ground control in various time zones across the globe. As the watch continued its march through the decades, it evolved and became the GMT-Master II as we know it. However, during that evolution, one crucial step enabled the collection to include precious metal variants, the "SARU" ref. 16758.
Launched circa 1980, the SARU was the first Rolex sports watch to feature precious gemstones with a bezel featuring blue SApphires and red RUbies in the same color scheme as its conventional "Pepsi" bezel siblings with diamonds punctuating every fifth minute. Perhaps one of the rarest GMT-Master variants to be produced with just a handful of models produced during the 1980s, the SARU is also lavishly adorned with diamonds down the entirety of its bracelet's center links and covering its entire dial in a pavé setting. Adding to its exclusivity, the SARU also features a bracelet that we would not expect on any GMT-Master, the Presidential bracelet, most commonly spotted on the incredibly exclusive Day-Date collection – an icon in its own right.
An incredibly daring and avant-garde design for the time, the SARU broke from convention as a precious metal tool watch. Including its gem-encrusted construction, the SARU truly defied the industry and set it on the course we are on now, with models akin to the SARU coming into popularity amongst several watchmaking brands. A real trend-setting watch, the SARU is important not only for its beautiful craftsmanship, detailed design, and heritage as a GMT-Master, it is important for its contribution to modern watchmaking as we know it.
Today we are proud to offer one of the few Rolex GMT-Master "SARU" ref. 16578 examples that have shown up for public sale. Dated to 1984, our example is presented in phenomenal original condition with deep hallmarks throughout the reverse of its case a beautifully consistent patina throughout. Retaining its original caseback sticker, our example has clearly been cared for during its life as its position as an exceptional timepiece has been apparent throughout its lifetime.