Though modifying luxury watches (especially Rolexes) is viewed as taboo by some collectors (and most brands), that hasn’t stopped modders from turning brand-new watches into something more fitting of their visions. Tempus Machina, in particular, has made some captivating (if controversial) reinterpretations of ultra-rare Rolex references from decades past, including a Bond-inspired “Big Crown” and an Explorer-dialed Submariner. Now, though, the modder is turning its attention to the GMT-Master, with a remaking of the very first reference originally created for Pan-Am pilots in the 1950s.
The 711Z gets its overall look from the reference 6542 GMT-Master, a watch that in good condition today can go for tens of thousands of dollars (recently a man found out on Antiques Roadshow, his was worth about $75,000). But the aim of the 711Z (and Tempus Machina as a whole) is that you can own a modernized version of an iconic (an astronomically priced) reference for less money. Granted the 711Z isn’t exactly cheap at $35,000, but lots of work goes into making it look like a vintage piece. The case is machined to have a slimmer profile (it also loses its crown guard) like the earlier GMT, and the dial is made through an old-school technique that gives it a gilt printing and the ability to patina with age (unlike modern, glossy Rolex dials). The watch also gets a custom sapphire “Bakelite” bezel in the red and blue Pepsi color scheme and is adorned with luminescent numerals.