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Gmt 6542 tropical - pricing question

January 3 2018 at 9:25 PM
Axel  (Login Schroeder4)
from IP address

Hi there,

My father has had a Gmt 6542 tropical face for longer than I have been alive, and unfortunately cracked the original bezel.
Devastating, I know.

He is finally ready to part with it, but is cautious to do so, understandably. I thought the best way to get an idea of the real value is turn to the unofficial experts on here. You guys have helped me immensely before, so I was wondering what would be an appropirate estimate for this original watch, even in its run down state.

I will post pictures, as soon as I can figure out how! Haha.

Your advice is much appreciated.

Warm thanks,

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(Login Schroeder4)


January 3 2018, 9:37 PM 

Not entirely sure how to navigate this site properly...but hopefully this works.

Photos of said watch.

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(Login Schroeder4)

Re: Gmt 6542 tropical - pricing question

January 3 2018, 9:44 PM 

I'm sorry...I can't figure out how to actually post the picture in this forum. It won't seem to show up.

Here are the links.


Thank you.

This message has been edited by VintageRolexForum from IP address on Jan 3, 2018 9:51 PM

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(Login lesilence)
VRF Member

Not a "tropical" dial

January 4 2018, 2:03 PM 

Hi Alex,
I wouldn't consider this a tropical dial. What I see is dial that has/had severe water damage at one point.
I can't give you a number I will leave this to others, but I would consider this a GMT without dial and bezel, as both needs to be replaced.
My advice would be to keep in the the family as the sentimental value is probably much higher than what you will get selling it.

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(Login Autaviano)
VRF Member

Some thoughts......

January 4 2018, 4:03 PM 

First, Axel, thanks for posting and sharing, welcome to VRF.

We all know that the term tropical is used in a variety of ways by collectors/sellers etc these days. Everyone will have a different take on what a tropical dial means to them, so in a way I disagree Wolfgang but also agree at the same time, just one of those non-definitive terms to use on a piece of this nature, but for the sake of avoiding argument, I do get what you mean. But lets address the OP's initial question.

It appears the dial does have some water damage or moisture/humidity affect which caused a tropic or color change in the dial, also some spidering, lacquer peeling/drying out etc. What has me sort of in question is that there doesn't seem to be continuity in the patina on the dial and the hands. Normally when you see this type of patina on the dial, the hands would show significant oxidation. The radium on the hands would also start to discolor to a dark hue. Also, the paint on the red hour hand appears to be to crisp in color to be original to this watch. The patina on the hands and dial also do not match, so I think as some point they must have been changed, added, relumed or what have you. I also suspect that the dial was relumed, particularly the 4, 5, 7, 8, 10 , 11 markers. It just doesn't appear to look like aged radium to me. I could be wrong and have been wrong in the past, but this is my assessment from the pictures provided by the OP. I would love to see some macro shots if possible.

The bakelite, however cracked, still has some value. I know folks who would snatch this bakelite in a heart beat. Although cracked and discolored, it is still original and that sort of discoloring was typical of these late 50 bakelites. I know folks who have either aftermarket bakelites and even SS 1675 inserts on their 6542s that would be more than happy to mount this sucker on, so there's def. value there. And to be perfectly honest, I've seen much much worse bakelites.

The case at a snapshot, if original, of course we would need to see engravings, font style, caseback engravings, movt etc, appears to be in excellent shape with minimal polish if any. The champhers look fantastic and that of course would also add value. It also appears that the brass bezel is also original, which also holds value.

I think its wonderful that this is in your family, and the "dad owning this for 50 years" stories are my favorite and show that true treasures still exist in the wild. But to put a price tag on this is dependent on a buyer who is drawn to such a piece. I've met collectors who love this type of look on late 50s models and would snatch this up, but I've also seen some similar examples sit for a very long time, 2 examples come to mind from a reputable dealer here on our platform that have been sitting for some time now.

You have an interesting piece here with a neat story. In my humble opinion and respectfully of course, I don't think this is going to be the retirement sale that's going to bring in the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, but to some folks out there, there is value to be seen here. I would be open to discuss further privately.

None the less, great family piece and best of luck in your navigation to dissolve it, if ever.

Happy '18


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(Login Robbe1675)
VRF Member

agreed, and here's my opinion on value

January 5 2018, 1:49 AM 

I agree with Autaviano's opinion, that there is value in this watch, but also that there are questions (about the hands).

As nobody has given you any opinions on value, I will give it a shot.
Please understand that this is purely my opinion.

First, a 6542 gmt with a non-period service dial costs like 15000 usd these days. What a dealer would pay for that, I do not know, but say 10.000
(remember he has to find the right client, has it serviced, needs to pay for his shop etc)
A service dial pops up from time to time for say 2000, so the watch without the dial is 8000.

Then the dial you have. I agree it is not perfect, but it is not very bad either. There are plenty 6542 around with worse dials than this.
I kinda like it. As far as I can judge it has not been relumed, but that is my opinion.
I have seen some dials priced at around 6000 in this condition, but then again trade value is maybe 5000?

And last but not least, the bezel. Nice ones have sold for 20.000, but this one is of course a lot less. Say 5000 trade value.

So simply adding the values of the parts is 8000 + 5000 + 5000 = 18.000
And if you have some old pics of it to add to the 60 years of history, at auction it can do more.

I hope there are others who would discuss these values as well.

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Ditto most of the above
(Login dynhm6)
VRF Member

Re: agreed, and here's my opinion on value

January 7 2018, 1:27 PM 

Perusing your photos, before reading any of the replies to your initial post, I reckoned your watch's value to be ~$20k. Of course, with collectibles, value is dependent on details not evident in your photos and what a buyer's willing to pay. However, after reading the previous two posts, presuming there're no hidden gotchas lying in the shadows, I reckon my estimate was right on the mark.

Although I'm not in the market, with a gentle cleaning (not polishing!) and good, thorough service overhaul to insure the timepiece is well-regulated, I think you've got a nice piece. How much a clean-up will affect the watch's subsequent value depends on how much of the grime and muck is safely removable (without changing the watch's natural patina or character) and how well the movement runs. But, either way, were it mine, I'd have it sorted-out if for no other reason than to retard any damage that may be occurring due to leaks (that allow dust ingress into the case), internal grime, lack of lubrication or mal-adjustment.

As others've suggested, if possible, I'd keep the watch in the family and enjoy it. If you decide to wear it (I would), I'd swap the OEM bezel insert for a metal or aftermarket part to preclude further damage/loss.

Good luck and congratulations on a nice find!

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(Login Schroeder4)

Thank you

January 8 2018, 4:19 AM 

Thank you all for your advice and contributions! It's been very helpful, and enlightening. It is a beautiful, albeit worn, piece.
Always very appreciative of your expertise.
Thanks again.


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(Login kolai79)
VRF Member

How is everyone seeing these links...?

January 8 2018, 7:05 AM 

I have tried on 3 different devices and am only getting a security warning

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(Login alligoat)
VRF Member

go to Axel's third post and click on the imgur links

January 8 2018, 7:51 AM 

Then when the security warning comes up, click on the bottom link- 'open this is a new window' and the picture will come up.

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