Which leading brand has released the ultimate men’s travel watch? GMT watches offer a complication that enables you to follow a standard 12-hour format whilst simultaneously tracking an additional 24-hour format.
Now that normality is beginning to resume, our imaginations stray to tropical destinations once more. Or maybe you frequently travel for work? Either way, it’s important to know which GMT watches are the best right now. They often feature traditional hour, minute and second hands alongside a GMT hand in a different colour – almost always with a triangular tip. The addition of rotating bezels will also allow for the tracking of up to three time zones in some designs.
GMT watches do have good water resistance and boast a sporty aesthetic. Although originally produced for commercial airline pilots to help orient them as they took off and landed, GMT watches have today proved themselves a popular addition to any luxury watch collection. True GMTs are classified as those watches that allow the wearer to adjust the main time and use it as local time. They can then use the 24-hour scale to track their home time. Caller GMT watches enable the wearer to adjust the 24-hour hand and are best suited to those who don’t travel all that frequently. With that, here’s a guide to the best GMT watches on the market right now, complete with a run-through of their best features.
Omega may not automatically spring to mind when you think of GMT watches but that doesn’t mean the travel watches created by this Swiss brand aren’t some of the best on the market. The Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra 150M Co-Axial watch combines the brand’s dive watch heritage with a timepiece that can be enjoyed whether on vacation or travelling on business. Its black dial with triangular markers makes it an incredibly practical model for formal occasions too. A red arrow-tipped hand points to an inner 24-hour scale, surrounded by an outer minute track and a legible date window at 6 o’clock. Inside the watch’s 150-meter water-resistant case is also a Co-Axial movement capable of producing a 60-hour power reserve.
The Rolex GMT Master II watch, although not the first travel watch, continues to prove its popularity as one of the most loved GMT watches of all time. The Pepsi coloured bezel separates daylight hours and night-time hours against a 24-hour track. This watch is fitted on a jubilee bracelet, however, the famous watchmaker has recently added an Oyster bracelet to its configuration. Hands down, the Rolex GMT Master II watch with a ceramic bezel and classic black dial is one of the best GMT watches on the market. The Calibre 3285 inside promises a 70-hour power reserve, plus the use of its independently adjustable hour hand paired with a rotating bezel allows for up to three timezones to be tracked at a time.
Nicknamed the “Peacock”, the Grand Seiko Hi-Beat 36000 GMT watch is limited to just 700 pieces worldwide, which makes the model even more highly sought after on the market. It’s a purist’s timepiece, with a stunning Zaratsu polished case that catches the light from multiple angles for a clean, crisp and light feel on the wrist. The calibre 9S86 makes this timepiece such a popular GMT watch, beating at 36,600 vibrations per hour and offering an independently set hour hand that won’t interfere with the performance of the movement whilst being adjusted. Style-wise, the Grand Seiko Hi-Beat 36000 watch is modest and understated with its stunning peacock-blue dial, golden-coloured GMT hand and surrounding 40mm steel case.
The Tudor Black Bay GMT is a tool watch on a three-link Oyster bracelet with an aluminium bezel executed in blue and red. Although sharing many characteristics with its more famous and more expensive sibling brand’s GMT watch - the Tudor Black Bay GMT watch comes at a much more affordable price and is powered by a COSC-certified movement capable of producing a 70-hour power reserve. The 41mm travel watch is crafted from stainless steel, features a black legible dial, and features a striking red GMT hand for easy tracking of a second time zone.
Although classified as a GMT watch thanks to its inner 24-hour track set against a black dial, the 46mm IWC Pilot’s Watch Timezoner Chronograph is also a world timer watch, since it features the world cities around the bezel. It also offers chronograph hour and minute functions combined inside a sub-counter at 12 o’clock, balanced by a small seconds counter at 6 o’clock. The feature-packed IWC GMT watch also features a date window at 3 o’clock, a flyback chronograph function for effortless measuring of elapsed timings and a 68-hour power reserve courtesy of the 89760 Calibre.
Perfect for travelling in style and comfort but also bursting with plenty of aviation spirit, the Breitling Avenger II GMT watch is clad in a steel and black outfit and features a striking red arrow-tipped GMT hand that works in coordination with a 24-hour scale on a bidirectional rotating steel bezel. This feature enables for a third time zone reading. The Breitling GMT watch is also water-resistant to 300 meters, features aviation-inspired stencil-type numerals for a technical look, and secures to the wrist with a rugged steel bracelet. It also offers a cambered sapphire crystal glass front with anti-glare properties for a clear view into the time at any given point of the day or night.
If quartz watches are your preference, the Longines Conquest GMT watch may be for you, since it is powered by a super-accurate VHP quartz movement. A silver carved dial adds a sense of depth to the design, especially when paired with its red-tipped GMT hand and red minute track. The 24-hour track in this GMT watch is featured around the flange whilst a 50-meter water-resistant steel case pairs with an anti-glare sapphire crystal glass front to maintain a dry internal environment. Of course, the stainless steel bracelet fitted to this GMT watch, along with its sturdy push-button folding clasp allows the watch to be worn to a more formal occasion in addition to travel.
If you don’t want your wristwatch to look like an obvious travel watch, the Certina DS Podium model is a great option because it features the additional time zone in a 24-hour sub-counter at 10 o’clock. There’s also a chronograph minute and hours function combined at 2 o’clock, as well as a small second sub-dial at 6 o’clock, a date window, and large legible Arabic numerals and stick indexes representing the main time. For effortless measuring of speed based on distance or distance based on time travelled, you can utilize the watch’s tachymeter scale around the bezel also.
The black ion-plated stainless steel case of this Bell & Ross GMT watch boasts the instantly recognisable “circle within a square” profile and features a legible black dial with large white luminous Arabic numerals and stick markers for the hands. Enhancing readability all the more is a striking red GMT hand and a very visible 24-hour scale. The watch is powered by a self-winding movement that provides a 42-hour power reserve whilst protected inside a 50-meter water-resistant case. To complete its aviation instrument panel look, the watch wraps around the wrist with a supple black BR embossed rubber strap.
Blancpain watches from the Villeret watch collection are elegant and timeless, not to mention incredibly practical, especially when they come in the form of a GMT watch. In this Blancpain Villeret Reveil GMT watch, the wavey GMT hand is crafted from blued steel and points to a 24-hour scale inside a larger Roman numeral hour track for local time. in addition to this, there’s an additional time zone that can be read from a 12-hour sub-counter at 3 o’clock, as well as a date window at 6 o’clock and a power reserve indicator that displays the remaining energy level of the automatic Calibre 1240H sitting within.
The Radiomir 1940 Chrono Monopulsante 8 Days GMT Oro Bianco model is a 45mm 18ct white gold travel watch for those who want a timepiece that not only reliably tracks additional time zones but also feels ultimately luxurious on the wrist. The watch’s black dial is adorned with central hour, minute and second hands, a GMT hand with a slender arrow tip, a 24-hour indicator, a power reserve indicator, and two chronograph counters. The GMT watch is completed on a classic-looking brown alligator leather strap which keeps the timepiece smart enough for timezone-hopping but comfortable enough to pair with different attire whilst on vacation.
The L.U.C GMT One watch from Chopard is incredibly easy to keep track of both local and home time. L.U.C watches are all performed and tested at the Maison’s Geneva and Fleurier workshops. This model in particular features a black galvanised dial and Super-LumiNova Arabic numeral hour markers and hands. The luxury GMT watch features a 24-hour scale around the edge separated into pale orange numerals to highlight the nighttime hours. The watch is finished on a traditional black leather strap, measures a 42mm diameter, comes integrated with 50-meter water resistance and is powered by a self-winding mechanical movement capable of a 60-hour power reserve.
Last but not least, the Hamilton Jazzmaster GMT Auto watch is an affordable travel companion that features the world cities in a black and silver ring around the outside of the dial, as well as a visible blue GMT hand and a date window at 6 o’clock. Primed for travel, its classic aesthetic is optimised with a brown leather strap and cream contrast stitching down the sides. Powered by an automatic movement, this Hamilton GMT watch is topped with an anti-reflective sapphire crystal glass front and promises a 50-meter water resistance.