Travel essentials: GMT watches that go a long way

Planning your 2023 travels? Here’s our pick of GMT watches that will help you keep track of time in two (or three) cities.
One of the most useful complications a wristwatch can have is showing time in two timezones - this is what characterises a GMT watch. In the 1950s, when pilots needed a tool to keep track of the time between their places of departure and arrival, the first GMT watch was born. While it is popularly acknowledged that the capability was debuted by a brand called Glycine in its watch called Airman, the mechanism was made famous by the 1954 Rolex GMT-Master Ref. 6542, which had a bi-directional rotating bezel in two colours - red and blue - representing day and night.

GMT watches typically have an added fourth hand to their dial prominently in a different colour and feature a 24-hour scale. The second timezone is tracked with this fourth hand that points to the 24-hour scale. A typical GMT watch may or may not have a rotating bezel, but those that do can be set in a way that allows them to tell the time in three timezones.

In our story, we have narrowed down a few latest GMT watches that make for perfect travelling companions. 

Bulova Classic Wilton GMT

Taking a leap into affordable watchmaking, the Bulova Classic Wilton GMT with the Miyota 9075 movement, giving it a local jumping hour hand and making the watch a true GMT, made a significant mark in the collection of GMT watches 2022. The Miyota 9075 calibre was first officially introduced in Bulova Classic Wilton GMT and may soon be available for other watchmakers and brands.

The two variants of the Bulova Classic Wilton GMT feature a 43mm dial, one being a blue dial with stainless steel case (Ref. 96B385) and the other one in silver tone with a gold plated case (Ref. 97B210). Embossed on the dial is an azimuthal projection of the world map, where the Earth is projected on a flat surface with either of the poles as the centre; the latitudes appear as concentric circles and the meridians as straight lines, and all points are represented at a proportionally correct distance from the centre point. At 3 o’clock is a date window and at 12 o’clock lies the Bulova tuning fork logo. Matching the tone of the case are the Roman numerals on the dial with a luminescent red-framed arrow tip of the GMT hand and the bicolour 24-hour scale to which the GMT hand points is marked on the slim rehaut (the inner bezel ring) surrounding the dial rather than on the bezel, which is the case for most GMT watches.

Ref. 96B385 is priced at INR 57,646 and Ref. 97B210 is priced at INR 58,969.

Rolex GMT-Master II Ref. 126720VTNR 

Loved by explorers, the Rolex GMT Master II launched among the new watches in 2022 is a novel version with the crown placed on the left side of the dial and a new black-and-green coloured Cerachrom bezel insert with a graduated 24-hour scale. The robust 42mm Oystersteel timepiece is equipped with calibre 3285 and has a bi-directional rotating bezel with a corrosion-proof ceramic insert. The black-coloured dial has a date window with magnifying Cyclops lens at 9 o’clock. With a Chromalight display and luminescent hands, the dial offers enhanced readability in the dark. The GMT arrow-tipped hand points to the 24-hour scale to read the second timezone while on the move. Exclusive to Rolex, the bracelet in this Rolex GMT 2 has the Easylink extension for added comfort and wearability while the Oysterlock folding clasp offers a secure fit on the wrist. 

Rolex GMT-Master II Ref. 126720VTNR is priced at INR 856,000.

Breitling Chronomat Automatic GMT 40 

As the watchmaker says, Chronomat Automatic GMT 40 (Ref. A32398101L1A1) is a classic combination of a tool and an accessory. The GMT function of the watch is powered by Breitling Calibre 32 and has up to 42 hours of power reserve. As the name suggests, the watch has a self-winding mechanical movement.

The 40mm watch features a unidirectional ratcheted rotating bezel with a 24-hour scale. The subtle green dial amidst the stainless steel build has a red-arrowed GMT hand to read the second timezone. At 6 o’clock lies the date aperture. Adding to its features, the timepiece is water-resistant to up to 200 metres, also serving its purpose as a diving watch.

Breitling Chronomat Automatic GMT 40 can be bought for INR 4,43,100.

Seiko 5 Sports GMT

Adding to its collection of GMT watches, the Seiko 5 Sports series launched three new sports-style GMT timepieces in 2022. The watches are designed with Caliber 4R, which drives the GMT complication.

All three Seiko GMT timepieces are crafted in different coloured dials – black (Ref. SSK001), blue (Ref. SSK003) and orange (Ref. SSK005). For clear readability, the black and blue variants have a bright red-coloured GMT hand while the orange version exhibits a black GMT hand. A layer of Lumibrite lies over the hands to offer luminous properties for low-light conditions. The rotating bezel features a dual colour scheme to represent the day and night, bringing an additional spotlight to the GMT complication of the watch. The watches have a 42.5mm stainless steel case and bracelet and offer water resistance up to 100 meters. 

All three versions of Seiko 5 Sports GMT are priced at INR 39,119.

TUDOR Black Bay Pro GMT

Designed for professional explorers, TUDOR Black Bay Pro is a 39mm timepiece with a built-in GMT function driven by Manufacture Calibre MT5652. The watch offers a power reserve of about 70 hours making it ‘weekend proof’, that if the watch is kept unworn for a weekend, it would not require winding on Monday. The timepiece has a steel case with a fixed bezel featuring a 24-hour scale to read the two time zones. The black dial has a date window at 3 o’clock with yellow GMT hand in TUDOR’s hallmark ‘snowflake’ aesthetic. The local time in this Black Bay GMT is set by the jumping hour indicated by the shorter snowflake hand.

TUDOR GMT comes in three variations- one with a steel bracelet (Ref. m79470-0001), another with a hybrid rubber and leather strap (Ref. m79470-0003), and the last one has a black fabric strap with a yellow band (Ref. m79470-0002).

Ref. m79470-0001 is priced at INR 3,25,500, and Ref. m79470-0003 and Ref. m79470-0002 are available to buy at INR 3,00,800.

Longines Spirit Zulu Time (Ref. L3.812.4.63.6)

Paying tribute to the aviators and creating timepieces with the aesthetics of aviation combined with modern technical requirements, Longines introduced its GMT watch of 2022, the Spirit Zulu Time. The timepiece is crafted with stainless steel with a 42mm case dimension and a self-winding movement driven by Calibre L844.4 (beating at 25,200 vph). The watch has joined the family of ‘flyers’ or GMTs with a jumping local 12-hour hand. The ceramic bezel has a 24-hour scale and rotates bi-directionally to set the second timezone on the watch. Gold-polished hands are fixed over the anthracite dial with a date aperture at 6 o’clock. The watch is also water-resistant up to 100 meters, and its interchangeable system allows for the accommodation of different straps and bracelets.

Longines Spirit Zulu Time is available to buy at INR 2,54,083.

Parmigiani Tonda PF GMT Rattrapante (Ref. PFC905-1020001-100182)

Parmigiani elegantly made it to the list of GMT watches of 2022 with Tonda PF GMT Rattrapante. The timepiece incorporates the Split GMT function and 22ct rose gold micro-rotor to show time in two different timezones. The rattrapante push-button combined with the crown allows the hands to reset to home time instantly.

The watch exemplifies the brand’s signature Milano Blue guilloché dial bordered with a knurled bezel. The delta-shaped local time hour and minute hands are plated with 18ct gold and rhodium while the 18ct rose gold delta-shaped hand shows the home time. The 40mm stainless steel timepiece has the calibre PF051 and an automatic movement with a power reserve of 48 hours.

Parmigiani has priced this GMT watch at INR 23,18,289.22. 

To know which is our favourite GMT watch, stay tuned... there's something exciting lined up this month.

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