Shopping for a GMT watch, but still saving up for that grail Rolex GMT Master II? Want something a bit more budget friendly, yet still sharp and eye-catching?
Lucky for all of us, there are plenty of great GMT watches available nowadays, many of them well under $1000. And that’s the best part: You don’t need a heap of cash to get one.
We’ve found some of the best GMT watches that won’t make your wallet cry, and they’re all under $1000. So whether you love traveling, or just want to feel like a globe-trotter even when you’re on your couch at home, these watches are your ticket.
If you’re a regular traveler crossing time zones, you can track the time at home as well as your current location.
If you have family or friends far away, you can use your GMT’s functionality to keep track of time where they are, in addition to your own local time. So, for practical use or as a fashion choice, a GMT watch is a handy and cool item to have.
There is a chance you’ve seen the Rolex GMT Master somewhere, sometime in your watch journey. The piece is famous for its red and blue bezel and its fourth hand on the dial which is used to track a second time zone on the watch.
The origins of the GMT can be traced back to the mid-1950s when Pan Am Airlines reached out to Rolex to ask if they could design a watch for pilots on long-haul flights to track two separate time zones. The Rolex GMT was born soon thereafter.
The watch became famous for being the first watch of its kind as well as its instantly recognizable design features.
The red and blue on the bezel symbolize daylight and nighttime hours. Since then, Rolex and other brands have experimented with different colors to signify day and night.
These days, thanks to some wizardry from Seiko and a handful of independent brands, you no longer have to shell out five figures to get your hands on one.
A year ago it exploded onto the scene (models SSK001, SSK003, and SSK005) and changed the game. This 42mm watch is the first Seiko within its entry level Seiko 5 line to feature a GMT movement.
It became one of the bigger stories in the watch world last year because in a way, the release democratized the GMT watch.
Previously, GMT watches came with a hefty price tag as the movements were complex and required specific expertise to assemble.
Now you can buy a reliable mechanical GMT watch for under $400, and these watches specifically can be found for around $375 despite the nearly $500 MSRP.
Many other brands use Seiko movements in their watches, so in theory, the possibilities are endless. The original release came in 3 colors, but 3 more just released this past month (SSK017, SSK019, and SSK021).
They’re all readily available, so take your pick!
Seiko Presage GMT
A dressier alternative to the very popular Seiko 5 GMT. The Presage GMT is a little pricier, but for under $500, this is a great option if you’ll be wearing it with more formal attire.
I look at this watch and see the perfect one watch collection. It can be dressed up with formal clothing like a suit or tuxedo, and worn with t-shirts and jeans and not look out of place.
It’ll look as good on a bracelet as it would on a nato strap or the leather strap that it comes with.
The refined and elevated Seiko Presage line is arguably Seiko’s best, so why not get a taste with this gorgeous GMT?
Seiko Alpinist GMT
Okay, one more Seiko! We are big fans of Seiko here at Effortless Gent if you can’t tell. The brand new Seiko Alpinist GMT is a fresh take on a beloved classic.
The Seiko Alpinist, a beautiful cathedral-handed watch, is a favorite among enthusiasts. Many entry level collectors choose to go with an Alpinist as their first nice watch (I mean, it can easily be worn everyday).
Well, good news for you GMT enthusiasts, Seiko has added a second timezone function to the Alpinist. Sure, it makes for a great tool watch, but that doesn’t mean it skimps on design. The watch remains as sleek, elegant, and useful as ever.
This one runs slightly above $1000 at retail, but we couldn’t help but include it in our lineup.
Not a Seiko super loyalist like us? Or maybe you already have a few Seikos and want to expand your collection with other brands? Definitely check out these GMT watches.
Timex Q GMT Quartz
The Timex Q GMT has all of the making of a quality GMT. A reissue from 1979, the Q features a stylish integrated bracelet, a reliable quartz movement and the classic blue and red bezel to differentiate light hours from dark hours.
Integrated sports bracelets are all the rage in part thanks to the Tissot PRX, so if you’re craving the sporty aesthetic, this is a great budget option.
The watch retails at a modest $229 thanks to the quartz movement. Don’t let that discourage you, though. Setting the time once and forgetting about it will feel like a luxury once the watch is on your wrist.
Baltic Aquascaphe GMT
Baltic is one of the hottest new kids on the block in the watch world. The French brand was founded in 2016, making it one of the youngest brands in a watch world otherwise steeped in rich tradition.
Baltic seeks to create high quality pieces with a sleek and modern design, which is where the Aquascaphe GMT comes in. This beautiful dive-style watch measures at 39mm and a solid 100m water resistance.
Where the watch really shines is in the design language. The Aquascaphe is modern, elegant and refined. It’s a future classic at $1,000.
Sure, this G-Shock may not look like a traditional GMT, but it’s a true traveler’s watch. This atomic, solar-powered watch can track 5 different time zones.
This G-Shock features an antenna that continuously pings the atomic clocks, ensuring the watch is always set to the right time. It’s solar-powered as well, so you’ll never have to change batteries.
In addition, the G-Shock also features day, date, month, year complications, times and a stopwatch.
G-Shocks are made with the elements in mind. They are the strongest watches in the world. You’ll never have to worry about knocking your G-Shock and breaking it. If you only want one watch that you’ll be able to wear forever, get this one.
Squale 300M GMT
I’ve always liked this piece from Squale for its single color, GMT bezel, which makes it stand out from the crowd of dual color GMT watches.
It’s a true dive watch, allowing its owner to travel up to 300 meters under the water, which is better than the original Rolex GMT Master. For less than $1000 you get a ceramic bezel, sapphire glass, and a robust GMT movement.
If you want a piece that stands out and is dissimilar from all of the other GMT watches on the market this is a great option.
Christopher Ward C63 Sealander
This is one hell of a tool watch by Christopher Ward. The English watchmaker started in 2004 as an online-only luxury watch brand and has exponentially increased their production and revenue every year since its conception.
The C63 Sealander is everything we love about tool watches – it’s highly legible with 150m water resistance and a compact 46mm lug to lug that wears smaller than the 39mm would suggest.
It’s a great tool watch by an independent brand on the rise. Wear it on your wrist and command the respect of all your fellow watch enthusiasts.
Lorier Hyperion GMT
The Lorier Hyperion GMT is currently sold out, but they restock fairly regularly. If you keep an eye on the webstore, there’s a good chance you can snatch one up.
The Lorier Hyperion is a 39mm vintage style GMT that looks like it was handed down from your military-veteran grandfather. The bezel is the classic red and blue look with a black and gilt dial.
“The Hyperion offers superior low-light visibility, differentiating between time zones via luminous pigments. The dial markers, hour, minute and seconds hands use bright blue BGW9, while the 24-hour bezel and GMT hand use green C3.”
Like Baltic and Christopher Ward, Lorier is one of the newer brands in the watch industry; it’s created by a husband and wife combination who are interested in building strong, vintage-inspired watches.
If you love vintage-inspired watches, with a little bit of patience, this may be the piece for you.
Gone are the days where GMT watches were reserved for the wealthy adventurers. For only a few hundred bucks, you can get your hands on the engineering marvels of GMT timepieces.
11/06/2023 12:56 am GMT
There are several reasons to get a GMT.
Maybe you travel a lot and you want to keep track of your home timezone while on the road. Perhaps you have family or friends in a different city and you want to keep track of their time as well. Or maybe you just like the design. There’s no wrong answers here!
Seiko’s GMT watches may be the easiest solution in terms of what to buy first. The Seiko 5 GMT is one of the most exciting watches to release in the affordable watch segment in a long time.
Don’t sleep on the Baltic and the G-Shock however. Both of which do the job and you won’t have to compromise on style. They’re ready for anything you throw at them.