Excellent GMT and World Time Watches for the Traveler

Excellent GMT and World Time Watches for the Traveler

| 02.15.24

The GMT (and its cousin, the word timer) is one of the most handy complications in all of watchmaking. A casual glance down at one’s wrist, and one instantly knows the time in a second time zone — or all the time zones, simultaneously — allowing one to keep track of both local and home time, or business dealings in another part of the world. Made famous by Rolex with its GMT-Master in the early 1950s, the world time complication has been around in wristwatch form since the early 20th century.

Zodiac Aerospace GMT - IN THE SHOP

Today, GMTs movements are generally divided into two types: those with independently adjustable local hour hands, and those with independently adjustable GMT hands. The former group, used famously in the newer GMT-Master movements, is handier when one is traveling oneself, as it allows for quick updating of the local time zone. The latter is more useful when tracking someone else in another time zone, but can also be used by travelers.

While it used to be difficult to find affordable versions of the ‘flyer’-type GMT, these days, the market is slowly adapting. With Japanese brands such as Miyota as well as Swiss marques introducing entry-level ‘flyer’ movements, this type of GMT watch is becoming much more affordable. ‘Caller’-type GMTs, meanwhile, remain eminently affordable. Heck, in 2024, you can find a cool GMT for just a few hundred bucks

A.Lange & Söhne Lange 1 Timezone - IN THE SHOP

World time watches, which display the time in 24 time zones, were once the province of high-end marques such as Patek Philippe — which arguably perfected the modern world timer in the 1930s. In the mid-20th century, world timers were introduced by tool watch makers such as Zodiac, and today, they can be had for a few thousand dollars. The world (timer) is your oyster!

Indeed, there’s truly never been a better time to purchase a travel watch. Here at Analog:Shift, we adore this complication, and stock many of them from the world’s leading brands. What follows is but a small selection of the GMT and world timer pieces we have in stock. Once you’re done checking these out, make an appointment to come to our New York City showroom or reach out to us online — you’re guaranteed to fall in love with one of these romantic timepieces. 

Monta Atlas GMT ($1,600)

Monta Atlas GMT - IN THE SHOP

This well-sized GMT from American microbrand Monta may be all you need in an everyday watch. Coming in at 38.5mm in stainless steel and powered by a hardy, Swiss-made ETA movement, it’s just dressy enough to take a meeting in, and plenty sporty enough to tackle — well — just about anything else. Made for the jet-setting adventurer, it’s an incredible value at less than $2,000.

Zodiac Aerospace GMT ($2,900)

Zodiac Aerospace GMT - IN THE SHOP

This charming 35mm GMT encapsulates so much of what we love about vintage watches: Its straightforward design; sun-kissed patina; svelte dimensions; and handsome looks are paired to a handy GMT complication and a wonderfully jangly multi-link bracelet in stainless steel. Strap this baby on your wrist, and it’ll be like stepping into another era. 

Tudor Black Bay GMT ($3,550)

Tudor Black Bay GMT - IN THE SHOP

A stylish and affordable alternative to the Rolex GMT-Master II — produced by Tudor’s sister brand — the Black Bay GMT has that ‘cool’ factor in spades: bi-color ‘Pepsi’ bezel; unique ‘snowflake’ handset; crownguard-less case; and chronometer-certified, in-house GMT movement with ‘flyer’ capability. A modern take on a classic model.

Bremont Supermarine Endurance GMT ($4,750)

Bremont Supoermarine Endurance GMT - IN THE SHOP

Bremont watches are designed for extreme environments, and the Supermarine Endurance GMT is no exception. Housed in a 43mm titanium ‘Trip-tick’ case, it’s equipped with a compass bezel for navigation; a Swiss-made GMT movement; a black rubber dive strap; and 500m of water resistance — all you need for an arctic (or any other) adventure in a different time zone. 

Grand Seiko Spring Drive GMT 'Blizzard' Limited Edition For Timeless ($7,400)

Grand Seiko Spring Drive GMT 'Blizzard' Limited Edition for Timeless - IN THE SHOP

On the hunt for a dressier GMT to wear to the office or out on the town? Try on this Spring Drive GMT ‘Blizzard,’ a limited edition made for Timeless Luxury Watches. Powered by Grand Seiko’s unique Spring Drive movement technology, its movement is half-mechanical, half-battery powered, while its silver and blue colorway is restrained yet handsome enough for any setting. 

Hermès Slim D'Hermès GMT ($13,200)

Hermès Slim D'Hermès GMT - IN THE SHOP

There’s something mysterious and compelling about the Slim d’Hermès GMT that’s difficult to pinpoint. Maybe its unique Arabic numerals, or maybe it's the GMT indicator’s random-seeming design. But the truth is that this is one of the most unique dual-time watches of the past 20 years, with a gorgeous case in rose gold that’s sure to turn heads, and a to-die-for dial design. 

Heuer Autavia GMT ($18,900)

Heuer Autavia GMT - IN THE SHOP

If you’re not automatically taken in by the colorful bezel and dial; multiple useful complications; incredible condition; and wonderful beads-of-rice bracelet on this Heuer Autavia GMT Reference 2446C, then you might want to have yourself checked out. Useful and beautiful, this rare model is one of the best Autavia variants — and one of the best travel watches out there.

Cartier Tonneau Dual-Time ($22,050)

Cartier Tonneau Dual-Time - IN THE SHOP

If you’re aware of a more elegant GMT-equipped watch than this Cartier, then we’d love to see it. Housed in a white gold case equipped with dual, manually-wound movements and ringed by a diamond-encrusted bezel, this tonneau-shaped beauty is perfect for someone who refuses to travel the world in anything but style. 

Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle World Time ($35,950)

Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle World Time - IN THE SHOP

A modern take on vintage world timer pieces from the 20th century, the Traditionnelle World Time from Vacheron Constantin packs an automatic, in-house movement and a handsome, multi-tone world time dial with a colorful globe and inner city disc. Use it to track the time across the entire planet — and look good doing it! 

Lange & Söhne Lange 1 Timezone ($49,950)

Lange & Söhne Lange 1 Timezone - IN THE SHOP

When only the best, most sophisticated dual-time zone expression will suffice, spring for the Lange 1 Timezone from A. Lange & Söhne. Done up in rose gold and housing a superbly finished, hand-wound movement, it takes the Lange 1 design codes and modifies them to include a GMT as well as a day/night indicator, plus a handy city disc.