The Ultimate Guide To Budget-Friendly GMT Watches

THM Desk
23 Feb 2024 |
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When it comes to practical features on a wristwatch, I’ve only been fond of two, the rotating dive bezel and a GMT. While the former can be useful for anything from timing the eggs to bring them to a perfect boil or to explore the oceanic depths of a certain Mariana Trench, the latter can be a lifesaver for anyone who manages long-distance businesses or has to hop on a jet every now and then.

Today, we’ll focus on the travel-friendly GMT complication, which apart from serving a useful trickery of dual time-zone tracking, actually creates a pretty attractive aesthetic for a wristwatch. Whilst on the topic of GMTs, why not focus on the more attainable echelon of this utilitarian domain.

So, here are the top 10 GMT watches that prove that precision and practicality need not break the bank.

Timex Q Timex GMT

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Capitalizing on Timex’s recent resurgence in the market, the Timex Q Timex GMT brings a two-tone Pepsi bezel within the reach of majority. The Q Timex GMT literally fights the corner for those with a limited budget. Referring to an aesthetic from the prestigious era of watchmaking, the 70s, this watch is a functional GMT running on a reliable Swiss quartz caliber. This one really grabs your attention by replicating the essence of Timex’s cult-favorite historic offerings.

Seiko 5 Sports GMT

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For owners of the legendary SKX, the Seiko 5 Sports GMT would feel like a natural evolution. This watch revives the SKX name, although it does away with 100 meters less water resistance. The watch packs all the lovely Seiko-ness in a 42.5 mm case and offers a no-brainer utilitarian essence at a steal.

Certina DS Action GMT

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The Swatch-owned Manufacture Certina delights us with what could make an irresistibly accessible dive watch and a GMT. Yes, I’m talking about a single timepiece, the Certina DS Action GMT which packs in 200 meters water resistance and pairs it with a 24-hour GMT central hand. The mechanics also are impressive, derived from the ETA Swiss Made caliber with power reserve extended to 80 hours. As a delectable icing on the top, the watch onboards a true GMT function, rarely observed at the price point.

Baltic Aquascaphe GMT

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When everything about an adorable, sorry - affordable GMT watch falls into place, you get the Baltic Aquascaphe GMT. From the kickstarter campaign in 2015 to their current hype within the affordable watch industry realms, Baltic sure has a story to be proud of. Their GMT inception, the Baltic Aquascaphe GMT is all worthy to drool about. If you cannot stretch over a thousand dollars, you still get an excellent timepiece that draws heavy inspiration from the GMT watches of the 60s. with nostalgic looks packaged in a contemporary offering, the Aquascaphe GMT offers utility and details usually found in watches sat at a higher pricing vertical.

Zodiac Super Sea Wolf GMT

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For an enthusiast-based audience, nothing tingles the soul as much as an honest and fateful reincarnation of a vintage classic. The Zodiac Super Sea Wolf GMT offers a bona fide rejuvenation of the 1960s Zodiac Aerospace GMT. What really works in favor of the Super Sea Wolf GMT is the combination of a Swiss caliber, an impressive 200 meters depth rating and a funky color scheme that honestly feels straight out of the 1970s.

Mido Ocean Star GMT

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Mido is one of the very few brands offering a true GMT function from their budget offerings. The Ocean Star GMT is a nautical format GMT timepiece that didn’t succumb to letting go of the dive bezel. Instead, it’s still a true dive watch at heart with an added utilitarian essence from a 24-hour GMT hand. So, this combination makes it an ideal timepiece at sea and also onboard a metal vessel in the sky.

Sinn 105 St Sa UTC

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Functionality and precision are second nature to Sinn, the German watchmaking perfectionist. Their instrument watch series in the 105 category offers a practical timekeeping machine capable of tracking dual time zones. The Sinn 105 St Sa UTC matches a minimalistic look with the reliable working of a Swiss caliber. The UTC hand gets a bright orange hue and is legible against the matte black dial. The watch also features a proprietary Tegiment hard coating on its 24-hour bezel. Prices for the 105 St Sa UTC start at around ₹1,50,000.

Christopher Ward C65 Aquitaine GMT

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UK based Christopher Ward is all the buzz when it comes to offering unrivaled value for your bucks. Treading into GMT realms, their C65 Aquitaine GMT inspired by the original Fifty Fathoms from Blancpain offers the utility of a second time zone tracking hand packaged within the robustness of a dive watch case. Moreover, the reliable operation of its Sellita based caliber is all for display through the exhibition case back.

Glycine Airman The Chief GMT

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The aviation inspired Glycine Airman Vintage looks like it is pulled straight outta a 1970s catalog. Such is the heritage charm that everything, right from the fauxtina to the lettering serves the truest vintage vibe I’ve ever seen in a contemporary watch. However, don’t let its simplicity fool you, as you get a proper Swiss caliber delivering the timekeeping duties. In 1953, the original Glycine Airman debuted with the world’s first rotating 24-hour GMT bezel, enabling the tracking of two time zones simultaneously. Rolex's iconic GMT-Master, introduced a year later, popularized the bicolor version of this revolutionary concept.

Bulova Wilton GMT

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The Bulova Wilton GMT leverages the technical prowess of the Miyota manufacture movement from the brand’s parent company - Citizen, to offer a ‘true GMT’ complication at an affordable price of just under ₹75,000. Part of Bulova’s classic collection, the Wilton GMT might be on the larger size with a 43mm case, but the details right from the dial furniture, the textured surface with the world map and the internal 24-hour chapter ring, all add to its value proposition.

And that concludes our compilation of ten GMT watches for budget-conscious buyers. We’ve included options across various price ranges, to serve you a broader playing field. Once again, that fact stands proven that a great timepiece doesn’t necessarily be ‘unattainably expensive.’