By Palak Jain
After a restless night’s sleep somewhere over the oceans, I am unable to remember where I’m going when I wake up on the asphalt of a distant runway. Greetings from London, the pilot’s voice crackles across the PA system. Despite the four-hour time difference from home, it’s time to head to work at 10:40 AM in the local time zone. In the dim light of the taxiing plane, I rapidly loosen the crown on my watch and jumped the hour hand four clicks backwards. I’m on my way to London, and Big Ben isn’t going to wait around for me.
Travel is the greatest expression of one’s independence. To be able to freely explore the planet and see its different personalities, locations, and landscape is a privilege defined by movement and influenced by wonder and passion. The forethought that goes into packing for a trip to another country is a big part of why I enjoy traveling so much. The compulsion to keep packing to a minimum offers a unique clarity to one’s thoughts. To avoid unnecessary baggage fees and to ensure that you’re prepared to make the most of your new location, it’s important to plan and carry only what you’ll need.
Even while smartphones and international data plans are making foreign travel and experiences much more transparent, the ultimate travel tool is still my travel watch. The appropriate watch will keep you on schedule for your vacation and ensure that you don’t lose track of home while exploring the rest of the world even if you forget your baggage, sunscreen, or phone.
GMT watches are enjoying a resurgence in popularity, which is understandable given that travel has never been more affordable or convenient, nor have the world’s furthest reaches been more accessible. These timepieces range from modern versions of traditional pilot’s watches to luxury-inspired dual-time designs and totems inspired by old-world travel. The ultimate travel watch, like any seasoned traveler, can seamlessly transition from one location to the next, adapting to the pace of the new environment and presenting nothing that might interfere with the enjoyment of the trip.
To make your travels easier and a lot saner, we’ve picked out the Top 5 GMTs that should make it to your collection!
1. Frederique Constant Yacht Timer GMT
Frederique Constant’s sporty-chic line features a reintroduction of one of watchmaking’s most storied complications: the tourbillon. The Yacht Timer GMT, a new model from the manufacturer was unveiled with two distinct nautical-themed models. A new lease of life for the GMT, a second-time zone, can be displayed using the GMT function. Every globetrotter should have access to it. Until now, the GMT had only been available in the Classics collection, which was designed for professionals on the go who needed to see both local and home time when flying or relocating. The GMT is now a part of the Yacht Timer lineup. Frederique Constant has entered the world of long-distance yachtsmen, fans of sailing and the beach, or anybody interested in nautical design by introducing two new models to this sleek nautical range.
It’s easy to understand and use. Both watches have a 42mm diameter, sleek lines, and a rose gold finish, making them both sporty-chic timepieces. The GMT is displayed on a central hand on the Yacht Timer, which is both functional and highly legible. The inner ring, marked with a 24-hour clock, shows the current time at the home base. An easy-to-read red tip distinguishes this GMT from the other hands.
A 38-hour power reserve is provided by the FC-350 movement. With a water-resistant depth of up to 100 meters, the Yacht Timer GMT can withstand even the worst sea spray. It has a brown alligator strap with this model. One version has steel and a rose gold-plated steel strap. Rose gold-plated hands and a dial with a textured anthracite background adorn this timepiece. To ensure that the Yacht Timer GMT clocks are equally suitable for the most rigorous physical activities, both versions come with an additional rubber strap.
Priced at CHF 2000/ INR 162389 approximately
2. Oris Big Crown Pro-Pilot GMT Timer
A masterpiece from Oris, the GMT Timer is one of the company’s best-known pieces of work. There should be no confusion as to what time it is when reading this. With a large dial and a lengthy phone, this is easier to achieve. The GMT Timer’s small case and lugs (13mm) allow it to fit a 42mm wrist more comfortably. Despite this, the watch may still be too large for wrists with a circumference of less than 6.5″.
The huge Arabic numerals used by Oris are similar to those found on other ProPilot timepieces. The time is visible because of the huge lumid numerals. With a small seconds counter at 9 o’clock, the hands of the main time-keeping elements are freed up. It sports a huge date display at 3 o’clock, and the wheel has been color-coordinated to the dial. It doesn’t draw attention, but it does what it’s supposed to do. The GMT hand has an airbrushed appearance. The crimson tip, which resembles the nose of a fighter jet, completes the look. As a result of the chapter ring and the lengthy red-tipped hand, there is no doubt about what time the GMT has been set.
The watch’s second timing function is provided by the GMT Timer’s second half. The wearer can time up to an hour with the watch’s bidirectional timing bezel. I’m a fan of GMT watches with timing bezels, although they aren’t very common. Most people who wear it like the extra functionality it provides. The casing is brushed except for a small amount of almost-hidden finishing on the bezel knurling. The GMT Timer sticks to its roots as a tool watch by not requiring a lot of flashes to achieve its function. To avoid it feeling too utilitarian, Oris has included some personal touches.
Priced at CHF 2600/ INR 211105 approximately
3. Carl F. Bucherer Patravi TravelTec GMT
The TravelTec model by Carl F. Bucherer has been around for almost a decade in various variations. One of Carl F. Bucherer’s most popular models is the “Triple Time Zone” model, which features a triple time zone display. A modified ETA-2892 was used to show two time zones in Bucherer’s TravelGraph model. To meet the need for a watch with a third-time zone, the company set out to develop the caliber 1901, which debuted in 2005 in the TravelTec.
The TravelTec, as its name suggests, is a very technical travel watch. The timepiece upped the game in the GMT genre during its inception in 2005, with a movement capable of showing three time zones, paired with a chronograph. The multi-purpose steel watch continues to be a fan favorite to this day, some 14 years later. With a case size of 46.6mm, the TravelTec GMT is pretty substantial, evoking a timeless look that doesn’t appear to age. The watch employs the caliber CFB 1901.1 which offers it a power reserve of 42 hours.
4. Montblanc 1858 Geosphere
An homage to the symbolism of travel, the 1858 Geosphere is a salute to exploration, maps, and the art of depicting the globe in contrast to time. With its 42mm diameter and ceramic compass bezel, the 1858 Geosphere has a revolving hemisphere that depicts the world’s time zone configuration. While the 1858 Geospheres may be less useful than a regular GMT, it attempts to convey the romanticism of discovery through a fanciful and unusual appearance.
With red dots on two rotating globes, the world’s seven highest peaks are marked on the watch face and on the rear of the case. The Montblanc watchmakers in Villeret invented a unique manufacturing world-time complication: two domed globes rotating in opposite directions, each of which completes a full rotation in exactly 24 hours. Scales with 24 time zones and a day and night indicator in different hues adorn both. In this way, it is possible to recognize and appreciate the various time zones, which are supported by the application of SuperLumiNova® to the continents.
Priced at $6100/ INR 483672 approximately
5. TAG Heuer Autavia 60th Anniversary GMT Three Hands
To differentiate the Autavia collection from the Carrera and Monaco families, TAG Heuer coined the word “automobile” and “aviation” as a portmanteau. When it comes to chronographs, the Autavia is right up there with its more well-known siblings. TAG Heuer, on the other hand, introduced a GMT-equipped version of the Autavia in 2022 in commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the watch. Dial elements include a railroad track minutes circle and an orange GMT hand in a classic style on this sunray blue dial. The blue-to-black ceramic bezel has a 24-hour scale engraved on it.
The blue sunray brushed dial, which is protected by an anti-reflective sapphire crystal, is easily legible thanks to the Super-LumiNova hands and indexes. There’s a date display at 6 o’clock and a triangular arrow-tipped GMT hand that stands out for its orange color.
Powered by Calibre 7 COSC GMT movement, the Autavia GMT 3 Hands 60th Anniversary is certified by the Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute for its chronometric perfection. It has a 50-hour battery life thanks to its 4 Hz frequency of 28,800 vibrations per hour. The stainless-steel caseback is engraved with a propeller and tire as a tribute to the collection’s illustrious history.
Priced at CHF 4105 approximately/ INR 333303 approximately
There has been a significant increase in interest in GMT and travel-specific timepieces from both new releases and classic icons, making them the hottest complication for any manufacturer. A fantastic travel watch is both a practical instrument and an homage to personal independence that grabs the imagination. Which watch makes it to your best travel companion list?