The GMT watch has been a staple of men’s fashion for decades. It has played a significant role in the industry for a long time, and it’s an engineering marvel.
The GMT watch is not so complicated that you can’t understand it or have to read a manual to know how it works. Instead, it is its simplicity and an ingenious design that has helped it maintain its status as a luxury style of watch for a long time.
What is GMT?
GMT is the signifier for “Greenwich Mean Time.” This is the time zone by which all other time zones are determined. Back in the late 1800s, an international convention was looking to decide what would be the “mean” or average time that they could compare other time zones to.
The committee decided they would use the time in Greenwich, London for this. In theory, around noon GMT is the time when the sun is at its highest point during the day.
Of course, it may be off by a few minutes here or there due to the way the earth orbits, but this is, in general, what you’ll find. At the time, people rarely transitioned between time zones, and if they did, it would take days, sometimes weeks, to get from one to another.
In a world where you can fly from London to Tokyo in a matter of hours, though, that has certainly changed. In the 1950s, Pan Am airlines approached Rolex, asking if they could create a watch that would help their pilots track multiple time zones as they flew from place to place.
What is a Swiss GMT Watch?
Put simply, the GMT watch is a watch that can track time across multiple time zones simultaneously. The watch was created specifically for those who traveled across time zones and needed a way to track the time wherever they went.
Depending on the specific watch, you can track one, two, or even three additional time zones. This feature is called a “complication,” which just means that it is an additional feature in the watch outside of standard timekeeping
Complications are common in a few different kinds of watches. For example, any watch that features a “chronograph” has at least one, and possibly more, complications. Each additional feature added to a mechanical watch requires extra work from a craftsman to keep everything inside the watch working as expected.
In some GMT watches, this complication is rather simple. In others, there are more complex systems in place to help it accomplish its goal.
How does a Swiss GMT watch work?
The way a GMT watch works is that there is an independent hour hand that moves half as fast as the standard hand. Originally, this hand would line up with a 24-hour clock made into the bezel of the watch. It would standardly be set to GMT, and you could just rotate the bezel to change the time zone.
Modern GMT watches are a little more sophisticated than this. Some work similarly, but they have an adjustable GMT hand that can be set separately from the local time wherever you are. Others link the GMT hand to the minute hand of the watch.
Both have their pros and cons, but they can be equally useful. Any watch that’s a GMT watch, regardless of exactly how it works, is invaluable to anyone who adventures or travels often.
How to style a Swiss GMT watch?
The GMT watch, known as the world timer and created through true craftsmanship, is not only popular because of its functionality, but also because of its style. Characterized by a large, bold bezel and a simplistic face design, GMT watches are instantly recognizable for anyone in the watch world.
That said, styling a GMT watch comes down the what specific watch you have. They come in all shapes, colors, and sizes, so there isn’t a specific way you would style on in the same way as something like a dress or diving watch.
Just keep general watch styling guidelines in mind. If you’re wearing gold rings or other jewelry, go with a gold watch. Also, match stainless steel with silver.
If you’re wearing a suit, you may want to step it up with something a little classier For business casual, leather watch bands and minimalist face design can go a long way.
How expensive are GMT watches?
One of the defining features of the best GMT watch for a long time was a steep price tag different from watch brands. On average, these watches will run you anywhere from $2,000 to six figures, depending on the watchmaker and style.
This creates a barrier to entry to those who want to own a luxury GMT watch, but can’t afford such a steep price tag. Fortunately, there are other options available.
In recent years, more and more watchmakers have begun to produce these types of watches at a much more affordable price point. Unfortunately, many accomplish this goal by lowering the quality of their parts.
In some cases, they may use a cheaper mechanical watch movement, or in others, you may see an acrylic watch face as opposed to glass or sapphire crystal. These are easy ways to get lower the costs of watch production, but they also degrade the quality of the watch.
If you’re looking for a true luxury timepiece Swiss GMT watch, make sure you’re getting something that is still high quality. Regardless if you prefer a black dial, blue dial, or dual time watch, we can all agree that if you want to be able to keep the watch for a long time, the movement, crystal, and other materials of the watch will determine just how long it will last.
At Jack Mason, we believe that a man’s watch speaks to the man he is, as well as the man that he is becoming. We also want to create a product that you can buy that will last you long enough to pass down to future generations.
Moreover, we believe that all of that is possible without the “designer” prices. That’s why we’ve launched our new Halyard GMT. Inspired by the pilots of the 1950s, this GMT complication watch captures what made the first GMT watches special, with twists for the modern man.
You’ll find a Swiss Ronda 505.24H movement, and a timeless, sapphire crystal face design with a red-and-blue bezel to signify day and night with the addition of a date window. It also has quick-release pins for the band, making it compatible with any 22mm Jack Mason watch strap.
The rotating bezel allows you to track time across not one, but also a second-time zone and third-time zone. That is three different time zones, and additionally, luminous markings on the face make it readable even on an overnight flight regardless of your ETA.
Most importantly, this limited edition Swiss GMT watch is priced at only $359, which is less than 10 percent of what most designer brands would charge you. We use the same high-quality materials, and you can trust that the watch is going to last.
We believe in our watch quality so much that we offer a lifetime guarantee should anything ever happen to your GMT watch. If you’ve been looking to pick up one of these classic watches but didn’t want to fork out thousands of dollars, the Halyard GMT may be the watch you’ve been looking for.
Other watch styles you should know about
If the GMT watch isn’t for you, there are plenty of other watch styles out there. Each has its own time and place, but they are all staples of the watch industry.
The field watch is a classic for adventurers and watch enthusiasts alike. Field watches are rugged and durable, meant to be taken with you wherever you go.
That said, they also make for great casual watches, even if you aren’t trying to go out on some grand adventure. Nylon or leather straps paired with plain, no-fuss faces make for an excellent daily driver.
The diving watch is another great style of watch that typically comes in a stainless steel case. These are characterized primarily by their water-resistant make including the case back. Made famous by James Bond in the first 007 films, the dive watch is a classic silhouette in men’s fashion.
Unlike the GMT watch, this is a watch that has a specific visual style associated with it. You’ll find large faces and either rubber or metal bands to keep the water resistance feature guaranteed and safe from diving pressure.
Although not technically a “style” of watches, the automatic movement style has been a staple among luxury watches for decades. There are three different styles of automatic watch movements: quartz, manual, and automatic.
In quartz movement watches, a battery or power reserve powers a small vibrating quartz crystal that helps it keep time. In a manual watch, you have to keep the crown wound every day when you wear it to give the watch the power it needs to keep time.
With an automatic, though, it harnesses the kinetic energy from your swinging wrist as you walk to keep the mainspring inside the watch wound. It is a beautiful piece of engineering, and a good automatic watch is an impressive sight to behold.