You live in LA, but are currently traveling in France. What time is it back home? Can you call now or will you wake up the family from a deep sleep? With a GMT watch, both your home time and travel time are displayed on the dial of the watch, making adding or subtracting hours in your head a thing of the past.
GMT watches grace the wrists of many high-flying celebrities. When he’s not saving the world from a super villain in a James Bond movie wearing an Omega, Daniel Craig has been spotted wearing a Rolex “Pepsi” GMT Master. The actor, who has filmed in countries across the globe, could certainly benefit from knowing what time it is back home. Eagle-eyed fans have photographed Mad Men star Jon Hamm wearing an Omega GMT Seamaster, a version of which first appeared in the Bond movie GoldenEye on Pierce Brosnan’s wrist. GMT watches can keep you grounded while on the road, and telling the time is easy at a glance. You’ll find the GMT function in many men’s “tool” watches, including ones by Rolex, Breitling, and Montblanc. Women’s GMT watches include the iconic Chanel J12 collection and Ulysse Nardin’s Executive Lady line.
So what is GMT, anyway? GMT is the acronym for Greenwich Mean Time, which refers to the mean solar time at Britain’s Royal Observatory, generally accepted as zero degrees longitude. Starting in 1847, Greenwich Mean Time expressed in 24 hours was adopted by the British railways to establish a nation-wide time standard. Fast forward a few decades, and airline pilot’s navigational systems are all on GMT – eliminating confusion between AM and PM.
How GMT Works
So how does the GMT work on your watch? Let’s look at a few examples.
Rolex Explorer II Watch, $4,395; Rolex GMT II Watch, $4,995; Rolex Explorer II Watch, $5,495
The Rolex GMT Master has a rotating bezel with hour markers from 1-24. The time on the dial is set to the person’s local time, and then the third hand is set to the away time or second time zone, expressed in 24 hours. For example, 2PM is 14, while 7AM is 7.
Blancpain GMT Diver’s Watch, $3,995; Panerai Luminor GMT Watch, $5,125; Breitling Duograph Watch, $2,295
Blancpain’s GMT Diver operates the same way, with its bezel marked with the 24-hour scale and a third pointer hand. It’s also water-resistant to 300 meters, making it a great diving watch. Aviation watch brand Breitling’s Duograph also has a third hand for the hours, but the 24-hour markers are located on the outer ring of the dial itself, with its bezel incorporating a tachymeter scale. Panerai’s Luminor GMT watch also features the 24-hour scale in its dial, with a smooth bezel and a crown guard. The brand’s signature hinged crown guard is a staple of the Luminor line.
Women’s GMT Watches
The GMT is not for men only – ladies watches get in the act too.
Ulysse Nardin Dual Time Watch, $2,295; Chanel J12 GMT Watch, $2,395; Cartier Pasha C GMT Watch, $1,356;
The Ulysse Nardin Executive Lady watches show the 24-hour second timezone in a discreet aperture on the dial. Diamonds and a mother-of-pearl dial serve to enhance the femininity of the watch. Chanel’s J12 GMT has a third pointer hand and 24-hour marked bezel. The watches are generally larger that traditional women’s watches for a bold, strong look. The Cartier Pasha C GMT also features a 24-hour bezel and third pointer hand, as well as a second hand. Its automatic movement enhances its appeal to watch collectors.
Add a jet set-ready watch to your collection with our selection of GMT watches here — each piece is inspected for quality and authenticity by our in-house experts.