“As I demonstrated with this list, there are a lot of good GMT watches out there, that can be bought for $3,000 or even less, in the year 2021.”
Best GMT Watches Under $3,000
- Monta Skyquest GMT
- Oris Aquis GMT Date
- Oris Aquis Carysfort Reef Limited Edition
- Mühle-Glashütte Seebataillon GMT
- Muehle-Glashütte Teutonia II Worldtimer
- Montblanc Heritage GMT
- Bell & Ross BR V2-93 GMT
- Tag Heuer Aqua Racer
- Ball Roadmaster Marine GMT
In honor of the world slowly opening up again, I decided that it is time to feature some cool watches with a GMT complication to have some valuable options when your next trip is coming up. But before we define what a GMT watch actually is and does, let’s take a closer look at the “GMT” in the name, and what exactly that means. Because honestly, I didn’t know for a long time myself. Therefore, I want to pass on this knowledge to you, with the help of the guys over at Bucherer. Ready?
“GMT” stands for Greenwich Mean Time and is actually an outdated way of defining time, compared to the modern UTC (Coordinated Universal Time). Though the two are often the same. GMT is the “zero hour” of a system, that allows one to know the time anywhere in the world by adding or subtracting time from it. Move east from Great Britain and each new time zone adds + 1 to GMT. Move west and you take away -1 from GMT. The idea of a GMT watch is to offer two things: a hand that is always synched to GMT time, so that the time all over the world can be identified, and normal hands for local time. So, in short, the Greenwich Mean Time, GMT for short, was created to establish uniform time zones worldwide, making it easier to determine the current time anywhere on the surface of this planet.
So, now that you know what GMT stands for, what exactly is a GMT watch then? And who would use a GMT watch? In simple terms, a GMT watch is a timepiece with a 24-hour format hand that indicates a second-time zone and the other hands. This complication is frequently used by people that use the GMT hands to indicate the time in another time zone, for example, if they travel frequently or have an international business to take care of and want to know in a blink of an eye, what time it is in the country the work with. This is especially important if you plan to make some calls and don’t want to disturb your boss in the middle of the night, just because you forgot that the person is sleeping peacefully in Los Angeles, while you are sipping on your 9 am coffee in London.
So, whether you enjoy wearing a GMT watch for actual work or just want to know what time it is in the Fiji Islands to accompany your daydreaming, I got you. I’ve rounded up ten of my favorite GMT watches on this list, of the best GMT watches that can be bought for $3,000 or less. That being said, there are a few exceptions in this list, due to GMT watches generally being more complicated to make, therefore having a bigger price tag. But I kept the budget pretty tight and only allowed for minor exceedances. And as always, I’m trying to include some not-so-well-known brands as well, so that even the most knowledgeable enthusiast will still get to see something new. But enough with all the talking, let’s get started!
Monta Skyquest GMT ($2,190)
First up, is the Monta Skyquest. Monta is a fairly new microbrand, that came into the picture back in 2016 when they launched their first Oceanking model. Over the past 5 years, the US-based watch company managed to gain respect from a lot of watch enthusiasts and journalists worldwide and released quite a diverse lineup of different watches and complications. And one of them is the Monta Skyquest.
The Monta Skyquest features a stainless-steel case, which measures 40mm in diameter, 11.9mm in thickness, and 49mm from lug to lug. Complementing the brushed case is the black lacquered dial, which features applied hour indexes, a multidimensional 24-hour GMT rehaut (a rehaut is the inner bezel ring of a watch that surrounds the dial), an independent GMT hand with a vibrant red tip, as well as a date window just above the 6 o’clock position. Hugging the dial is a black ceramic bezel, which features a luminous 24-hour GMT scale on it.
Inside of the case beats the self-winding MONTA Caliber M-23 movement, which is based on the ETA 2893-2/Sellita SW330-1, and was manufactured, assembled, and tested in Switzerland. It provides around 42 hours of power reserve.
To sum it up, if you are looking for a great-looking GMT watch, that is nicely sized, features a reliable mechanical movement, looks great, and you have $2,190 to spend, this watch will be perfect for you.
Specifications: Price: $2,190, Case Size: 40mm, Thickness: 11.9mm, Lug-to-Lug: 49mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Water Resistance: 304m, Movement: Self-winding MONTA Caliber M-23 movement, Power Reserve: 42 hours, Crystal: Sapphire
Oris Aquis GMT Date ($2,800)
Coming up next is an awesome GMT watch from the Swiss manufacturer Oris. The Oris Aquis GMT Date, a watch that was inspired by the contemporary era of watchmaking and is the result of extensive research and effort that was put into it.
The Oris Aquis GMT Date features a brushed and polished stainless-steel case, which measures 43.5mm in diameter, and 12.6mm in thickness, making it wear quite hefty on slimmer wrists. But why focus only on the case when the dial looks that stunning. The sunburst, deep blue dial, features a two-tone inner 24-hour ring, polished stainless-steel hands, an independent GMT hand that, on its tip, is coated in vibrant orange color, as well as a date window on 3 o’clock. The black ceramic bezel which hugs the dial, again, features 24-hour GMT markers, but can also be used as your normal unidirectional diver bezel. To be fair, it wouldn’t be a dive watch without it. And for those of you that are asking themselves why Oris equipped this watch with two 24-hour GMT scales, the reason behind this is that even if you are turning on the outer dive bezel, you will still be able to tell the 24-hour time correctly.
The Oris Aquis GMT Date is powered by the Oris 798 movement, which is based on the Sellita 330-1, which beats at 28,800 BPH and provides approximately 42 hours of power reserve.
If you are in the market for a very cool dive watch, but still want to have that jetsetter feeling, this watch is perfect for you. And considering its built quality and all of the specs, the $2,800 price tag, seems quite reasonable.
Specifications: Price: $2,800, Case Size: 43.5mm, Thickness: 12.6mm, Lug-to-Lug: 50mm, Lug Width: 24mm, Water Resistance: 300m, Movement: Automatic Oris 798 movement, Power Reserve: 42 hours, Crystal: Sapphire
Oris Aquis Carysfort Reef Limited Edition ($2,800)
And since we had so much fun the last time, here is another Oris watch. The Oris Aquis Carysfort Reef. And while this and the last Oris watch on this list, look actually quite similar, are featured in the same collection, and have sort of the same name, there is a very good reason why I’ve chosen to include this particular version of the Oris Aquis into this list. Actually, there are two. First, the looks. I love the stunning light blue dial in combination with the vibrant orange rubber strap, it’s something very refreshing and a perfect summer watch. And second, the more important point of both, this limited-edition watch was produced by Oris in collaboration with the Coral Restoration Foundation, in order to fund projects that conserve the ocean and the beautiful coral reefs.
The Oris Aquis Carysfort Reef Limited Edition features practically the same polished stainless-steel case as the previous Oris Aquis Date GMT; hence they also share the same case measurements, which are 43.5mm in diameter, 12.6mm in thickness, and 50mm from lug to lug. Due to its measurements, this watch will also wear quite heavy, but if you decide to buy it on the orange rubber strap that I’ve mentioned before, you will probably take away some of its overall heft, and make it more comfortable to wear, especially in the summer. But let’s not only focus on the case, let’s take a look at that gorgeous dial. The sunburst light blue dial features a two-tone inner 24-hour ring, polished stainless-steel hands, an independent GMT hand that, on its tip, is coated in vibrant orange color, as well as a date window on 3 o’clock. I have to say that Oris did a fantastic job at capturing the essence and the beautiful color of the ocean on that dial. It offers a lot more depth and contrast, and immediately reminds me of my last holidays in Costa Rica, where I got to enjoy the light-blue colored ocean. But enough wallowing in the past, let’s get back to our watch. Complementing the dial perfectly is the unidirectional, two-tone, 24-hour GMT bezel, which is made from pure ceramic and gives the watch this glossy-ceramic vibe. If you ever saw a newer generation Rolex Submariner or GMT Master II, you will know what I mean by that.
The Oris Aquis Carysfort Reef Limited Edition is powered by the Oris 798 movement, which is based on the Sellita 330-1, beats at 28,800 BPH, and provides approximately 42 hours of power reserve.
Specifications: Price: $2,800, Case Size: 43.5mm, Thickness: 12.6mm, Lug-to-Lug: 50mm, Lug Width: 24mm, Water Resistance: 300m, Movement: Automatic Oris 798 movement, Power Reserve: 42 hours, Crystal: Sapphire
Mühle-Glashütte Seebataillon GMT ($3,000)
Moving on with the Mühle Glashütte Seebataillon GMT. Introduced back in 2013, the Seebataillon GMT was created to serve the German navy soldiers that are deployed in Germany, as well as off the coast of Africa, or in the Middle East. This watch was designed to withstand big shock, guarantee an accurate time display day and night, and combine the best wearing comfort with optimal functionality.
It all started with Robert Mühle, who was born under the name of George Albert Mühle in Lauenstein, a town located a few kilometers away from Glashütte, on 28th June 1841. He assumed the name Robert at a later point in time, probably after the early death of his first wife and their son Robert. George Albert Mühle aka Robert Mühle completed an apprenticeship as a precision toolmaker with the watch manufacturer Moritz Grossmann. He then went on to keep working for Moritz Grossmann, but soon decided that this wasn’t enough for him anymore. So, in 1869, while still being employed at Moritz Grossmann, he established his own company in Glashütte and began to work on his own projects on the 22nd of April 1869. His small workshop grew and eventually, developed into the only manufacturer of measuring instruments for the watchmaking companies based in Glashütte and for the German School of Watchmaking. In the next century, the company had to endure two nationalizations, in which their company got forcefully merged with another, and a lot of other hurdles. But the company came out strong, and in 1996, they produced their first complete wristwatch, which had the name Mühle-Glashütte written on it. And all of these century-long up and downs, ultimately resulted in the release of a bunch of awesome watches, like the Mühle-Glashütte Seebataillon GMT.
The Mühle Glashütte Seebataillon GMT features a titanium grade case, which measures 45mm in diameter, 12.7mm in thickness, and 53mm from lug to lug. And while these proportions are massive, please keep in mind that this watch was primarily designed and created to serve the German military, and not to wear with a suit and tie. The matte blue dial of the watch features a combination of diver typical components like the luminous markers and hands, and GMT tools, like the inner 24-hour GMT ring, as well as the independent GMT hand. The navy-blue bidirectional bezel and the sapphire crystal round off this watch.
At the heart of this heavy-duty nautical GMT watch, lies an automatic Sellita SW330-1 movement, which was modified by Mühle and provides around 42 hours of power reserve.
If you have $3,000 to spend and aren’t deterred by its 45mm case, then this watch is a good choice for military-interested watch enthusiasts, that are on the lookout for a nautical GMT watch.
Specifications: Price: $3,000, Case Size: 45mm, Thickness: 12.7mm, Lug-to-Lug: 53mm, Lug Width: 22mm, Water Resistance: 300m, Movement: Automatic Sellita SW330-1 movement, Power Reserve: 42 hours, Crystal: Sapphire
Mühle-Glashütte Teutonia II Worldtimer (2,400 euro, approx. $2,800)
The next GMT watch on this list is also coming from Mühle and their fantastic manufacture. I’m talking about the Mühle-Glashütte Teutonia II Worldtimer. And compared to the last one we had from Mühle-Glashütte, this watch couldn’t be more different. As its name suggests, the Teutonia II Worldtimer does have a worldtimer complication on top of the GMT functionality. Inspired by George Francis’s “in 80 days around the world” adventure back in 1870, the Teutonia II combines classic design with modern watchmaking techniques.
The Mühle-Glashütte Teutonia II Worldtimer features a beautifully polished stainless-steel case, which measures 41mm in diameter and 13mm in thickness. Compared to our last contender from Mühle-Glashütte, the 41mm case of the Teutonia II seems rather small and even understated. But if you compare it to other worldtimer watches from the likes of Christopher Ward, Frederique Constant, and Montblanc, you will see that this watch fits into the worldtimer category quite perfectly. But as nice as the case may be, the real star of the show is the dial. The stunning, midnight blue dial features an outer 24-city ring, that can be rotated with the help of the second crown, a 24-hour GMT inner ring, a date window on 3 o’clock, as well as a set of carefully polished and shaped hands. And to ensure that nothing is going to happen to that handsome dial, Mühle topped the watch off with a non-reflective sapphire crystal.
The watch is powered by a modified, self-winding Sellita SW330-1 movement, which provides around 42 hours of power reserve.
I must admit that I’m very happy that I’ve discovered this brand and this particular watch. Also, I’m really surprised that the Mühle-Glashütte Teutonia II Worldtimer is rarely mentioned when people talk about great worldtimer and GMT watches under $3,000 because, for the price you have to pay, this watch offers a lot of bang.
Specifications: Price: 2,400 euro (approx. $2,800), Case Size: 41mm, Thickness: 13mm, Lug-to-Lug: n/a, Lug Width: 20mm, Water Resistance: 100m, Movement: Automatic Sellita SW330-1 movement, Power Reserve: 42 hours, Crystal: Sapphire
Montblanc Heritage GMT ($3,000)
Coming up next is one of my favorite dress GMT watches. Introducing the Montblanc Heritage GMT. Inspired by historical Minerva classic wristwatches from the 1940s and 1950s, the Montblanc Heritage GMT combines the elegance of the watchmaking’s past with today’s watch manufacturing technologies.
The Montblanc Heritage GMT features a polished stainless-steel case, which measures 40mm in diameter and 11.8mm in thickness. Thanks to the reasonably sized case and the slim profile, the Montblanc Heritage GMT will wear quite nicely on a wide array of different wrist sizes, which is something that I’m always thankful for. As mentioned earlier, thanks to the modest case proportions and the beautiful aesthetics, this watch can easily be considered to be a dress watch and makes for a great timepiece when wearing more formal attire. Adding to that overall dressy look and feel is the salmon-colored dial, which features a blue painted 24-hour GMT scale on the outside, black rhodium-coated Arabic numerals, and indexes, luminous dauphine hands, as well as a subtle blue independent 24-hour GMT hand. As the seasoned reader of this blog surely knows, I’m a big fan of salmon-colored dials. I love the color and I love this extra level of excitement it brings into almost every salmon-colored watch I’ve seen to this day. Fun fact, I love to eat salmon, so maybe it has something to do with that…
Jokes aside, let’s take a look at what’s inside this gorgeous piece. At the heart of the Montblanc Heritage GMT lies the automatic MB 24.05 movement, which is fabricated out of 74 different parts, and provides around 42 hours of power reserve.
Priced at $3,000, this Montblanc watch with a GMT complication offers a great design, great finishing quality, and a great movement. What could you want more from any wristwatch?
Specifications: Price: $3,000, Case Size: 40mm, Thickness: 11.8mm, Lug-to-Lug: n/a, Lug Width: 20mm, Water Resistance: 50m, Movement: Automatic MB 24.05 movement, Power Reserve: 42 hours, Crystal: Sapphire
Bell & Ross BR V2-93 GMT ($3,000, pre-owned)
Next up is the BR V2-93 GMT from Bell & Ross. The watch was launched back in mid-2018 and belongs to their vintage-inspired collection. For the BR V2-93 GMT, Bell & Ross used a very simple but efficient recipe, in order to maximize profits and significantly reduce development time. They took an existing model, added a central 24-hour hand to create a GMT functionality, added a splash of color to make it stand out, and replaced the 60-minute scale on the bezel with a GMT-typical, two-tone 24-hour scale, to create an adjustable time zone indicator. And that’s it. It can be this simple, yet this effective.
The watch features a brushed stainless-steel case, which measures 41mm in diameter, 12.4mm in thickness, and 47.7mm from lug to lug. The case proportions are something you would expect from a sporty watch, that was manufactured by a brand that is known to mainly produce aviator and sports watches. The black dial features luminous painted Arabic numerals and indexes, Bell & Ross typical hour, minute, and second hands, as well as a vibrant orange-tipped independent GMT hand, that brings in some desperately needed color to the otherwise monochrome dial. Hugging that dial is a bi-directional, grey and black bezel, which is made from aluminum, and rounds off the watch’s aesthetics perfectly.
The watch is powered by the self-winding, in-house, caliber BR-CAL.303 movement, which can be seen through its open caseback.
And while this watch will cost you around $3,500 when buying a brand new, there are a lot of pre-owned models on Chrono24, that can be bought for $3,000 or even less. At this price point, there is no denying that this watch will offer a lot of bang for your buck.
Specifications: Price: $3,000 (pre-owned), Case Size: 41mm, Thickness: 12.4mm, Lug-to-Lug: 47.7mm, Lug Width: 22mm, Water Resistance: 100m, Movement: Automatic caliber BR-CAL.303 movement, Power Reserve: 42 Hours, Crystal: Sapphire
Tag Heuer Aqua Racer ($3,050)
Next up is the Tag Heuer Aquaracer, which can’t simply be put in one corner when it comes to determining what kind of watch we are dealing with here. The GMT hand and the blue/red GMT bezel make it perfect for globetrotters and jetsetters, while the overall case size and looks in combination with the 300 meters of water resistance would hint that it belongs to the dive category. And to make things even more complicated, when we look at the heritage of Tag Heuer, we can see a clear influence of racing and motorsports. And you know what? It is a combination of all of those. And to make this clear, Tag Heuer states on their website the following:
The blue and red bezel stands out in every context – casual, travel, office, or the ocean depths.
There you have it, the Tag Heuer Aquaracer can do it all. But let’s dive a little bit more into the specs of the watch, shall we?. The Aquaracer is powered by the automatic, in-house caliber 7, which features an hour, minute, seconds, date, and GMT functionality, making this watch very well-rounded. The Swiss-made automatic movement is housed inside a 43mm case, which has a screw-down crown and is water-resistant up to 300 meters. To be honest, the 43mm case in combination with the 50mm lug to lug distance, make this watch quite hefty to wear and wouldn’t be my first choice when it comes to someone with slimmer wrists, like me. But other than that, the watch offers a lot of quality for a price of $3,050 and is certainly worth your time.
Specifications: Price: $3,050, Case Size: 43mm, Thickness: 13mm, Lug-to-Lug: 50mm, Lug Width: 21mm, Water Resistance: 300m, Movement: Automatic, in-house caliber 7 movement, Power Reserve: 46 hours, Crystal: Sapphire
Ball Roadmaster Marine GMT ($3,099)
And last but not least, let me introduce you to the Ball Roadmaster Marine GMT. Founded back in 1891, Ball is one of the most respected and established watch brands in the United States. The first Ball watch, the Engineer, was designed and created for train conductors to tell the time very accurately, in order to prevent future catastrophic train accidents. And ever since its launch, Ball never really lost touch with their roots, and to this day, continue to produce very accurate timepieces, that are inspired by the past era of trains and railroads. And I think this is what has allowed them to gain the reputation and respect they enjoy today within the watch community.
And while the Ball Roadmaster Marine GMT certainly uses those same design principles, it brings two other exciting components to the game. The capability to measure multiple time zones at once (GMT), and the maritime influence, which can be seen in its name and the 200 meters of water resistance this watch brings with it. The watch features a titanium case, which measures 40mm in diameter, 14mm in thickness, and 47.8mm from lug to lug. Complementing the rugged case is a Ball-typical black dial, which features a 24-hour scale on the rehaut, hour, minute, and GMT hands that feature 28 of the iconic micro gas tubes, as well as a day and date window at 3 o’clock. Hugging the dial is a two-tone, batman-style, bi-directional rotating ceramic bezel, which also features a 24-hour GMT scale on it. The whole package then is topped off by a sapphire crystal, making it resistant to scratches and bumps.
Inside of the case beats the COSC-certified, Swiss-made, automatic caliber BALL RR1203-C movement, which has a magnetic resistance of up to 4,800A/m, and provides approximately 38 hours of power reserve.
Admittedly, I went $99 over budget, but I think that this limited-edition Ball Roadmaster Marine GMT, is certainly worth your time, and even worth going slightly over budget.
Specifications: Price: $3,090, Case Size: 40mm, Thickness: 14mm, Lug-to-Lug: 47.8mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Water Resistance: 200m, Movement: Automatic COSC-certified Swiss-made caliber BALL RR1203-C movement, Power Reserve: 38 hours, Crystal: Sapphire
As I demonstrated with this list, there are a lot of GMT watches out there, that can be bought for $3,000 or even less, in the year 2021. So, for those of you that want to have a more affordable companion for one of your next travel journeys, hopefully, you now have some inspiration and ideas, in which direction your future research will go. Oh, and by the way, if you are interested in more affordable GMT watches that won’t cost you more than $1,000, I made a complete list of the best GMT watches under $1,000. Would appreciate it if you could go and check it out.