20 Affordable GMT Watches for Budget-Conscious Travelers
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20 Affordable GMT Watches for Budget-Conscious Travelers

Of all the different types of complicated timepieces, watches with a GMT or second-time-zone function are among the most useful in everyday life, especially for those of us who travel frequently, do long-distance business in other parts of the world, or some combination of both. Until relatively recently, if you wanted such a watch with a traditional mechanical movement (as opposed to a digital or quartz option), you could expect to pay a fairly hefty price for it. Fortunately, a growing number of watch brands — large and small, well-established as well as plucky newcomers — have started to make GMT watches that are attainable for newer, less affluent aficionados while also being robustly built and thoughtfully designed. In this article, we spotlight 20 of these affordable GMT watches, in ascending order of MSRP, all of which fall under the $2,000 threshold. (If you’re interested in a broader look at the GMT watch category, and might be convinced to spend a bit, or a lot, more, check out our original list of the best GMT watches.)

Under $1,000:

Timex Q Timex GMT

Price: $229, Case Size: 38mm, Thickness: 12.5mm, Lug Width: 18mm, Crystal: Acrylic, Water Resistance: 50 meters, Movement: Quartz Analog

Always known for its value proposition, mass-market Timex has also gotten onto the radar of vintage-watch fans in recent years by reproducing some of its cult-favorite historical models, seeking out the sweet spot between historical flair, modest dimensions, and great pricing. Among the success stories is the colorful and sporty Q Timex, a modern reissue of a popular model from the 1970s, which also happens to be one of Timex’s first models with a quartz caliber. Among the elements that echo the original models are the bicolor GMT bezel, diver-style geometrical indexes on the dial, the integrated SST bracelet and even the battery case cover in the back, which enables the wearer to change his own battery with the simple turn of a coin edge.

Nodus Sector GMT

Nodus Sector GMT

Price: $475, Case Size: 38mm, Thickness: 12.25mm, Lug to Lug: 47mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 100 meters, Movement: Automatic Seiko TMI NH34

California-based microbrand Nodus takes its name from the Latin word signifying the intersection of pathways, and symbolizes its mission of merging the two worlds of vintage and modern design.The Sector GMT delivers on that promise with its modestly sized, brushed 38mm case and sector-style dial design that draws inspiration from military watches issued during the 1920s through the 1940s. The watch diverges from many other GMTs with its use of an inner 24-hour scale, within the main ring of radial Arabic hour numerals, to designate the second time zone rather than the more common 24-hour bezel. The outsourced Seiko movement inside the case has been heavily regulated by Nodus’ Irvine, California workshop and offers a 41-hour power reserve. 

Seiko 5 Sports GMT SSK001

Seiko 5 Sports GMT

Price: $475, Case Size: 42.5mm, Thickness: 13.4mm, Lug Width: 22mm, Crystal: Hardlex, Water Resistance: 100 meters, Movement: Automatic Seiko 4R34

Seiko introduced the first GMT complication to its entry-level, automatic Seiko 5 sports line in 2022, equipping the watches with the automatic Caliber 4R34. Available in three colorways for the dial and bezel — blue, orange, and the black version featured here — the watches have a central GMT hand in a contrasting color, used in coordination with the bicolor day/night bezels (here in black and gray), with rings made of Hardlex glass like the crystal, to indicate a second time zone. The GMT hand is coated in Seiko’s proprietary LumiBrite for nighttime legibility. Based on the design of the much-beloved SKX series of Seiko sports watches, the model has a five-link bracelet with polished middle rows.

Lorier Hydra SII GMT

Lorier Hydra GMT

Price: $599, Case Size: 41mm, Thickness: 12.2mm, Lug to Lug: 46mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Crystal: Hesalite, Water Resistance: 200 meters, Movement: Automatic Miyota 9075

Founded by the husband-wife team of Lorenzo and Lauren Ortega and based in New York City, Lorier is one of a handful of American microbrands (you’ll find others on this list) that have availed themselves of the revolutionary Japanese Miyota 9075 movement to power an automatic GMT watch at an eye-raising low price. The Hydra GMT is a 41mm steel watch with deep-diving capabilities as well as GMT functionality: it’s water-resistant to 200 meters and features both a unidirectional ratcheting dive-scale bezel and a 24-hour ring outside the hour track for indicating a second time zone. The Hydra is even highly legible in the dark, with blue-glowing Super-LumiNova used for the hands and indexes and green lume used for the 24-hour scale.

Traska Venturer

Traska Venturer GMT

Price: $695, Case Size: 38.5mm, Thickness: 10mm, Lug to Lug: 46mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 150 meters, Movement: Automatic Miyota 9075

Jon Mack founded Florida-based microbrand Traska after accidentally ruining one of his beloved vintage watches while wearing it in the water. The company is devoted to making watches that combine an authentic retro design language with a modern tool-watch build. The first Traska watch, the Freediver, paved the way for the brand’s first travel-focused watch, the Venturer, outfitted with the aforementioned Miyota GMT caliber. The Venturer has a field-watch-inspired dial and a vintage-appropriate 38.5mm steel case whose thin bezel frames a wide dial bordered by a 24-hour scale, A red-tipped central GMT hand points to the additional time zone while a second crown at 10 o’clock operates the rotation of the 24-hour ring. The case and bracelet finishing, with polished and chamfered surfaces, is impressive for the price point.

Vaer G5 Meridian Navy/Red

Vaer Meridian GMT

Price: $799, Case Size: 39mm, Thickness: 13.2mm, Lug to Lug: 48mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 200 meters, Movement: Automatic Miyota 9075

Vaer founders Ryan Torres and Reagan Cook pooled their collective life savings to start their own watch brand because “we couldn’t afford the watches we liked and didn’t like the ones we could afford.” Based in Venice, California, Vaer manufacturers all its watches in the U.S.A. and offers in them a variety of outsourced movements, including quartz, solar quartz, and the automatic inside the G5 Meridian Navy/Red, a watch that evokes the classically colorful charm of Rolex’s “Pepsi” GMT-Master at an eminently more attainable price. The 39mm case has a ceramic bicolor bezel; both the bezel and the dial are generously lumed, and the central GMT hand in bright red, which indicates a second time zone on the 24-hour scale, creates a contrast with the black dial.

Bulova Wilton GMT

Bulova Wilton GMT

Price: $875, Case Size: 43mm, Thickness: 12.7mm, Lug to Lug: 49.5mm, Lug Width: 22mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 30 meters, Movement: Automatic Miyota 9075

Over its long history, Bulova has become well-known for offering mechanical complications at very accessible prices, and the Classic Wilton GMT, which joined the collection in 2022, is no exception. Priced under a grand, the Wilton GMT is the rare example of a “true” GMT — i.e., one with an independently adjustable local hour hand — that just about any enthusiast can afford. The watch has a brushed steel case at 43mm; a dial in either white or blue, with applied Roman numerals matching the case tone, a date window at 3 o’clock, and a world-map textured pattern on its surface that adds to its value proposition. The central arrow-pointed GMT hand indicates a second time zone on the bicolor 24-hour scale on the dial’s flange. The automatic Japanese-made Miyota movement inside stores a 42-hour power reserve.

Tissot Chemin des Tourelles Powermatic 80 GMT

Tissot Chemin des Tourelles GMT

Price: $875, Case size: 42mm, Thickness: 12.5mm, Lug Width: 21mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 50 meters, Movement: Automatic Powermatic 80.661

True to its form, the Tissot brand offers one of the watch world’s most value-oriented mechanical GMTs on the market in its elegantly detailed Chemin des Tourelles family. The Powermatic 80 GMT comes in a 42mm steel case (including a gold-plated version) with a thin, polished bezel framing a wide dial bordered on its outer edge by a 24-hour numbered scale. The dial’s ring of applied hour indexes and Roman hour numerals is accented by a hobnail pattern, and the thin sword hands for the hour and minute are joined by both a sweep seconds hand and an arrow-pointed GMT hand that reveals a second time zone on the outermost 24-hour ring. This watch’s version of the Powermatic 80 caliber is derived from the ETA C07.111, enhanced with the extended power reserve and antimagnetic escapement.

Maen Hudson 38 GMT

Maen Hudson 38 GMT

Price: $906, Case Size: 38mm, Thickness: 10.5mm, Lug to Lug: 46mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 200 meters, Movement: Automatic Soprod C-125

Maen was founded in Stockholm, Sweden in 2018 after a successful Kickstarter campaign, starting off with a dive watch, the Hudson Automatic, and expanding the scope to the Skymaster 38, a vintage-style pilot chronograph, and more recently the Hudson 38 GMT, which adapts the flagship Hudson diver’s design to a dual-time-zone utility. The sandblasted dial is bordered by a flange bearing a 24-hour scale, which is itself framed by a rotating bezel with its own 24-hour scale in place of the 60-minute dive scale; with the aid of the red arrow-tipped GMT hand, the wearer can read three time zones simultaneously. Like all Maen watches, the Hudson 38 GMT is Swiss-made, with its modest 38mm steel case housing a self-winding Soprod movement and attached to a supple, meticulously finished steel bracelet.

Certina DS Action GMT

Certina DS Action GMT

Price: $995, Case Size: 43.1mm, Thickness: 12.6mm, Lug Width: 21mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 200 meters, Movement: Automatic Powermatic 80.661 

Certina is a watch brand much better known outside the U.S. than within its borders, but that is rapidly changing as the company, which is owned by the Swatch Group, has expanded its distribution and thus the profile of its Swiss-made, value-oriented line of timepieces — particularly the divers’ watches that have put it on the radar of enthusiasts over the years. The DS Action line is Certina’s entry-level range of divers, the “DS” denoting the case’s “Double Security” case structure, in which the watch’s movement is protected within an extra shock-absorbing rubber ring inside the main case and the watertight crown features a proprietary sealant system. The DS Action GMT models, equipped with Powermatic 80 automatic calibers, swap out the traditional 60-minute diver’s bezel for a 24-hour GMT scale and a central hand.

Baltic Aquascaphe GMT

Baltic Aquascaphe GMT

Price: 920 Euros, Case Size: 39mm, Thickness: 12mm, Lug to Lug: 47mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 100 meters, Movement: Automatic Soprod C125

Founded in France in 2017, Baltic has swiftly staked out its spot on the independent microbrand scene with its vintage-influenced collection, particularly the Aquascaphe, a retro divers’ watch heavily influenced by midcentury classics like Blancpain’s Bathyscaphe models. For the GMT version of the Aquascaphe, Baltic replaced the base model’s unidirectional bezel with 60-minute dive scale with a more travel-friendly, bidirectional (and bicolor) 24-hour bezel, which can be used in conjunction with a central arrow-tipped hand to read the time in a second time zone. The dive-watch DNA of the Aquascaphe series is clearly present, with the dial sporting geometric hour markers, plentiful lume on the markers and hands, and a 100-meter water resistance (half of the diving model’s 200-meter rating, but still substantial). Adding to the value proposition is Baltic’s use of a self-winding Soprod movement inside the brushed steel case.

Under $2,000:

Tissot Seastar 1000 Powermatic 80 GMT U.S. Limited Edition

Tissot Seastar 1000 GMT

Price: $1,275, Case Size: 46mm Case Height: 15.4mm, Lug to Lug: 51.2mm, Lug Width: 22mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 300 meters, Movement: Automatic Powermatic 80.661

Tissot's ruggedly attractive Seastar family of dive watches debuted in the 1960s and underwent a crowd-pleasing revamp in recent years, which included the enduringly popular models being fitted with ETA-based Powermatic 80 movements, named for their substantial 80-hour power reserve. Among the many iterations of the Seastar 1000 is this GMT-equipped model exclusive to the U.S. market, featuring an unusual green-and black-colorway and accompanying bright red central hand for its 24-hour GMT scale. Like all Seastars, it is a robustly built professional-grade dive watch, with a hefty, 46mm steel case rated to a punishing 300 meters (or 1,000 feet, hence the model’s name) of water resistance. The watch comes on a steel link bracelet, with strap options extra.

Mido Ocean Star GMT

Mido Ocean Star GMT

Price: $1,310, Case Size: 44mm Case Height: 13.28mm, Lug Width: 22mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 200 meters, Movement: Automatic Mido 80 (ETA C07.661 base)

Popular in Latin America but only vaguely familiar to many watch aficionados in the U.S., Mido has been making watches since 1918 and its nautically inspired Ocean Star line has been around since the 1940s, even before the era of the modern diver’s watch. The Ocean Star GMT, launched in 2020, is the family’s first dual-time-zone watch, with a sturdy steel case and ceramic divers’ bezel. The 24-hour scale that you might expect to find on the bezel is instead printed on the dial’s flange. A long, arrow-tipped hand points to the scale, enabling the wearer to read the time in additional time zones while the two main hands display the local time. The Powermatic 80 caliber inside the 44mm steel case has been equipped with an added module for the GMT functions.

Seiko Presage Sharp Edged GMT

Seiko Presage Sharp Edged GMTPrice: $1,400, Case Size: 42.2mm, Thickness: 13.7mm, Lug-to-Lug: 49.2mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Water Resistance: 100m, Crystal: Sapphire, Movement: Automatic Seiko Caliber 6R64

Seiko introduced the Sharp Edged family, whose members were distinguished by their intriguing textured dials, into its dressy, all-automatic Presage collection in 2020, adding GMT models to the original group of time-and-date watches a year later. At just over 42mm in diameter, the Presage Sharp Edged GMT sits comfortably on the wrist thanks to sloping lugs; the case’s finish combines polishing and brushing at a level rarely found at this price point. The GMT bezel that frames the dial is made of steel and coated with Seiko’s fade-resistant DiaShield coating. The dial itself is, of course, the star of the show, with its geometric “Asanoha” textured pattern, an ancient Japanese design motif inspired by hemp leaves. The dial colors also take inspiration from Japan’s natural world, like the “Aitetsu” model pictured, whose tone evokes indigo-colored iron ore.

Sinn 105 St Sa UTC

Sinn 105 St Sa UTC

Price: $1,400, Case Size: 41mm, Thickness: 11.9mm, Lug-to-Lug: 47.4mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Water Resistance: 200m, Crystal: Sapphire, Movement: Automatic Sellita SW330-1

German watchmaker Sinn is known for tough, purpose-built timepieces and developing its own in-house technologies and processes to produce them. The recently released, entry-level 105 series, which offers a clean, pared-down offshoot of the brand’s pilot-focused 104 series, incorporates several, including the proprietary Tegiment hard coating on the rotating 24-hour bezel. The bead-blasted steel case resists 200 meters of water pressure. The matte black dial has the signature pill-shaped hands and hour markers as well as a bright orange UTC hand to indicate a second time zone. The orange color is also used for the contrast stitching on the tough leather strap, which can be swapped out for an even tougher steel bracelet.

Christopher Ward C65 Aquitaine GMT

Christopher Ward Aquitaine GMT

Price: $1,425, Case Size: 41mm Case Height: 12.7mm, Lug to Lug: 46.68mm, Lug Width: 22mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 200 meters, Movement: Automatic Sellita SW330-2

U.K.-based Christopher Ward added a GMT to its Aquitaine dive watch collection, inspired by the original Blancpain Fifty Fathoms, in 2022. The 41mm steel case hosts a 24-hour GMT bezel, made of sapphire, that frames a clean, readable dial with sharp sword hands for the local hour and minute, a seconds hand with the telltale trident-shaped counterweight, a subtle 6 o’clock date window, and the signature element, a fourth center-mounted hand with a colorful triangle tip that indicates a second time zone. The C65 GMT still has the robustness of a dive watch — its case is water-resistant to 200 meters — and is powered by an automatic Swiss-made caliber, the Sellita SW 330-2, which beats at 28,800 vph behind an exhibition caseback.

Citizen Series 8 GMT

Citizen Series 8 GMT

Price: $1,695, Case Size: 41mm, Thickness: 13.5mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 100 meters, Movement: Automatic Citizen Caliber 9054

Citizen introduced the Series 8 collection in 2021, a series of watches equipped with in-house, mechanical automatic movements and targeting a more luxury-oriented segment of the market than many of the Japanese brand's Eco-Drive watches. The “8” represents the symbol for Infinity, hinting at the collection’s “infinite” possibilities. In 2023, the family welcomed its first model equipped with a GMT function. In addition to the classical bicolor 24-hour bezel and arrow-tipped GMT hand, the dial features a distinctive checkered pattern that takes its inspiration from the Tokyo skyline at night, with its grid of windows. The two-part steel case has an array of mirror-polished and brushed finishes and includes a transparent sapphire caseback to proudly display the movement, the self-winding Caliber 9054, boasting a power reserve of 50 hours and a daily accuracy of -10 to +20 seconds.

 Zodiac Super Sea Wolf GMT World Time Automatic

Zodiac Super Sea Wolf GMT World Time

Price: $1,795, Case Size: 40mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 200 meters, Movement: Automatic Soprod C-125

Zodiac’s Super Sea Wolf GMT World Time Automatic uses the same 200-meter water-resistant steel case, sturdy build, and vintage-influenced aesthetics of its siblings in the Super Sea Wolf collection, all tracing their lineage back to Zodiac’s historical dive watch from 1953. For this model, Zodiac has adapted the traditional diver’s bezel and the dial for world-time functionality. The bezel, in either rich red or deep black, is printed with the names of 24 world cities, enabling the wearer to use the GMT hand, in coordination with the 24-hour chapter ring surrounding the main dial, to track the time in any other time zone in the world. Zodiac first launched this simpler style of world-timer — different from a "true" world-time watch, in which the bezel rotates— in 1970. The watch is mounted on a sturdy three-link steel bracelet and contains an automatic Soprod movement.

Glycine Airman

Glycine Airman

Price: $1,895, Case Size: 44mm, Lug Width: 22mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 100 meters, Movement: Automatic Caliber GL293 (ETA 2893/Sellita SW330 base)

Glycine was founded in 1914 in Switzerland but its most famous watch didn’t make its debut until 1953: the aviation-styled Airman, which was worn by U.S. military pilots during the Vietnam War and featured the very first rotating 24-hour GMT bezel to track two time zones. (Rolex’s legendary GMT-Master, which debuted one year later, introduced the more common bicolor version of this innovative design.) The Airman (vintage model above, via Analog Shift) is still Glycine’s flagship collection and still offers quite the value proposition for a Swiss-made watch with an automatic GMT function. The dial is extra-legible, with wide luminous hands, large geometric indexes, an understated 3 o’clock date window, and 24-hour ring on the flange. The steel bezel of the 44mm case is engraved with the emblematic 24-hour scale of the Airman series, allowing for a view of multiple time zones. The Swiss-made automatic movement is visible behind a sapphire exhibition back.

Fomex Reef GMT Automatic Chronometer

Formex Reef GMT

Price: $1,900 - $2,310, Case Size: 42mm Case Height: 11.4mm, Lug to Lug: 47mm, Lug Width: 22mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 300 meters, Movement: Automatic Sellita 330-2 (COSC certified)

Founded in 1999 and based in Biel, Switzerland, independent brand Formex has drawn admiration for making durable and stylish watches at value-oriented prices. In 2022, Formex introduced the Reef GMT, which adds a dual-time function to the brand’s popular Reef dive watch by means of a central GMT hand and a 24-hour scale on the interchangeable bezel rather than the traditional 60-minute dive scale. The chronometer-certified movement inside the Reef GMT watches is the automatic Sellita SW330-2, with a 50-plus-hour power reserve and GMT capability. Formex’s attention to functional detail is evident throughout the model, specifically on the bezel, redesigned from the 120-click tooth profile of the divers’ version to accommodate the 48 clicks for a precise GMT setting. 

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Sean S.

Would love for you to take a look at the Nezumi Aviera. Has the miyota movement and fun design for under $600.

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