Editor’s note: Travel is the unofficial national sport of Australians, which makes sense given our geographic remoteness. So we thought we’d do our bit by having another look at this list of best in budget GMTs, all in the very achievable $5000 or less price point.
One of the most useful everyday complications is the GMT or dual time zone. If you travel a lot or do business internationally it’s certainly a lot easier to check your GMT than to fiddle with your phone, trying to find the world clock app. Given the usefulness of this complication to the jet set, it’s also a genre dominated by pilot’s style watches, and for whatever reason, it’s a little under represented in the entry-to-mid-tier price points. Well, all you thrifty frequent flyers can rest easy, as we’ve scouted out five of the finest affordable GMTs on the market, all priced at well under 5K. We also managed to do it without including a single ‘homage’ to the mighty GMT-Master.
Farer Lander, Oxley and Ponting
First cab off the rank is the brand new trio of automatic GMTs from UK-based Farer. Farer first came to our attention because of their bright and playful mid-century styled dials, and these newly announced automatic GMTs are no exception. There’s the blue-dialled Lander, the surprisingly colourful black-dialled Oxley and – my personal pick – the white, blue and orange Ponting. All are powered by an ETA 2893-2 and are well-sized at 39.5mm. Aside from the cheery colour, I like that these watches don’t fit neatly into any established style, avoiding the obvious dress/military tropes. RRP 1175 GBP
Ball Engineer Master II Pilot GMT
Next up we’ve got a typically rugged option from Ball, the Engineer Master II Pilot GMT. Not only does it offer you a modern take on the classic pilot’s aesthetic, an interesting dial texture and the ever-useful GMT option, but you also get a liberal amount of Ball’s trademark micro-gas tubes, ensuring you’ll be lumed up all night long. RRP $2999
Oris ProPilot GMT Small Second
The latest ProPilot from Oris offers a surprisingly dressy take on aviation style, thanks to that grey sunburst dial and nice coin-edge bezel detail. But it’s also 45mm across, so it’s no slouch on the wrist. The GMT is quite subtle on this watch – a quick glance and you could easily mistake it for a seconds hand. As with all of Oris’ watches, the build quality on this ProPilot is top-notch. RRP $3250
Sinn 856 S UTC
Yep, it’s another pilot’s style GMT, this time from Sinn. Any list of accessible GMTs (I’d even go so far as to say any list of accessible watches full stop) should probably include Sinn, as the German watch brand’s quality is legendary. The dual time complication is a natural fit for their Spartan flieger aesthetic, and this blacked-out version is particularly striking. It’s well-sized, too – 40mm across and a comparatively slim 11mm high. RRP $3460
Glycine Airman SS12
Nicknamed the ‘Pumpkin’, for obvious reasons, this Glycine Airman is a reissue of a vintage model named after the Boeing SuperSonic Transport, a plane that never quite made it to production after it was canned in 1971. As you can see, the bold colour and cushion case style of this airman is era-appropriate, and makes a nice alternative to more straight-laced pilot’s style GMTs. RRP $2640 USD