Apart from offering quite distinctive looks, GMT watches do possess some unique and versatile qualities. Quite clearly, the most sought-after is the ability to accurately indicate a second time zone.
The release of the first GMT watch dates back to 1953 when a timepiece named Airpaw was released by a little-known brand, Glycine, back in 1953. It wasn’t long after the debut timepiece that Rolex stole the march with the GMT Master. Since that iconic release, the watch industry has been flooded with timepieces tracking two time zones at once, making us spoilt for choice.
Because of the unique feature, GMT models aren’t the cheapest. But the good news is, a budget of up to $1000 will provide you with lots of options. In this article, we have prepared a list of the 7 best GMT watches under 1000 bucks.
GMT watches you will find below come from 7 different brands, each one being an expert when it comes to timepieces with a dual time zone.
First, we will look at 5 models – all chosen because of their unique characteristics. If none of them caters to your taste, further down the article you will find two additional watches that can do an equally good job.
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Best GMT Watches Under 1000 (Top 5 Overview)
⚠️ PLEASE NOTE: At the time of writing the article, all watches included on the list were available for $999 or less. Watch prices sometimes change. If you’ve noticed that one of the watches goes beyond $1,000 – I’d appreciate you letting me know so I can adjust it.
GMT Watch Under $1000 (Top 5 Reviewed)
Citizen has long been known as an excellent provider of GMT watches that won’t necessarily break the bank. The BJ7128-59E model from the Promaster Diver collection is one of the most popular choices when it comes to the Greenwich Mean Time feature.
On top of being able to indicate a second time zone, this watch, as the name of the collection suggests, is also a superb choice for diving enthusiasts. With an impressive 200m water resistance, the timepiece was primarily designed for scuba divers. It’s just as popular a choice for those looking for a reliable GMT timepiece, though.
The model comes with a 44mm stainless steel case with an ion-plated black, unidirectional bezel. Next to the main bezel, we have Pepsi-themed index markers that function as the GMT dial. The red-and-white hand is responsible for telling the time in the second zone of your choice. Naturally, all watch hands are luminous. Additionally, there’s a date window at 3 o’clock.
The dial window is made from anti-reflective sapphire crystal, one of the most scratch-resistant materials out there. When we combined that with a stainless steel bracelet, we get a really rugged GMT timepiece.
The watch is powered by Citizen’s solar Eco-Drive technology and uses the Japanese quartz movement, ensuring on-point precision every month.
Feel free to learn more about the brand by reading my Citizen watches review.
Versace might primarily be known for their premium clothing line but if we dig deeper into their offer, we can unearth some gems like the beautiful GMT model you see here.
Versace V11040015, belonging to the GMT-only Hellenyum GMT collection, is already the second watch on the list that uses a Swiss quartz movement. Ronda 515, because that’s the specific caliber we are talking about here, offers excellent accuracy and can last long years without servicing.
The timepiece comes with a slightly smaller face than the two GMT models above. The diameter of the stainless steel case is 42mm, and it includes a comment-worthy gold bezel with the GMT function. The watch comes with 4 luminous hands, with the shortest red one indicating the time in the second zone of your choice. There’s a date indicator at 3 o’clock, and the distinguishable Versace logo at noon o’clock.
The durability of this Versace GMT model is ensured by a stainless steel strap and an anti-reflective sapphire crystal glass. Unlike the previous two products on the list, it’s not a diver’s watch. In this case, the water resistance is rated at 5ATM/50m. It’s still absolutely fine to wear in the shower or while swimming but scuba diving would be definitely asking too much of it.
Learn more about the brand by reading our Versace watches review.
Last but not least, closing the list of best GMT watches under 1000 bucks is this eye-catching watch from JBW. The Indian company has been an expert in the diamond timepieces field for over a decade now. With their genuine diamonds sprinkled across all watches, they’ve gained a lot of popularity overseas in the last 5 years.
JBW J6370 belongs to the Jet Setter collection. At the time of writing, it consists of 20 watch models, 4 of them offering the GMT function. Like any other watch offered by the brand, it uses an accurate Swiss quartz movement.
This JBW GMT watch comes with an oversized, diamond-accented stainless steel case that measures 46mm in diameter. The case is particularly rich in diamonds, with as many as 100 genuine stones decorating it. The dial features a GMT hand that tracks time in one of 12 popular cities in the world, listed between the bezel and the hour markers. All hands are luminescent. Additionally, there’s a date calendar located at 6 o’clock.
The bracelet, also laden with diamonds, is made from stainless steel case. At the price quoted, I expected the dial to be protected by a sapphire crystal but surprisingly it’s mineral glass. The water-resistance rating of this model sits at 50m.
To learn more about JBW watches, click here.
Revue Thommen 17572.2135
Having around $1,000 to spend on a GMT watch is a solid budget but unfortunately, it’s not enough to get you a Rolex. If you are a fan of the Submariner series by the luxury Swiss brand, you might want to consider buying a homage. The Revue Thommen watch you see here is more than a capable candidate.
The brand might not be on everyone’s lips these days but it’s still an excellent provider of Swiss-standard wristwatches. Currently, we can distinguish between two collections – AirSpeed and Diver. The latter is particularly rich in GMT models like the one we have here.
The Revue Thommen GMT watch uses automatic movement, SW300-1, guaranteeing Swiss precision and longevity. Since it’s both a GMT and diver’s model, it comes with an impressive 30ATM/300m water resistance, making it a perfect choice for scuba diving enthusiasts.
Revue Thommen 17572.2135 comes with a 42m stainless steel case, a fairly standard size for GMT timepieces as you can see. It has a bi-directional Pepsi-themed bezel, similar to those you can find in Rolex Submariner models. On the black dial, we find 4 hands, with the red one in charge of telling the time in the second zone. All hands, as well as the markers, are luminescent. At 3 o’clock, there’s a date window.
The watch comes with a stainless steel bracelet with a safety clasp. Like in most watches on the list, protecting against scratches and cracks is a sapphire crystal dial.
Luminox SXC 5021
The last of the three Swiss-made watch brands on the list is Luminox. Known for their exceptional durability and ruggedness on par with the toughest in the industry, Casio G-Shocks, the timepieces can bring long years of hassle-free use. Just ask the Navy Seals about it!
Although the collection of GMT watches offered by Luminox isn’t as big as any of the previous brands on the list, the ones that are available are rock solid.
Equipped with trademarked technology, LLT (Luminox Luminescent Technology), the SXC 5021 model uses the so-called “always visible” feature. In other words, the watch provides a self-powered illumination system, using tiny micro gas light tubes ensuring visibility in all levels of darkness, under any conditions. The glow can last up to 25 years.
Even though Luminox is a company originating from the USA, all watches run on Swiss movements. Combining a pretty much unbreakable body with the precision of Swiss calibers can mean only one thing – an excellent choice for a wristwatch.
The watch is pretty massive. With a 49mm stainless steel case diameter, it’s better suited for people with bigger wrists. The bidirectional bezel functions as GMT and it uses the yellow hand to tell you the time in the secondary zone.
The band is made from tough rubber and uses a standard buckle clasp. Perhaps one thing missing for me in this model is the sapphire crystal dial used in all previous picks. Instead, the Luminox GMT watch comes with a mineral glass that is also solid but not as scratch-resistant as sapphire. On the waterproofing front, the watch can withstand a depth of up to 200m.
True GMT Watches Under 1000: 2 Alternatives
If none of the 5 watches discussed above is what you’re currently looking for, below find two additional GMT models that should provide further food for thought.
It’s difficult to find a watch brand coming from Switzerland that doesn’t deliver in terms of quality and precision. Swiss movements are the leading force in the business and the Alpina GMT model, using a Swiss quartz caliber, is no exception to this rule.
AL-247LNN4TV6B belongs to Alpina’s own diving collection, Seastrong Diver. Just like in the case of the Citizen model above, it’s an excellent diver’s timepiece that functions perfectly well as a GMT watch, too. It boasts an ever stronger water-resistance rating than the abovementioned Citizen model, at 3ATM (300m).
This Alpina model comes with a 44mm stainless steel case with titanium PVC coating. The orange bezel includes blue markers and is unidirectional. Indicating the second time zone is the white-and-orange hand you see at 5 o’clock in the image above. At 3 o’clock, there’s also a date window. All watch hands as well as the index markers are luminous.
The watch includes a scratch-resistant dial window made from sapphire crystal and comes with a solid, navy blue rubber strap with standard buckle closure.
Citizen isn’t the only brand originating from Japan that produces exceptional GMT watches. Seiko produces just as good, if not better, dual time zone timepieces. Particularly the Prospex collection, to which this model belongs, is rich in them.
Seiko SUN065 is one of the best-selling diver’s watches and comes with a 200m water resistance. The type of movement it uses makes it a standout amongst other GMT watches on this list.
Seiko uses its proprietary Kinetic movement which means the watch is technically a hybrid between an automatic and quartz timepiece. It doesn’t require a battery to run as it’s powered by the kinetic movement of your wrist. At the same time, it provides quartz-like precision. In the case of this model, it’s ±15 per month.
This Seiko GMT watch comes with a massive 47,5mm stainless steel case, which probably makes it more suitable for people with larger wrists. The blue bezel is unidirectional. Apart from the standard 3 hands, there’s an additional one (red) responsible for tracking a second time zone. All hands, as well as hour markers, are luminous. The date window is located between 4 and 5 o’clock.
The ruggedness of this model is ensured by a silicone band with simple buckle closure, a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal dial window and magnetic resistance.
You can learn more about the brand by reading my Seiko watches review.