Getting the best automatic GMT watch under $1000 can be quite a challenge.
It seems like the very best ones cost a thousand dollars and more. Most retailers also seem to have a thing against carrying these watches at a price range lesser than a thousand, possibly to command a higher profit margin on more expensive options.
So, we decided to go out there and see for ourselves.
We found standalone automatic watches and got amazing GMT watches also. What took time finding was the marriage of both amazing features on the same watch build.
We did get them, though. Here are all five (5) automatic GMT watches to buy without crossing the 1000-dollar mark.
Pro Tip: You can learn more about automatic watches – and different kinds of other watches too – here.
Hamilton Khaki Aviation Automatic Watch
Hamilton is another brand that has a legacy behind its products. First opening up shop in the US before moving operations to Switzerland (to take advantage of the Swiss movement), they also remain a force to be reckoned with.
Of course, this GMT watch from the company also features an automatic movement under the hood. What we are more skeptical about is that we could not obtain substantial user reviews to make a more informed opinion.
Looking at the manufacturer’s sheet, though, we are quite impressed.
The anti-reflective sapphire glass window on the watch bears a testament to Hamilton’s quality of build. Add the fine-looking leather strap to it, and we have a winner in the looks department.
We don’t, however, know why Hamilton capped this watch at just 100m of water resistance. For a unit that has ‘khaki’ in its name, it doesn’t sound so tough with just 100 meters.
- Another reputable brand
- High quality of build
- Leather-strap enthusiasts won’t be disappointed
- Bidirectional bezel with a countdown system
- The date window on the watch face
- Luminous hour hands
- Doesn’t seem to have a lot of current users
- Not for small wrists either
- Could have used a better water-resistance rating
VOSTOK Komandirskie K-34 – Most Inexpensive
Don’t worry. We also had quite a challenge trying to pronounce the name.
This is not only one of the best automatic GMT watch under $1000, but one of the most affordable also. That is not for the lack of quality either, with Vostok being the official watch supplier for the Ministry of Defense of the Soviet Union. The year they got that title was when they launched this line of watches that translates to “Commander”
That said, we don’t think we need to tell you about how durable and rugged this watch will be. But then, trust us to dive that deep.
So, here we have an inexpensive automatic GMT watch that has a 100-meter water resistance rating under a mineral glass watch face. A design element that we love here is the combination of clasps with a leather buckle, bringing the best of two different bracelet options to the same watch.
That said, the official manufacturer also offers the same watch with metallic bracelets if you would prefer that instead.
Finally, we get the promise of purchasing a unique watch with a lot of history and legacy behind it.
- Long-standing watch series with a legacy
- Water-resistant up to 100 meters – a good deal for the money
- Most inexpensive watch on the list
- Offers additional options for interested users to choose from
- A unique watch that stands out from most other brands
- Personal preferences – choose what works best between metal and leather straps
Orient FDJ02001W0 Constellation
If not for our attention to detail, we would not have known that this is also an automatic GMT watch.
On most of the other watches that we have reviewed, the GMT hand sticks out – albeit nicely. On this watch, Orient blends that hand into the rest of the build such that it looks like just another hour hand. Only the user, or someone that stares with keen interest, would know that this watch is not a conventional one.
We like that sort of design element, and we know that some of you will find that appealing also.
Again, we do not like that this watch only offers a 100m water resistance rating. If you don’t wear your watch into deep dives, that should not be a dealbreaker for you.
As far as Orient watches go, they are not just one of the veteran horologists that have been here since the 20th century. They also have a legacy in making mechanical and automatic watches.
- Orient is a veteran watchmaker too
- GMT functionality
- Suitable for medium wrists – and can be worn by people with smaller wrists too
- Water-resistance is only up to the first 100 meters
Revue Thommen GMT Men’s Professional Watch
If not that Revue Thommen has been here since the 19th century, we would have thought that they were one of the brands that based its business on knocking off Rolex watches – which is what this unit looks like.
This automatic GMT watch features a bidirectional rotating bezel that gives a 24-hour time display. The watch face, fashioned from scratch-resistant sapphire glass, carries all the usual watch hands, the GMT dial, and a magnified date window.
Although it is not advertised as a diver’s watch, we appreciate the decent 300 meters of water resistance rating. Finally, the frame makes the watch suitable for users with medium wrists. If the small wrists want to get in on it too, there is room for them.
- Another watch from another reputable brand
- Durable materials of build
- Up to 300 meters water resistance rating
- Excellent value for the money
- Looks modeled after a Rolex
FANMIS GMT Master II – Best Choice for Women
We concur that most of the picks on this list are more suitable for men than they are for women. That led us to this GMT Master II from Fanmis which is one of the best, if not the very best automatic GMT watch under $1000 for women to go for.
Fortunately, it carries a unisex build that makes it suitable for men also.
The watch build combines a sapphire crystal dial window specially treated to keep scratches and scrapes at bay. The band is a product of high-quality steel alloy, ensuring the watch holds its mechanical integrity and luster for as long as possible. Finished with a nice ceramic bezel, this watch speaks of a class that is betrayed only by the price point it is introduced at.
Did we mention that it is also the second most inexpensive watch on this list?
- Highly suitable for women
- Impressive quality of build
- Functional watch for everyday activities
- Durable materials
- Good value at its price point
- Watch lumen is poor
- Copies the Rolex GMT Master
- Screw pins make adjustments a hassle
The Pros and Cons of Automatic Watches
Like any other type of watch, there are benefits and downsides to owning an automatic watch. If you have never had one before, it will be a nice addition to your collection. Only after you have identified all the benefits and challenges, though.
If the pros outweigh the cons for you, then you can go ahead.
Merits of Automatic Watches
Here are some reasons why you should have automatic watches in your watch box.
- No battery – this is the most obvious reason to own one. You do not have to worry about your battery dying on you, especially when you are not close to your horologist of choice.
- Accuracy – every second counts, especially when you are in the medical, military, or such other time-sensitive fields. To that effect, have found automatic watches keeping a good time. For a better shot at accuracy, you should wear your automatic watch frequently. That way, you can always have enough power stored in the watch mechanism to prevent loss of time.
- Forget winding – if you wear the watch frequently, you don’t have to worry about winding it at all.
- Design – look around the list above alone. If anything, you can already determine that a lot of attention to detail goes into their build. This is reflected not only in the watch durability but also the design and aesthetic appeal
- Power reserve – many users think that their watch will lose power if they do not wear it for a few hours. On this list, we have picks that can go as high as 60 hours on reserve power. As long as you have invested fairly into a good watch, you should also get a good value for money.
- Maintenance – from not having to wind the watch frequency to the need for a battery, or lack thereof, this is already maintenance heaven. Add to the fact that most automatic watches are built to be water-resistant and will last for years, and you are good to go here.
- Timeliness – automatic watches will never go out of style. They are here to stay and will keep finding new ways to become a part of our daily dressing.
- Heirloom – every automatic watch you invest in should be seen as a possible heirloom. For a watch that works almost forever and starts working again once it is picked up, that is a little surprise. Just think of your investment in an automatic watch as the start of a tradition.
Demerits of Automatic Watches
Roses do come with their thorns too. When the roses in question are automatic watches, here are the thorns you would have to watch out for:
- Sensitivity – there are a lot of sensitive moving parts below the hood. The slightest movements could cause the watch’s hands to move more than they normally should. This is nothing a good level of engineering should not fix, though.
- Winding – if you read our piece on different watch types, you would know that an automatic watch would require constant wear to stay charged. Otherwise, you might find yourself having to wind it frequently.
- Accuracy – if you don’t invest in a high-quality automatic watch, you might be faced with a unit that loses its accuracy over time.
Why You Should Get a GMT Watch
Now that we know what all the fuss is about automatic watches, there is the question of how GMT watches come to play also.
Watch enthusiasts that love GMT watches will sing high praises of this pick that they love. We will be sifting through all of that sentiment to uncover what the real deal behind these watch types is.
- Time zone – this is the most obvious reason why you would need a GMT watch. If you travel a lot or work in an industry where time zones are important (such as financial trading), this is the watch for you to sport. It allows you to track accurate time between different time zones at the same time.
- Rely less on your smartphone – we know that you could easily check the time across different zones on your smartphone. But then, why buy a top-class watch if it would not offer you anything extra out-of-the-box? One of such extras is this dual-time functionality from the GMT complication.
- Compass – many people do not know this, but the GMT watch can be set as a compass also. Put the GMT marker to the local time with the hand pointing towards the sun. That makes the 12-hour dial point to the north in the northern hemisphere or south in the southern hemisphere.
- Accents – sometimes, the love of the aesthetics on a GMT watch transcends its functionality. We agree that this is not a top reason to want to buy a watch, but no one can hold it against you either. If you just like it, we suggest you go for it. Wouldn’t hurt the collection.
Like What You See?
There are other great automatic GMT watches that you can pick up for below a thousand dollars. These are the ones that we have been able to review and check out for you, though.
Let us know which one you find most appealing, and why. As soon as we come across more great picks, we will update this list accordingly.
If you happen to have a nice automatic GMT watch that you picked up for under $1000 too, let us know about it in the comments.
You never can tell. You might just find your watch on an updated version of this list.