GMT watches tend to come at a higher price point – usually in the thousands of dollars – than other kinds of watches. The ones that are worth their salt, anyway. This does make selecting the best GMT watch under $1000 a chore in itself.
Don’t get us wrong.
There are a lot of picks under the thousand-dollar mark. If you have been following us for long, though, you would know that we don’t go for ALL, only the best.
If you are in a hurry, go ahead and grab yourself a Seiko Special Edition Padi Kinetic GMT Watch. Not everyone would love a rubber strap, though, so we have the Hamilton Men’s Khaki Aviation watch with a metal bracelet to fix that.
For women, the best GMT watch under $1000 is the Zeppelin GMT Watch, which is one of the most successful models from the manufacturer.
If you would prefer a metal bracelet to the rubber strap on that one, you cannot go wrong with the Revue Thommen GMT Professional Swiss-made watch. The only dealbreaker here is that it might be too big for most women.
Special Note: Follow through to the end of the piece for frequently and commonly asked GMT watches questions. We also included some tips to get the best out of your GMT watches in there. You can also navigate the various sections of this post by clicking on the table of contents below.
Our Picks of the Best GMT Watch Under $1000
No one GMT watch can claim to be the best under $1000.
Although we have picked several outstanding units for this list, they all shine in different places.
Some of the watches here are great for men, some are fine for women, and others are suitable for both genders. We also know that price points are an essential consideration, so we explored different pricing levels when choosing a watch.
That said, we leave you to decide which the best of the best will be from this list.
1. Seiko Special Edition Padi Kinetic
Seiko is no slouch in the wristwatch market, which we see on this Special Edition Padi Kinetic.
The watch packs a stainless-steel case with a resin band where we would have loved to see an option with a metal bracelet instead. Seeing that the watch comes with 200 meters of water resistance and a diver's watch tag, we believe that the band is there to keep the watch functional for diving, snorkeling, and swimming.
The watch face features a blue hue, which reflects beautifully in the evenings too. Speaking of reflection, luminous hour hands, and markers mean better low light visibility. Rounding it all up is the date complication on the watch face.
2. Alpina Seastrong Diver Swiss Watch
Alpina might not enjoy the success and popularity of the other watchmakers on this list, but they know how to make a decent watch.
Like the Seiko above, this GMT watch also stars as a diver’s watch. It is better in terms of water resistance, managing a hundred meters more than the Seiko above.
We also love pairing a stainless-steel case with titanium straps for a durable build against chemical attacks (from saltwater, if diving with the watch).
On the design front, Alpina has a fine-looking watch that can double as your daily driver and dress watch too. At 44mm, this watch is better suited for most men and some women with large wrists also. Unless going for oversized watches is your thing, though, then you would feel right at home with this pick too.
3. Luminox Men’s Aviator Watch
This has to be the best-looking GMT watch under $1000 so far, but we leave you to make a personal decision.
We love the pairing of a slightly darkened stainless-steel frame to canvas strap. The strap itself comes in grey with blue detailing to match the hue of the watch face.
The watch’s bezel carries 24-hour markings, as you would expect. Everything on the bezel – from the depth of the markings to the color – makes the watch even more appealing.
At 200 meters of water resistance, you don’t need to take this watch off when washing your hands or working with water. Do well not to exceed the recommended depth if you would be going swimming/ diving with this unit.
We would have loved to see more user opinions on this watch, though. We like what we see, quite alright, but it never hurts to hear from some former users.
4. Zeppelin GMT Watch
The Zeppelin GMT Watch is the most uncomplicated looking watch on this list, and we believe it's one of the best for women shopping in this category.
The 42mm size could feel too big for most women. When you throw in a leather strap, though, the watch doesn’t look as large on your wrists. If you can comfortably rock a 38 – 40mm watch, this one is worth giving a shot.
The watch design comprises a stainless-steel case that encloses the tempered mineral glass crystal face. This extends into a handmade leather strap carrying the usual Zeppelin brand of quality and finesses.
At just 50 meters of water resistance, we don't recommend swimming with this watch; talk more about diving or other deep-water sports.
5. Hamilton Men’s Khaki Aviation Watch
Hamilton knows how to treat watch users right, bringing luxury-looking items like the Omegas and Rolexes at more affordable price ranges.
With the Men's Khaki Aviation Watch, we get a lot of watch and a lot of history.
At 44mm, it is not for the small wrists. Medium to large wrists will feel right at home with this watch around them.
Hamilton didn’t cut corners with the materials either, choosing to deploy the same stainless steel material for the strap and case. Thanks to the strap links, it is easier to adjust the watch down to your preferred size before wearing it.
An automatic movement means that you get a watch that won't die. You might want to get a watch winder with this watch, too, especially if you own a host of other automatic wristwatches at home.
Finally, we would have loved to see more than 100m water resistance on this unit. Since it is not a dedicated diver’s watch, we don’t think that should be much of a dealbreaker for you anyway.
6. Revue Thommen Professional Men’s GMT Watch
From a distance, we could have sworn that this watch has the makings of a Rolex. Looking at the hour markers, it is evident that the Rolex Explorer design inspires the watch itself. That is an excellent place to start.
If you are not mainly a fan of too many colors, the colored bezel on this watch might not sit right with you. The colors are not too loud that they jump out at you, but they are also worth considering for your style.
Looking elsewhere, we appreciate the bidirectional bezel for a better time setting across other time zones. The 42mm size also means this wristwatch sits well within the size range of most men.
Boasting a 300-meter water rating, you can take your Revue Thommen snorkeling and diving with you when traveling also.
FAQs on GMT Wristwatches
What is GMT on a Watch?
If you need to know the time in your locale and another region simultaneously, a GMT watch comes in handy.
GMT stands for the Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), a system of tracking time across different world zones. As you already know, time is not the same in other areas of the world at any given moment.
Thus, GMT is a watch complication that allows you to tell the time in more than one time zone at any given time.
What was the first GMT Watch?
Many people believe that Rolex came up with the first GMT watch, named the GMT Master. The truth is that this accolade goes to Glycine, which debuted an Airman model watch with the GMT functionality a year before Rolex.
Glycine is a lesser-known brand to the Rolex. Thus, it is understandable that Rolex can leapfrog them and steal the slot of being the first brand to launch a watch with this complication.
What is a GMT Bezel?
A GMT Bezel refers to the bidirectional bezel found on most GMT watches. The bezel allows you to track time (usually in 24-hour format) in another time zone while the watch keeps delivering local time in another time zone too.
These days, we are seeing some digital GMT watches too. Thus, it is essential to state that only analog-format GMT watches will have a bezel on them.
What is the Red hand on a Rolex watch?
The red hand on a Rolex watch is the GMT complication.
This hand tracks the second time relative to the first and the bezel position on the watch. You can learn all about setting the GMT watch via one of our resources here.
How does a GMT movement work?
GMT watches include a second gear for the second-hour gear, engineered to work twice as slow as the main hour gear.
Every wristwatch has a first gear that drives the hour hand across the face of the watch twice every day. These two 12-hour runs result in the 24-hour final count at the end of the day.
On the other hand, the GMT watch will run twice as slow, only moving across the watch face once in the day. This helps to track the passing of a full day with only one movement across the face of the watch.
This is yet another reason why it is easier to track AM/ PM on a GMT watch than an analog watch without the same functionality.
How do I use my GMT Watch as a compass?
So, you’ve heard about how a GMT watch could also double as a compass.
That is true and doesn’t require any extensive skills on your end to set up. For ease, we have embedded a comprehensive video guide that allows you to transform your GMT watch into a compass below.
How do I set GMT on my watch?
Follow the guide here to set the GMT on your watch accurately. It discusses what you need to know about the extra hour hand and bezels to get an accurate time across another zone.