Whoever has experienced traversing the globe (by plane, train or automobile) while wearing a mechanical timepiece has at one point run into the drawbacks of regular time-only watches. It can tell the time in one location only, which is useless for identifying the time of day or night of your loved ones back home. Luckily, there are watches that offer a simple and practical solution: travel watches! These come in many variations and offer either a GMT function for a second time zone or a Worldtimer display where you can quickly identify the hour in multiple (and possibly all) time zones on earth. And as the year draws to a close, today’s Buying Guide homes in on some of the best travel watches presented in 2022!
Longines Spirit Zulu Time
The Spirit collection by Longines is home to some of the best watches the Winged Hourglass brand has to offer, and the Spirit Zulu Time reaffirms that very much. It’s quite a chunky watch, admittedly, but a very good-looking one at that! It comes with either a matte black, anthracite or sunray brushed blue dial, with either black, green or blue ceramic bezel inserts. The automatic L844.4 movement is COSC-certified, provides a very decent 72 hours of running time, and comes with a silicon balance spring. And best of all, it is a so-called True-GMT with an independently adjustable local hour hand! It’s priced at EUR 2,750 on leather, or EUR 2,850 on bracelet.
For more information, please visit Longines.com
Quick Facts – 42mm x 13.90mm – stainless steel case with bidirectional rotating bezel – glossy ceramic insert – domed sapphire crystal – 100m water-resistant – matte black, anthracite or sunray brushed blue dial – applied luminous indices – sword-shaped hour and minute hands with contrasting GMT hand – date window – Calibre L844.4 (base ETA A31.L411) – automatic winding – 21 jewels – 25,200vph – 72h power reserve – silicon balance spring – CHF 2,750 (leather strap) or CHF 2,850 (steel bracelet)
Grand Seiko Evolution 9 Sports Spring Drive GMT SBGE285
Grand Seiko launched a very good-looking pair of GMT watches under the Evolution 9 Sports line-up, but the best of the two is the SBGE285 with its lovely light grey dial (the other one being the SBGE283 in black). The fine snowflake texture is just amazing and works really well with the high-intensity titanium case and bracelet. And being a Spring Drive watch, it combines the best elements of a mechanical movement with those of a quartz movement, for an accuracy ±1 second per day. Part of Grand Seiko’s permanent collection, it will set you back EUR 8,500.
For more information, please visit Grand-Seiko.com
Quick Facts – 41mm x 13.9mm – high-intensity titanium case – fixed bezel with 24h scale – sapphire crystal front and back – 100m water-resistant – light grey dial with snowflake texture – faceted applied markers and hands with luminous inserts – framed date window – power reserve display – Calibre 9R66, in-house – Spring Drive – 30 jewels – 72h power reserve – accuracy ±1 second per day or ±15 seconds per month – titanium bracelet with folding clasp – EUR 8,500
Tudor Black Bay Pro
By far one of the watches that caused the most “buzz” during Watches & Wonders was the utilitarian Tudor Black Bay Pro. It’s not the first GMT watch in the extremely popular Black Bay range, but it is the absolute best. With its fixed bezel and black dial, it does look a bit like the Explorer II by big brother Rolex, but we’re not complaining. The monoblock luminous ceramic markers and Snowflake hands simply look cool, and it’s backed up by the MT5652 manufacture calibre made with Kenissi. The Tudor Black Bay Pro retails for EUR 3,450 on a fabric or hybrid strap, or EUR 3,750 on a bracelet, and is simply put a great buy either way!
For more information, please visit TudorWatch.com
Quick Facts – 39mm x approx. 14.6mm – stainless steel case – fixed steel bezel with 24h scale – black dial with applied monoblock luminous ceramic indices – Snowflake hands with Super-LumiNova – orange GMT hand – date window – MT55652, automatic COSC-certified chronometer – 28 jewels – 28,800vph – 70h power reserve – silicon balance spring – stainless steel bracelet, fabric or hybrid strap – EUR 3,450 (strap) or EUR 3,750 (bracelet)
Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda PF GMT Rattrapante
By far one of the most clever travel watches presented this year is the wonderful Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda PF GMT Rattrapante. Based on the very successful Tonda PF line, a superbly elegant sports watch with an integrated design, the GMT Rattrapante adds a trick complication to the mix. The integrated pusher in the crown can be used to advance the rhodium-plated “local” hour hand forward. This reveals a gold hand for home time, thus making it a travel watch. Push the button in the lower left lug and Presto, both hands line up again and the home time hand is hidden from view. It retails for CHF 26,000, but you do get a superb dial, clever GMT function and lavishly finished movement in return.
For more information, please visit Parmigiani.com
Quick Facts – 40mm x 10.7mm – stainless steel case with knurled platinum bezel – crown with integrated pusher and secondary pusher in the lug for GMT function – deep blue grain d’orge guilloché dial – delta-shaped local hour, home hour and minute hand – applied indices and logo – Calibre PF051, automatic with micro-rotor – 31 jewels – 21,600vph – 38h power reserve – steel bracelet – CHF 26,000
Seiko 5 Sports Style GMT
On the lower end of the spectrum in terms of affordability, Seiko smashed it out of the park with the new Seiko 5 Spots Style GMT collection. The Japanese manufacturer presented a trio of cool new references based on the ever-popular 5 Sports. Although the novelty is not a “true” GMT, it does offer added value to the 5 Sports by way of a central hand used to indicate a second time zone. The trippy two-tone bezel inserts, with one half shifting colour under light, only add to the flair of the range. Powered by the Seiko Calibre 4R34, it is an absolute performance bargain, priced at EUR 470.
For more information, please visit SeikoWatches.com
Quick Facts – 42.5mm x 13.6mm – stainless steel case with rotating bezel and two-tone inserts – Hardlex crystal with cyclops – 100m water-resistant – black (SSK001K1), blue (SSK003K1) or orange (SSK005K1) dial – central hour, minute, seconds and GMT hand, date – Calibre 4R34, automatic – 24 jewels – 21,600vph – 41h power reserve – stainless steel multi-link bracelet – EUR 470
Patek Philippe Worldtime Cloisonné Enamel 5231G
We round up this Buying Guide with a stunner of a watch by the Maison that is known for its travel watches; Patek Philippe. The Worldtime Cloisonné Enamel 5231G is the latest in a long line of beautiful world timers that can be traced back to the Louis Cottier watches from the 1930s. The elegantly sized and beautifully shaped white gold case holds the Calibre 240 HU, which is driven by a micro-rotor. The dial is a stellar combination of a white enamel city ring, a two-tone white and blue day/night ring and a grand feu cloisonné enamel heart depicting Oceania and South-East Asia. The price for this absolute beauty is CHF 75,000.
For more information, please visit Patek.com
Quick Facts – 38.5mm x 10.23mm white gold case – self-winding caliber 240 HU, World Time, 24-hour and day/night indication for all 24 time zones – grand Feu cloisonné enamel center: Oceania and South-East Asia, 4 gold spangles – sapphire-crystal case back- water resistant to 30m – hand-stitched alligator strap – fold over clasp – CHF 75,000