My current top 15 GMT/ UTC /Dual Time watches

Ulysse Nardin Dual Time Manufacture Edition Hübner

Watches with a GMT / UTC or Dual Time function are considered to be the best choice when travelling and moving through time zones. Here are some advices how to buy one and my 2014 favourites.

We all travel and we have all experienced what it means to change the time when arriving in a new time zone with it´s zone time. Time zone? Zone time? The term time zone is very often being used incorrectly when talking and/or describing and/or presenting a watch that can display a second zone time. A watch cannot display a second time zone! Why? I live in the time zone of Paris and here our zone time is UTC +1. A zone time is the actual time in a time zone. So if someone wants to explain you a watch just mentioned and talks about the watch showing a second time zone this is simply wrong. The watch will of course show a zone time and it should therefore not be called second time zone watch.

First conclusion: All the watches shown here definitively indicate a second zone time.

We all travel and we have all experienced what it means to change the time when arriving in a new time zone with it´s zone time. Changing time can be very easy if the watch is up to date, but can also be a pain in the ass if you bought an expensive gimmick that considers being a real GMT / UTC or Dual Time watch.

When arriving at your new location, let´s say New York after leaving Vienna, it is essential that you will NOT loose you correct time when changing the zone time. What does this mean? You watch must guarantee you that you can independently change the hours in one-hour-steps by e.g. pulling out the crown in its first position without stopping the movement. Actual minutes and seconds must neither stop nor change, only the hours should.

So let´s say we started in Vienna and we flew to New York. New York time zone is six hours behind Paris time zone. We pull out the crown and just turn back the hours hand in six single steps. Our watch will now show the correct New York time. As we use a GMT / UTC or Dual Time watch our second zone time indication, either realised by a second hour hand or a second little watch on the dial, will now show us the correct time in Vienna, our home time. Since within an intelligent mechanism the date indication is always linked to the main time display our watch will now of course change the date to the next day at midnight in New York and not at midnight in Vienna.

Second conclusion: Only if the GMT / UTC or Dual Time watch can be adjusted independently as described above it is an intelligent and up to date travellers watch. Don´t buy any other model, equally what a merchant might tell you; such a ticking gimmick is not worth its money!      

We all travel and we have all experienced what it means to change the time when arriving in a new time zone with it´s zone time. Be sure to select a watch from which you can read the time and the indication of the second zone time easily. Take some extra time and try to read both times under various conditions e.g. as low light and even in darkness. What´s the purpose of buying a watch that might look cool and fancy, but then later you cannot even read the time from it. Guys that´s not a joke and not a provocation, I am serious about that issue. Since I started to use reading specs I know what I am writing about.

Third conclusion: Only buy a watch you can read the time and second zone time indication from under all realistic conditions whilst travelling.

Now I invite you to discover the watches.

Remember, they are all new and 2014 models, so if in your opinion there is one missing this also might be one of the reasons…


>>> Please click on pages 2-6 to see my choice …


11 replies on “My current top 15 GMT/ UTC /Dual Time watches”
  1. says: Patrick M

    You might also want to consider many of the really nice Grand Seiko GMT models. Some of them are truly stunning. I have the SBGM027, which kind of looks like a more elegant Explorer II.

  2. says: Oleg

    None of these have day of week complication unfortunately. What about Longines Master Collection?

  3. says: Ray

    Been eyeing the new Grand Seiko high-beat GMT’s (SBGJ). First few weeks of release and they are all sold out for the year! That says a lot, I think. Looks amazing from photos but I’m sure will be so much better on my wrist!

  4. says: Ovidiu B

    My top 3:

    1. Hermès Dressage L’Heure Masquée (simplicity at its best)
    2. Rolex Cellini Dual Time (classy)
    3. Sinn 857 UTC Testaf LH-Cargo *(the most practical & readable around there). Too bad ths is a limited edition.

    PS: Thank you for sharing those.

  5. says: DeanAsh

    That Zenith Type 20 GMT does not belong on the list. It has a tiny 25.6mm Elite movement swimming in a 48mm case. Either make the case smaller, or if they want to make large watches, start spending money on developing appropriate movements.

  6. says: Nick Parker

    The Zenith Captain GMT and the Montblanc TimeWalker GMT missing from this great list. Thanks so much for all your great work and attention to this wonderful arena.

  7. says: Amir

    The two Rolexes are my favorite… I’m also very curious how the IWC looks in person.

Comments are closed.