To start, what is a GMT watch? A ‘GMT’ watch lets you monitor the time in another timezone as well as the one you’re in. It does so by using the fourth ‘GMT’ hand – which travels around the dial over 24 hours – in conjunction with the 24-hour numerals on the bezel.
Are they difficult to use? Not at all. Let’s say you’re in London and it’s 4pm: you want to monitor the time in Los Angeles, eight hours behind the UK. Move the GMT hand back until it lines up with 8am on the bezel. From then on, it will continuously monitor LA time.
Why would I want one? If you’re someone with colleagues or offices around the world, it’s a convenient way of knowing the time in their timezone – especially if you’re thinking about contacting them. If you do a lot of travelling yourself, you can set the GMT hand to your home timezone, something that will always remain locked in, no matter how often you change the regular time. There’s also another reason to get one: they’re really, really cool.
When were they introduced? They were first produced in the mid-1950s for long-distance pilots who wanted to monitor the time back home as they flew across the globe. They soon became a symbol of the jet-set. Christopher Ward’s first GMT was the C60 Trident GMT – a watch that combines extreme water resistance with GMT functionality. It’s been a hit ever since it launched and is still one of our bestsellers.
What other GMTs does Christopher Ward produce? Several – they’re universally popular. A suitably sporty way to start is with the C63 Sealander GMT. What marks this out is not just its go-anywhere, do-everything appearance and slim 39mm case, but the way it combines classic style with a reassuringly modern build quality: witness its water-resistance to 150m. The ‘Hunter-green’ version is especially striking, but equally worthy are the Black, White or Blue alternatives.
Have you taken the GMT further? Absolutely. Keeping with the retro theme is the C65 GMT Worldtimer. While it’s influenced by the aeronautical watches of the 1950s and ’60s, it takes the travel theme much further. Not only does it have a GMT function which works with the fourth hand and inner bezel, but also boasts an outer ‘worldtimer’ bezel which carries the name of cities around the globe. Line your home city with the time on the inner bezel, and it’ll instantly tell you the time in 23 other timezones.
What about the link with diving watches that began with the C60 Trident GMT? That continued with the C60 Elite GMT 1000. Manufactured in Grade 2 titanium – which has the highest strength-to-weight ratio of any metal – it’s waterproof to 1,000m. But it has something extra: a GMT function. While the outer bezel is used as diving countdown tool, the inner bezel carries the 24-hour clock. Just use it with the fourth GMT hand to monitor the timezone of your choice. It is now discontinued, but was available in two versions: black and steel or glossy blue and orange. “It sounds obvious, but this watch is meant to be worn,” says Christopher Ward senior designer, Adrian Buchmann. “While the technical aspects are important, you also need to be able to wear it anywhere, from the office to the swimming pool.”
What movements powers your GMT watches? Primarily it’s the Sellita SW330. Not only does it have an excellent reputation for reliability, but it also has a date wheel, plus an anti-shock mechanism that helps it maintain accuracy even when it receives knocks and jolts. On the C60 Elite GMT 1000, we’ve used a certified chronometer version of SW330, which puts it among the top six per cent of movements for accuracy.