Rolex developed the GMT-Master for airline pilots and released it in 1954. In 1983, the Rolex GMT-Master II was released. This model has become iconic and a reference for many in the world of horology. It features a 24-Hour ceramic bezel insert allowing you to track a second time zone anywhere in the world, very handy if you travel a lot.
The GMT-Master II is available in different materials and with different bezel colors, the "batman" (black & blue) and "pepsi" (blue & red) models are particularly popular. You will find below some alternatives to the Rolex GMT-Master II that will accommodate all budgets and that are available immediately for sale on eBay.
In the 1960s, Zodiac introduced the Aerospace GMT with a design based in the previously issued Zodiac Sea Wolf. The first Zodiac Aerospace GMT (752-925) is believed to have been produced in 1962, it featured a chrome plated bezel which had a green triangle at the 24 hour mark. The dial was available in two colors: white or black. The second hand was thin with no lume. The 24 hour indicator consisted of a lumed arrow, whereas the hour and minutes where batons with some lume at their tip. The Aerospace GMT featured a bi-directional 24 hour bezel. At that time, this model was advertised with the slogan "Twice as much time for your money" due to the fact that this watch featured an extra 24 hour hand to track a second time zone. The 24-hour hand of this model could not be set independently, and it was making a full round per 24 hour. Having both hands geared together meant that the GMT offset was set by the rotating bezel.
The movement in Zodiac Aerospace GMT is an automatic caliber 75 (21 jewels), based on the caliber 70-72. The cal 70-72 (17 jewels) was an automatic movement featuring a date complication and was used in the Sea Wolf Datographic (ref 722-916). A few years later, the automatic GMT movements 75B and 76 were introduced, providing a quickest date function. The case of later models provided 20 ATM of water resistance. The diameter without crown was 35mm, with a thickness of 11mm. With those dimensions, Zodiac demonstrated that producing waterproof and relatively thin watches was possible! It was retailing at a price of $110 dollar at the time. The Aerospace model was also named the Aeronaut for a while, it had the same 752-925 reference. It was also available with a black or white dials. A model called the Aerospace Jet 758 was also produced, it used the same hands as the 752.
Around 1965, a second edition of the 752-925 was produced. The dial featured more elongated lume inserts and the 24 hour hand was red with a luminescent tip. The 6, 9 and 12 hour markers were fluted. Some models have a patinated bezel instead of a polished one. The 20ATM models have the Aerospace script beneath the Zodiac logo, and the caseback is marked with 20ATM. The Aerospace GMT model 752-925 was available with a bicolor bezel.
A third edition of the 752-925 model was produced later, featuring a distinctive rectangular lollipop hand. The hour markers on this third version are wider. One of the models of this edition was even available with a 10k solid gold bezel. It was once again available with a black or white dial. From 1968, new models with a bakelite 24 hour bezel were used, the reference for those models is different (finally!): 752-934 and -934B.
Christopher Ward is a relatively new brand that offers great value for the price. Their divers are very slick and have great features: ceramic bezel, sapphire crystal. The watch sports the automatic movement ETA 2893-2 which is very reliable.
A great thing about Chistopher Ward is that they provide watches in different sizes, ranging from 42mm to 38mm. My favourite is the Christopher Ward C60 Trident GMT 600 in 38mm on a steel bracelet with a black bezel.
The German Steinhart manufacturer, which was also produced a great affordable homage to the Rolex Submariner, offers once again an amazing watch with a very competitive price/value ratio. Indeed the GMT-Ocean One features an anti-reflective coated and scratch resistant sapphire crystal with a high quality magnifying glass for the date window.
The distinctive 24-Hour bezel insert is made of aluminium, although some models now have a ceramic bezel (103-0833). It hosts a reliable ETA 2893-2 Elaboré automatic movement (Swiss made) with a 300m water resistance, all that packed in a 39mm diameter case that is 13mm thick. The lug width is 20mm. The Steinhart GMT Ocean One can therefore be considered as a serious affordable homage / alternative to the Rolex GMT model. This model is also available in 42mm diameter.
The Zelos Horizon GMT is a gorgeous timepiece that provides great value for money. It is available in many different dials and bezel combinations, including a meteorite dial. Two case materials are also part of the offering: you can choose between a bronze or 316L stainless steel. The date is positioned at 6 o'clock, keeping the symmetry of the dial intact. The hour markers and hands are coated with luminescent C3 SuperLuminova and X1 lume, guaranteeing optimal legibility in all environments. The design of this watch is very much vintage-inspired. It is definitely reminiscent of the 1960's divers, with a vintage-style domed sapphire crystal that is making this watch thicker than the case: the Horizon GMT approximately reaches a thickness of 13mm with the glass.
The bezel insert is bi-directional with 60 clicks and mounted on ball bearings, and is made of sapphire crystal. The proportions of the case are ideal for most wrists: 40mm diameter and 45mm lug to lug. The 20mm lug width offers a lot of choice for alternative straps. Through the sapphire glass case back, you will find the automatic movement ETA 2893 Elaboré at work. This caliber is equipped with a beautifully customized rotor. The signed screw-down crown is another great demonstration of Zelos' attention to detail. The water resistance is 200m so it's a true diver.
We definitely have fallen in love with this watch, which provides quite a bit of value for its $890 retail price. It could be considered as a great affordable Rolex GMT-Master II alternative. Kudos to Zelos for this beautiful creation, if you want to scratch that GMT itch without ruining yourself and avoid models that are too similar to the Rolex GMT-Master II, this watch is worth considering for sure.
Davosa is a Swiss brand that is not very famous but nevertheless offers timepieces with an excellent value for money. This watch is very much inspired by the GMT-Master II with the black and blue 24-Hour ceramic bezel nicknamed "Batman". A model with an entirely black bezel is also available. This watch has the obvious GMt functionality, as well as a reinsuring 200m (20 ATM) water resistance.
The stainless steel bracelet is very well finished and features a diver extension. The 42mm case houses a classic yet reliable ETA 2893-2 automatic GMT movement. The watch is 15.5mm thick and it has a 22mm lug width. Moreover, the glass is made of scratch resistant sapphire crystal with AR coating. This watch is a very logical choice if you are looking for an affordable alternative to the Rolex GMT-Master II.
The Aquaracer Calibre 7 GMT from Tag Heuer can be seen as a great alternative to the Rolex GMT Master II. It has a case with a 43mm diameter and 13.5mm thickness, with a distinctive Pepsi 24-hour bezel. Through the scratch resistant sapphire crystal we can admire the gorgeous luminous hands that are rhodium plated and polished.
The black dial displays a regular pattern of linear grooves that can remind you of the Patek Philippe Nautilus or the latest Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra, it plays with the light very nicely! The Aquaracer can definitely follow you in the water, with its 300m water resistance. The movement can either be a calibre 7, an ETA 2895-2 or a Sellira SW300 depending on the supply. A model with the Batman bezel (black and blue) is also available. The stainless steel bracelet is extremely well finished. Available on ebay.
Zodiac is a brand with a rich history that is now part of the Fossil Group. Fossil has given a lot of autonomy to Zodiac, allowing the Swiss brand to preserve its identity. This is therefore with Fossil's full support that Zodiac released this gogeous Aerospace GMT model in limited edition. This design was first introduced in 1966, it is based on the legendary Sea-Wolf diving watch, issued to soldiers during the Vietnam war. The Aerospace GMT comes in two different color options.
The black and gray model (ZO9400) refers to the watch’s historical predecessor that was released in 1966 as an extension to the Super Sea-Wolf collection. According to Zodiac, the black and gray option also functions as a physical distinction between night and day. The second Aerospace GMT model (ZO9401) is a real eye candy and will for sure draw attention with a light blue and orange bezel. This playful design has been very well received by the watch community, making the release of the Aerospace GMT one of the highlights at Baselworld in 2019. This luxurious looking watch is equipped with a reliable automatic GMT movement ETA 2893-2, offering 38 hours of power reserve.
The dial is highly legible with lumed hour markers and hands. A well executed date window is present at 3 o'clock. The stainless steel case has reasonable proportions with a diameter of 40mm and a thickness of 13mm, although they are larger than the original Aerospace GMT models which had a diameter of 35mm. The lug width of 20mm will definitely accommodate a lot of straps, although some might consider this superfluous, since a well-built stainless steel bracelet accompanies this GMT watch.
The dimensions of this watch make it a perfect Rolex GMT alternative. The design of the Aerospace GMT limited edition is timeless and colorful. The watch is resistant at 200m (20 ATM). Priced at $1,695, it is currently sold out on the Zodiac website, but you can find some for sale on eBay.
TThe Omega Seamaster 300 GMT 253X.XX series were made from 1998 to late 2000s for the 50th anniversary of the Omega Seamaster collection.
Although it is the first GMT watch made by Omega this model has been forgotten and seems pretty underrated.
Let's have a look at this 20+ year old Omega model that could be considered as a great Rolex GMT-Master alternative.
The bezel of the 2534.50 is black and white and seems to have a marmite effect in the watch community: some people would have preferred an entirely black one.
The crown also received some criticism: it is considered too small.
However, the Omega 1128 is a true GMT movement that is very accurate and COSC certified. It is a true traveler's GMT with a quick set hour hand. It’s a great looking watch overshadowed by the Rolex GMTs!
This Seamaster GMT has a 41.5mm diameter with a thickness of 13.6mm. The lug to lug distance is 51mm so this watch has a generous wrist presence. If you compare the case with the classic Omega Seamaster of that era: the GMT complication adds about 2mm to the case depth which means it is more different from the 2531/2254 than you would think, the crown is more shrouded and the bezel is deeper. However, the Seamaster GMT also provides you with a reliable 300m water resistance rating!
The numbers on the bezel are bold, maybe too bold for some, but it still works well with the black dial. We feel, however, that the bold numbers of the bezel take away some of the refined aspects of the white dial version (the great white).
We love the butterfly clasp on the Bond-style bracelet that originally came with this watch. We also love the black date wheel and the fact that Omega deleted the helium escape valve. It's touches like this that make this watch such a winner.
The pop of red on the GMT hand and the red lettered GMT text of the dial is a thing of beauty. It's worth knowing that the dial is not interchangeable between the black and white dial GMTs as the white dial takes more space in the case.
In our opinion, the Seamaster 300 GMT 50th anniversary is one of Omega's finest GMTs. It is surprising how undervalued and unloved they seem to be. It’s a fine watch which stacks up well vs the similar Rolex Explorer II or even the Rolex GMT Master II, at a much affordable price range.
If you want something different from the crowd that is a true travelers' GMT, then the distinctive Omega Seamaster GMT 253X.XX is certainly worth a look. You can find some below the $2000 mark.
The Tudor Black Bay GMT is more affordable than the GMT from Rolex. First announced at the Baselworld 2018, the Black Bay GMT has a "Pepsi" aluminium bezel that will definitely remind you of the GMT-Master II. This time keeper has a domed sapphire crystal, through which you can the black dial and vivid red hand to track the second time zone.
As usual with other Black Bay models, the snowflake hour hand is present. The 41mm diameter case protects the in-house and COSC certified calibre MT5652 which is based on the movement already present in the Heritage Black Bay Bronze. Thickness is 14.8mm. This watch can be purchased with a NATO, a leather strap or a steel bracelet.
The Italian made Acquaforte GMT also can be considered as a good alternative to the Rolex GMT. Like many of the other Rolex GMT alternatives, it sports the ETA 2893-2. For 690€ you get a very nice looking watch with a steel bracelet, making it one of the best value for money watch out there.The water resistance is 200m.
It has a magnifying glass for the date window. The black dial, and the red second time zone tracker definitely give this watch a luxurious appearance!
Marc & Sons offers professional automatic diver watches with GMT function that are made in Germany. The Marc & Sons GMT Series MSG-007 is a further development and simultaneous reissue of their first GMT model from the year 2007. This timepiece impresses with its sporty design and its high-quality workmanship. Unlike the first model from 2007, new innovative materials such as ceramics or Superluminova BGW9 are now being used.
The 41.0 mm case is equipped with a double-coated sapphire crystal and is pressure-tested up to 50 ATM. The height of the watch is 12.95mm which makes it very comfortable to wear. The stainless steel bracelet consists of brushed outer elements and polished middle elements and has a clasp with microfine adjustment.
The watch is powered by a Swiss automatic movement by ETA. The ETA 2893-2 movement has a second time zone with an additional 24 hour hand. It is known for its reliability, is popular with pilots and is fine-tuned by Marc & Sons watchmakers before assembly. The movement is fixed and held by a stainless steel movement holder. The model MSG-007-8-LS-T12 has an easy to read black sandwich dial with Superluminova. The reversible bezel has a black ceramic, which is also provided with Superluminova BGW9.
This watch in retailed new at a price of 695€ (750€ with steel bracelet) which provides amazing value for money.
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