Three Affordable True GMTs from Swiss Brands

Three Affordable True GMTs from Swiss Brands

For the past year or so, GMT watches have become very popular. Micro and independent brands, as well as established Swiss brands, have been releasing GMTs, perhaps due to the fact that it is ok to travel again. A year ago was mid-2022 and the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have mostly subsided all around the world. It makes sense, therefore, that watch brands would release models that would entice us to travel, or should I say, ones that would fit our newfound love for traveling. When we speak about Swiss GMT watches we often talk about the Rolex GMT Master II or the Tudor Black Bay GMT. While the Rolex retails for more money than I want to think about, the Tudor retails for roughly $4,500. That’s a lot of money for many while it isn’t a lot for a true GMT. However, there are cheaper and additional options for true Swiss made GMTs which we’re going to discuss in this article. 

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Longines Spirit Zulu Time 

Longines is a brand that has been around since 1832 and is regarded as being one of the few affordable authentic Swiss brands. Within the brand’s vast catalog we find the Spirit collection created in 2020 which commemorates Longines’ longstanding history and connection to aviation. The Spirit collection includes several noteworthy models and the one we’re looking at today is the Zulu Time. The latter comes in different versions, some costing more than others, but for the sake of our augment looking at more affordable options, we’ll take a look at the classic version that comes with simple dial colors and a 39mm case. The black dial ref. L38024536 to be exact which measures 39mm in diameter, 47mm lug-to-lug, 13.5mm thick and has a 20mm lug width. It is powered by the Longines L844.4 caliber, a true GMT movement, which beats at 25,200 BPH and comes with 72 hours of power reserve. It retails for $3,150 on the bracelet.

Everest Journal Three Affordable True GMTs from Swiss Brands


Mido Ocean Star GMT

The second and more affordable option in this selection comes from Mido and the Ocean Star GMT black, reference M0266291105101. Mido is a brand that dates back to 1918, however one that we don’t often hear about. It seems that, for some strange reason, Mido has been extremely popular in Latin America and is only now getting more popular in the United States and Europe. Regardless, Mido recently released an affordable true GMT, the Ocean Star GMT, which—sadly perhaps—comes with an enormous case. Indeed, this one measures 44mm in diameter, 13.28mm thick, and comes with a 22mm lug width. This is not a watch for small-waisted people, however what you get is 200 meters of water resistance, a true GMT caliber in the Mido Caliber 80—based on the ETA C07.661—and a gentle retail price of $1,310 on the bracelet.  Hopefully Mido will release a smaller version in the future, like Longines did with the Spirit Zulu which originally came in a 42mm case diameter. 

Everest Journal Three Affordable True GMTs from Swiss BrandsSource:

Certina DS Action GMT 

The third and cheapest option is the Certina DS Action GMT, ref. C0324291105100. As you might have guessed it, Certain is also a brand that has been around for a long time—1888 to be exact—and one that has made a name for itself by releasing popular and affordable dive watches, the DS Action. It wouldn’t be long before the Swiss brand would create a GMT version of the diver which is what we’re looking at today. This model is also a little chunky, coming in with a diameter of 43.10mm, a thickness of 12.60mm, and a lug width of 21mm. Boasting 200 meters of water resistance, the Certain DS Action is powered by the Powermatic 80.661, a popular Swiss made caliber, beating at 21,600 BPH and coming with 80 hours of power reserve. On the bracelet, the DS Action GMT retails for $995. 

Everest Journal Three Affordable True GMTs from Swiss BrandsSource:

Final Thoughts

If you read this article it means you are also interested in GMT watches. While I normally only buy from micro and independent brands—and I would highly recommend the Monta Skyquest V2—I’m always on the look out for other options, and often curious as to what historical Swiss brands are concocting. Therefore, if you were to look for a true Swiss GMT, then you would be remiss not to check out the three models mentioned above. Coming at three different prices, and the most expensive one being the Longines Spirit Zulu, you could easily acquire a true GMT watch for around $1,000. That’s not bad given each brand's history and legacy, and the fact that the GMT calibers are made in Switzerland. (The latter fact is important for many!) 

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