How to Use a GMT Watch (And Why You Want One)

This article was produced in partnership with Crown & Caliber. Learn more about its expertly curated collection of watches, and why over 60,000 buyers and sellers trust its online marketplace.

These days, the cutting edge of watch technology is usually something with a touchscreen and “smart” in its name—but that doesn’t mean that tried-and-true mechanical watch tech is done for. If you appreciate craftsmanship, style, and attention to detail on your wrist, traditional watches still have many remarkable features to offer. Nobody knows those features better than the experts at Crown & Caliber, and a new video from the company highlights one particularly useful complication: the GMT function. Although the feature has been around for decades, GMT watches are still an ideal fit for today’s tech-savvy traveler.

First, a little history: GMT stands for Greenwich Mean Time, the international timekeeping standard first developed in the seventeenth century. Today, it’s still the standard for determining time zones across the globe, and watches with a GMT complication, like the sought-after Rolex GMT Master II featured in the video, allow the wearer to keep track of multiple time zones at once.

The Master II was the first Rolex to feature a separate 24-hour hand, which allows the watch to keep accurate time while you reset the hour hand. Put simply, that means you can adjust the time to match a different time zone without losing accuracy. The watch debuted back in the 1980s and remains one of the most popular examples of the GMT complication. Originally developed for Pan Am airline pilots, it allowed them to track the time at two distant airports simultaneously. Back then, that was considered a useful trick for people who regularly flew through multiple time zones; today, “people who regularly fly through multiple time zones” describes a lot more than just pilots.

GMT watches are ideal for off-the-grid adventurers and travelers, too. When you touch down after a long flight, for example, the watch can help you manage your jet lag, and as the video illustrates, you can even use it as a compass. They’re also great for staying in sync with a distant office when working remotely. Plus, it’s a popular feature among watchmakers, and that means you can find GMT timepieces in a variety of styles across a range of price points (we recently highlighted one as a Watch of the Week).

Easy to use and incredibly handy, GMT watches are proof that trusted mechanical tech is alive and well in the digital age. Check out all the details on the GMT complication in the video above, and head over to Crown & Caliber for expert guidance when picking out your next timepiece.

Except where noted, the brands whose products Crown & Caliber, LLC sells are not associated with Crown & Caliber, LLC. The brand names are the trademarks of their respective owners. Crown & Caliber, LLC is an independent dealer, and is not an authorized reseller of any of the items they sell.

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