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The Best Watches to Travel With

One could be travelling for a lot of reasons. It could be for a vacation in the Bahamas, or backpacking across Europe. It may be a business trip in Japan, or it could be to visit family in Sydney. On these various occasions, there’s a watch that’s right for you—whether it be a GMT watch, or a World Time one.

Rolex GMT-Master II Ref. 126710BLRO

Rolex GMT-Master II

The Rolex GMT-Master II is a classic travelling watch, if not the travelling watch. It would be sacrilege if we didn’t include it in this list. Its predecessor was the first GMT watch, created more than 60 years ago in collaboration with the Pan American World Airways. Pan Am requested a watch that could tell their pilots what time it was in two different places; Rolex delivered. Its rotating bezel and the extra hand was a unique innovation for its time. Since then, there have been many iterations of this feature in other brands, but Rolex still holds the interest of many collectors in terms of GMT watches, especially with the “Pepsi,” or blue and red bezel, model.

Zenith Pilot Montre d’Aeronef Type 20 GMT

The Zenith Pilot Montre d’Aeronef Type 20 GMT is a watch made with flight deck instruments in mind, as well as the style that Zenith incorporated in their watches from the early 1900s. At 48mm, it sounds a bit too big; but for pilots back in those days, it was just perfect. Its glow-in-the-dark Arabic numbers & hands, and large, onion crown made it easy to read and adjust. So if you’re a stickler for authenticity, this watch ticks all the boxes (just do a side-by-side comparison of the vintage Zenith Pilot watches with the new ones). The best part about it is that there’s a separate button to adjust the GMT hand; you don’t have to worry about messing up your original setting.

Omega Seamaster GoodPlanet Ocean 600m Omega Co-Axial GMT Ref.

Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean 600M GoodPlanet

The Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean 600M GoodPlanet is a great watch for travelling, especially if you plan on getting in the water at your destination. It has the classic GMT function in its a blue ceramic bezel and a bright orange hand. It’s also a watch you can wear while kayaking, scuba-diving, or during any water sport you can think of.

Not only is it practical while looking great on your wrist, but it’s also a symbol of OMEGA’s partnership with the GoodPlanet Foundation. A portion of the proceeds that come from the purchase of this watch go to their “Time for the Planet” programs that aim to conserve mangroves and seagrass in Indonesia, which help improve marine biodiversity.

Breitling Navitimer 1 Chronograph GMT 46 Ref. A2432212:B726:441X:A20BA.1

Breitling Navitimer 1 Chronograph GMT 46

Tired of the trendy minimalist design? More is definitely more with the Breitling Navitimer 1 Chronograph GMT 46. Not only does it have the GMT function that’s vital for travelling, but it’s also a pilot’s watch. With a speed calculator operated through the bezel, and a chronograph & date function on its dial, it’s certainly a watch that can do a lot. I haven’t even mentioned the different timezones and their principal cities on its caseback.

New Breitling watches, including this one, use in-house movements. You’ll find a column wheel chronograph in this particular watch—which makes for a smoother click to the chronograph pusher. The Breitling Navitimer World GMT feels great and looks great, and would be a great conversation starter anywhere.

Luminor 1950 Equation of Time 8 Days GMT Titanio Ref. PAM00670

Panerai Luminor 1950 Equation of Time 8 Days GMT Titanio

We’re gonna call it: even if you don’t travel, the Panerai Luminor 1950 Equation of Time 8 Days GMT Titanio is a great piece to have, simply because of how cool it is. Its GMT function comes with an AM/PM indicator, while its date function comes a month indicator. The watch has a power reserve of 8 days, with the power left indicated on the see-through caseback.

While those are the most practical things about the watch, they certainly aren’t the most compelling ones. It’s the unique equation of time (EOT) function that steals the show. There are only four days in a year which are actually 24 hours long, while the rest differ by as much as fifteen minutes, give or take. So the EOT function tells its wearer how many minutes more or less that particular day has.

Breguet Hora Mundi 5717 Ref. 5717PT:AS:9ZU

Breguet Hora Mundi 5717

The Breguet Hora Mundi 5717 is undoubtedly a stunner. There are three variations of the gold dial, depicting either the Americas, Europe-Africa, or Asia-Oceania. These continents are all hand-engraved, surrounded by bodies of water with a glossy wave motif. It has classic Breguet hands atop Roman numerals, and patterns around both the outer and inner dial.

There’s also the beautiful day/night indicator at 3 to 4 o’clock, which is synchronised with the date and the corresponding city of each timezone. So whenever you change the city with a push of the second crown at 8 o’clock, the date and time adjust accordingly. It all happens instantly too: you can keep tabs on two cities at the same time with a single push.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Geophysic Universal Time Ref. 8108420

Jaeger-LeCoultre Geophysic Universal Time

In a crowd full of world timers, the Jaeger-LeCoultre Geophysic Universal Time is certainly a watch that stands out. At the center sits the world map. The continents are a shiny silver, while the oceans are a striking gradient: silver from the center, transitioning to a deep sea blue. There’s also a grid pattern meant to resemble the longitude and latitude on standard globe models, with a red and white line—the prime meridian—bisecting the map.

Surrounding the world map is an adjustable ring containing the hours in a day. Outside that ring is the permanently fixed city ring, which contains the cities in each timezone. Besides its world time function, there’s its dead-beat movement by the caliber 772 coming from the Jaeger-LeCoultre’s True Second family. It resembles the quartz movement, but is actually automatic, which makes it all the more special.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Geophysic Universal Time Ref. 8108420

Patek Philippe World Time 5320

The Patek Philippe World Time 5320 is a timepiece that holds nearly 80 years of history behind it. Starting from Louis Cottier’s collaborations with Patek Philippe in 1937 up to the current 5320 watch, there have been many changes through all the models that Patek Philippe released. Not much was changed from its predecessor in relation to its technicalities, but it still manages to be different. With the guilloché pattern, the winglet-style lugs, and the thinner hour hand, it certainly earned its space in their collection. All in all, it has taken on a sleeker, more contemporary look.

The pusher at 10 o’clock of the case changes three things simultaneously: the outer ring (the different cities for the various time zones), the inner ring (the hours of the day), and the hour hand. The 5320G also has a New York Special. In this model, the inner dial is cobalt blue instead of dark gray, and has an engraving of the skyline of New York City.

Vacheron Constantin Overseas World Time Ref. 7700V/110A-B129

Vacheron Constantin Overseas World Time

Vacheron Constantin is also another watch house that teamed up with Louis Cottier back in the 1930s. What makes this watch different from Patek Philippe’s 5320 is that it doesn’t only feature 24 time zones; it tells the time in whopping 37 time zones. In the city ring, one can see certain cities are colored differently from the rest; these are the cities that have unusual time zone increments. Meanwhile, the hour ring moves with a half-smoked disk; it elegantly tells its wearer if it’s day or night in a particular city.

This world time watch is a part of Vacheron Constantin’s Overseas collection, which features interchangeable straps. From a leisurely brunch with a leather strap, to a tennis match with the rubber strap, then to a dinner party with a steel bracelet, it’s guaranteed to be suitable for any day of the week, any time of the day.

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