While any watch can accompany you on a journey, there are certain types of timepieces that are particularly suited to travel. GMT and other types of dual-time watches, analog or digital world timers and even simple date watches can be particularly helpful when trying to keep track of multiple time zones. While these types of watches can be incredibly affordable or wildly expensive, the good news is that there’s a great travel watch for everybody. So when you’re looking to buy someone the perfect watch for that next adventure, do yourself a favor by starting here:
The AE1200WH-1A features a world timer with 31 time zones, city code display, daylight savings feature, LED screen with afterglow, 10-year battery and 100m of water resistance, all for $25. Pretty much the most watch you can possibly get for the cost of a salad and a soft drink in NYC, and perfect for the traveling adventurer.
Timex Navi Ocean
The Navi Ocean may have a fairly standard field watch look to it, but it’s the 12-hour bezel, which can be used to track a second time zone, that makes this a great, inexpensive travel companion. With its grey leather Nato strap, quartz movement and quickset date, this black-dialed watch can go just about anywhere with you.
Dan Henry 1963
It’s not all that difficult to guess who made the watch the 1963 is based upon (hint: it rhymes with Schmeitling), but the benefit of this modern quartz version is that it’s distinctly affordable, and the additional strap, canvas strap roll and bi-directional 12-hour bezel make it perfect for travel.
Citizen Men’s Eco-Drive Promaster Nighthawk
A highly technical dial with an integreated slide rule inner chapter ring operated by an extra crown, the Nighthawk clearly takes inspiration from the pilot’s watches of yesterday but improves the feature set with a quartz analog display, second time zone, Eco-Drive light-powered movement and 200m of water resistance.
Orient Polaris GMT
Orient consistently delivers incredible value for money, and the Polaris is no exception. You get an automatic movement powering an independatly-adjustable GMT hand, power reserve indicator and date function, all housed in an elegant, white-dialed 42mm case with blue steeled hands for $415.
Luminox RECON Nav SPC-8832.MI
A 46mm case may be large, but Luminox fit a ton of watch in here: you get a 24-hour bezel, a tachymeter scale in miles, an alarm function, a GMT function, 200m of water resistance, a countdown quadrant, and a black rubber strap with raised scale and compass. To want anything more for $500 would be a heavy ask.
Junghans Max Bill Mega
The Mega may look like any other Bauhaus-inspired watch in the Max Bill line, but this latest version, which is available in four dials, features a radio-controlled movement with perpetual calendar, accurate up the year 2400 without manual adjustment. Probably the perfect travel dress watch.
Mido Multifort GMT
The Mido Multifort is one of our favorite affordable, automatic GMTs. With a dual-crown design, inner rotating bezel in two colors and dial featuring a Geneva stripe motif, the Multifort GMT melds different influences to bring a fresh look to the dual-time zone complication.
Hamilton Jazzmaster GMT Auto
Hamilton consistently comes through with great value propositions, and the Jazzmaster GMT Auto is no exception. With a 24-hour hand and an inner, rotating city ring with 24-hour scale, this is the perfect complicated travel watch. Features include a 42mm steel case and automatic movement (a version on a bracelet is also available for an additional $50).
Farer Lander GMT
Probably one of the most beautiful GMTs of the last few years, the Lander combines a gorgeous sea-colored sunray dial with the workhorse ETA 2893-2 automatic GMT movement in a 39.5mm case for the perfect dual-time watch. Farer’s GMT is available in two other dial colors, but there’s something about the way the Lander catches the light that makes it special.
If you’re looking for a technical, tool watch-GMT, look no further: the Skyquest is one of the best. Available in multiple bezel, dial and strap combinations, the Skyquest is water-resistant down to 304m and can actually give you the time in three different time zones thanks to the presence of a 24-hour rehaut on the dial.
Sinn 857 UTC VFR
Most modern pilot’s watches are really pilot-inspired watches, but the Sinn 857 is the real deal. Tested in accordance with a DIN standard for pilot’s timepieces, the 857 UTC features a 24-hour hand, countdown bezel and integrated de-humidfying technology for increased legibility. One of the toughest travel watches you can buy, hands-down.
Tudor Black Bay GMT
The Tudor Black Bay brought the functionality and look of its Rolex big brother to the masses at a much more stomachable price. With its COSC-certified, in-house GMT movement, beautiful dual-color bezel and 200m of water resistance, the BB GMT could potentially be the only travel watch you ever need.
Rolex GMT Master II 126710BLRO
The travel watch, or at least the latest iteration of it, in steel again — praise be to the Watch Gods! Featuring a new and improved movement, a Jubilee bracelet and Cerachrom bezel, this is the watch to wear in 2018, and the prototypical jetsetter’s timepiece. Good luck finding one available at MSRP, however.