Alternatives To The Rolex GMT Master II Watch?

Jason K. from Chile asks:

Rolex GMT Alternative? I love the look / functionality of the Rolex GMT but don’t really want to buy a Rolex and in particular as I hate the bulbous lens over the date window. Can you provide some alternatives that offer the same functionality (GMT hand, bi-directional bezel w. 24 hour scale), mechanical movement and quality that will last a lifetime?

You have featured some alternatives on the site such as Nivrel, Christopher Ward, Seiko, etc but they don’t seem to have the bi-directional bezel.

Thanks for your help.

Max here. I think the Oris Diver GMT (see: maybe a great alternative that is on the low price point side. It has bi-directional bezel and GMT hand and good looks. I have seen and handled it in person at an AD, and I must say I was impressed, especially when you consider the price point: ~$2000.00.

Finally, for a little more, I can recommend the Omega Seamaster GMT 300M. I’ve reviewed it on aBTW last year here. I am wearing it as I write this, so it’s needless to say how much I like it as a work beater.

The AquaTerra version that Ariel reviewed recently has in-house movement and is priced higher than the old James Bond Seamaster and certainly gives you a fairer competitor to the Rolex GMT.

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The Oris Diver GMT has only a unidirectional bezel and the hour hand does not advance one hour at a time. The Omega diver also has a unidirectional bezel also although the hour  hand does jump one hour at a time.  Blancpain makes good GMT watches.  The Fifty fathoms GMT is a great alternatives if you can get a Concept 2000 series or a Trilogy series with GMT on the second hand market, the advantage of these are that you can dive with them while you shouldn't really dive with a Rolex GMT Master, its being waterproofed to 100 metres. The Blancpain GMTs also moves the hour hand like the Rolex plus they have a bi-directional bezels.  The modern Omega Planet Ocean GMT has an excellent calibre but it is quite large at 45 mm and blingy. It costs about 2/3 of a GMT master 2.  It all depends on if you want a 40 mm watch or a 45 mm watch.

None of them however has the historical pedigree that the GMT master has.  The GMT Master was the first watch with a 24 hour time Rolex made for Pan-Am pilots.  It's quite difficult to get past the GMT master as a versatile, easy to use, three-time-zone capable watch that you can jetset with, and still swim with it on your wrist at your luxury resort all the while telling your hometime at a glance.  I agree with ocabj's post that you should reconsider the GMT Master 2.  


The person who posed the question should reconsider the GMT-Master II. I bought one as my first Rolex and frankly, it's a great watch. Excellent size, accuracy, and function. I'm a huge OMEGA fan, and the Planet Ocean GMT just isn't my cup of tea with regards to styling for an everyday watch. I'd rather get the Aqua-Terra GMT vs the PO GMT, but that doesn't have a rotating 24 hour bezel.