July 17, 2020
It’s rare to find originality in fundamentally basic designs. The world of minimalist watches has broadened to an almost maddening scope, and it’s often difficult for brands to set themselves apart in that space. In steps Bravur with its Geography GMT line. We published a release piece on the watch late last year, and it caught my eye right away. I jumped at the chance to review the Geography GMT, recently released with the new “Sparkling White” dial. I’ll be blunt: This watch checks a lot of boxes.
Bravur is based in Bastad Sweden, with all of its components (sans movement), assembled in-house in the brand’s workshop. Really, the full catalog channels Swedish design on the more masculine side, something I’ve found to be quite rare in watches. The Geography GMT, specifically, does a fine job of straddling the nuance of Swedish minimalism with the right touch of boldness. So, I feel this sets them apart, both in quality and aesthetics, from the typical minimalist offerings on the market.
Measuring in at 39mm, the Sandvik Stainless steel Geography GMT checks the first box for me. It’s not overtly large, which makes for a dressier case. It’s relative thin-ness and coined accents immediately reminded me of a Breguet Classique (hands-on here) in shape and size. The slightly extended lugs meant a snug fit and allow this watch to easily slide under a cuff. Even with the aggressive dome in the sapphire crystal, I never had the watch snag or pull against a sleeve.
The crown is small but easily gripped, which makes setting the time and the GMT simple. The polished bezel accentuates the dial well and makes picking the time out at a glance quick and easy.
Hands down, the real star of the Geography GMT is the dial. It has a very interesting layout that I normally wouldn’t be into, but I find it charming on the wrist. The dial is formed in three rings. The outermost ring is between the crystal and the small black framing of the hour indicators – making the dial a tad smaller, but adding a cool texture. At the bottom of this first ring is text that says “Swedish Soul, Swiss Heart.” Inside the second ring are simple black applied indicators in a 12, 3, 6, 9 layout. These matte black indices sit against a silver-esque recessed sunburst ring. This allows absolutely no trouble picking out the time, especially important considering the surprisingly legible thin skeleton handset.
The innermost dial features the GMT, where the watch draws much of its criticism. Instead of a full-length outer-ring GMT module you’d typically find on a dress watch, the Geography GMT opts for a small blue ring close to the center of the dial. This utilizes a small, skeletonized blue hand to indicate the 24-hour time-zone. When I first received the watch, I felt that it might be too faint a blue, that I wouldn’t be able to readily read it. I’m happy to say I was wrong. Being used to wearing it now, I find it incredibly legible.
Finally, I come to the date above 6 o’ clock and the only part of the watch that troubles me. While some find it taboo to be a GMT without a date, this is one of the few instances I would argue against that. The date feels like it’s floating mid-watch. It breaks up the dial, and I think omitting it altogether would have been a better move. It’s not a deal-breaker, but something I found a bit intrusive.
Overall, the dial is a treat. Press images don’t do the finishing justice. If you’re looking at pictures and making judgments on legibility, I highly suggest trying one in the metal.
Through the sapphire caseback is either a Sellita SW330-1 or ETA 2893-2, your fairly standard off-the-shelf GMT movements. However, I will say that the caseback comes with a pretty cool gold stamp of the different time zones and the regions they coincide with. The movements also have some nice decoration on the bridges and a cool custom rotor. Fairly standard specs here, 25 jewels, 5-ATM water resistance, 40-hour power reserve, and beats at 4-Hz.
The Bravur Geography GMT comes with two straps. The first strap is raw and lightly colored with a vegetable tan. The second is a fairly standard smooth black strap that really dresses up the watch. The former is the one I feel fits the watch better. It’s comfortable, looks clean, and gives the watch a more casual feel. Both straps come with an adjustable fold-over clasp and both offer a great deal of comfort.
Overall, I found the Geography GMT quite a charmer. I must admit, at first I treated it as a dress watch and wore it only when I felt fancy. After a while, I just ended up wearing it everywhere, all the time. It was fashion-forward enough to wear with a suit, but sensible enough to fit right in with jeans and a T-shirt. Considering the price point isn’t what I would consider “cheap,” that’s an important quality to have in a watch.
I also appreciate Bravur for not succumbing to making a GMT watch huge. For a while there, the independent watch industry was consistently releasing GMT watches that were 42mm and larger in the dress watch space. The departure we’ve seen recently into a more wearable watch, that still remains subtle, is greatly appreciated. I’m hopeful we will see many more 39mm watches in the future.
Price for the Bravur Geography GMT is $1,450 and comes in a cool travel pouch with extra strap. You can read more about Bravur and its collections here.
>Brand: Bravur Watches
>Model: Geography GMT
>Price: $1,450 USD
>When reviewer would personally wear it: Just about any time.
>Friend we’d recommend it to first: Someone looking for a GMT watch that they can fit into any environment.
>Best characteristic of watch: The dial finishing.
>Worst characteristic of watch: The date window above 6 o’ clock. It definitely needs a better location or to be omitted altogether.