Founded in 2019, Islander Watches is the house brand for the enthusiast-driven retailer Long Island Watch, and while its very first creations were essentially discontinued Seiko designs with increased specifications, the brand’s catalog now includes nearly every major type of wristwatch. Regardless of their style, all of Islander’s watches aim to deliver strong value for a categorically accessible price point, and they are nearly always less expensive than comparable offerings from other brands within the industry. Among some of the more recent additions to its catalog for 2024 is the Islander Port Jefferson GMT, which pairs a skin diver case with the Miyota 9075 movement, and it represents one of the absolute most affordable ways to get your hands on a well-constructed watch with true travel-oriented GMT functionality.

While Islander’s original Port Jefferson model was essentially a modernized take on a traditional three-handed skin diver, the Islander Port Jefferson GMT fully leans into its multi-timezone capabilities with a bidirectional 24-hour bezel and an additional 24-hour track printed along the periphery of its dial. At the time of writing, Islander offers five different colorways for the Port Jefferson GMT, although the ref. #ISL-248 is the version featured here, which offers a predominately blue colorway with small white and orange accents. The five Port Jefferson GMT watches differ when it comes to the colors and finishing on their dials, hands, and bezel inserts, although they are otherwise completely identical from a materials and construction standpoint, and all five models are even paired with the same style of “beads of rice” bracelet.

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Crafted from stainless steel with a brushed finish and high-polished bevels, the case of the Islander Port Jefferson GMT offers a slightly chunkier rendition of a classic skin diver profile, and it measures 40mm in diameter by 13.2mm thick, including the gently domed sapphire crystal (with internal anti-reflective treatment) that extends about half a millimeter above the rim of its bezel. The lugs of the Port Jefferson GMT are set a standard 20mm apart and extend to create an overall lug-to-lug profile of 47.8mm, while a signed screw-down crown sits at the 3 o’clock location and helps ensure the 150 meters of water resistance offered by the model. Additionally, the weight of the Port Jefferson GMT comes in at approximately 82 grams (or 170 grams if you include its bracelet and all of its removable links), while a solid screw-down caseback closes up the reverse side of the watch and showcases a stylized image of a lighthouse with the Islander Watches logo.

Surrounding the crystal on the Islander Port Jefferson GMT is a 120-click bidirectional bezel that features a slightly more serrated version of a coin edge-style rim, and it is fitted with an anodized aluminum insert. The insert has its 24-hour scale engraved into the surface of the material with the entirety of its markings filled with Super-LumiNova, and on the ref. #ISL-248 featured here, the insert features a split-color design in two different shades of blue. While the action of the bezel isn’t especially crisp or snappy, it is fairly responsive with virtually zero perceptible back-play whatsoever. That said, the insert on this particular review example appears to be very slightly misaligned (at least to my eyes); although the same can be said about a significant percentage of the Seiko divers that I’ve personally owned throughout the years, along with numerous other Swiss watches that exist at significantly higher price points.

The dial of the Islander Port Jefferson GMT features applied luminous hour markers with a date window at 6 o’clock, and on the ref. #ISL-248 featured here, the dial is dark blue with a radial gradient effect that darkens towards the outer edge. The wide baton-shaped hands offer plenty of visibility against the lume-finished indexes, and the calendar disc is color-matched to the surface of the dial, which is an especially welcome detail that many of the big brands seem to consistently overlook. Additionally, the different finish on the hands helps to further promote legibility, and the proportions of the handset are well considered with all of them extending to reach their corresponding markings on the dial. My only real criticism in regards to the Port Jefferson GMT’s display is that its minute track is very finely graduated, and the number of lines makes it slightly difficult to precisely read the time at a quick glance.

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Aside from my minor quibbles pertaining to the minute track, the rest of the Islander Port Jefferson GMT’s display benefits from strong levels of legibility, and this also extends to its appearance in the dark. The luminous markings themselves are fairly generously sized, and two different colors of Super-LumiNova appear throughout the various components to help provide greater visual contrast in low-light settings. Blue-glowing BGW9 Super-LumiNova is used for the numerals on the bezel insert and the triangular tip of the 24-hour hand, while green-emission C3 Super-LumiNova is used for all of the other luminous elements, which includes the remaining three hands, all of the hour markers, the Islander name and logo on the dial, and the small dots that represent the odd-number values within the 24-hour scale on the bezel insert.

Fitted to the lugs of the Islander Port Jefferson GMT is a stainless steel “beads of rice” bracelet that tapers from 20mm at the case down to 18mm where it connects to its signed folding clasp. Featuring completely solid components, single-sided screws for the removable links, and a clasp with a double push-button release, the bracelet checks most of the major boxes when it comes to the features that enthusiasts want these days, and since the first links of the bracelet are able to articulate at the springbars, the overall lug-to-lug profile of the watch remains true to its on-paper dimensions. While the bracelet itself feels fairly solid and is a decent step above what you will find attached to most watches at this price point, a close examination of the bracelet’s components will reveal a few small details that allude to the budget-friendly nature of this piece.

For example, while the Islander Port Jefferson GMT’s bracelet offers a “beads of rice” style, the individual rice grain-shaped center links aren’t actually separate components, and this means that the links are a bit less flexible compared to premium “beads of rice” bracelets, such as those you will find attached to watches with four-figure price tags. Similarly, the clasp doesn’t feature any kind of integrated extension system beyond four micro-adjustment holes to place the springbar, and the overall finish on the bracelet components seems to be about half a step below the quality that appears throughout the case of the watch. In my opinion, the bracelet is the weakest aspect of the Port Jefferson GMT when it comes to providing an overall perception of quality, although that statement should really be seen as praise for the watch itself, rather than just being a criticism about its bracelet.

Powering the Islander Port Jefferson GMT is the Miyota Cal. 9075 automatic movement, which offers true flier-style GMT functionality with an independently adjustable local hour hand that can be jumped forwards or backward in one-hour increments. Running at a frequency of 28,800vph (4 Hz) with a power reserve of approximately 42 hours, the Miyota 9075 has (more or less) democratized this incredibly popular style of travel-oriented GMT complication, although it is still classified as one of Miyota’s premium calibers, and it is therefore typically only found inside watches on the higher side of the sub-thousand-dollar price spectrum. While the Miyota 9075 has become a known quantity and isn’t necessarily all that noteworthy on its own, the price range for watches with this movement can often be quite large, and the Islander Port Jefferson GMT represents one of the least expensive ways to get your hands on a watch with this highly practical functionality.

When it comes to watches, everything needs to be assessed relative to its respective price point, simply because it is significantly more difficult to create a well-made watch when you are working with a target retail price of several hundred dollars, versus having a luxury-oriented budget that can cover thousands of dollars in production costs. More money can always pay for better materials and finishing, although this directly translates to exponentially higher retail prices, and one of the key ingredients when creating a successful budget-friendly timepiece is choosing where to make those necessary financial compromises. In regards to the Islander Port Jefferson GMT, it’s clear that your money is going towards the various details that will have a tangible influence on the performance and specs of the watch, and this makes perfect sense considering that it is produced by a famous American retailer that has built its reputation by catering to the enthusiast community.

The entry cost for GMT watches with the Miyota 9075 has steadily been decreasing since the initial introduction of this highly popular movement in 2022, although we may be reaching somewhat of a price floor for this category of timepieces, as there are now multiple options within this space that cost less than what the big-name brands charge for their standard three-handed mechanical dive watches. As Islander’s first watch to offer flier-style GMT functionality, the Port Jefferson GMT ranks among the brand’s most expensive models; however, with an official retail price of $579 USD, it is also one of the absolute least expensive timepieces with Miyota 9075 movement, and it ultimately represents a highly compelling option for those who are looking for an affordable travel watch that offers mechanical flier-style GMT functionality. For more information on the Islander Port Jefferson GMT, please visit the brand’s website.

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