Say hello to the Praesto GMT. We quite liked the Praesto Aviator, and now they’ve got a GMT watch for us to review. Built on the Shanghai RK4D movement (aka ‘Shanghai B’), the GMT is the second watch for the Praesto brand. Praesto is a spin-off effort from the folks at Giovino, who after years of making watches for other people decided to start their own brand. Bravo!

At 48.2mm by 15.8mm, the GMT is large, though with a 24 by 4mm band and 140g mass it still sits well on the wrist. The PVD case and black dial reduce the apparent size a bit, though if you really want subtlety I’d replace the strap with a plain black calfskin.

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Case is 316L, PVD plated. Their site claims 45mm but my calipers find it larger, 48mm not counting the crown. This is a pre-production unit, which is why you see a non-coated crystal; the release version will have double-sided, AR-coated sapphire. Water resistance is a versatile 100m with the screw-down crown. Functions include time, 24-hour hand and date. Quickset, handwind and hacking movement with 35 jewels and 42 hour power reserve. As you can see, the hands and dial have generous amounts of SuperLuminova:

The aviation-style hands are very legible indeed, high contrast against the dial and just the right length to not block the 24-hour hand. Though the end of the second hand is painted black; I don’t see why as that is quite hard to discern against the dial.

The strap is quite nice, at 4mm thick nicely robust but having enough flex to be immediately comfortable. I’m not as fond of the oversized ‘pre-V’ buckle style, but it is the same as the Aviator model.

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A nice exhibition caseback, showing the PVD’d rotor and movement.

It sits quite well on the wrist, very comfortable.

The case finish is quite good, smooth and even, with a semi-gloss that’s somewhere between matte and shiny.

Timekeeping has been fantastic, within 5 seconds a day, and I am most impressed by it. Lume lasts well into the night and my only caveat is that the GMT movement is the home-centric variety, where the 24-hour hand is continuously set, instead of the jumping-hour variety seen in Rolex and Omega. One of these days there’ll be a Chinese movement with that, too, I predict; until then this will suffice.

Interestingly, the crown wheel is eccentric, so it puts on a show when you hand wind it. Not that any non-movement-geek will care, of course! Basic, functional finish on the movement, nothing fancy here.

Now that we’ve discussed the watch, take a guess at cost. The Praesto Aviator is, for comparison purposes, $527 in the PVD version.

(Oh yeah, I should mention that there are orange, blue and black dialled versions available, all in PVD cases.)

The pre-order price is a stunning $180, full list $250. That is one heck of a deal. They describe it as ‘The most affordable GMT ever” and if you exclude quartz that’s probably not far from the truth. Highly recommended.

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