The watch world is full of interesting terms and features, one of which is the GMT watch. GMT watches have more interesting complications than regular watches and are more affordable than chronograph watches. But what is a GMT watch? In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into gmt watch meaning, how they work, how to read GMT watch and how to set gmt watch.

Table of Contents

What is a gmt watch

      A GMT watch, also known as a Greenwich Mean Time watch, is a watch that can display the time in two different time zones at the same time. Because GMT watches have an extra 24-hour hand, some GMT watches even have a 24-hour bezel. This feature is useful for people who travel frequently between different time zones or who have business in multiple parts of the world. GMT watches emerged in the mid-20th century when Pan Am commissioned Rolex to design a watch to help its pilots keep track of the time in two different time zones.

     The term GMT comes from Greenwich Mean Time, which is the mean solar time of the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, London. GMT was once the world’s time standard and has been replaced by Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). However, GMT is still a common term in watchmaking, especially when referring to watches capable of displaying more than one time zone.

What is a gmt watch

How does a gmt watch work?

       GMT watches have an extra 24 hour hand, so they can show you two time zones (sometimes three, if there is also a 24-hour bezel) at the same time. Whereas a regular hour hand goes around the dial once every 12 hours, the GMT hand only goes around the dial once every 24 hours.

     The rotating bezel features a 24-hour scale. By rotating the bezel, you can set the second time zone. Some modern GMT watches come with a quickset feature that allows you to adjust the 24-hour hand independently, offering a more straightforward way to monitor a second time-zone. With such a system in place, a gmt meaning watch can display the time in two different time zones concurrently.

How to read a gmt watch

      To read GMT watches, we must first have the concept of time zone. There are 24 hours in a day and we live in one of the 24 hour time zones. Just mentioned that Greenwich is a zero time zone, and we are in Beijing, which is 8 hours behind zero time zone.

       Besides the standard hour and minute hands to set the local time, GMT watches case also have a 24-hour hand called the GMT hand. The GMT hand is usually indicated by an arrow or a small triangle on the dial. The hands are usually in brighter colors, such as red, blue, or orange, for easy identification. This hand is used to see the time in the second time zone.

       Once you understand the basics, reading a GMT watch is easy. First look at the normal hour hand on the dial to know the time in the first time zone. Then look at the GMT hand pointing to the hour showed on the 24-hour scale. For example, the first time zone in the picture below is 10:10 minutes, then the second time is 18:10 minutes. Please note that the time represented by the minute and second hands does not change depending on the time zone.

How to use gmt watch

     Using your GMT watch includes adjusting the local time, 24-hour hand, and date (if your watch has a date function). Here is a step-by-step guide.

    Step 1: Learn the basics of 24-hour time and time zones and understand what the GMT hands are. I have explained both above.

    Step 2: Set the local time

    Pull the crown out to the last position and turn it until the normal hour and minute hands point to the local time.

     Step 3: Push the crown to the second position and turn it until the 24-hour hand points to the current time in the second time zone.

     Step 4: If your watch also has a date function, pull the crown out to the first position and turn the crown until the date becomes current.

     For example, if you are in Beijing and now you have to take a plane to Berlin, Germany, Berlin time is 6 hours ahead of Beijing, so turn the bezel six times to the left. Take the following picture as an example, after 6 turns.

Gmt vs dual time

While GMT and dual time watch both display the time in two different time zones, they do so in slightly different ways. GMT watches have a 24-hour hand that works with a 24-hour scale on the bezel or dial to display the time in the second time zone. Dual time zone watches, on the other hand, have an additional dial or sub dial that shows the time in the other time zone.

Specifically, due to the lack of a clear AM/PM distinction, dual time zone watches usually have a 12-hour sub dial that is not so easy to read in some dark situations, such as cave exploration. In contrast, GMT models usually have a 24-hour bezel, allowing you to view the absolute time in the second time zone more accurately.

Conclusion-What is gmt watch and how to use it?

        A GMT watch is an invaluable tool for anyone who travels frequently across different time zones or needs to keep track of time in multiple regions. By understanding what is GMT in watch and how it works, you can get the most out of its capabilities. Whether setting or reading the time, with a little practice, the process becomes straightforward. Although similar to a dual time watch, GMT watch offers a unique way to keep track of time in more than one time zone.

   If you’re into watches, this article will give you a good idea of what you need to know about chronograph watches. If you are interested in starting your own brand or you want to know more about watches, then it is essential to understand the various parts of a watch like watch crystal, watch movement,lug,etc and how they work together to tell time and other principles. If you don’t understand anything mentioned above, you can email watchessy for assistance.


Gmt movement

  Each Watch movement brand has its own GMT movement. The Seiko gmt movement is NH34, the Miyota GMT movement is 9075. Seliita GMT movement is SW330, and ETA GMT movement is the 2826.

True gmt vs office gmt

   Although both variations are GMT watches, the “true GMT” name typically refers to timepieces, where the 12-hour hand can be adjusted independently, while the “office GMT” moniker describes those with an independently adjustable 24-hour hand.

Gmt vs submariner

  GMT and Submariner watches are very similar, but GMT bezel rotates in both directions and has a separate 24-hour hand for reading the time in different time zones. The Submariner’s bezel serves only for diving and rotates in one direction.

gmt vs submariner

Gmt watch face

   GMT watch face means the GMT watch has 2 faces, the 12 hour dial shows the local time and the 24 hour dial shows the time in the second time zone. To read gmt watch, just check which time period the GMT hand is pointing to in the 24 hour dial. For example, in the picture below, the GMT hand is pointing to 9:00am.

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