Now that the COVID-19 situation is seemingly back to normalcy, we have observed that many friends and acquaintances are packing their luggage to prepare for their much awaited holidays overseas.
For the watch collectors, this always posed a question: “What timepiece shall I bring along for my holiday?”
On one hand, collectors would typically want to wear a beautiful timepiece to mark such a joyous occasion. However, on the other hand, with an increasingly worrying amount of watch theft and/or robbery cases around, it is also more prudent to wear a nondescript timepiece – especially if one is travelling to areas which are known for the occurrences of such incidents.
In this week’s article, we will be exploring some of the more suitable watches for travelling. We will keep in mind that these watches should typically be a little under-the-radar, they should also not compromise in terms of quality and functionality. Here are the list of watches that we reckon are tasked for the job:
Grand Seiko GMT (SBGM003/SBGM221)
We begin the article with a timepiece that is no longer a well-kept secret. Cue the exceptional Grand Seiko GMT.
In the last few years, Grand Seiko had attracted the attention of many collectors. This is attributed to its well-made timepieces, and arguably the value proposition that it offers as well. One of such timepieces is the GMT (pictured above is the old version SBGM003; the new version SBGM221 comes with some minor tweaks), which is a mainstay of Grand Seiko. We love the smooth cream dial, and the well-finished indices and hands that featured the manufacturer’s famous zaratsu finish. The movement is a sight to behold as well.
The 39.5mm watch is a classy piece, and it is well-priced at US$4,600 (approximately S$6,450). This is a great watch especially for a business traveller, or someone who simply wants an excellent travel watch without attracting the wrong sort of attention.
Sinn 105 UTC
For many seasoned collectors, Sinn is a brand that is known for its no-nonsense and robust tool watches. The Sinn 105 UTC continues to live up to the brand’s reputation.
Launched in late 2020, the 105 UTC is another capable tool watch from the Frankfurt-based manufacturer. As per its namesake, the 41mm stainless steel timepiece features a dual time zone indicator and an additional date display. Other notable touches include a bead-blasted case, as well as a bezel that is treated with the brand’s TEGIMENT technology that makes it highly-resistant to scratches.
Price for the Sinn 105 St Sa W UTC begins at S$2,920 for the strap variant, with the bracelet version coming in at a relatively affordable premium of S$370. It is definitely a great travelling companion, considering its complication and how Sinn is known to produce solid and robust watches.
Longines Spirit Zulu Time
Longines have a strong history in the development of watches with dual time zones, with the first being a pocket watch produced in 1908. More than a century later, Longines is writing a new chapter in the brand’s history of making multipurpose timepieces for pilots and adventurers – in the form of the Spirit Zulu Time.
The 42mm Zulu Time is a handsome watch, with a straightforward design that is manufactured to a satisfactory standard. Some of the more notable touches include the coloured bidirectional ceramic bezel, applied numerals, as well as an exclusive new in-house Calibre L844.4 which boasts a silicon balance-spring and three time zone capability.
At a retail price of S$4,420, Longines’ new Spirit Zulu Time offers a strong contender in the field of entry-level GMT timepieces. It is well-made, and it does its job seamlessly. This is the sort of timepiece that we believe both seasoned and new collectors will appreciate, especially if one is a frequent traveller who is looking for a reliable timepiece that does not attract any unwanted attention.
NOMOS Glashütte Zürich Weltzeit
NOMOS is a brand that has garnered quite a sizeable following in recent years, but there are still some hidden gems from the Glashütte-based watch manufacturer. The NOMOS Glashütte Zürich Weltzeit is one such timepiece.
The Zürich Weltzeit offers an interesting interpretation to the world time complication. Featuring a minimalist design, the timepiece is equally as simple to operate as well. Notably, the time zone can be adjusted simply by the push of an actuator at the 2 o’clock position on the case.
For NOMOS watches, another key highlight would be the movement. In this case, it would be the in-house DUW 5201 movement. This movement has an autonomy of 42 hours, and it features some nice touches such as the Glashütte ribbing, NOMOS perlage, Glashütte sunburst, and flame-blued screws.
The 40mm timepiece is priced at S$7,820, which is rather reasonable for an in-house developed world timer. We genuinely believe that the Zürich Weltzeit is extremely underrated, and for what it is worth, it should deserve a lot more attention from both collectors and the press alike.
Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra GMT Worldtimer
Omega may be often known for its Speedmaster collection, but they do produce some other incredibly compelling watches as well. Cue the Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra GMT Worldtimer.
Launched in 2017, the Aqua Terra GMT Worldtimer offers collectors an interesting option in the world of worldtimers. The timepiece attempts to produce a clean and legible layout, to allow for greater legibility. This is achieved through the use of the outer ring for the city labels, and an inner ring that features a 24 hours display. On top of that, the designers had also brilliantly leveraged on the indices to act as an indicator for the time of certain cities.
The main highlight for the watch, however, lies in the middle. The watch is fitted with a titanium cartouche which has been laser-ablated to create a blue ocean (and also leaving a relief of the continents as a result). The end result is a crisp and detailed showpiece which is pretty out of this world. The price of this 43mm timepiece begins at S$13,000 for the stainless steel model, and we do think that this particular Omega is a stunning piece that matches both form and functionality together.
Chopard L.U.C GMT One Black
We round up the article with the exquisite Chopard L.U.C GMT One Black.
The GMT One offers collectors a more contemporary timepiece – something that is slightly different from the more usual dressier watches that the L.U.C collection is normally associated with. This 42mm timepiece, notably, features an inner rotating bezel to display its second time-zone. It also has an additional GMT hand that can be adjusted with the crown at the 4 o’clock position.
The piece de resistance for the timepiece perhaps lies in its movement. The watch is fitted with the Calibre L.U.C 01.10-L, a self-winding COSC-certified movement that boasts a decent power reserve of 60 hours. The finishing is pretty good too, with some of the highlights including Côtes de Genève and chamfered edges for the bridges.
Priced at S$11,800, the L.U.C GMT One is a great piece that offers collectors something sublime without being too ostentatious.
We hope that this week’s article has given readers some insights on this genre of watches.
Given the situation, we have to obviously eliminate some options. We absolutely adore the Rolex GMT-Master II and the Patek Philippe Calatrava Pilot Travel Time, but these two brands are currently the popular choices for robbers and burglars. We highly recommend readers to keep these watches in a safe at home instead, at least for now.
Aside from the Omega Aqua Terra, most of the watches that we have selected are rather low-key. However, these are tested and proven watches that are well-made, and are fit for their functions. The L.U.C GMT One and Zürich Weltzeit are two watches that prove that you can still enjoy brilliant higher-end timepieces, without being too flashy or showy. The Omega Aqua Terra, we reckon, can be worn in countries that are deemed safer – especially if one still wishes to have an interesting timepiece when the occasion calls for it.
Please let us know your thoughts on our selection today, as well as the watches that you feel deserves a spot on the list. And for those who are travelling soon: Have a safe trip!