A Grand Seiko GMT Is The Perfect International Travel Companion: Here Are Our 7 Faves

A Grand Seiko GMT Is The Perfect International Travel Companion: Here Are Our 7 Faves

Nick Kenyon
Nick Kenyon



A GMT is, without a doubt, the most practical function on a watch for tracking two timezones. Be it for the purpose of checking in on a loved one living abroad, setting up an international conference call, or even just to satisfy a fleeting curiosity. Where the feature really comes into its own, however, is when you’re travelling overseas, and as borders begin to reopen, we thought it’d be fun to examine a few of our favourite travel watches from Grand Seiko.

If there’s one thing we’ve sorely missed over the last couple of years, it’s been the opportunity to jump on a plane and fly somewhere else. Anywhere, really. Thankfully, those days appear to be behind us and we can once again begin considering where in the world we’d like to visit.

Within the current lineup of GMT watches from Grand Seiko, there are dozens of options to pick from, each with its own details to delight. Different movements, various case sizes, and of course, a number of different styles — ranging from the ultra-sporty to the more quietly conservative.

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Whether you’re in the market for something powered by quartz and in stainless steel or something with a Spring Drive GMT in hardened titanium, there’s a Grand Seiko timepiece for everybody. And who knows? One of these watches might even become your best friend the next time you flash your passport at the check-in gate.

Grand Seiko SBGE285

Grand Seiko GMT

Easily one of our favourite watches from Watches & Wonders 2022, the new SBGE285 is a compelling timepiece for a number of reasons. Firstly, it sits within Grand Seiko’s most contemporary collection in the Evolution 9 series, which has thoughtfully evolved the Japanese watchmaker’s design language to its present point.

Featuring a 41mm case, it’s breathlessly lightweight thanks to its titanium construction and matching bracelet, while also boasting a brushed titanium 24-hour bezel around its dial. The dial itself is off-white and inspired by the morning mist, while also offering ample amounts of luminous material on the hands and hour markers. Like the perfect travel companion, it’ll be there when you need it, and evaporate under your cuff when you don’t.

Grand Seiko SBGN011

Grand Seiko GMT

While many brands in the Swiss watch industry turn their noses up at the mention of quartz-powered timepieces, Grand Seiko has spent the last half-century developing and perfecting the technology. The SBGN011 is a perfect example of what Grand Seiko is capable of when it comes to quartz watchmaking, boasting a universally wearable 40mm steel case that has been expertly polished to perfection. The dial of the SBGN011 is an attractive champagne colour that nicely contrasts against the blue GMT hand, while the movement beneath the dial is the venerable 9F86 calibre that is accurate to a remarkable +/-10 seconds a year.

Grand Seiko SBGM221

Grand Seiko GMT

One of the longest-running GMT references in the Grand Seiko catalogue, the SBGM221 is a picture of restrained sophistication. Featuring a classically proportioned 39.5mm steel case, its dial is wonderfully legible and contains all the information one needs on an international jaunt.

Offering a warm cream tone, the dial of the SBGM221 contrasts against the highly polished hands and the slightly shorter GMT hand, all of which are driven by the calibre 9S66 movement. Featuring a three-day power reserve, the automatic calibre is accurate up to +5 to -3 seconds per day, visible through a sapphire crystal exhibition caseback.

Grand Seiko SBGM247

Grand Seiko GMT

As one of Grand Seiko’s newest GMT offerings, the SBGM247 was launched in 2021 with its blue-dial twin in the SBGM245. If you prefer your GMT watches to be on the sportier side, this is an excellent option thanks to its 40.5mm steel case, bezel and bracelet, all of which have been satin-brushed to deliver a more utilitarian feel. The olive green dial features a brushed sunburst finish that plays with the light nicely, offering the ideal canvas for the subtle orange pops of the GMT hand and dial text. Thanks to its solid caseback and screw-down crown, the SBGM247 offers 200m of water resistance and is also powered by the 72-hour power reserve calibre 9S66. A true go-anywhere, do-anything watch.

Grand Seiko SBGN021

If you’ve spent much time looking at Grand Seiko watches, you’ll know that the brand’s expertise in creating razor-sharp case lines thanks to articulate polishing, as well as engaging and complex dial textures. The SBGN021 has both of those qualities in spades, featuring a 40mm steel case that is reminiscent of classic ’70s design, and a radial dial texture that is stunning in almost any light. With a blue ceramic bezel that frames the dial and neatly complements the blue highlights of the GMT hand, it’s a subtle timepiece that gets better the closer you look at it. Powered by the quartz 9F86 GMT movement, the SBGN021 is also accurate within just 10 seconds per year.

Grand Seiko SBGJ255

When it comes to quintessential Grand Seiko design cues, the SBGJ255 is brimming with them. From its angular high-polish case that was inspired by the 44GS case design from 1967, to its subtly complex dial structure, the SBGJ255 is everything collectors love about Grand Seiko. With wearability always at the forefront of the minds of Grand Seiko watchmakers, the 40mm case and bracelet are made from high-intensity titanium that is lightweight and scratch-resistant. Inside the timepiece is the calibre 9S86, which ticks no less than 10 times per second, or 36,000 beats per hour, and is accurate to +5 to -3 seconds per day with 55 hours of power reserve. A true classic.

Grand Seiko SBGE257

Last, but certainly not least, is the aggressively sporty SBGE257, which is another recent addition to the Grand Seiko GMT catalogue when it was first launched in 2022. It’s been something of a renaissance for green watches over the last couple of years, and this is up there with the best of them, featuring a sunburst green dial that works in harmony with the forest green ceramic bezel.

Its steel case is substantial, but approachable at 40.5mm, arriving with a matching steel bracelet. The dial offers a hint of the Spring Drive movement that powers the SBGE257, featuring a power reserve indicator at 7 o’clock, a date window at 4 o’clock and a contrasting yellow GMT hand. The movement in question is the unique Spring Drive calibre 9R66 that is accurate to ±1 second per day and offers 72 hours of power reserve. Hard-wearing and under the radar.

This article is sponsored by Grand Seiko. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Boss Hunting.

Nick Kenyon
Nick Kenyon is the Editor of Boss Hunting, joining the team after working as the Deputy Editor of luxury watch magazine Time+Tide. He has a passion for watches, with other interests across style, sports and more. Get in touch at nick (at) luxity.com.au



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