My perfect watch for traveling

New Rolex GMT Matser II

John asked me through a comment: “So with all the traveling you do what watch do you wear? Additionally if you were in the market for a watch specifically for traveling around the world what would you buy today?”

John thanks for the question!

I do have a clear perception of a watch for traveling. The most important feature for me is to have the zonetime displayed for an alternative or second time zone.

Please be aware that there is a difference in the wording zonetime and time zone. In a time zone there is a specific zonetime, a watch cannot display a time zone, a watch will always display the zonetime in the time zone. So all the watches featuring a second time zone indication are not correctly labeled and/or described. It is also incorrect to label a watch “GMT” or to talk about a “GMT”-function, since there is no more “GMT” but instead “UTC”.

A time zone is a region on Earth that has a uniform standard time (zonetime) for legal, commercial, and social purposes. It is convenient for areas in close commercial or other communication to keep the same time, so time zones tend to follow the boundaries of countries and their subdivisions. Most of the time zones on land are offset from Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) by a whole number of hours (UTC−12 to UTC+14), but a few are offset by 30 or 45 minutes. Some higher latitude countries use daylight saving time for part of the year, typically by changing clocks by an hour. Many land time zones are skewed toward the west of the corresponding nautical time zones. This also creates a permanent daylight saving time effect.

And when a watch is correctly labeled and/or we are talking about a “UTC”-watch this watch cannot only just show “UTC” but also many other zonetimes. So again this is wrong… But this is another story 🙂

The readability must be good and the setting must be easy to do. When setting the zonetime for the so called second time zone it is vital that you do not loose the current displayed minutes and seconds. So, when pulling out the crown the watch must not stop and you must not loose your correct indicated seconds an minutes and then it must be possible to change the hours in simple one-hour-steps. Every watch that stops when pulling out the crown when you set the time for the so called second time zone in my eyes is NOT a useful travelers watch but just a much too expensive gimmick!

At home in Vienna I want to be able to set my local time and I want to synchronize the indication (e.g. by a separate hour-hand on a 24-hour-scale) of the alternate zonetime. My watch will then show e.g. 12:00 noon and also the second zonetime indication will show 12 noon. When now e.g. traveling to New York I will when arriving there just pull out the crown and offset my hours-hand for six hours back. My second zonetime indication will still show me my home time in Vienna and the actual hours, minutes and seconds will indicate me the correct time in New York. Also the date will then change correctly at midnight in New York and not at home in Vienna.

I do not like the “unitime” watches that indicate you the zonetimes in the 24 major time zones. The design of such watches is cool, but the readability is not the best.

Then a traveller’s watch, depending where you travel to, must be absolute waterproof and it should look as decent as possible to not attract the attention of possible desperadoes. A traveller’s watch in gold in my eyes is a clear no go.

Which watch to choose? As long the watch offers the above-described features it is a question of taste and money. What I noticed is that a lot of “cheap” travelers watches do not offer the possibility to set the hours independently when traveling. So please be careful when buying a traveller’s watch and do not waste money for a model that will not offer you the comfort of changing the hours independently.

Here are some suggestions of “intelligent” and in my eyes cool watches for traveling. This is a personal choice, this is of course not a complete list and I unfortunately do not posses all these watches  … 🙂


Blancpain 500 Fathoms GMT
Blancpain 500 Fathoms GMT
Breitling Transocean Chrono GMT
Breitling Transocean Chrono GMT
Breitling Chronomat 44 GMT
Breitling Chronomat 44 GMT
Breitling Chronomat-GMT
Breitling Chronomat-GMT
Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Compressor Diving Chrono GMT Navy SEALs
Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Compressor Diving Chrono GMT Navy SEALs
Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Compressor Diving GMT
Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Compressor Diving GMT
Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Grande GMT
Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Grande GMT
L.U. Choprad Pro one GMT
L.U. Chopard Pro One GMT
Nomos Tangomat GMT
Nomos Tangomat GMT
Omega Seamaster PO GoodPlanet
Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean GMT GoodPlanet
Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra GMT
Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra GMT
Panerai Luminor 1950 3 Days GMT PAM00441
Panerai Luminor 1950 3 Days GMT PAM00441
Rolex First GMT-Master II from 1982 - ....
Rolex First GMT-Master II from 1982 – ….
New Rolex GMT Matser II
New Rolex GMT Matser II
2013 Rolex GMT-Master II
2013 Rolex GMT-Master II






More from Alexander Linz
29 replies on “My perfect watch for traveling”
  1. says: Boris

    And than there is a company called Ulysse-Nardin which makes
    probably the most user friendly world-traveler watch around.
    I strongly believe that “Dual Time 42mm” should be mentioned when
    you are discussing traveling to different time zones.

    Kind regards
    Boris Pecenko

  2. says: alex ioancio

    Traveller watches are only with names
    In reality I am 105 kg guy and black belt and in the center of Bruxelles a little cafe au lait guy tried to robb me in the mid day
    I wonder how a Rolex acts as a magnet for this dishonest dudes.My little one got i think a broken ribb as a souvenir.
    My advice when you are going abroad is a healthy G can use it as alarm too and if you loose it you may think :well that was 5 beers !Cheers

  3. says: David Thurlow

    Really annoying, you lose seconds, if you loose seconds they would be rattling around in the case !

    1. says: alex ioancio

      If you are wondering about loosing seconds then I think you did not take your medication that day cool

  4. says: Christian Melsen

    All very nice watches,
    I have my self both Chopard and Omega watches, but honestly the places I travel to, I really dont want to have anything of bling value on my arm, it just increases the risk of somebody jumping you.

    1. says: Peter U.

      Isn’t this a concern “risk of somebody jumping you” only if one is wearing a short sleeve shirt ? If a person had on a long sleeve shirt or a jacket then would be thieves wouldn’t see what one is wearing , or in such “places” maybe it doesn’t matter and they would want a watch no matter what it’s value is ?

  5. says: Lindberg

    Dear Watch-insider

    In the article is cited an original “GMT Master II from 1982” with image, for the sake of accuracy & competency within an article produced by “experts”… would it have been perhaps appropriate to include an original image which matched the annotated description??

    The model portrayed does not display tritrium components consistent with
    the descrption.

    1. If I only could I would … This picture is taken from the one and only, official press server of Rolex. Mon amie, if you have a better picture and you have the rights that I can publish it, PLEASE send it to me and I will be more than happy to bring it online …

  6. says: Coach charter Sydney

    In this article tell us about the watches of different companies.Also tells the the time zones of the watch.

  7. says: DMJ

    Congratulations for the article. But I believe that the Panerai PAM320 and PAM441 (both served by P’9001 caliber) has a stop seconds device that is activated when the crown is pushed to set the zonetime, so, if i´m not wrong, you will loose your seconds for sure, and maybe your minutes if your not so fast setting the watch 😉
    Can you please confirm me that? Thanks

    1. No worries that you loose the actual time and seconds with the Panerai’s … The changes done in one-hour-steps with the hand that will show you the local time are done in the first crown position. In this position you also change the date. In the second position you will then stop the watch and the second hand will jump to its zero position. In this position you may also set your home time …

  8. says: Tom A.

    I have just been traveling with my G-Shock GWA-1000D. This is their top of the range analogue aviation style watch. It is a highly intelligent watch that lets you check other timezones quickly and easily. And it syncs with atomic time in the northern hemisphere.
    Usually I prefer my mechanical watches, but that G-Shock is really impressive.

  9. says: Edwin Tschopp

    Have a look at the Sinn 857 S UTC or the new Tissot worldtimer. Both offer you a lot for little money.

  10. says: Juan

    Alex, thank you very much for the article. It´s very interesting. Could you please write a articule about annual calendar watches?

  11. says: Jan Stornfelt

    Alexander, are you familiar with the Swedish SJÖÖ SANDSTRÖM CHRONOLINK WORLDTIMER UTC? If so, what are your thoughts?

    1. says: Jan Stornfelt

      Sjöö Sandström is a Swedish small-scale but highly exclusive watchmaker; one of the world’s very few independent ones. Swedish watchmakers are few and far between (no matter how many times you confuse the country with Switzerland). Here are some images.

      1. says: Peter U.

        The watches look very nice and they are probably very expensive as well, am I right ?

  12. says: John

    Alexander thanks for the post! Several very nice choices… It would be hard to choose just one. I did like the fact you included the NOMOS although I would have like to see the Weltzeit 🙂

    So I know for me it is late so I may have missed it… But what do you currently wear on your travels? Don’t be shy!


    1. says: Mezdis

      I think that it is not on Alex’ list because it is only available in gold. And if I quote Alex: “A traveller’s watch in gold in my eyes is a clear no go”… 😉

  13. says: Robert

    Alexander – great piece and some great watches. Could you give me your thoughts on the Breguet Type XXII and how it fits into the mix?

Comments are closed.