Travel watches span a wide range of styles, complications, and of course, price points. One thing they all have in common is their practicality. As different as they may be, they all find themselves as reliable travel companions for one reason or another. Those reasons are more than just offering up a second timezone on the dial. For some, the less complexity the better, for others, comfort and utility take priority.
All available through StockX—an online marketplace aimed at fostering a buying/selling experience that values transparency above all else—the five luxury timepieces profiled in today’s article are, without a doubt, great travel companions.
Rolex GMT-Master II 116710BLNR
You knew this one was coming. Pre-owned prices are dipping under the $10,000 mark, and this is the preeminent travel watch for good reason. With its 24-hour hand and a dual color bezel against which to track it, the GMT-Master set the standard for travel watches back in the ‘50s, and the formula still works today. Everything is built in-house here, from the chronometer-spec movement, to the Cerachrom bezel. The “Pepsi” may be all the rage, but the black and blue variant (aka “Batman,” aka BLNR) has the hallmarks of a future classic. If you need a travel watch that’ll last for the life, aren’t opposed to Rolex, and can find one for under $10,000, this is the one to get.
Panerai Luminor GMT Pam 329 Black
The Panerai Luminor is instantly recognizable for its size and shape, which includes the iconic crown guard with lever. These watches seem to be a love-it-or-hate-it affair, but there’s a few details that command respect from either side. First and foremost, legibility is beyond reproach here thanks to the robust hour markers and the 6, 9, 12 numerals dominating the sandwich dial. The PAM 329 takes this a step further with the addition of a 24-hour hand. There are no 24-hour markers, which keep things clean, but also make reading the second timezone a hair harder than need be—a worthy trade off, perhaps. Turning the watch over, you’re greeted to a view of the in-house automatic caliber P.9000 with a power reserve indication built in for good measure.
Grand Seiko Hi-Beat GMT SBGJ219
Grand Seiko is slowly expanding their product line as they look to increase exposure within new markets, but those in the know don’t need any convincing. This Hi-Beat GMT Ref. SBGJ219 with a black dial is exemplary of Grand Seiko’s horological prowess. Being a Grand Seiko, everything you see here was made in-house, and the restrained execution is a wealth of precision and accuracy. We love the black dial and red accents, which present just enough information to be useful, and restrained enough to be everyday levels of practical.
Tudor Black Bay GMT
Tudor waded into the travel watch genre this year by adding a GMT complication to their popular Black Bay family. The watch offered a straightforward design with all the throwback flavor you could ask for, including a matte dial and most notably, a muted “Pepsi” bezel. Fans of the Black Bay will find plenty to love here, and if you could stand the heft of the three-hander, the GMT should present little issue. Operation is simple and adjustments natural, plus, it’s a watch that looks pretty damn good on any manner of strap you care to throw on it, so it’s easy to toss a few options in a bag for trips both short and long alike.
Rolex Explorer 214270
Sometimes, a great travel watch isn’t labeled as a travel watch at all. In my experience, the fewer adjustments I need to make, the better when it comes to the watches I travel with. The biggest inconvenience when traveling is making multiple adjustments to the date along with any GMT complication. A dateless watch, such as the Rolex Explorer I, can be easily set on the fly, and set again on a return trip without bringing the date back around again or fussing over what to do with the 24-hour hand when not traveling. It’s a quick, painless adjustment that can be made while waiting to board the plane, and that makes this a great travel watch in my book.
Words by Blake Buettner of StockX.