Introducing the Aloha GMT 40

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Every so often, we come across a watch that from a brand that seems to have been created out of the blue that actually has a truly compelling story. It might be because of the way the brand founder made their way to the watch industry, or the watch might have an impressive or novel complication. Sometimes though, like in the case of Aloha watches, it’s the mission of the brand that speaks to us. And it’s not just talk with Aloha — they’ve already made a significant impact.

Aloha GMT 40

  • Case Material: Stainless steel
  • Dial: Sunburst blue, black gloss gilt 
  • Dimensions: 40mm
  • Crystal: Sapphire 
  • Water Resistance: 100 meters 
  • Crown: Screw down 
  • Movement: ETA 2893-2
  • Strap/bracelet: Leather strap 
  • Price: $1,475
  • Expected Release: Available now

Let’s start with the watch itself. The Aloha GMT uses a tried-and-true ETA “caller” GMT caliber that features an independently-set 24-hour hand (which is great for tracking a far off time zone of your choice from the comfort of your home time zone). The case is 40mm, has nicely polished and brushed elements, and shows off the movement through a display case back.

The dial, I think, is really nicely done and has a ton of charm. Two variants are available at launch, a blue sunburst pattern and a glossy black gilt. Both appear to be high quality and immediately engaging, but there are small details here that give the Aloha GMT a unique signature. Note the moon and sun at 12:00 and 6:00, for example. Large applied indices and a sober, modern inner 24-hour scale keep the watch well balanced, and little pops of orange on the seconds and GMT hands give it a casual and somewhat sporty vibe. The font used for the Aloha signature is fun as well. I’ve personally never seen a capital “A” like that on a watch dial, and I like the playful and modern sensibilities here.

So we have a well-designed, ETA-based GMT watch from an all new brand, under $2,000. Tale as old as time, right? Something that sets Aloha apart just a bit is their commitment to actually do good in the world, and the way they’ve been able to back up their lofty goals so early in their history. Brand founder Spencer Leu writes on the Aloha website that a long term goal of his is to create and donate special editions of his timepieces as charity giveaways, and he actually raffled a one-off version of the GMT 40 at a charity golf tournament last month to the tune of $25,000. The proceeds helped the Brighton Jones Richer Life Foundation purchase a school bus for a girls shelter in Kenya. For Leu, this is all part of the “Live Aloha” philosophy that he hopes his brand embodies.

The Aloha GMT 40 is available now in limited quantities through the Aloha website, where you can also read more about the brand’s charitable endeavors. Aloha

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Zach is a native of New Hampshire, and he has been interested in watches since the age of 13, when he walked into Macy’s and bought a gaudy, quartz, two-tone Citizen chronograph with his hard earned Bar Mitzvah money. It was lost in a move years ago, but he continues to hunt for a similar piece on eBay. Zach loves a wide variety of watches, but leans toward classic designs and proportions that have stood the test of time. He is currently obsessed with Grand Seiko.
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