Just a few weeks ago, the watch world was intensely focused on an affordable GMT from Seiko. The Seiko 5 Sports GMT was, deservedly, an immediate hit, and now that initial orders are arriving and showing up on wrists as we collectively scroll through Instagram, it’s hard not feel some excitement over an affordable complication from a big brand in a fun package. But Seiko isn’t the only player in the affordable GMT category, at least not as of this week, as Bulova has just launched their own sub $1,000 GMT. This one is in a very different style, and I’d imagine most collectors won’t be cross shopping it with the Seiko 5, but there’s a pretty cool feature here that might cause some to take a second look: this one has a jumping local hour hand.
Jumping for Joy: Bulova’s Wilton GMT Uses an Exciting New Miyota Caliber with a Highly Desired Complication
The local jumping hour hand core to what a GMT watch is all about in my view. There are plenty of defenders of “caller” GMTs out there, but I’m steadfast that for actual travel, there’s just no substitute for being able to quickly adjust the local hour hand. Anything else is really better suited to another activity (taking conference calls with colleagues in other time zones, for example, or following the Premier League schedule). Watches with a “true” GMT at an affordable price point are few and far between, as we’ve covered frequently here.
But these new Bulova “Wilton” GMTs use a new movement that we’ve been excited to see in action for quite some time now. The Miyota 9075 is part of Miyota’s premium 9-series line of movements, and this one is functionally identical to far more expensive GMTs from the likes of Rolex, Grand Seiko, and Omega. You’ve probably noticed (we certainly have) that many small brands have gravitated toward Miyota movements to keep their watches thin and relatively inexpensive compared to watches powered by Swiss alternatives like Sellita. The prospect of micro-brands having access to an affordable GMT movement with a local jumping hour hand is genuinely exciting for any enthusiast.
As for the Wilton, it’s a classically styled watch on the dressier side, and feels fairly typical of many recent Bulova releases. It has a stately and refined quality to it that isn’t particularly adventurous, but feels very much a part of the brand’s long history by employing a timeless, vintage inspired aesthetic. The Wilton, available in stainless steel with a blue dial and a gold plated version with a white dial, feels like a lot of its look is pulled from classic watches from the middle of the last century, with a Roman numeral dial and dauphine hands. An embossed representation of a globe is also featured on each dial, calling attention to a possible use case for the watch (although admittedly this style of dial is more common on world timers).
The Wilton’s case measures 42mm in diameter and the watch features a sapphire crystal and a framed date window at 3:00. Water resistance is only 30 meters, so if you’re looking for a travel watch with sports watch specs, it might be best to wait on future Miyota 9075 releases. But if you’re the type of collector who would prize one of the first watches to feature this movement, they’re available right now from Bulova at a suggested retail price of $875. Bulova