[Review] Foliot Brings Fresh Take On GMT With New Stratonaut

Foliot (it’s a soft “t”) Watches is a new brand started by a software engineer with a passion for watches. His love for travel made it a no-brainer to start the brand off with an adventure-ready GMT watch that’s capable of tracking five different time zones thanks to some crafty hand design. First thing’s first, what is a foliot? The brand is named after an old style of escapement called the “verge and foliot,” which were the predecessors to the modern-day balance wheel and pallet fork. It’s a cool callback to the beginning of watchmaking.

Today, we’re looking at Foliot’s Stratonaut — a 41mm stainless steel watch that’s water resistant to a very respectable 200 meters. The Stratonaut features a classic and bold design with three available dial colors. I enjoyed spending time with all three — the classic black dial, vibrant sunburst blue with gilt accents, and a handsome black/gilt version.



[Review] Foliot Brings Fresh Take On GMT With New Stratonaut

Stainless Steel
ETA 2893-2 GMT
Black/White, Black/Gilt, Blue
C3 Swiss SuperLuminova
Sapphire with AR Coating
Steel bracelet with quick-adjust “Easy Glide” system
Water Resistance
Lug Width
Screw Down


Clocking in at 41mm wide and crafted from 316L stainless steel, the Stratonaut’s case sits on the large side of medium. From the top down, the focus is mainly placed on the bi-directional 24-hour bezel and dial features, leaving only the lugs to be seen from the top. Measuring 48mm from lug to lug, the watch stays wearable for most wrists. Again, since the watch is mainly dial and bezel, the lugs make minimal impact on the overall look and feel of the watch. I like how they curve down rather dramatically, helping the watch hug the wrist. On the top and sides of the case, you’ll find fine-grained brushed surfaces separated by a polished bevel. I like the added bevel, as it helps break up the case and adds some visual appeal. 

When you look at the Stratonaut from the side, the height is made up mainly of the coin-edged bezel and mid-case, with the case back hanging ever-so-slightly below the bottom of the mid-case. It’s easy for a watch to look very slab-sided when the ratios favor the bezel and mid-case, but the overall 12.5mm thickness and polished bevel prevent the watch from looking too slabby. I really like the generous coin-edged bezel. It’s a pleasure to grip and looks great from the side. Often, bezels are on the slimmer side, and you don’t get to appreciate the full extent of a coin edge. Think a single quarter on something like a Black Bay 58, vs. this fat stack of change that’ll keep you playing TMNT all day at the arcade. 

Other notable features include the large crown at three o’clock, which has a cool and convenient feature. When unscrewed, the crown tube is revealed. This wouldn’t be a big deal on most watches, but here, Foliot has opted for a red crown tube that acts as an indicator when the crown isn’t fully tightened down. When your travel watch has 200m of water resistance like this one, you want to ensure you’re taking full advantage. It’s a fun little detail that makes a lot of sense on a GMT watch, especially since you’ll be using the crown a lot when bouncing between time zones.

Dial + Hands

There’s a lot going on with the dial and hands, since the Stratonaut is technically capable of tracking five time zones between the main hands, the dual-tipped GMT hand, and the rotating bezel. I think it’s an exaggeration to say five time zones, and that’s because of the dual-tipped GMT hand. Technically, it can track five, provided that two of the time zones you’re interested in tracking are 12 hours behind the one you’re clocking with the dedicated GMT hand. It’s not the most useful function, and it adds some extra clutter to what I would already consider a pretty busy dial. Since there is a lot to cover, let’s start from the outside and work our way in. 

Surrounding the dial is a bi-directional bezel with 24-hour markings. You can use this bezel in conjunction with the GMT hand to track a time zone (and its 12-hour opposite, thanks to that dual-sided hand). When the lights go out, this lumed sapphire bezel puts on quite the light show, allowing you to wake up in the middle of the night on your trip and panic about what time it is back home. Moving into the dial, you’ll find another 24-hour scale, but this time it’s fixed. The GMT hand will be pointing to this scale most directly, making it the easiest to refer to. Take another step in, and there’s a set of applied indices that are treated with green C3 SuperLuminova with a minute scale running in between. Finally, there’s the Foliot logo and wordmark at 12, balanced by the model name and “GMT” at six. 

The handset is a pretty straightforward set of pencils, each treated with lume inside. I’ve mentioned the dual-tipped GMT hand a few times already but failed to mention that the main point is a lumed triangle, while the opposite end is a red-tipped point. I’ve found the hands to be bold enough to read at a glance, and the lume treatment is quite nice, making it legible at night. 

Nothing jumps out as out of place on the Foliot’s dial. The design is classic, with rectangular indices, conservative typefaces, and quality execution.


Inside the Stratonaut, one of ETA’s 2893-2 GMT movements is inside. ETA has become a bit trickier for smaller brands to get a hold of, and it’s nice to see them here in the Foliot. They’re quality, reliable movements that are Swiss-made that can be worked on by pretty much any watchmaker out there. Beating at 28,800vph, the movement sends the second hand around the dial with a smooth sweep.

Convenient features like hacking seconds and the ability to hand wind round out a solid movement. Since the Stratonaut features a solid case back, you don’t get to see the ETA in action, which is just fine. Foliot does note that they regulate the 2893s in-house to six positions to chronometer spec or better. Since ETAs tend to be already pretty accurate, this is a nice bonus.

Strap + Wearability

When receiving your Stratonaut, you’ll get quite the pouch filled with accessories. The watch includes a stainless steel bracelet, vegan leather two-piece strap, and single-pass nylon strap. You’ll also get two tools – a nice screwdriver to resize the bracelet and a premium spring bar removal tool. All of this comes packaged with the watch in a nice faux-leather pouch. The presentation is really excellent for the price, and the bonus accessories don’t feel cheap or like an afterthought. Let’s start with the stainless steel bracelet. 

Featuring an oyster-style design with a brushed finish, the Stratonaut’s bracelet feels sturdy and secure. It’s a classic look that pairs well with the watch’s overall design. There’s a slight taper from lug to clasp, which makes the watch wear a bit more comfortable while giving off a subtle vintage vibe. Speaking of the clasp, there’s some fun engineering at work that makes quick size adjustments a breeze. On the inside of the clasp, there’s a small lever that you can pull down and then extend or retract the bracelet. Hot day? Too much salt? Loosen it up with the Easy Glide system, and you’re good to go. The outside of the clasp is engraved with the brand’s name and model, along with the Foliot logo. The watch looks great on the bracelet, but you still have a few more included options. 

A quick-release vegan leather strap also comes included with the Stratonaut. I don’t love vegan leather, even if it is the more responsible route. It just doesn’t have the look and feel of the real deal. The construction of the included strap is nice, with even stitching and a nice fit. I found the buckle to be sturdy too. There’s also a nylon nato-style strap along for the ride, which is a nice touch. If you’re just getting started in the world of watches, it’s nice to have all of these options included with the watch. 

I would say that the 41mm case wears true to its size. It’s not huge, but bold. The chunky coin-edge bezel adds some bulk, and the multiple scales on the dial and bezel make for a busy watch. There’s nothing wrong with busy since Foliot managed the busyness well. During my time with the Stratonaut, I’ve found it comfortable yet solid. I gravitated towards the black/gilt model most. I threw it on an olive nato strap, and the warmth of the olive picked up on the gold accents of the dial nicely.



The Stratonaut isn’t too far outside the box, which is a good thing. It provides a solid base for Foliot as a brand, and it’s one of the more impressive first watches from a smaller brand that I’ve had the pleasure of spending some time with. Standout features include solid construction, crisp finishing, in-house regulation, excellent packaging/presentation, and dial design. I’m still not totally sold that you can track five time zones, but the GMT functionality is improved by the rotating bezel and 24-hour scale printed on the dial.

The Foliot is worth considering if you’re in the market for a GMT watch and want something Swiss-made with a solid movement inside and classic, rugged looks. I’m curious to see how the brand progresses and what they can come up with next. If their first watch indicates how they’ll continue, it’s an exciting prospect. Foliot

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Ed is a Long Island-based writer and photographer with an affinity for watches, fountain pens, EDC gear, and a great cup of coffee. He’s always looking for the best gear for the job—whether it be new watch, pen, flashlight, knife, or wallet. Ed enjoys writing because it’s an awesome (and fulfilling) way to interact with those who share the same interests.