Flight is the first thing that comes to mind when I think or hear GMT. Greenwich Mean Time’s origin comes from the need for increased timing efficiency in the United Kingdom during the 19th century as the nation became an increasingly powerful naval force and adopted rail travel on a broad scale. But while water and rail travel certainly increased the need for precise timing across time zones, nothing could compare to the breakneck time zone changes brought on by the advent of jet travel in the mid-20th century. That drove the need for pilots and ultimately travelers alike to easily track multiple time zones around the world, and with that, the GMT watch complication was born.
To learn more about GMTs and other watches that allow one to track multiple time zones, click here.
As someone who loves to travel and roam wherever and whenever the opportunity presents itself, the GMT has always been my favorite complication in a watch, albeit one not often within my price range. While in reality, the GMT function is only occasionally useful, just looking down at a GMT is an invitation–a challenge to put it to use and to book a last-minute flight and wake up somewhere new. Still, I never felt the need to hunker down the cash to buy one given that most mechanical options fetch a small premium.
The opportunity to test out the Lum-Tec Combat B38 GMT was one I jumped on for all the reasons above. Plus, after years of writing about and testing watches, I’d never had the chance to handle a Lum-Tec in person. They’re an enigmatic brand in my mind–watches assembled in Ohio, a parent company that largely makes parts, and a name that literally brags about their luminescence. With designs ranging broadly from aggressive cases in aggressive diameters to tamer “field watch”-inspired pieces, I’d always had a hard time getting a feel for the brand and ethos. The Combat B38 GMT finally provided an opportunity to delve a bit deeper. And though I wasn’t taking any extended trips, I wanted to gauge the overall versatility of the design and execution.