The NH34 One Year Later: Top 5 GMT Mods You Need to See
The past year has been quite an exciting one in the world of Seiko mods, thanks to the surprise release of the SSK GMT line-up and the NH34 GMT calibre back in June 2022. We can still remember how challenging it was for us to source an NH34 to test it with our parts for compatibility. Watch modders eager to use it for a GMT build, likewise had a hard time finding a supplier whose stocks of the long-awaited movement have not yet sold out. Needless to say, everyone was excited.
Fast forward to today, NH34 movements are easily available, and so are parts that are natively compatible with it that don’t require additional broaching, sanding, or what have you. Modders have had some time to experiment, with some real gems of a build emerging from innovative minds.
In this article, we take a closer look at the most inspiring GMT watch mods that the community created, from “Improved OEM” looks to completely original ideas. Whether you’re someone new to watch mods, or an experienced one looking for stimuli to spark your next build, we hope this curated list will have something that makes you go “Ooh, that’s pretty good!”
Our Top 5 Picks
Starting off with a bang, we have a Rose Gold Worldtimer by bbmod_watches that functions as an attention-grabber as much as it is a time teller. There’s so many layers to the construction of this NH34 mod, but let’s go inward starting with the 3 o’clock case. We think the mod works nicely with a silver finish too, but the dressier tone of the rose gold case, matched by the crown and bezel, is a fine complement to the bronze dial. For the bezel insert, we have what’s called a “World Timer” which features the names of cities found in each timezone, which is quite useful if you don’t have them memorized. You still have 24hr markers on the chapter ring though, if you prefer math to geography.
The dial, by itself, has a lot of details that may make it look busy for some, but we’re all for it. On the outermost ring are indices with lumed dots for each hour. One ring in and you have 12 hour markers, with a circular date window on the 3 o’clock position. The center plate is an engraved map of the world, the oceans represented by a deep matte blue matte blue material. Finally you have the rose gold sleek hands sweeping across the meticulously detailed dial.
We bet this is something that took a lot of planning, and we applaud the end result! Despite its grand design though, bbmod_watches has not named this piece - what do you think would suit this NH34 GMT watch?
Batman SSK003 GMT Mod
The original SSK003 has that subdued look going on that many Seiko fans loved right out of the box, but ctwatchmods had ideas to bring it to the next level. First is swapping out the SKX-like case for something homaging the solid look of the MarineMaster. Already, you have a distinct looking watch from the original so it needs just a few touches to truly differentiate it from the SSK003. The split-colored insert features a vibrant blue and a deep black, with a large and legible 24hr track. And since we already have a way to tell the GMT time with the insert, he opts to use a silver chapter ring with only indices and no number markers.
He keeps the original sunburst dial from the 003 but he does change the handset to broad arrows inspired by a Grand Seiko look. The hour hand from this set also looks similar to something that comes from a Seiko Sumo, which, coincidentally (or perhaps on purpose), the case also resembles. The red arrow for the GMT hand matches the red GMT type on the dial, making for a fun little detail. ctwatchmods rounds off the NH34 build with a Jubilee bracelet.
We’ve already featured a Batman GMT build in this previous article, but we think nobody would complain if we have another “Dark Knight” inspired NH34 build, as long as it looks this good!
Vintage GMT Cocaloca
If you’re a fan of patinated builds, you most likely have already come across the works of nhdivers35, and we’re just happy that he has applied his magic to GMT builds as well. Check out the “Cocaloca,” with an aged look like fine wine - truly an intoxicating piece. First thing you’ll notice is the SKX case, which just has that nostalgic vibe to it despite only being discontinued in 2018. It shouldn’t look right at home with a vintage-themed build, yet here we are - a Coke GMT that looks decades older than it actually is!
It gets the Coke moniker from the black and red insert, featuring a shiny yet faded look, with the engraved 24hr markers nesting the tinged lume. The face consists of a Seiko PADI dial and a Mercedes handset whose lumes have been treated to appear slightly yellowish, the silver markers seemingly rusted from being soaked in the briny sea. In tandem, it creates a subtle but convincing vintage aesthetic that would look as good on the wrist as it does in a historical watch exhibit.
Seeing that GMT was popularized in the 50’s, nhdivers35’s idea to give his GMT build the patina treatment seems like a good choice. What do you think?
Tunas and Timezones
Have you been in a scenario where you’re diving at a depth of 1,000m* and you suddenly, absolutely must know what time it is in a different timezone? Well, thanks to nhorology_lab’s GMT creation, you’ll now be able to do so! But even if you’re not reaching such depths and are only looking for a robust diving watch with a GMT complication, you’ll still probably be in awe of this colorful NH34 Tuna GMT.
The Seiko Tuna already has an attention-catching physique, with its chunky metal shroud meant to protect the watch from the crushing pressure of the deep ocean. It’s a design choice that has long divided the Seiko fandom to lovers and haters with no in-between. Whichever camp you’re in though, you can’t deny that this watch will catch eyes wherever it is worn! The rubber bracelet, case shroud, bezel insert, chapter ring and dial all feature different shades of blue which serves as a nice, neutral background for the vibrantly colored hands.
nhorology_lab sure knows how to build unique, and this bold GMT build in particular, is something to be commended.
*OEM WR Rating
Stealthy NH34 GMT
Now that we’re writing this, we just realized that there are not a lot of stealth-themed GMT watches out there, which is why this build by seikomods_norway ironically becomes a breath of fresh air. It’s also entirely possible that we just missed seeing these kinds of GMT mods because they’re so… stealthy? While dark themes are quite common for NH35/36 builds, it doesn’t seem to be as widely used for the NH34 variety yet. A mystery to be sure, because see how sexy that looks!
The mod showcases a tasteful use of red accents throughout its design. The distinguished red accent on the dial’s "20BAR" (200m) marking is complemented by the selectively colored body of the GMT hand. This color scheme is further echoed on the bezel insert, where subtle red dots space out the 24-hour markers. The Land Tortoise dial with its gritty texture adds to the understated overall look of the piece making it a fine GMT diver to use in professional settings.
We hope this build by seikomods_norway will inspire more of these unassuming, stealthy watches!
NH34 GMT Mods have come a long way in the past year, but we think there’s still plenty of room to explore and push the limits of GMT Seiko Mods. As suppliers, like namokiMODS, release more new parts that are natively compatible with the NH34 and the Seiko SSK line, modders will be able to better showcase their creative talents and make absolutely unique pieces. We’re pretty sure we missed a few awesome GMT mods over the last 365 days, do you know of a mod or build that you think should have made this list? Share them in the comments below!
If you’re looking to get on the GMT modding train, don’t forget to have a look at our NH34 collection, and if you’re just new to watch modding, you can also jump straight to multi-timezone modding with our DIY GMT Watchmaking Kit, with 5 available colorways for you to choose from.