The microbrand watch scene has experienced a remarkable shift, thanks to Seiko's pivotal 2022 release of the Seiko 5 Sports GMT line and the NH34 unbranded movement. Now, we're witnessing an exciting emergence of stunning GMT watches within the microbrand realm. While luxury giants like Rolex and Omega often steal the spotlight, it's the microbrands that are redefining the game. Microbrands, once focused on delivering value, are now showcasing a range of GMT watches that blend affordability with functionality and designs that punch above their weight class.

Source: Monochrome-Watches

 

Seiko's strategic introduction of the NH34 GMT movement has ignited a spark of creativity and unleashed a wave of horological innovation. The microbrand GMT landscape is evolving before our eyes, and the diversity is a pleasure to behold for any watch enthusiast. And here are the top 3 GMT microbrand watches powered by the NH34 so far.

 

Nodus Sector GMT

Source: WatchClicker

 

The Nodus Sector GMT watch is an emblem of both affordability and exceptional craftsmanship, standing out in the wave of NH34 builds. Embracing Seiko's NH34 GMT movement trend, the Sector GMT distinguishes itself through its impressive features and design at a reasonable $450 price point. This microbrand's approach to watchmaking resonates, offering an accessible yet sophisticated choice for enthusiasts.

The Sector GMT's design strikes a balance between uniqueness and practicality. Its 38mm case diameter, 47mm lug-to-lug distance, and 12.25mm thickness cater to various wrist sizes while commanding a presence. The watch's brushed finish, polished edges, and luminous numerals add layers of visual appeal.

 

Source: Gear Patrol

 

Nodus's reputation for exceptional finishing finds expression in the Sector GMT's brushed dial, bezel, and lugs. This meticulous attention to detail contributes to the watch's allure. The sapphire crystal, 100-meter water resistance, and regulated NH34 movement amplify the timepiece's reliability and performance.

What sets the Nodus Sector GMT apart is its holistic appeal. A testament to Nodus's craftsmanship and dedication to value, this watch marries design, precision, and affordability seamlessly. Regardless of comparisons, the Sector GMT stands as a microbrand gem, captivating watch enthusiasts with its distinctive design and promising value proposition.

 

Boldr Safari GMT

Source: Boldr Supply Co

 

The Boldr Safari GMT stands as an exciting addition to the growing collection of NH34 Microbrand builds, capturing the spirit of exploration with its distinctive design and a functional and coveted feature. Boldr's history with GMT watches is not new, but the Safari GMT offers a fresh perspective. Unlike the earlier and pricier Globetrotter series, the Safari GMT embraces affordability while maintaining a unique identity.

Boasting a rugged 40mm stainless steel blasted case, available in various color combinations, the watch is both comfortable and visually impactful with a short lug-to-lug distance of 48mm that ensures a versatile fit.

The distinctive California dial, broadsword hands, and aluminum bezel insert contribute to the watch's individualistic charm, evoking a hint of the Rolex Explorer II aesthetic. The bead-blasted finish adds a touch of ruggedness, perfect for those who favor an active lifestyle.

 

Source: Boldr Supply Co.

 

Driven by the Seiko NH34 GMT movement, the Boldr Safari GMT aligns with the microbrand trend of utilizing accessible movements. While not identical to pricier GMT models, the NH34 offers reliable performance that fits the adventurous ethos of Boldr's timepieces.

Though the case back's animal etching may be divisive, the Boldr Safari GMT's overall design, performance, and functional GMT make it a compelling option. Whether you're captivated by its unique style or intrigued by its GMT capabilities, the Boldr Safari GMT encapsulates the essence of microbrand watchmaking — offering something distinctive, functional, and affordable for the adventurous watch lover.

 

RZE Ascentus GMT

Source: A Blog to Watch

 

RZE, the brainchild of commercial airline pilot Travis Tan, stands as a prominent player in affordable titanium sports watches. Understanding titanium's high-performance attributes from the aviation industry, RZE exclusively crafts watches from this material, delivering exceptional value under $1000. Among the standout releases of 2022, the RZE Ascentus GMT shines as an exceptional surface-hardened titanium sports watch, flaunting a 200m depth rating, powered by Seiko's NH34 mechanical GMT movement, and adorned with a matching titanium bracelet—all at an impressively budget-friendly cost.

The Ascentus GMT, akin to its dive watch sibling Endeavour, showcases RZE's commitment to excellence. The case design, now accommodating the GMT movement, presents an angular and faceted appearance. Constructed from matte bead-blasted titanium, it offers a 40mm diameter, 13mm thickness, and 46mm lug-to-lug, maintaining a comfortable and versatile profile.

 

Source: The Time Bum

 

RZE's proprietary UltraHex coating enhances the surface hardness of the grade 2 titanium, providing both durability and a pale bead-blasted finish. The 24-hour unidirectional bezel, though ideal for a 60-minute scale, houses blue-glowing Super-LumiNova markings, ensuring easy legibility in low light.

Powered by the Seiko NH34 movement, the Ascentus GMT operates at 21,600bph with a 41-hour power reserve. A subtle grain-textured "Polaris White" dial offers a striking visual display, with green-glowing hour markers and blue-glowing 24-hour hand. Despite minor critiques, such as the bezel's rotation direction, the RZE Ascentus GMT marries affordability, durability, and functionality, earning its place as a compelling contender in the realm of titanium GMT sports watches.

 

Wrap Up

It’s exciting to think that in the one year that the Seiko NH34 GMT has been out, all these marvels have emerged, and yet we are still just in the infancy stage of affordable and well-made GMT watch offerings. Even more attention-worthy watches utilizing this GMT caliber will be released in the future, and we’ll be keeping a close eye out for them.

And for those of you who don’t want to wait for the perfect GMT watch to be released, you can create your very own multi-timezone watch now with Seiko mods! All of our cases can accommodate an NH34 movement, and as long as you know how to properly accommodate the longer GMT post, you’ll be on your way to your ideal watch that expresses your style, and your style only. Be sure to check out our NH34-Native Parts collection to start on your GMT build today.

Happy modding!

August 16, 2023 — Jeremiah A

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