I make absolutely no attempts to hide the fact that I am a big, big fan of GMT watches. Sure, I don’t travel much these days, but knowing what time the servers at work are on is helpful, and the fact that you can tell where in the 24-hour cycle a watch is (when it runs down and you need to reset it) is also beneficial. So, when Isotope reached out to see if we wanted to have a look at the prototype Isotope GMT 0º models, I said yes without hesitation.
You might remember Isotope from our prior articles covering the Isotope Palloncino di Perle, Goutte d’Eau, and the Old Radium. Through all of these designs, the Isotope inverted raindrop has remained present, and it’s a solid way to unify and identify the brand’s watches, and here we are once again, with the raindrop right there, front and center. Literally, in this case – you’ve got the large teardrop for which the GMT hour scale is printed, and then inside of that another teardrop appears, as the indicator on the disc that rotates to note the 24-hour mark. Finally, there is a third around the back of the case, where you’ve got a view of the movement as well as a chart telling you the GMT offsets for major cities of the world.
All in all, it gives a unique look to the Isotope GMT 0º, particularly with the cutouts employed on the dial (those are all the dots) used to indicate the date of the month that things are currently on. It makes for a cleaner look with all the curves on the dial (as opposed to a date window), and fills up what might otherwise be empty space on the dial. This does give in to practical considerations when it comes to the thickness of the watch, as you need room for the pinion to drive the center 24-hour marker, as well as space for the sandwich-style construction and the date disc itself. So, yes, the watch is a bit thicker than anything but the sportiest of GMTs, but it wasn’t a problem for me, as I felt the lugs held it to the wrist pretty well. And given it’s steel-encased and has a 200m WR rating, I’d say you could get up to some sport with the watch.
As you can see from the photos, we were loaned two versions of the Isotope GMT 0º – one with a blue dial, and one with a white dial. While I was initially drawn to the blue version (being my favorite color), I actually found myself preferring the white dial. That’s personal preference, though. Both were quite legible, and you’ll appreciate how the main handset is partially skeletonized. This is for aesthetics, sure, but it’s also practical. It keeps the hour hand from obscuring the 24-hour marker, and the minute hand from obscuring the date indication dot. In other words, thoughtful design.
Given the robustness of the build (hefty steel case, sapphire up front, screw down crown), the Swisstech S24-45 movement inside should be well-protected. Isotope positions the Isotope GMT 0º as a toolwatch, and in one sense it is – it’s robust, and it provides a specific function (GMT tracking). However, with the smoothing out of the design details (literally and figuratively) it comes across as a much more polished take to the tough globe trotter, and one perhaps a bit more unobtrusive as the more-common diver with a GMT hand on it.
In other words, the Isotope GMT 0º hits all the marks a traditional GMT watch should cover on, while giving you a unique look that’s still capable and ready for some more adventurous travel. Now, what you see here in our photos of the watch are very close to production. However, they are prototypes, so if you order one, you’ll see the following differences:
- The design and proportions are final
- The lugs finishing are being improved
- A quick release system will replace the screws
- The watch will come with a new and smoother Cordura strap and an extra Horween leather strap (some limited versions will have different straps)
- The date dot will be clearer to read
To pre-order your Isotope GMT 0º, you’ll just need to head over to their site. The base versions (in four dial colors) come in at just over $1,000, while the two LE models add another $150 or so to the price. If you’re thinking of picking one up – and you pre-order in May – you’ll be entered to win either a Goutte d’Eau Orange or Nordblad. Additionally, while the pre-order is open, the code GMT15 will net you another 15% off the price. That preorder discount should last for a few more weeks, until they start shipping orders out in late June. isotopewatches.com
- Brushed case, 316L stainless steel/Black Diamond-like Carbon
- Case diameter 41.5mm x 39.5mm (44.7mm with lugs)
- Height 14.2mm
- Exhibition screwed case back with the world’s major cities time-zone
- Anti-reflective domed crystal sapphire
- Single Screw-down crown at 3 o’clock
- Hands applied with Super-LumiNova®
- 24mm strap tapered to 22mm
- Matching Buckle
- Water-resistance 200m / 20 atm / 656 ft
Swiss made customised Swisstech S24-45 (3 years warranty):
- Automatic, self-winding
- Power reserve 40 hours
- 28 Jewels, 28800A/h
- Accuracy -12/+12 s/day
- Customised finishing, date and rotor
- The GMT 0º will initially be available in one of six versions: White, Black, Blue and Olive Green Steel.
- The Olive Green in Black DLC comes as a Limited Edition of 49 numbered watches and the case and buckle are treated with a Diamond-like Carbon Coating (DLC).
- The Ruby comes as a Limited Edition of 49 numbered watches, a tribute to the Greenwich Meridian and Port Wine, produced in the North of Portugal in the Unesco World Heritage Douro Valley for more than 2,000 years. Both historic institutions share the same Meridian (0° longitude).