Once Jose, the co-founder of Isotope Watches, started telling me about his new GMT watch I noticed a plethora of new GMT models being announced.. Maybe watch lovers are pinning for more normal times when they could use the GMT functionality, that is when we could travel.
The Isotope GMT 0º is the company’s recognition of the international importance of Greenwich, and hence Greenwich Mean Time, to horology, from a British based international watch brand. Appropriately for an international company, Isotope has worked again with the Russian designer Vikenty Gryaznov.
I have been lucky enough to get my hands on a very early example of this interesting watch. As you will see from the images the design team have come up with a unique solution that however remains faithful to the design direction of previous watches from Isotope. The key element being the “lacrima” shape in the centre of the dial., actually twice, the smaller version indicating the second time zone. The dial is best thought of as consisting of three elements. The first being the normal two hands, skeletonised, showing the hours and minutes in the usual way. The hour indicies being slots in the dial. Then working towards the centre of the dial we next find a circle of thirty-one holes through which the rotating dial underneath indicates the date with a red dot. The final element is incorporates the lacrima shape and it is here the smaller lacrima indicates the second time zone.
The black dialled version I am reviewing takes a little concentration to read, especially in the low light of this season, as the lume is limited to the tips of the skeletonised hands and is the same colour as the GMT lacrima. Anyone wanting greater legability would probably be wiser to choose one of the other coloured or white versions. The black being for those who prefer a more strealthy look.
I should then move onto the screwed down caseback. I am not personally a huge fan of display backs, especially on fairly everday movements. I think here Isotope have come up with an excellent compromise solution, a small window within which the customised Isotope rotor on the movement can seen powering the watch. The remaining space on the back then is engraved with the names of key international cities and their time differences relative to Greenwich (GMT).
The 42mm steel case bespoke case is subtly different to the usual circular shape, it is actually “0 – zero” shaped, a homage to the latitude at Greenwich. Despite being a relatively high 14.2mm, the watch sits well on e wrist. Clearly, the the height is necessary given the automatic GMT movement. The first thing you have to do before using any watch is adjust it to the right date and time, with the GMT Zero this is managed very intiutively using the single screw down crown. The Swisstech movement winding very smoothly.
On the subject of the movement many of you, like me, might not be familiar with Swisstech. I questioned Jose about this choice and he explained a friend of his works directly with the Swisstech factory in Botyre. He sent him a couple of samples when he knew he was starting to develop a GMT watch. After testing the movement for a few months, Jose was able to verify it is accurate and robust. It is a work horse created and assembled with the Swiss certifications both manufacturing and assembly. Jose summed it up as accurate, resistant, has a good finishing, it’s easily serviced by any WOSTEP watchmaker and in the end, after seeing the amazing design we achieved, they wanted to be onboard and they are offering 3 years warranty.
You will have understood by now that details are important to Isotope. So they could not finish the watch of with a regular strap. My watch came with a 24mm wide leather backed strap which screws into the lugs Panerai style. The design elements on the lugs are repeated on the buckle that is screwed to the strap. Customer watches will be supplied also with a full leather. Personally, I would have preferred a strap that would enable the wearer to take advantage of the 200m water resistance. Maybe this will come at a later date.
So to conclude, this watch offers a great deal, every element is bespoke, there is nothing “off the shelf”. The designers have found an innovative solution to showing the second time zone and date that builds on the brands design DNA. When we can travel again this watch would be an ideal companion. This is available at the very reasonable price point that we have come to expect from Isotope of £710.
The GMT 0º will initially be available in one of six versions: White, Black, Blue, Olive Green Steel, Olive Green Black DLC and Ruby.
For more details and ordering https://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 Swisstech S24-45 :
- Automatic, self-winding
- Power reserve 40 hours
- 28 Jewels, 28800A/h
- Accuracy -12/+12 s/day
- Customised finishing, date and rotor
In the Box:
- A numbered GMT 0º
- A specific Cordura strap with a high-end buckle
- Extra leather strap
- Exclusive Isotope tool
- Limited Warranty Card (36 Months)