The Best Rolex GMT Alternatives

The Best Rolex GMT Alternatives

In the world of luxury watches, few timepieces hold the status of Rolex's GMT-Master. The two-toned ‘Pepsi’ watch is an iconic model that has set a gold standard for many pieces to follow. However, the legendary status often comes with a hefty price tag. 

If you’d like to acquire a watch that shares aesthetics and functions similar to the coveted Rolex model, look no further. In this article, we’ll be sharing the finest GMT Watches that span a range of preferences, features and budgets. 

So, whether you're treating yourself or planning a gift for someone special, here's our take on the most standout timepieces.


The Appeal of the Rolex GMT-Master Watch

The Rolex GMT-Master seamlessly blends heritage, luxury design, and functionality, earning its place at the top of watch enthusiasts' and collectors' wish lists.

Originating from a collaboration with Pan Am Airlines in the mid-1950s, the GMT-Master was designed to assist pilots in tracking multiple time zones during long-haul flights. To do this, Rolex added a fourth hand that made a full rotation every 24 hours and fitted the rotating bezel with a 24-hour scale. Its standout feature is the iconic split-colour 'Pepsi' bezel – blue for night and red for day, offering a quick and practical way to read time zones at a glance.

Acquiring a Rolex GMT-Master involves a significant investment, with a price tag usually exceeding £10,000. Its resale value may even surpass the original retail price, particularly for well-preserved vintage models.

If you’re seeking a watch with similar features at a more accessible price point, don’t be dismayed – plenty of compelling alternatives are available.

Features of a Rolex GMT-Master Watch

Before delving into alternatives, let's list the defining qualities of the Rolex GMT-Master, from functions to aesthetics. This step streamlines the search for a comparable model.

  • Swiss-Made.
  • Split-coloured bezel for easy timekeeping.
  • Luminous hands for legibility.
  • Scratch-resistant sapphire crystal.
  • Steel casing (the latest model uses Oystersteel casing, developed especially for Rolex).
  • Water resistance up to 100m. 
  • Good power reserve. 

Rolex Alternatives: Best GMT Watches

Let’s dive into our best alternatives to Rolex’s GMT-Master.

Armand Nicolet JS9-44 GMT:

The Armand Nicolet JS9-44 GMT is an excellent Rolex alternative with its impressive Swiss craftsmanship and an elegant design reminiscent of the GMT-Master. At a glance, the watch carries a similar moveable split-colour bezel, luminous hands, high-quality stainless steel and sapphire crystal.

Also, much like Rolex, Armand Nicolet bears a long and respected horological history dating back to 1875. Marked by meticulous decoration and precise assembly, it’s a testament to Swiss design.

Despite sitting in the over £1000 price bracket, Armand Nicolet offers a relatively budget-friendly option compared to some luxury brands, so it’s an option worth exploring if you’re considering an investment piece. 

Costs and Specifications:



Design Elements:

  • Case: 44mm x 13mm, Stainless Steel 316L
  • Crystal: Antiglare-treated Sapphire Crystal
  • Bezel: Turning two-toned ceramic
  • Indexes and Hands: Luminous
  • Bracelet: 24mm x 20cm, 316L Stainless Steel with Deployment Buckle

Movement and Functions: 

  • Movement: Swiss-Made Automatic Movement SW-330 or ETA 2893-2 with Date.
  • Functions: GMT, Date Window
  • Water Resistant: 300m


The Best Alternative For Luxury-Lovers: 

This timepiece is ideal for those seeking a Rolex-like experience from a legendary Swiss watchmaker at a more affordable price.

You also get an incredible water resistance of up to 300m, which makes it a great tool watch for adventurers and thrill seekers.


Venezianico Automatic Watch Nereide GMT

The Venezianico Nereide GMT watch is a much more budget-friendly timepiece, sitting between £500 to £1000. It has a grand appearance, with stainless steel casing, luminous hands and a two-tone bezel. While lacking Swiss-made credentials, the Venezianico name carries a rich heritage of elegance and master craftsmanship dating back to 19th-century Venice. 

This timepiece is also an excellent dive watch and takes its name from one of the last marvels of Venetian naval technology, the Nereide submarine. Its water resistance is 200 metres – greater than the Rolex GMT-Master!

Costs and Specifications:



Design Elements:

  • Case Material: 316L Stainless Steel
  • Crystal: Sapphire Glass with anti-reflective coating
  • Bezel: BK7 Crystal, 120 clicks
  • Indexes and Hands: BGW9 Super-LumiNova®
  • Bracelet: Canova

Movement and Functions: 

  • Movement: Automatic Cal. Seiko NH34A GMT
  • Functions: GMT, Date Window 
  • Water Resistance: 200m

The Best Alternative For A Balance of Budget and High-End:

This watch is ideal for those seeking a grand GMT watch that combines quality materials and longstanding craftsmanship at an affordable price.

The Venezianico's remarkable water resistance of 200m also makes it attractive to swimmers and divers alike.


Vesuviate Volare Watch GMT

Are you looking for a lavish GMT watch under £500? The Vesuviate Volare GMT is your answer. With a two-toned bezel, a date window and an impressive water resistance of 200m, it offers incredible features at an affordable price for users who want a piece of the GMT action. It also incorporates a unique red-tinted ‘Ruby’ Sapphire crystal exhibition case that gives a glimpse of the watch’s inner workings.

The only drawback of this watch is that, despite its impressive functionality and aesthetic appeal, Vesuviate is less recognisable than Armand Nicolet and Venezianico. Also, it doesn’t meet the criteria for those seeking a Swiss-made brand like Rolex. Regardless, this timepiece boasts incredible features at an exceptional price, making it a top contender in the market.

Costs and Specifications:



Design Elements:

  • Case Material: 316L Stainless Steel
  • Crystal: Domed Sapphire Anti-Reflective
  • Bezel: Uni-Directional Dual Coloured
  • Indexes and Hands: Swiss Super-LuminNova
  • Bracelet: 316L Stainless Steel with Push Button Deployment Clasp

Movement and Functions: 

  • Movement: Japanese-Made Automatic GMT Movement Seiko SII NH34A 
  • Functions: GMT, Date Window
  • Water Resistance: 200m


The Best Alternative For Budget-Conscious Watch Enthusiasts:

The Vesuviate Volare is the best budget automatic GMT watch, made with outstanding materials and has fantastic functions for the price. It is incredible value for money and not to be overlooked. 


Purchase Your Favourite GMT Watch 

In conclusion, if your priority is a high-end model with Swiss-made features, strong brand heritage and aesthetics comparable to Rolex, Armand Nicolet stands out as the closest competitor. For value, Venezianico and Vesuviate are equally impressive options at a fraction of the cost. 

Ultimately, your decision hinges on personal preferences, budget considerations and the importance you place on owning a heritage brand. What remains evident is the exceptional capabilities shown by a diverse range of watches.

Speak to Our Experts

With that in mind, take the time to explore our entire array of timepieces from incredible designer brands at Watches & Crystals. We’re an authorised retailer and provide a two-year international warranty on the day of purchase. 

If you have questions or need guidance, our dedicated customer service team at is ready to assist you. Reach out, and let us help you find your perfect timepiece.

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