Longines debuted a new GMT timepiece this week that offers an accessibly-priced alternative to one of the most popular GMTs on the market.
Building on the seemingly popular Spirit collection, first introduced in 2020 in chronograph form, followed by a three-hand titanium model in 2021, Longines has quickly rolled out a competitive line of sports watches designed to take on the likes of Tudor and Oris — that offer in-house movements, unlike Longines which currently only have customized/exclusive ETA caliber driving their timepieces.
The latest 2022 model is the Spirit Zulu Time GMT, presented in a stainless steel case that measures 42 mm x 13.9 mm and is fitted with a 24-hour ceramic bezel insert. At launch, there are three dial-bezel variations — a black dial with a black bezel, a blue dial with a blue bezel, and a black dial with a green bezel. Each combination is available with either an integrated steel bracelet for $3,050 or a leather strap for $2,950.
With price, brand, and aesthetics considered, the Spirit Zulu Time GMT competes most directly with Tudor’s Black Bay GMT, which comes in a similarly sized 41 mm diameter case, and costs $4,175 on a bracelet or $3,850 on a strap. That places the Zulu Time GMT at over $1,000 higher the Black Bay GMT, which is effectively the difference between an in-house made Kenissi movement and an outsourced ETA. Although, notice how Kenissi is Tudor’s movement maker and ETA is Longines’ movement maker yet the Tudor caliber is considered in-house and the Longines caliber is not. Ultimately, the Tudor is arguably a better-engineered movement, but is it worth $1,000+ to you or not considering they are both COSC-certified chronometers with 70-hours or more of power reserve?
Another small but important detail worth noting is that the Longines GMT is 13.9 mm thick versus the Black Bay GMT’s thickness of 14.8 mm or about 1 mm. Not a huge difference but consumers tend to prefer thinner, proportionally sized timepieces, and in this instance, the Longines is going to sit a bit flatter, which is preferable. And Tudor of course knows this, making the arrival of a Tudor Black Bay 58 GMT this year at Watches & Wonders a good bet.
More options importantly, which one looks better on your wrist? Some like the functionality and look of the two-tone Black Bay GMT bezel, while others prefer a more subtle solid-colored bezel. Ultimately, the consumer benefits as there’s another formidable and affordable GMT sports watch on the market.
The Longines Spirit Zulu Time GMT has a domed sapphire crystal and a stainless steel caseback which has individual screws securing it to the case. The depth rating is 100 meters. The arrow-tipped GMT hand offers a way to track a second-time zone, in the 24-hour format, using the rotating bezel to decipher the hour. The regular hour hand has a jumping feature that allows the movement to keep running while you quickly set the local time, for instance, right when you land at your destination (this makes the most sense for GMT versus having the 24-hour hand being the hand that has a quick set jump feature because you would ideally leave the 24-hour hand set to your home city).
Retail for the Spirit Zulu Time GMT is $2,950 on a leather strap and $3,050 on a stainless steel bracelet.
Photos by Longines.