Flieger Friday: Archimede GMT Pilot Watch

Many watch brands including modern flieger makers offer GMT or second time-zone complication.  The GMT complication makes it easy to track both local time as well as your home (or a second) time.  While the trend started with pilots wearing a watch with second time zone indicator, now it is useful for anyone travelling or keeping track of financial markets.

Greenwich Mean Time or GMT is the clock time at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, London. It is the same all year round and is not affected by Summer Time or Daylight-Saving Time. When the sun is at its highest point exactly above the Prime Meridian, it is 12:00 noon at Greenwich.


GMT was then adopted by the United States on 18 November 1883. The chosen moment was at noon, when the telegraph lines transmitted time signals to all major cities. Prior to that there were over 300 local times in the US.  On 1 November 1884, GMT was adopted universally at the International Meridian Conference in Washington, DC. As a result, the International Date Line was drawn up and 24-time zones were created.

In the 1950s Rolex created the GMT Master, which was the first watch to feature a dual time complication showing home time on a 24-hour display, and local time on an independent 12-hour display. The feature proved out to be very convenient for the PAN AM airline pilots to keep track of their home time while flying across time zones.

When crossing a time zone, a true GMT watch makes it easy to adjust the 12-hour hand to local time, while the 24- hour hand retains the home time. The date indication is also for local time, so it only rolls over when the 12-hour hand has completed two revolutions.

Archimede GMT Pilot meets the criteria of a true GMT watch and is a handsome flieger to boot.  While this watch was released in summer of 2017, what makes the latest version special is the addition of the thermally- blue steel hands. Ickler, the parent company of Archimede known for its watch case manufacturing, makes the heated-blue steel hands in their workshop in Pforzheim.

The three-piece finely brushed stainless steel is case also manufactured by Ickler in their workshop.  The case has a has a diameter of 42 mm and a thickness of 10.2 mm. The flat sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating provides excellent legibility. The date is well-placed at 6’o clock and almost appears to be part of the dial with the black color wheel. The hour, minute, and the red GMT hand have strong luminous coating which makes for a brightly-lit dial in the dark.

The GMT Pilot is powered by ETA 2893-2 movement which is visible through a mineral crystal in the back.  I personally prefer the solid case back option since there is nothing spectacular to admire in this workhorse movement.  The large diamond-shaped crown with signed logo is easy to operate and yet does not dig into your wrist.

Archimede offers several options for pilot leather straps with rivets.  I personally like their new blue strap with white stitching, which compliments the steel blue hands perfectly.  The GMT Pilot is available directly from Archimede website for 974.79 Euros (without VAT).

Credit: GMT information – Greenwichmeantime.com