Seiko Vs Rolex: Top GMT Comparison

Seiko Vs Rolex: Top GMT Comparison

Who doesn’t love a great GMT watch? They’re convenient even if you don’t travel often and also have the appeal of a classic pilot’s watch. In my opinion, they’re just fun to own and wear. One of the most iconic GMTs is the Rolex “Pepsi” GMT-Master II, reference 126710BLRO. But at a premium price point, it’s out of many collectors’ budgets.

Enter the new Seiko 5 GMT, retailing for a much more accessible cost. This head-to-head  Seiko vs Rolex may seem unfair given the substantial price difference, but is it really?

Let’s dive in and compare the benefits of each watch.

Key Takeaways

  • GMT watches are super convenient and fun to own, even if you don’t travel much. They’ve got that classic pilot’s watch vibe.
  • The Rolex GMT-Master II Pepsi is iconic but pricey. The new Seiko 5 GMT is an affordable alternative that offers a lot of bang for your buck.
  • Rolex brings the heat with premium materials like Oystersteel and Cerachrom ceramic, while the Seiko 5 sports a snazzy updated jubilee bracelet and a unique glossy bezel.
  • Both watches are rocking mechanical GMT movements, but the Seiko 5 isn’t a “true” GMT. Still, mad props to Seiko for making GMT functionality accessible to more collectors.
  • The Rolex has an incredibly comfortable jubilee bracelet with an Easylink extension. Rolex just makes the best bracelets, hands down.
  • The GMT-Master II’s Pepsi bezel is a ceramic masterpiece, while the Seiko 5’s mineral glass insert is eye-catching but less legible.
  • Rolex’s new 3285 movement flexes a 70-hour power reserve, while the Seiko’s 4R34 caliber is a solid performer for the price.
  • The Seiko 5 GMT is a crazy good value, but the GMT-Master II is on a whole other level. Retail price is no joke, and aftermarket prices are even wilder.
  • Both watches are versatile enough for any lifestyle. The Seiko 5 is great for flying under the radar, while the Rolex is my go-to for making a statement.
Seiko Vs Rolex: Top GMT Comparison

Design & Build Quality

The Rolex GMT-Master II is undeniably a solid, premium watch. It uses some of the best materials available, including Rolex’s proprietary Oystersteel and Cerachrom ceramic. While the Seiko 5 GMT can’t match the Rolex’s luxury build, it still has a thoughtful design and some upscale elements:

  • Updated jubilee-style bracelet
  • Unique glossy bezel finish
  • 100m water resistance, same as the Rolex

Wearing the Seiko 5 GMT watch

Both are mechanical GMTs with 4-hand dials. The Seiko isn’t a “true” GMT movement, but I commend them for bringing GMT functionality to a new price demographic.

Comfort & Features

The Rolex has an ultra-comfortable, silky jubilee bracelet with solid end links and the Oysterlock clasp. I especially like the Easylink extension for on-the-fly micro-adjustments without the need for any tools—perfect if your wrist fluctuates throughout the day like mine. Rolex simply makes the best bracelets, period.

However, the updated jubilee on the Seiko 5 is a massive upgrade over their previous bracelets, with solid links and a nice wrist presence. It’s impressive for the price point.

The 40mm Rolex case is a classic size, with a sapphire crystal, Cyclops date magnifier, and the iconic bi-color “Pepsi” Cerachrom bezel. The bezel’s crisp color transition pays homage to the original while showcasing Rolex’s ceramic expertise.

I like Seiko’s 42.5mm SKX-style case, which has rounded sides that are a bit smaller than the dimensions suggest. The Cyclops isn’t as well-executed as Rolex’s, though. The glossy, dual-color mineral glass bezel insert is eye-catching, if less legible than the Rolex ceramic.


Inside the GMT-Master II is the new 3285 caliber, which has an impressive 70-hour power reserve and efficient Chronergy escapement.

The Seiko 5 GMT uses a modified version of the 4R movement series, the 4R34, with a respectable 41-hour reserve. It is not groundbreaking, but it is solid for its price point.

Value & Verdict

Overall, the Seiko 5 GMT delivers a ton of style and functionality for the price. It’s awesome to see affordable mechanical GMT watches hit the market. Of course, the GMT-Master II is on another level entirely. At retail, it’s a significant investment, and as of this writing, it trades for even more on the secondary market.

Wearing the Rolex GMT II

But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to buy at retail – that’s exactly how I got mine! In the end, both are great GMTs suitable for any lifestyle, not just pilots and travelers. The Seiko is a nice low-key option if you’re uncomfortable wearing the pricier Rolex out and about. However, the Rolex still makes the perfect statement piece for important meetings or events.

Video Journey


While it may seem like an apples-to-oranges comparison, this Seiko vs. Rolex matchup demonstrates that you don’t need deep pockets to get into the GMT game nowadays. I think both watches have a time and place in any collection.

Read original article here.

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