The GMT is one of watchmaking’s cornerstone complications — it’s practical, it’s rooted in the romance of aviation and it’s been around for more than half a century. In fact, as far as I’m concerned, the GMT, the simple date, and the chronograph make up a sort of holy trinity of complications. While it might not seem immediately obvious, it really was only a matter of time until Hermès released a GMT function as a part of its Slim d’Hermès collection. In typical Hermès fashion though, this isn’t any old GMT. No, no, this GMT boasts a whimsical time zone display that’s unlike any I’ve seen before — this watch might not be for everyone, but if it’s up your alley you’re going to love it.
As far as the basics go, this is very much the same Slim d’Hermès that has become a cult classic over the last few years, but with an updated movement and new dial to match. The case measures 39.5mm in diameter and is 9.48mm thick, which is a near-perfect proportion for almost any wrist. It’s the “Goldilocks” of case sizes, if you will. The material used is palladium, which is a rare, lightweight, white metal that visually resembles platinum. It’s not often used by watch manufacturers, but I think it’s a nice touch for a watch that is atypical in a number of ways.
The movement of this watch is the calibre H1950 with a GMT module added. This is the same movement base that we’ve seen in the time-only Slim d’Hermès. The calibre measures just 2.6mm thick, giving the 9mm-thick watch its name. For this new version of the Slim, a module was added for the date, night/day indication, and sub-dial for second time zone. This module adds an additional 1.4mm to the movement, bringing the total thickness to 4mm. One thing to note about Hermès movements is they are made in-house. In 2006 Hermès bought 25 per cent of the Vaucher manufacturer, moving away from using ETA movements. It was a game changer for the luxury brand.
The biggest thing about this watch is of course the dial. Hermès really leaned into their design aesthetic here with the layout. First you have the time and the signature numerals that were designed by Philippe Apeloig specifically for the Slim and became the defining characteristic of the watch. Here we have them used in the same configuration for the hours, but again on the sub-dial for the second time zone. Now, as you can see, things are a little different on that sub-dial. The numerals are placed in order, but not peripherally like on your average watch dial. Instead, they are spaced asymmetrically throughout the entire dial, making it a little tougher to read at first. At first this was a little unnerving, but over time the watch became easier. Furthermore, there is a sub-dial for the date at six o’clock and a night/day indication for Local and Home times (L and H).
The dial itself is a grey fumé colour, which is a really nice touch on this watch. The standard Slim features a monochromatic dial in a few different colour options. The grey fumé dial is a two-part construction, with the outer part bearing the smokey look and the center section being more consistent. This variation of the watch is limited to 90 pieces and is for sale exclusively at Hermès boutiques. But, knowing how successful the original Slim was, I am almost certain that more GMT models are on their way soon.
When I first saw the Slim d’Hermès GMT, I wasn’t so sure about it. I love the original Slim — I think it is actually one of the best time-only watches produced in recent years. It’s beautiful, easy to wear, interesting, refined and has just enough horological clout to stand up to watch-nerd criticism. It fit like a Slim (albeit a little thicker), wore like a Slim and had the same whimsical energy as the Slim. But now it featured the oh-so-useful GMT function, one that I personally love and think is incredibly useful.
This watch is not for everyone. It is a very design-focused watch, and one with a lot of personality. It’s a watch for those who appreciate the connection to Apeloig and what Hermès stands for more broadly. But this is a watch after all, so it does need to be practical.