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A true GMT with character – Borealis Estoril GMT

It is hard to re imagine a GMT watch. There are many established designs and history on the complication. Making a new one always becomes a challenge, but I am always keen to see what Borealis can do.

Borealis is one of the oldest micro brands around today. With great models under their belt, you can be sure that their take on a GMT complication is going to be good.

One of the biggest debates on GMT watches is the way that is set. A caller GMT or a travel GMT is the latest way that watch enthusiast decided to call our beloved complication. The caller GMT uses the second time zone hand to indicate a foreign hour while the traveller GMT uses this feature to indicate home time. The latter will require a jumping hour hand to avoid disturbing home time.

Because the GMT complication was made for travelling, enthusiast believe that this is the way it should be. The technology was not available for models with third party movements or at least on well modified ones. We still do not have a vast selection, but Miyota has decided to create a more affordable version. Are the days of expensive travel GMT watches over? Join me to find out how the new Estoril GMT stacks up with the big boys.

The specifications

The Estoril is 41.5mm with a lug to lug of 47mm. Because of the lug to lug, the watch fits a great variety of wrists. The case is well machined with polished lugs curving to brushed surfaces. The bezel sits onwards of the case, it is a detail that I really like, I am not a fan when the bezel extends outside the mid-case giving the watch a larger appearance.

The bezel creates a nice design touch to the Estoril, it is bi-directional and very smooth. The sapphire inlay has half in green and the other in red to indicate night and day. The colours were chosen to represent the Portuguese flag, a nice touch to an honest GMT.

The white dial creates a good contrast against the black markers. It is fully lume, legibility is assured. The text it is also kept into a minimum. The branding name and 300 meters. We opted for the non-date version, and I know that GMT should have one but, on this instance, I do not miss it one bit.

The movement deserves a praise of its own. The new Miyota 9075 it’s an engine that works as well as it should. Comparing it with other offers that cost at least 5 times, the refinement is there. The Miyota its very thin versus Swiss counterparts. This allows the final watch to be thinner and as a product much more comfortable. The rotor feels silent and there is no ‘’wobble’’ on the other hands when jumping the hour, something that a 5-digit Rolex Explorer II cannot brag about. The power reserve is something that Miyota might need to work on. 42 hours seems ok but will like to see a 70-hour power reserve in the future.

On the wrist

The Estoril feels great on my 6.25-inch wrist. The 13.5 thickness with those curve lugs helps with the comfort. The watch in my opinion has the right size for a GMT, is not too big nor small, feels right. The Estoril comes in one of the most comfortable steel bracelets I came across at this price range. The 3-link style piece is smooth and flexible, it feels solid but doesn’t overwhelm. The clasp is solid and comes with a micro adjusting system, well refined.

I have used the Estoril for more than a month and is the perfect watch to travel with. The white legible dial is one of my favourite features. Also, I enjoy that is not very heavy, everything is about the comfort. I really need to add a strap as I will think it can look good with several options, but the bracelet it is too good to pass.

The Estoril feels like a good companion for a variety of occasions, it is a travellers watch at heart, but it has this sporty look that can be causal as well.


I’ve enjoyed my time with the Estoril from Borealis. There are several variations that could satisfy your itch for a ‘’true’’ travellers GMT. There is a black and yellow version which looks incredible and a blue and orange that will make waves. Borealis did a great job with the pallets, it feels like a watch that can be collected in several variations.

The Borealis Estoril will be available for deliver in October/November 2023. You can reserve yours with 50% of the full price which is under 500 GBP. This makes the Estoril one of best value True GMT in the market now.

I am keen to see more variations of the watch and see how Borealis pushes the bar to democratize new complications for us watch geeks. Bravo Borealis.

Watch Specifications:

· Diameter: 41.50mm

· Lug to Lug Length: 47mm

· Thickness: 13.5mm (including domed sapphire crystal)

· Case: 316L stainless steel with brushed and polished surfaces

· Lug Width: 20mm

· Movement: Miyota 9075 GMT

· Water Resistance: 300m

· Crystal: Domed Sapphire with inner AR coating

· Bezel: Bi-directional with ball bearings, Sapphire Crystal

· Lume: Superluminova BGW9

· Bracelet: 316L stainless steel bracelet with screws and an updated quick-adjust clasp


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