The Globetrotter is BOLDR’s first ever GMT watch, priced affordably at just $719 USD/~$970 SGD (after promo code below). The Globetrotter started out life as an exclusive for the Diver’s Watches Facebook Group, before its current iteration as a staple in BOLDR’s lineup. Given that BOLDR’s brand ethos revolves around their watches accompanying you for on your adventures, I think a GMT watch is incredibly apt! Let’s find out if its any good.
BOLDR Supply Co. – the Brand
I’ve reviewed quite a number of BOLDR watches – till date, I’ve reviewed the Odyssey, the Voyager, the Journey, and the Venture. If you would like to learn more about BOLDR as a brand, do read my original review of the Odyssey here, in which I covered the brand story of BOLDR in detail.
BOLDR Globetrotter – Build Quality
As usual, the BOLDR Globetrotter is of robust build quality, built to withstand whatever life throws your way.
Firstly, the Globetrotter utilises a flat sapphire crystal. As aforementioned numerous times in my previous reviews, I’m a huge advocate of sapphire crystal due to their inherent scratch-resisting properties. Personally, I always look for sapphire crystal in my modern watches as it adds greatly to the durability of the watch. Also, there’s also an AR coating on the underside of the sapphire crystal to prevent the bulk of nasty reflections! In addition, the WR rating for the Globetrotter is an impressive 300M, meaning you can strap on the Globetrotter for all sorts of water activities without worry. Elsewhere, the bidirectional bezel of the Globetrotter is made of ceramic for an added exotic touch, as well as added scratch resistance.
The BOLDR Globetrotter uses a Swiss ETA 2893-2 GMT movement, which is pretty impressive given its relatively affordable price point. For those uninitiated with watch movements, the ETA 2893-2 is essentially the GMT version of the ETA 2892. Some specifications: the ETA 2893-2 beats at 28,800 bph, has 38 hours of power reserve, is hacking and hand-winding, and allows you to set the GMT hand independently. It’s quite a respectable movement – esteemed brands such as Tudor, Breitling, Tag Heuer, Ball and more use the movement in their GMT watches, albeit at 3-4 times the price of the Globetrotter!
The Globetrotter comes with a “custom moulded natural rubber strap with dive extension buckle”, which sounds great on paper, but was anything but in reality. The watch comes deconstructed – one has to attach the buckle to the rubber strap, then fix it on the watch. This was an absolute nightmare. Firstly, the rubber strap must be cut to size. This process is tedious and irreversible – if you snip off a tad more than required, you’re screwed. It also makes selling the Globetrotter (or giving it away to a friend) an issue, unless the buyer or your friend happens to miraculously have the same wrist size as you. Unfortunately, the hassle does not end here. The strap is “custom moulded” for the case of the Globetrotter, so that there’s no gap between the the strap and the case of the watch. While I get it from an aesthetic point of view, the strap is an absolute terror to attach. I tried fitting the strap to the watch for a good 20 minutes before giving up. I change the straps of my watches often (partly because I review watch straps regularly as well), so I would say that I know my way around a spring bar tool, and I have never had this amount of difficulty attaching a strap to a watch. For non-watch enthusiasts, I can imagine them having the utmost difficulty fitting the strap with the watch. Eventually I gave up and took it to my personal watch serviceman to get it hooked up, and even he took an entire 15 minutes to attach the strap (muttering and complaining throughout). With the strap fitted, it’s actually pretty comfortable on the wrist, but it’s definitely not anything mind-blowing that warrants all that hassle. In addition, that dive buckle is pretty chunky as well – you will definitely feel it on the wrist. Furthermore, due to the custom moulded nature of the strap, the watch is troublesome to carry in travel rolls, as it won’t fit nicely in the pouch compartment. Given that travel is part and parcel of a GMT watch, I think this is a significant drawback. Overall, I just don’t understand the strap. Just include a quick-release strap (I’m a huge fan of the convenience quick-release straps bring), or perhaps a bracelet, with the watch! This little DIY requirement really did not spark joy in me. I promptly swapped out the rubber strap for a custom leather strap thereafter, and have enjoyed the Globetrotter on my wrist ever since. For water activities, I swapped the Globetrotter on a tropic rubber strap – it’s comfortable, and it looks great. My advice to those interested in buying the Globetrotter: either bring the watch, strap and buckle to your local watchmaker and get them to fix it up for you for $5, or simply put it on your personal leather/mesh/rubber strap.
The BOLDR Globetrotter packs a punch in the lume department, with the Swiss Superluminova BGW9 filled indices and hands glowing bright in the dark. Even the bezel possesses BGW9 lume! Lume heads certainly won’t be disappointed with the Globetrotter.
Overall, the build quality of the BOLDR Globetrotter is pretty rock solid – like the rest of their watches, the watch will certainly withstand the trials and tribulations of your daily adventures. Fitting the strap together was a thorough pain, but it’s nothing a trip to the watchmaker or a third party strap option won’t solve!
BOLDR Globetrotter – Design
The design of the Globetrotter is familiar, yet distinct enough to come into its own.
The dial of the Globetrotter doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but it is nicely composed. Firstly, the hands on the Globetrotter reminds me of the the BOLDR Odyssey – the first watch I reviewed on this website! They both share a similar design, though those on the Globetrotter are a tad slimmer. We also get the orange syringe tipped seconds hand – a signature of all BOLDR watches. There’s a blue GMT hand to match the “Batman” bezel of the watch too1 Elsewhere, I love the usage of applied indices here, which gives the dial of the Globetrotter more depth as compared to the printed indices of the Odyssey. Lastly, I appreciated that they went with a black date window here, which allows the date window to blend in much more seamlessly to the dial of the watch.
Upon closer inspection, I would say that the dial of the Globetrotter is pretty immaculate. The printing of the text on the dial is nice and crisp, and everything (indices, chapter ring markings, GMT bezel) lines up nicely. In addition, the 24 hour markings on the stainless steel chapter ring of the watch adds further depth to the watch.
As aforementioned, the Globetrotter comes with a ceramic bezel. In this 24 hour bezel version of the Globetrotter, BOLDR offer the “Batman” bezel as seen above, and a “Pepsi” variant. Personally, I love ceramic watch bezels – I appreciate the enhanced scratch resistance, as well as how clean it looks. Ceramic bezels are known to withstand the test of time well, and should still look pristine even after years of wearing.
My favourite aspect of the Globetrotter however, has to be its beautifully faceted case. It’s a bit of a BOLDR trademark – first seen in the BOLDR Odyssey, BOLDR has stated that this faceted case would used on most of their future models. It’s going to be a bit of a BOLDR classic, something watch enthusiasts immediately think of when the brand is mentioned – the same way the cases of a AP Royal Oak, a Richard Mille, or a Panerai is pretty much synonymous with the brand itself. That at least, is the hope, and I don’t see why not! I personally love the striking nature of the case – in fact, when Grand Seiko announced their new sports watches at Baselworld a week back, the cases of their watches instantly reminded me of BOLDR. A lot of microbrands simply use factory cases supplied by their manufacturers, and its refreshing to see a microbrand innovate case design to develop something that they can call their own. In addition, we also get a custom embossed screw-down crown, which is very nicely done! It’s curiously positioned at 4 o’clock, which adds a sort of unconventional character to the watch that I cannot describe with words. Furthermore, I like the look of the teeth of the bezel – like the case, it stands out, and it’s a design that I’ve personally not seen on other bezels before.
As with all BOLDR watches, the caseback of Globetrotter features a custom artwork. On the Globetrotter, the artwork seems to depict a globe (which makes sense, given the watch’s name), a compass, and what I presume are waves on the sea. Clearly, the artwork is travel inspired, which makes sense given the that the Globetrotter is best described as a travel watch, something you would wear on your wrist as you embark on new adventures overseas. I have to say – I think BOLDR makes one of the best casebacks in the microbrand market today. Their casebacks are always a treat to see, which is refreshing given that most microbrands treat the caseback as an afterthought!
On the wrist, the Globetrotter is a beast of a watch. Its 44mm case, combined with a hulking 14.5mm case thickness, ensures that this is one that you will definitely notice when worn. It’s pretty hefty as well! On my 7 inch wrist, the dimensions on the Globetrotter is right on the boundary of what I find acceptable. I think I can still pull it off on my wrist – but just barely. However, I do wish that the Globetrotter was slightly slimmer. The ETA 2893-2 movement is relatively slim – it’s only 4.1mm in height, so I’m not quite sure why the Globetrotter has a case of 14.5mm. In my opinion, we are moving into an era of smaller dimensions – the popularity of the smaller, and slimmer, Black Bay 58 illustrates that. If the Globetrotter is a tad slimmer, I think it would wear even better.
All in all, I think the design of the Globetrotter is thoughtfully put together. Some may look at the “Batman” bezel and proclaim the Globetrotter to be a mere homage of the Rolex GMT Master II, but I think that’s a huge disservice to the watch. The dial is well composed with nice depth, the ceramic bezel looks very fresh, and the angular case is simply stunning in the metal. If you like chunkier watches, the BOLDR Globetrotter is definitely right up your alley.
Shootout – BOLDR Globetrotter vs Steinhart Ocean 39 GMT
Getting a ETA-powered GMT with a ceramic bezel under $1000 SGD is next to impossible – the only brand I can think of (other than BOLDR) that manages to do so is Steinhart. Steinhart is a microbrand (or legacy microbrand, depending on your opinion) that has garnered a huge following in the short span of time that they have been around due to the sturdy build quality of their affordable watches. Given that robust build quality is BOLDR’s raison d’etre as well, I decided to pit the Globetrotter against the Steinhart Ocean 39 GMT in this shootout!
In terms of build quality, both watches share pretty similar specifications. Both the Globetrotter and the Ocean 39 GMT uses the ETA 2893-2 movement, boasts a ceramic bezel, utilises sapphire crystal, and possesses Swiss BGW9 lume. The Ocean 39 GMT do feature a slightly higher WR rating (500m to the Globetrotter’s 300m), but unless you’re planning on searching for the lost city of Atlantis, the slightly higher WR rating would likely have little to no bearing on the watch’s robustness in everyday usage.
From an aesthetics perspective, I have to go with the BOLDR Globetrotter. While Steinhart is known for offering great build quality at affordable prices, original design is not really the brand’s strong suit – most of their popular models (such as the Ocean One) draws heavy inspiration from Rolex. Personally, I prefer the dial of the Globetrotter as it looks cleaner and better composed than that of the Ocean 39 GMT. In addition, the Globetrotter definitely has the more striking case profile, whilst the case of the Ocean 39 GMT bears substantial similarity to Rolex watches. Lastly, I would say that the bezel on the Globetrotter (especially the teeth) looks more unique too. As such, I believe that the Globetrotter triumphs over the Ocean 39 GMT given its more original design.
Given that both watches are priced pretty similarly, I would personally go with the BOLDR Globetrotter due to its more unique look – especially with that angular, faceted case. However, I think that the Steinhart 39 Ocean GMT is still a great alternative for those with smaller wrists, especially for those that find the 44mm dimensions of the Globetrotter too large.
Conclusion: so the BOLDR Globetrotter “shiok” or not?
Definitely. The BOLDR Globetrotter boasts pretty solid specifications for a sub S$1000 GMT – sapphire crystal, ETA 2893-2 GMT movement, ceramic bezel, and Swiss BGW9 lume to boot! Furthermore, the Globetrotter boasts several original design elements that’s absolutely striking on the wrist. The dial is clean but possesses depth, the ceramic bezel pops under the sunlight, the teeth of the bezel is interesting, and that angular case is stunning. My only knock with the watch is the strap (and the hassle) it came with, but its nothing either a trip to the watchmaker, a third-party strap option, or immense patience won’t fix. I would say that the BOLDR Globetrotter is probably the best automatic GMT watch you can find for under S$1000!
For those interested, the promo code “WAHSOSHIOK” will grant readers 10% off all Globetrotter models! After the promo code, the Globetrotter (non-meteorite) can be had for just $719 USD/ ~$970 SGD. Unlike the recently announced Rolex GMT “Batman”, this “Batman” is available to ship instantly (no waitlist here), and you don’t have to pay a ridiculous price premium! Kudos to BOLDR for constantly churning out great value propositions – I can’t wait to see that lovely angular case on future models.
View the BOLDR Globetrotter line here.
- Case: 44mm 316L Stainless Steel Case
- Movement: Swiss ETA 2893-2 Elabore-grade automatic movement with independent adjustable GMT-hands
- Water Resistance: 300m (990ft) / 30ATM
- Crown: Screw-down crown with custom embossed BOLDR logo
- Bezel: Bidirectional Ceramic Two-tone bezel with 24-hour marking
- Dial: Matt dial with applied indexes with Swiss Superluminova BGW9
- Hands: Custom hands with Swiss Superluminova BGW9
- Lens: Flat sapphire crystal with Anti-Reflective coating
- Strap: Custom moulded natural rubber strap with dive-extension buckle
- Case Thickness: 14.5mm
- Lug size: 22mm
- Lug to lug: 50mm
- Case Back: Screw-down stainless steel caseback with embossed limited edition designer artwork
P.S Do check out the new “Discounts!” page for exclusive discounts for Wahsoshiok readers! More brands will be added very soon – stay tuned!