RZE Ascentus GMT
The latest Microbrand to release a GMT, and I have a feeling this RZE Ascentus GMT is going to be quite popular. Available in 4 colors, azure blue, black, white, and medallion yellow, this 40mm GMT is attractive, has a beautiful and easy-to-read dial, and an all-new bracelet from RZE, that they dub the HEX links. It is all titanium again as well, keeping this watch svelte and lightweight, so it is easily wearable for a lot of wrists. The movement is the Seiko NH34 GMT, which keeps the price down as this one is under $600, coming in currently at $600.
- case: Bead-blasted Grade 2 Titanium with UltraHex™ Coating (up to ~1200Hv hardness)
- Case Size: 40mm
- case Thickness: 13mm
- Lug sizes: 20mm
- Lug to lug: 46mm
- Weight: 90-110 grams
- Movement: SII NH34 Automatic GMT Movement
- Water Resistance: 200m(660ft)/20ATM
- Bezel: Unidirectional 120-clicks rotating black DLC 24hrs bezel.
- Crowns: Screw-down crown with custom reverse engraved logo
- Lens: Sapphire crystal with inner-side Super-AR
- Bracelets: Hex-Link bracelet coated with UltraHex™
- Case Back: Screw-down solid titanium case-back with Viton® gasket
The RZE Ascentus GMT keeps the same case as the Resolute, Endeavor, and Super Compressor, all titanium, lots of angles, very comfortable, and low profile. This is basically the Endeavor Diver but now adds the GMT complication. The crown is still screwed down and the water resistance is 200m. Weirdly though, the bezel is unidirectional and not bi-directional, and thinking about this some more, it is probably the same bezel from the Endeavor, which is most likely a cost-cutting measure. Still, I understand it, but most would probably prefer a bi-directional bezel when looking for a GMT watch.
Another carryover from the previous models is the hands and indices of the RZE Ascentus GMT. With the exception of the yellow GMT hand, the dial is the same as on the Endeavor and Super Compressor, with the granite dial texture, and the elongated indices, which have become a signature for RZE. I love the framed date window, and that the date wheel matches the color of the dial. Speaking of dial color, I consider this less teal or turquoise, especially compared to how it looks on the RZE website. In person, it is much more of an icy blue color, with really no hint of green.
The case design, again, is from previous models I have reviewed, but it is a great case design, unique with all the angles and sharp lines, and of course, it is titanium and hard-coated, so it is lightweight and has some decent scratch resistance. 200m of water resistance is still here, and the case along with the sapphire crystal is still pretty thin, and at 40mm and a crown that really does get covered by the crown guards, this is a very slim and not bulky watch all around, especially on my 7 1/2 (19.05cm) wrist.
When it comes to the movement, the RZE Ascentus GMT is using the Seiko SII NH34 movement, and much like the ETA 2892 or the SW200 series of GMT movements, this is not a TRUE GMT. Now, Miyota has released a true GMT, meaning it has a jumping hour hand, which many consider the real way a GMT should work. At $550, many have wondered why RZE didn’t use this new Miyota 9075 movement as apparently, Zelos will be coming out with one soon at the $500 price point (I imagine this will be a launch price special). Basically, Zelos has the buying power that RZE at this point does not and the Miyota movement is also pretty scarce. I’m not too hung up on how to set a GMT, but I am also not the target audience either. That said, I am looking forward to the 9075 and reviewing a watch with it soon.
Another new feature of the RZE Ascentus GMT is the new HEX bracelet, a 5-link titanium bracelet, with the same hard coating as the case. The clasp is stainless steel though and I am not sure if the clasp has a hard coating or not, but regardless, this is a very nice-looking bracelet that is smooth and article and feels very good on the wrist. It is also a good change from the previous models that use this case, and I hope to see this bracelet used in future models as well. If for some reason this new bracelet doesn’t do it for you, it does have quick-release pins and is easily removed.
While not an entirely new watch, the addition of the GMT movement, and the new bracelet make the RZE Ascentus GMT a nice refresh of the Endeavor models of watches and get the brand some more life out of this case and dial design. I am very fond of RZE watches and the aesthetics of this model is no exception, I just wish this was available in a 42 or 43mm. I know many are more than fine with the 40mm, but I wish for it to be larger. Hopefully, RZE realizes they are missing out on sales to guys with larger wrists or tastes for bigger watches. Other than that, this is another great-looking piece, and as seen below, it looks just as good in the dark as it does in the light.