Elegantly understated and oh-so-versatile, a minimalist watch is an essential in any accessories arsenal. Sleek, simple design makes for a staple wrist piece that will transcend trends and stand the test of time. Keen to add one to your collection? Enter IOTA, a brand that has nailed the art of minimalist watchmaking.

With a less-is-more approach and a rigorous attention to detail, IOTA creates timeless GMT watches. Design influences range from Dieter Rams to Thomas Heatherwick. All watches are designed in England and made in the Lugano region of southern Switzerland, showcasing the best of Swiss craftsmanship and engineering by using Swiss movements and adhering to 'Swiss Made' regulations.

Read on for the full low-down on IOTA, including our review of the brand's GMT collection.

What's the story behind IOTA?

IOTA was founded by brothers and digital designers Ed and Will Allen, whose interest in GMT watches was sparked after many years spent travelling and changing time zones. When they couldn't find a timepiece that had the right degree of modern design and elegant style, they took matters into their own hands. Having worked in London’s design district Shoreditch for over a decade, whilst residing in Greenwich, home of international timekeeping, they felt they had the knowledge and inspiration to launch a design-led watch company. The result was a collection of timepieces designed to accompany their wearer everywhere they go, around the world or at home.

IOTA GMT collection review

There are four different models in IOTA's GMT collection, each one named after a different capital city. There's the New York, which has a white dial and gold-coloured steel case, the London, which has a white dial and silver-coloured steel case, and the blue-dialled Sydney. The fourth model is an all-black special edition named the Hong Kong. 

IOTA GMT Collection


  • Movement:Ronda Swiss GMT
  • Accuracy:-10/+20 seconds per month
  • Lens:Flat sapphire crystal, anti-reflective coating
  • Case:316L stainless steel
  • Case circumference: 40mm
  • Lug width:20mm
  • Water resistance:5ATM (50m)
  • Strap: Italian nappa leather or French calfskin

Reasons to buy

  • Affordable price point
  • Comfortable leather strap
  • Accurate quartz movement
  • Easy to slip under shirt cuff


The founders' design background is instantly made evident by the considered design of the dial. Each one is sleek and easy to read, with a matte finish and polished seconds, minutes and hour hands. The GMT hand matches the dial colour in a matte finish that blends in, but its tip is dipped in the opposite colour (e.g. white on black or black on white) to ensure easy legibility – I found this feature both attractive and practical. A subtle debossed central line runs from 6 o'clock to 12 o'clock, representing the iconic meridian line at Greenwich. Finally, the top half of the dial features raised diagonal lines that recall the bi-colour bezels of the original GMT watches. Overall, the look is unfussy and elegant, exactly what I'm looking for from a minimalist watch.


The four GMT watches feature varying finishes – the Sydney's case is polished stainless steel, while that of the New York and London is a brushed finish and the Hong Kong has a special diamond-like carbon coating. As is typical of a minimalist watch, the case is slim, measuring 40mm across, with a 46mm lug length, and 8.5mm thickness. It slips easily under a shirt cuff, which makes it very wearable and ideal for any occasion, smart or casual.


I was super impressed by the quality of the straps in IOTA's GMT collection. The New York, London and Sydney feature soft and supple nappa leather straps – sourced from Tuscany and made by experienced leather craftspeople – in brown, black and blue, respectively. The Hong Kong model comes with a waterproof calfskin strap, which was by far my favourite, thanks to its authentic graining, which doesn't show up as much in the nappa leather strap. In saying this, a plus of the New York, London and Sydney models is that they come with quick-release spring bars so that you can swap the straps with ease. 

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