Islander Watch Port Jefferson GMT Review [2024]

Disclaimer: The Islander Port Jefferson GMT was sent to us for testing and evaluation. There was no exchange of money for a paid review, and the watch was loaned to us to test.

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Back in the Fall of 2023, I reviewed the Islander Watch Port Jefferson. That model was a retro-inspired skin diver, and one that I really enjoyed. Well, Islander/Long Island Watch have released a new model of Port Jefferson, but this one has GMT functions. I've been able to test it over the last few months, and boy, is it a solid watch. What separates it from the original model, and is it worth your money?

Note: I've got a video review for the Port Jeff GMT over on YouTube.

What is the Islander Watch Port Jefferson GMT?

The Islander Port Jefferson GMT (Port Jeff GMT) is a 150m water resistant mechanical analog watch. It's an evolution of the previous model of Port Jeff, which had retro-inspiration to the design, harkening back to the early days of dive watches. Both models are "skin divers", which means that they aren't quite rated to deep diving depths, but that's fine.

Islander Port Jefferson GMT
Take the previous Port Jeff, and give it more features. What's not to like?

So what's the big separation between the previous model, and this new one? Well, it's in the function. This is a GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) watch, which means it can track two time zones at the same time. However, it also has a time zone bezel, so it can actually track three time zones. What's really unique here is the movement. I'll touch on it more later on, but we've got a proper "true GMT", rather than a "caller's GMT" here.

The size is also slightly different too. While the Port Jeff GMT retains the same 40mm case size, 20mm lug width, and 48mm lug-to-lug, it is thicker to accommodate the new movement. It is 13.8mm thick, which is not all that thick for this GMT movement. That's 2.8mm thicker than the rather thin original model, but it's still not a large watch.

Islander offers a bunch of colorways, but I went with testing the blue model (ISL-248). These are currently selling for $579 directly from Islander, however, I borrowed one from Islander to test for Primer Peak. Big thanks to Ryan, who has been my contact at Islander since the OG Port Jeff review last year. Just like last year, there was no exchange of money for a paid review, and the only expectation from Islander is that I would be honest.

Let's start covering the features of the watch, starting with the guts.


Powering the Port Jeff GMT is the Miyota 9075, a fairly new GMT movement. It beats at 28,800 beats per hour, which leads to a fairly smooth secondhand sweep. It features a 42 hour power reserve, and is rated to minus 10 seconds, and up to plus 30 seconds a day. The example I received is keeping at minus 3 seconds per day, which is astonishingly accurate.

So we've got our standard three hands, for hours, minutes, and seconds. However, we've got a 4th longer hand that tracks time in 24 hours. That's our GMT hand, and it moves as time passes on the regular hands. The idea of this being a "true" or "traveler's" GMT comes from how that hand works. On this watch, you'd set that 24 hour hand to be the time where you normally live. When you then travel, you can adjust the hour hand independently from setting the time, keeping your previous time zone setting intact. This is called a "jumping" hour hand (for jumping time zones), and makes setting the hour quite easy.

For me, I tend to use the GMT hand to track my second time zone, rather than the one that I'm in. I do this since I seldom leave my time zone, but I can still track where I used to live, for keeping a reminder of the time there. However, I treat the watch like a proper true GMT when I travel, since it works better that way.

The movement is pretty great, however, it does lack a quick-set date. It's a slight pain, but nothing bad. We've also got hacking and hand winding on the movement, but that's to be expected these days. Oh, and while not technically a part of the movement itself, the screw-down crown is signed with the Islander logo.

Port Jeff GMT Crown
The Islander logo adorning on the crown.

I've spoken about the movement, but how about the dial that it's mated to?

The Dial

Port Jeff GMT Dial

Well, I really liked the dial on the previous Port Jeff that I reviewed. However, the Islander crew really outdid themselves.

The color is just on point. We've got a sunburst blue dial, with the the color turning from a light blue, to a darker blue on the edges of the dial. It's really quite stunning, especially in sunlight.

Much like the previous Port Jeff, we've got big rectangular indices, and a 6 o'clock date window. The white indices are lumed, as are the Islander name and logo.

There is a chapter ring on the edges of the dial. This is used for the GMT hand (24 hour markers), but also assists in telling the specific minute or second.

The minor details of the dial really scream "thoughtful". I love, love, love the color matched date wheel. So many premium watches don't do that, but the Islander does. Additionally, the color of the GMT hand matches indices on the chapter ring, and the outline around the date window.

The dial and movement are housed in a pretty nifty case.

Case & Bezel

The Port Jeff GMT uses the same case as the previous Port Jeff. It's made from 316L stainless steel, and has really quite good finishing.

Port Jeff GMT Case
Don't mind the fingerprints!

There's a tasteful mixture of brushed and polished surfaces on the case. It gives the watch a tool look, but that high polish on the curved sections give it some class. It's not an overly shiny watch, which I dig.

The lugs are fairly standard, and don't jut out too far from the case. With a 20mm width, and 47.9mm (on my calipers) lug-to-lug, the Port Jeff GMT is pretty wearable. Unless you've got a fairly small wrist (under 6"), I doubt you'll have any issues with the size of the watch.

Port Jeff GMT Caseback

The caseback on the GMT is the same as the standard model. It's handsome, simple, and screwed in. I prefer a solid caseback over a see-through, exhibition style, as it cuts down on thickness.

Port Jeff GMT Bezel
Bi-directional bezel, for timing a third time zone.

Atop the case is a bi-directional timing bezel. This colorway is black & blue, and really ties the look together. It's coin edge, and very easy to grip. The audible sound is good, and the ratcheting is not too stiff, but not sloppy either. The blue & black insert is made from aluminum, which gives a nice, matte look.

Closing out the watch itself is the crystal. It's a slightly domed, anti-reflective coated piece of sapphire. It's scratch resistant, but is a bit of a fingerprint magnet. I've used a little spit and the end of a t-shirt countless times to remove smudges. It's not cracked, scratched, or had any issues during my testing, so I cannot complain too much.

How well lumed is the Port Jeff GMT?

The Lume

This thing is a bit of a lume hotrod. The older Port Jeff was no slouch, but the GMT model is better.

The dial is extremely legible when light up, as are the hands. The bezel is fully lumed too. What I really dig is that we've got different colors of luminescent paint on the watch, to increased legibility. There's a lot of green, but a few patches of blue to aid. The green is C3 Super-LumiNova, while the blue is BG9 Super-LumiNova. Both paints are industry standards, but generally for a bit more money than the Port Jeff GMT.

I don't have some big lume comparison chart, but I have compared the Port Jeff GMT to a few of my other watches. Generally speaking, the microbrands really understand lume, and so do the luxury guys.

The lume is applied strongly, and in a lot of spots. I chock up the applied indices for part of the great lume, as it provides more surface area for the paint to be applied. Generally speaking, you'll get 5-8 hours of glow time out of this watch. Even just running outside for a second leads to it being charged up for about an hour. I certainly cannot complain about that.

We've covered the watch itself, but how's the bracelet?

To Bracelet, Or Not To Bracelet?

The Port Jeff GMT has the same bracelet of the standard model, but with a different clasp.

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It's a "Beads of Rice" style of bracelet, which means a lot of articulation in the links. Generally speaking, this design is quite comfortable, and doesn't tend to yoink arm hairs. The construction features solid, negative endlinks, and solid links throughout. Sizing is easy too, and is done with screws.

Port Jeff GMT Bracelet Links
The endlinks come off of the watch in a very good way.

The endlinks come off of the case with a ton of angle, which really aids in getting a good fit for the watch. You won't have much jutting out over the wrist with this one.

Port Jeff GMT Bracelet Clasp
The new, simpler clasp on the GMT model.

Islander has since ditched the additional, fold over secure part of the clasp. The new clasp is shorter, which means that we can get a better fit with the bracelet. The clasp has 4 positions for micro-adjustment (more than the old one), which means that we can get a pretty good fitment there too. I prefer the new bracelet over the old one. However, I wanted to spend more time with the Port Jeff GMT on things that weren't the OEM bracelet.

Jeff, The Strap Monster

With a standard 20mm lug width, the world is your oyster for swapping straps on the Port Jeff GMT. I wrote an article about what material makes sense in certain situations, but for me, rubber and fabric are my favorite ways to wear a watch. I wanted to give the Jeff a try with these, and I was not disappointed.

Port Jeff GMT Strap Monster 2

I've worn the Port Jeff on NATOs, Para straps, leather NAOTs, FKM rubber tropics, and synthetic resin bands. It's a bona-fide strap monster. It wore well on all of those, and is very, very easy to dress up, or dress down.

My favorite was the simple FKM tropic strap. With the tapering of the strap, it makes the watch rather low-key. It's also quite comfy, something that I dig. For the duration of my time reviewing the Port Jeff GMT (about 5 months), I had it on this strap.

Now, that doesn't mean I didn't try out other ways to wear it. The NATO was a close second for me, as it really dresses down the watch. I'm still getting used to Para & Marine Nationale style straps, but the Port Jeff did well on those too.

Port Jeff GMT MAS
The Port Jeff GMT on my copy of Massad Ayoob's StressFire. The FKM tropic was easily my favorite way to wear this watch.

The OEM bracelet is great. Compared to some of my luxury watches, it's honestly more wearable. However, this watch just does so well on straps that I would highly recommend giving them a try.

How's does it wear on the wrist?

On The Wrist

Much like the old model, the Port Jeff GMT wears very well on the wrist.

Port Jeff GMT Bracelet Wristshot

On the bracelet, the fit is great. With the newer, shorter clasp, it hugs the arm great. Comfort is better than before too, as more micro adjustments means that I can really tune-in the fitment. Sized to my wrist, the whole package weighs 151 grams.

Islander Port Jeff GMT Rockies

On rubber, the fit is even better, at least for me. I've worn the Port Jeff GMT on a few hikes, and the rubber allows for sweat to flow, and airflow to come in too. Weight on the rubber comes to 105 grams.

Pocket Wristshot

On the perlon NATO, it was pretty comfy too. I prefer the rubber, but NATOs are pretty comfy.

Overall, the Port Jeff GMT wears quite well.


As time goes on, my EDC tends to stay the same. Honestly, my wristwatch changes more than my gun, or my flashlight, or most of the other components.

You can make the Port Jeff GMT as discrete as you want, or as overt as you want. As I've said earlier, the rubber strap was my preferred way to wear the Port Jeff GMT, and it played well in most environments. Whether at the gym, on the trail, or just running errands around town, it integrated well.

The handset is very legible. I never once had any issue with telling the time at a glance. Tracking a second time zone came in quite handy, and I usually keep the GMT hand to Eastern time.

Beyond it being a cool piece and something that was easy to wear, there's not much more to day about EDC. It held up well, was easy to use, and was comfortable on the wrist.

Port Jeff GMT Switchback
The Port Jeff GMT on my wrist as I demo use of a handheld light.

Speaking of durability...

Durability & Wear

During my time with the Port Jeff GMT, I ran into no durability issues at all. No scratches on the crystal, no dings or dents in the case, and no undue wear on the watch. I do have some minor scratches on the caseback, which is very normal.

Islander Port Jeff GMT Pack
The Port Jeff GMT on a hike in northern SLC.

The Port Jeff GMT came with me for a handful of hiking trips. Here in Utah, we've got a lot of good trails, and I hit them once the weather got nice. It's prime territory for things to get banged up, and alas, it held up.

Islander Port Jeff GMT Bath
A cold dunk in the snow runoff on a trail in Ogden.

I couldn't test the 150m water resistance rating, but I did dunk the Port Jeff GMT in every stream I came across. Cold water did not hurt the watch at all! It also did totally fine in rain, not surprising in the least.

Islander Port Jeff GMT Rock

Given enough time, I could certainly put some dings and dents in the Port Jeff. I'm sure it'll be happening in the wear I'll be giving this watch going forward.

Do I have any complaints about the Port Jeff GMT?


Nope, no complaints at all. I'm, kind of baffled that I don't have anything negative to say about it. Maybe it could be a hair thinner, but that would be hard to do with the 9075 movement, and hard to retain that 150m water resistance with a thinner case.

Some might gripe that it has an aluminum bezel insert, but truth be told, I prefer that. It's more prone to scratches, but is more durable to shocks and bangs than a ceramic or sapphire insert. Plus, aluminum looks really great when it fades over time.

Port Jeff GMT Dream Police 2
The Port Jeff GMT is no Cheap Trick.

Rather than try to really, really nitpick this watch, I want to make an unfair comparison.

The Unfairest of Comparisons

Right before I started testing the Port Jeff GMT, I picked up my "grail" watch. As a lifelong Bond fan, I really, really wanted the Brosnan era Omega Seamaster. Well, I got one from 1999, and I'm really quite pleased with it. However, it's startling how close the Port Jeff GMT is to the build quality of that Omega.

Both have excellent case finishing, good to great lume, wearable bracelets, and good looks. Sure, the Omega is from a more historic and prestigious brand, but quality is quality. The Port Jeff GMT has more care done to it in certain ways, such as using applied indices, better bezel action, and better lume. The newer Omega SMP 300s have some updated elements (like the applied indices, ceramic bezels, and clasps with micro adjusts), but this is a value discussion.

Now, this Omega is 25 years old, and has some wear to show it. However, the core finishing to the watch is fantastic. The Port Jeff GMT is honestly on-par with the older SMP300. Both are great watches, but one costs just under $600, and the other costs as much as my first car.

The value of the Port Jeff GMT is insane. It punches far above it's price.

The Verdict

The original Port Jeff was a great watch. It was classy, durable, and well, just generally a great value. The GMT model is all of those things, but ramped up to 11. While the price is higher than before, we're getting a much newer, more complicated movement, and a watch that was made to best utilize that movement. The case finishing is substantially better than everything I've handled in the price range, and it's super wearable on the included bracelet, or on an aftermarket strap.

Islander Port Jeff GMT Closer

When I borrowed the Port Jeff GMT from Islander, my plan was to just do that; borrow it. After two months with the watch, I realized that I wanted to keep it. Well, I ended up buying it from Ryan and Islander, and it's still in my watch collection now. I've got watches that are more "premium", but this one holds a place in my small watchbox. I forked over my dough for it, and I think it was well worth it.

Below is a short video review for the Port Jeff GMT.

Additional Reading, Thanks & Patreon Link

If you liked this review, check out some more of my watch articles:

I'd like to thank Ryan and the Islander crew for allowing me to borrow the Port Jeff GMT. They're a small shop, but they're quick to help, and transparent about their business practices. They wanted me to be honest in my review, and that's something that I really appreciate. 

If you'd like to support me on Patreon, I've got the link for that here. Nearly everything that I do on Primer Peak is paid for out of my own pocket, and my content is not shilled or driven by manufacturers or companies. If you decide to donate, I'd really appreciate it, as it would allow for me to continue to bring you quality work.

About Paul Whaley 197 Articles
Paul Whaley is a guy with an interest in practical and defensive pistol shooting techniques with an eye for quality gear. He has received training from Holistic Solutions Group, John Johnston of Citizens Defense Research, Darryl Bolke, Cecil Birch, and Chuck Haggard. When not trying to become a better shooter, he can be found enjoying a Resident Evil game or listening to Warren Zevon.

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