The Circula AquaSport GMT is the third piece from the German brand that has made it to my wrist. And so far, the watches haven’t disappointed me. I find the 1970s styling appealing, and the subtle color choices are something I definitely can get behind. I tried two versions of this dive-ready travel watch, both the blue version on a matching rubber strap and the anthracite model on a very retro beads-of-rice bracelet. But calling them blue and gray doesn’t really do justice to the actual shades and subtle color combinations. That’s what I experienced during this hands-on encounter.

Before diving into the deep colors of the Circula AquaSport GMT, let’s very quickly go through a bit of brand history. The watch brand Circula started in 1955 with Heinz Huber in the German town of Pforzheim. The provincial city in Baden-Württemberg is situated in the Black Forest and is famous for the cuckoo clock, the deliciously moist chocolate cake, the Titisee (a medium-sized lake that attracts a lot of tourists), and watchmaking. I know, Glashütte is way more famous nowadays, but Pforzheim, with a population of around 126,000 people, has quite the history as well. The jewelry and watchmaking activities started in the 18th century. More recently, brands like Aristo, Laco, and Stowa started in Pforzheim, and so did case maker Fricker and engraver Carl Benzinger. Additionally, the renowned Vocational School for Watchmakers (Berufsfachschule für Uhrmacher) is located in Pforzheim.

Circula AquaSport GMT

The unorthodox shades of the Circula AquaSport GMT

Back to Circula. The brand is currently in the hands of Cornelius Huber, grandson of founder Heinz. And although I’ve never met Cornelius in person, I suspect he’s a man of great taste. Someone who dresses well effortlessly. A man with a refined sense of colors. Someone who wears socks in a completely different color than the rest of his outfit, but not the obvious red ones. No, an unexpected shade that, maybe quite unexpectedly, perfectly complements the main color of his attire. Why am I talking about socks? Because of the colors that I see in the two versions of the Circula AquaSport GMT that Cornelius sent me. Both watches use subtle, even unorthodox colors most tastefully.

Circula AquaSport GMT

Amplifying colors

As I wrote in the intro, the Circula AquaSport GMT is the third watch from the brand that I’ve had the chance to try out. I had the angular, antimagnetic, and almost unscratchable ProTrail on my wrist and liked it. And I wore the SuperSport — a veritable Super Compressor dive watch, a rarity these days — and loved it. It spoke to me not only because it’s the real deal but also because of the case shape, build quality, and use of color. The whole thing just oozes a love for watches and the drive to go the extra mile. And the use of spot-on colors is crucial if you ask me.

AquaSport GMT

The SuperSport comes in blue, black, and gray, but they all are so much more than that color. And that’s because of the use of secondary colors that match and amplify the presence of the watch. Guess what? The new AquaSport GMT does the same — and maybe even better.

AquaSport GMT

Is it just gray?

Let’s start with the least colorful one, and that’s the anthracite AquaSport GMT on a beads-of-rice bracelet. The gray shade of the sunray dial has a taupe hue, and it’s that extra touch that brings the normally quite dull color to life. Aiding that is the soft, light green central seconds hand that matches the natural color of the Swiss Super-LumiNova C3 on the hands and indices. And setting the look over the top is the ever-so-subtle pastel pink arrow of the short black GMT hand. These are dashes of color that you don’t notice immediately, but they create a certain tension that you will want to explain yourself. And that’s when you find out about the peculiar color choices that create this visual tension.


The blue version of the AquaSport GMT is more straightforward in the sense that it shows its colors right from the start. Orange and blue go very well together — nothing new here. But there are two types of blue on display. The dominant shade is a petrol blue with a hint of green. The second blue shade is lighter and borders on turquoise. The watch looks right at home in the 1970s and reminds me of a rolling wave of clear seawater. Not a bad analogy, I guess, in the case of a dive watch.

The Circula AquaSport GMT is a diver with benefits

The AquaSport GMT is the clever brother of the AquaSport dive watch. The GMT’s barrel-shaped 40 × 46 × 12.6mm case is, in fact, the same as that of its non-GMT predecessor. The new GMT version also dares to dive to 200 meters, has a screw-down crown, and features a slightly curved sapphire crystal with double antireflective coating on the inside. And there’s also a closed case back with an image of a diver. It’s the same almost caricature-like diver that you see on the back of the non-GMT dive watch.

Circula AquaSport GMT

But the new one doesn’t only dive deep. It also is capable of displaying the time in three time zones. That’s thanks to its bidirectional 48-click bezel made of sapphire with a luminous 24-hour insert, as well as the 24-hour hand and scale in the center of the dial. It’s a top-grade Sellita SW330-2 that takes care of the different functions. This 4Hz movement has a power reserve of 56 hours with a fully wound mainspring. And because of its power unit, the AquaSport GMT is a so-called office/caller GMT, meaning that the GMT hand only moves forward in one-hour steps when the screw-down crown is in the second position. When you move the peak in the opposite direction, the date moves one day ahead. In the third position, you can set the regular hours and minutes.

Circula AquaSport GMT

To fly or not to fly — that is the question

Is the fact that the AquaSport GMT is a GMT for desk travelers and not for active travelers a problem? Well, yes and no. In my opinion, a flyer GMT — a watch that lets you set the hour hand for the local time backward and forward and is connected to the date — is the superior watch. But movements with this capability are scarcer and more expensive. Some Swatch Group brands offer affordable flyer GMT watches that use the ETA C07.661 caliber, and there’s also the new Miyota 9075 flyer GMT caliber on the market.


Sellita will undoubtedly come up with one (soon), but for now, the company only produces a caller GMT caliber. Still, the AquaSport GMT can display three time zones at the same time. And although it’s easier to set so that you can see when your Japanese colleague calls it a day than it is to be in Tokyo and see when your partner wakes up back home, it still works as a travel watch. If you can’t find a few minutes to reset the 12-hour time upon arrival, you can always read the local time in a 24-hour format. And just so you know, pilots who used the original Rolex GMT-Master had to do that too.

Final thoughts and pricing

You probably already guessed it: I like the AquaSport GMT. And the anthracite version is my understated favorite. Have you seen the little green detail on the crown that also shows a luminous Circula logo? I like subtle touches like that. One of the things I like about this particular Circula watch is the tangible mix of a trusted Swiss movement, German quality, and sophisticated design choices — the tasteful use of color in particular.

The proportions make the 316L stainless steel watch easy to wear and comfortable on the wrist. It feels substantial, and because it is well finished, it feels reassuring and luxurious. Yes, I do prefer a flyer GMT over a caller GMT, and I’m quite sure that if Cornelius Huber learns from Sellita that such a movement is available, the launch of the AquaSport GMT II will only be a matter of time. Now, who’s in the mood for Black Forest cake?

The AquaSport GMT can be yours for €1,299 on a tropic rubber strap with a pin buckle and quick-change pins. If you’d rather have the watch on an equally easy-to-change beads-of-rice bracelet with a milled safety clasp with three micro-adjustments, you can get that for €1,399. For more information on AquaSport GMT or to order one for yourself, please visit the official Circula website.

And in case you got excited by seeing the petrol blue tropic strap on the Circula, have a look in our shop and find out if we have a color that tickles your fancy.

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