Míleata Q-Series Urban Commando GMT Review
By: Michael Penate
Not long ago, we discussed some of the exciting options you can find when shopping for an affordable GMT watch. It’s a tricky area to serve as a watch manufacturer and many times, you might find that your options are extremely limited compared to all the great dive watches you can find out there. Recently, I had a chance to spend some time with the Q-Series Urban Commando GMT from Míleata. It’s an Irish brand that specializes in the design and development of watches for the hazardous worlds of military and law enforcement. Needless to say, I was pretty excited to get my hands on it and garnered some strange looks as I tore into the box on the bus ride home from the post office. The best part of the experience, however, was finding just how useful a solid GMT was for my work and my lifestyle. Let’s dig in.
The first thing that really stood out when handling the Míleata Q-Series Urban Commando GMT was just how hefty it was. The machining was precise, the lines were razor sharp, and there was just something kinesthetically pleasing to feel when operating the crown and the bezel. Before getting into it, I just have to say how much I appreciate a good GMT sports watch that integrates a 24-hour scale while maintaining the utility of a dive bezel. Sure you don’t get the whole three time zone thing, but I use dive bezels quite a bit for timing stuff around the house and it was cool to see that it was kept.
The Míleata Q-Series Urban Commando GMT features a 42mm, black PVD coated case with a 500 meter depth rating. Naturally, I never tested the water resistance and although it’s hard for me to fall in love with a black PVD case, this one just worked. I guess this could be because of the fixed spring bars, rugged Toxic N8O strap with matching hardware, and the dual-tone dial with varying shades of gray. I should note that the production models will feature screw-in spring bars for strap changes, which is an interesting choice since fixed spring bars are typically a MIL-SPEC requirement.
Speaking of the dial, I found it impressive that Míleata was able to cram so much information without having it seem crowded or illegible. Text is minimal, with “Míleata” and a small logo printed just under the 12 o’clock marker. The inner chapter ring features hash marks that move all around the dial with a clear and distinguishable transition to the internal 24-hour scale. It’s tight but it works. Now, here’s where I got thrown off initially.
If you take a closer look at the 24-hour GMT scale, you’ll actually notice that it is fully inverted in a way that isn’t really common with other GMTs. Míleata claims that this was done to follow the path of the sun as it rises and falls over the course of the day, which makes sense but it can take some getting used to. I didn’t have the watch for long, but I did find that it would rattle my brain sometimes. I’m sure anyone that spends more time with it will fully adapt and I should note that this scale inversion also allows the GMT hand to function as a compass together with Míleata’s provided instructions.
The hands are just, awesome. They have a partially skeletonized, large broadsword look to them and they flow perfectly with the dial in terms of color matching and legibility. I had no problem catching the time at a quick glance and that’s a crucial win in my book if you’re trying to design watches for military use. Big, bold rectangular markers and a generous application of BGW9 tie it all together with a beautifully integrated date window at 6 o’clock. As with many quartz watches, perfect alignment between the hash marks and the seconds hand wasn’t always there but that kind of stuff never really bugged me. It’s a watch, it tells me the time, and could probably survive an M26 grenade blast.
On wrist, we really start to see just how well these proportions were thought out. The crown and crown guards were designed to follow the flow of your upper wrist and never dug into me at all. I was concerned with the 51mm lug to lug measurement but it worked out and I found that the watch wore comfortably on both the supplied Toxic N8O and a Toxic Royal strap that I had in the box. Although it looks thick at 15mm, it wasn’t top-heavy at all it’s that kind of comfortable balance that I’m sure would actually be appreciated during field operations.
Also, the Urban Commando’s bezel is crisp, tightly fitted, and keeps dust, sand, and other contaminants out of the case. It’s a design touch found in watches that cost three times as much and simply adds to the overall functionality of the piece. Plus, at 120 clicks, I didn’t find the bezel to be stiff or difficult to operate – just very secure. Other features include a nice double dome AR-coated sapphire crystal and a lumed pip at the bezel’s 12 o’clock position.
Ticking inside is a Ronda 515.24 Swiss quartz GMT movement. Operation was reliable and in line with what you’d expect out of a quartz watch and I think it’s the best choice for a watch that might see more than a few harsh situations. Operation via the crown was simple and most importantly, the GMT hand can be moved independently from the hour and minute hands. Overall, I had no trouble tracking a fellow watch snob three time zones away or even a couple of other colleagues in Southeast Asia living around 14 hours ahead of me. Everything lined up and worked with the reliability I expected out of the watch.
To be honest, I enjoyed this watch way more than I thought I would. I’m always weary when it comes to black PVD cases but in the case of the Míleata Q-Series Urban Commando GMT, I almost wouldn’t have it any other way. It feels like a precision instrument – like something you’d find in the cockpit of an A10. And for around $480, it’s hard to beat if you’re looking for a rugged #edc-worthy GMT watch. Really, I’d love to see Míleata partner with service professionals to test and document the durability of the timepiece. I think it would be a treat to witness and with this kind of high quality construction, I’m sure the watch will have no trouble holding its own. mileata.com
NOTE: The unit reviewed here is a press sample/prototype and full production models may vary slightly from what you see here.
Michael Peñate is an American writer, photographer, and podcaster based in Seattle, Washington. His work typically focuses on the passage of time and the tools we use to connect with that very journey. From aviation to music and travel, his interests span a multitude of disciplines that often intersect with the world of watches – and the obsessive culture behind collecting them.