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Visually alluring, the best world time watches offer the time in all 24 zones.
By Roberta Naas | December 14 2020
Pre-pandemic, we were exploring all corners of the globe for both business and pleasure. This trend will go on after Covid-19, as we are all adventure seekers at heart. And to help us on our way, the luxury watch world has created world time watches that make travel easier. Visually alluring, they offer the time in the world’s 24 zones — some via a chapter ring with the cities listed on it; others use maps or three-dimensional world globes, or combinations thereof. The mechanical movements inside these world time watches are complex works of horology, often featuring 24-hour time and am/pm indicators. They’re clad in the noble metals or sporty stainless steel cases. Either way, these world timers help you view time anywhere on the globe at a glance.
The watch collector’s dream, this Lange 1 Time Zone is a special, boutique-only limited edition of 100 pieces in this color of gold with a champagne dial. The dial is crafted from solid silver and features solid-gold hour markers and appliqués. The watch offers day/night indication via a blue arc in the center of the two dials, one each for home time (on the larger dial at 9 o’clock) and for the other zone times. The 41.9mm watch also offers the information that a city may be in daylight savings time thanks to the small red block in the pointer arrow of the small dial at 5 o’clock. The self-winding manufacture caliber L141.1 consists of an incredible 448 parts and 38 rubies, and offers 72 hours of power reserve.
$56,100 in 18K yellow gold, A. Lange & Söhne in New York, +1 646 828 3150,
Easily one of the most beautiful world time watches on the market today comes from Patek Philippe. The brand offers several complex world time watches, but the Ref. 5231J is particularly alluring thanks to the cloisonné enamel dial that is hand-painted and showcases Europe, Asia and the Americas. The hands offer local time, but the inner chapter ring also offers day/night and 24-hour indication for the 24 time zones. Setting of the zones is done using the pusher at 10 o’clock on the 38.5mm case. The brand’s in-house-made, self-winding mechanical movement, Caliber 240HU, powers the watch.
$73,710 in 18K yellow gold, Wempe Jewelers in New York, +1 212 397 9000, patek.com
Born of the desire to create an easy-to-use world time feature, the Montblanc Orbis Terrarum is a special 500-piece edition with a rose-gold-colored map of the Northern Hemisphere as seen from the North Pole, with meridian lines on it. The brown and copper colorway offers a balanced, harmonious appeal. The world time indication is set using a single pusher at 8 o’clock on the case and is read by the city indications and the 24-hour ring that indicates day and night in the 24 zones. The dial is actually two layers that rotate, and the raised continents offer depth and detail. The watch is powered by the Montblanc MB M29.20 automatic movement, with 42 hours of power reserve.
$20,800 in 18K rose gold, Montblanc in New York, +1 212 223 8888, montblanc.com
This highly unusual three-dimensional Globetrotter Night watch takes a totally different approach to world time indication. The center of the watch is a domed rotating globe with the continents on it. Behind it is a 24-hour disc used to set the time and locations – all from the crown at 3 o’clock. To set home time, the wearer pulls the crown out to its third position and finds his general location on the 3D globe – placing it as though there were a straight line passing through the dial. He then aligns the home location on the map with the correct local time on the 24-hour scale. Local time is similarly set (using the second position of the crown) and is read off of the red lacquered hands against the outer Roman numeral ring.
$17,000 in stainless steel, Cellini Jewelers in New York, +1 212 888 0505, arnoldandson.com
In typical Vacheron Constantin style, the venerable brand goes all-out with its Overseas World Time watch – bringing together haute horology with artistic looks and features that are perfect for world travel. The watch is powered by a manufacture self-winding movement that offers 40 hours of power reserve and displays hours, minutes and seconds in the center, as well as day/night and 24-hour indication on outer chapter rings. The map depicts the Northern Hemisphere and is surrounded by the city list. The arrow on the bezel at 6 o’clock is the reference time-zone index. The 43.5mm watch is anti-magnetic and water-resistant to 150 meters. A transparent sapphire caseback allows you to view the 255-part movement.
$34,500 in stainless steel, Vacheron Constantin in New York, +1 212 317 8964,
Breitling has long been associated with the world of aviation, creating pilot watches and cockpit instruments in the mid-20th century. It continues this tradition but in a highly updated style. This Aviator 8 B35 Unitime watch offers world time via an independent hour hand that can be adjusted by the crown. The inner 24-hour ring indicates if it is day or night in the city of choice. The mechanical, automatic-caliber B35 is equipped with two spring barrels, so it offers more than 70 hours of power reserve. The dial is sunray silver, and the caseback is transparent sapphire for viewing of the movement.
$8,140 in stainless steel with leather strap, Breitling in New York, +1 855 999 1884, breitling.com
Frederique Constant’s Classic Worldtimer watch is a favorite among collectors. This newest version brings together great tones of blue, gray and white with bright red accents for a pop of color. The 42mm watch houses the brand’s manufacture Caliber FC-718 automatic movement, with 38 hours of power reserve. The navy blue dial features the world map in the center in gray, and the 24-hour disk for day/night indication is in gray and red. The small subsidiary dial at 6 o’clock gives the added feature of the date display. It is water resistant to 30 meters and features a see-through sapphire crystal caseback to view the movement. Just 88 pieces will be made.
$15,995 in 18K rose gold, Razny Jewelers in Chicago, +1 312 663 8500, http://frederiqueconstant.com