Keeping pace with the world, even if it is temporary divided by the pandemic boundaries.
World time watches always seemed to me as relatively rare species. Despite being beautiful, even a bit poetic, this complication is often overshadowed by it’s more straight-to-the-point brother – the GMT. After all, the ability to know the time in all 24 time zones at once is more of a geeky fun than utilitarian need. And looks like in COVID universe it has become even more pointless. Anyway, the joy of a perfectly done complication is stronger than any short-term limits, and today we’ll talk about the four truly cosmopolitan models: a couple of everyday variants in steel and in rose gold, a super hi-end megawatch and a niche collector’s piece.
Let’s start with the Frederique Constant Classic Worldtimer Manufacture – a 42-mm dressy piece in red gold, full of rounded polished shapes and a nice little texture details like a guilloché-treated date sub-dial at 6 or fluted edges of the crown. The dial is a strong mix of different surfaces united by a restrained but in no ways boring color scheme of blue, grey, and a bit of red. As expected, the central hours, minutes, and seconds hands as well as the date pointer are made of gold. The layout of the world time disc featuring 24 major cities is very intuitive including the night/day indication.
Like all Frederique Constant models bearing the world Manufacture in the name, the piece is powered by the in-house movement, the automatic caliber FC-718 to be precise. All functions are set via the crown. The Classic Worldtimer Manufacture comes complemented by a blue alligator leather strap, is limited to 88 pieces and is priced at €15’895.
For a watch with so many text in the front, the indications of the Montblanc Star Legacy Orbis Terrarum are quite minimalistic with only central hours and minutes. Nothing keeps your eyes away from the middle part of the dial fully dedicated to the world time. And a nicely decorated rotating sapphire crystal disc with guilloché pattern and the map of Northern hemisphere clearly stands up to the task.
The 24-hour-zone scale with cities and a dark/light blue differentiation of night and day has a classical approach. The complication itself is set via a pusher at 8, with each step adding an extra hour. With quite substantial size of 43 mm this steel beauty feels like a solid everyday luxury watch, however due to it’s buttoned-up design and an alligator leather strap it can easily act as a dressier option as well. Driven by an automatic with 42 hours of power reserve the Montblanc Star Legacy Orbis Terrarum is priced at $6,800. There’s also a limited pink gold version with brown dial, if a world timer in steel is somehow not your thing.
Surely, the new Bovet Récital 26 Brainstorm Chapter Two can be viewed as a lot of things, but it’s also a legit world timer, so including it in our today’s list wasn’t even a question. This 47.8x15mm wrist-strapping miracle comes in an asymmetrical and fully transparent sapphire crystal case. All four main indications are three-dimensional and are laid down visually counterweighting each other. First of all, there’s a blue quartz hour and minute sub-dial at 12, followed by seconds on the flying tourbillon at 6. Then comes a rotating moonphase hemisphere at 9 paired by the beautiful 24-time zone hemisphere at 3, also rotating.
The in-house manually-wound movement is hand-engraved and has a 5-day power reserve – don’t miss its indication hidden on the case ring at 6. By default, the bezel and lugs are made of titanium and the watch is complemented by an alligator strap. However, as one would imagine, such hi-end pieces usually have quite a room for customization, and the guys at Bovet are always ready to fulfill any collector’s wishes. After all we are talking a 380’000+ watch here.
The IWC Pilot’s Watch Timezoner Chronograph ’80 Years Flight To New York’ can sparkle some curiosity not only with its ridiculously long name. First of all, it’s a classic steel pilot’s watch with an integrated world time function. Then it’s a flyback chronograph with a very neat two-sub-dial layout: the upper one takes care of the chrono hours and minutes, while the lower is dedicated to the regular small seconds. And lastly it’s a limited collector’s edition commemorating one historical transatlantic flight, that also happened to have Antoine de Saint-Exupéry onboard. The latter is done with a beautiful caseback engraving.
Regarding the world time complication, the watch has a trademark IWC approach. Instead of giving you the whole 24-hour scale with those major cities, the away time is shown via a 24-hour hand, just like in regular GMT. However, all the settings are done by pressing and rotating the ceramic bezel, and once you need to know the time somewhere, changing the destination is quick and instant. The piece is driven by an in-house movement with 68 hours of power reserve and, considering the functionality, goes for quite reasonable $13,100.
Aug. 19, 2020