The Travels of Time

In an era when “traveling has become as natural as breathing,” as a spokesman for Ebel recently put it, watches that keep track of time both for home and destination have become useful accessories.

Traveler’s watches have two or more time displays, usually on the dial. They’re more popular than ever, and more brands are adding them. Van Cleef & Arpels, for example, added its dual-time-zone Monsieur Arpels Réveil GMT, while Montblanc has expanded its avant-garde TimeWalker collection with its TimeWalker GMT Automatic, whose second time zone is a 24-hour ring on the dial rim. Others include upscale Daniel Mink’s automatic 41 mm Levantis GMT, also with a 24-hour outer ring, and red “hand” indicator, and Ebel’s automatic Sportwave GMT (normally a quartz line). Its inside 24-hour ring, with alternating white and orange numerals, circles a world map dial.

TIME-ZONE DISPLAY

Display of time zones comes in fascinating variety: two atop each other, as in Tissot’s art-deco “banana” case Classic Prince; as subdials, like Patek Philippe’s gold hand-wound Calatrava Travel Time watch with a 24-hour subdial at 12 o’clock; and as analog/digital displays, like Breiting’s Aerospace Advantage and Tissot’s Navigator 2000, with multi time zones and 150 countries. Many have rotating dial rings, like Accutron’s stainless-steel Excursion (which also has a 12-hour dial at 6 o’clock). Global-time-zone rings also abound, usually marked by their main cities (with an indicator “hand”) encircling the dial, inside the bezel, or on the bezel, like Longines’s men’s automatic 38.5 mm Master Collection GMT, with the 24 zones on an internal rotating disc that shows each zone’s major city, indicated by a third hand.

TECHNOLOGICAL INNOVATION

German luxury watchmaker A. Lange & Söhne premiered its hand-wound 18k Lange 1 Time Zone. It has an unusual dial configuration of two time-zone subdials—one large for “home” with a seconds subdial and day/night indicator in it, and a smaller one, for a second time zone—and an outer dial ring with major cities of the world’s 24 time zones. It uses Lange’s own movement, whose time-zone mechanism alone has 67 hand-finished parts, including an adjustment and correction mechanism (and push piece at 8 o’clock) for zone time and city ring.

Carl F. Bucherer’s steel automatic 46.5 mm Patravi TravelTec is a three-time-zone GMT chronograph, and uses its exclusive CFB 1901 movement. The third-time-zone display uses a new single push-button mechanism by Bucherer (patent pending).

Raymond Weil’s Don Giovanni Così Grande Two Zones, with transparent back, uses a new mechanical movement, with two time zones atop each other, one for 24 hours, the other with 12-hour display.

Omega’s Speedmaster Broad Arrow XL Co-Axial Chronometer GMT is the first Speedmaster with Omega’s exclusive coaxial escapement.

EYE-CATCHING DIAL DESIGNS

Pippo Italia’s innovative Lifetime collection features three enamel dials in one case, using one automatic and two quartz movements, all Swiss made. There are several options for cover, dial, and case treatments, from diamond stripes to turquoise, plus interchangeable straps.

Hamilton’s 38 mm Navy Khaki GMT has a second time display to the right of 9 o’clock, and a third, with world cities, to the left, next to a second crown.

Façonnable’s steel oversize Hydra 3 World, with carbon-fiber bracelet, has three time zones—the main one and two smaller ones at 6 and 12 o’clock. All have luminescent hands. Time on the small faces each can be set without removing the watch.

One of this year’s most appropriate traveler’s timepieces is a pocket watch, Tissot’s Phileas, named for the hero of the Jules Verne novel Around the World in 80 Days . The retro-style watch has its reference time zone at 12 o’clock, with the 23 other time zones around a silvered dial (with Tissot’s original logo).

THE LIMITS OF TIME

Limited-edition time-zone watches include Gérald Genta’s Octo Incontro, the first luxury watch with a mechanical time display on front and a quartz digital display in back (15). Gevril’s Serenade, in its Avenue of Americas collection, has dual time-zone and day/night displays (50 each in pink or white gold).

Chopard’s automatic 42.5 mm Mille Miglia GMT 2005 chronograph, with a tachometer and a pointer for the 24 hours engraved on the bezel, comes on a black-rubber strap with a raised-tire-tread motif and a folding clasp (250 in rose gold).

To commemorate the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II, Oris has issued an automatic 42 mm version of its Big Crown Flight Timer pilot’s watch, combining its world-timer movement with a second-time-zone display at 3 o’clock, and a third (with its own crown at 2 o’clock) on a rotating rim ring (1,945). Luxury brand Blancpain marks its own 270th anniversary with an automatic GMT with a second time zone (a 24-hour counter) at 9 o’clock, also linked to an alarm.