Time never sleeps: the best world time watches

EDGAR eyes up our favourite complications that tell you the time in global capitals with a single glance.

March 11, 2015

It is not an exaggeration to say that in today’s interconnected world, it is useful to have a hand in two places at once. In horology, that translates as owning a ‘world time’ complication – a timepiece that shows the time in each of the world’s 24 time zones simultaneously.

These watches generally feature an inner bezel with a 24-hour display – that rotates as part of the watch’s movement – and an outer bezel inscribed with the major cities in each of the 24 time zones. Simple. To all intents and purposes, the watch tells the wearer the current time, but it is on the outer bezels where the real fun is had.

Unsurprisingly, these watches are a particular favourite with jet setting businessmen and those who need to be aware of the time in various locales around the world. Here are some of our favourite world time watches currently on the market:

Vacheron Constantin, Patrimony Traditionnelle World Time

It may look like a traditional world time watch but the Patrimony Traditionelle is actually one of the most complex in existence. It goes well beyond tracking the 24 official time zones, also displaying half and quarter hours, bringing its total displayed zones to 37. Its 42.5mm rose gold case with an automatic winding Calibre 2460 WT movement houses a day/night indication alongside the complication. Priced at around AED 214,000.

Patek Philippe, 5130 Patek Philippe, 5130

Patek Philippe has a long tradition of producing timepieces with a world time complication, in fact their work in this area has long been considered the gold standard. The patented Patek Philippe mechanism that corrects all displays is worthy of the AED 17,000 price tag alone. But it also comes with a world time disc including the latest official 24 time zones, an ultra-thin mechanical automatic movement and day/ night indication all inside the 39.5mm yellow gold case.

Richard Mille, Tourbillon RM 58-01 World Time Jean Todt Richard Mille, Tourbillon RM 58-01 World Time Jean Todt The product of a long friendship between the legendary Richard Mille and Jean Todt, president of the International Automobile Federation (FIA). Limited to only 35 pieces, this watch with its 50mm red gold case, hand-wound tourbillon movement, power reserve indicator and universal 24-hour time display will set you back a cool AED 2.5 million. But worry not, all profits go to two organisations dear to Todt’s heart: The Campaign for Global Road Safety and the Brain & Spine Institute (ICM), which he co-founded.

Jaeger-LeCoultre, Master Compressor Extreme W-Alarm Aston Martin Jaeger-LeCoultre, Master Compressor Extreme W-Alarm Aston Martin With a combined age of 284 years, you can expect something special when Jaeger-LeCoultre and Aston Martin partner up. And with the striking Master Compressor Extreme W-Alarm, they’ve not disappointed. Combining a world time display with a mechanical alarm, the 46.3mm titanium case houses Jaeger-LeCoultre’s automatic Caliber 912, and is water resistant up to 100 metres thanks to a compression key. The watch was a limited edition run of just 100 pieces, priced at approximately AED 71,000.

Montblanc, Timewalker Hemisphere Montblanc, Timewalker Hemisphere The clue to this watch’s USP is in its name. Two models have been released – for the North and South Pole respectively – showing cities in the Northern and Southern hemispheres. The two models operate differently – the disk on the dial of the Northern model rotates clockwise, while the Southern model rotates anti-clockwise. The Southern hemisphere is engraved on the back of the watch, with each of the other 24 cities indication of jet lag, and vice versa. Very neat. Priced at AED 73,000.

Girard-Perregaux, Traveller WW.TC Girard-Perregaux, Traveller WW.TC The new-look Traveller watch features sleeker lines and a softer, more ergonomic silhouette for the 44mm titanium case, which is also water resistant to 100 metres. While it is a true world time indicator, it is essentially a chronograph with sub-dials at nine o’clock for the 30-minutes counter, 6 o’clock for the 12-hour counter, and three o’clock for the small-seconds. A stylish day/night indicator is also on the inner bezel. Priced at AED 73,100.

IWC Schaffhausen, Aviator World Time Watch IWC Schaffhausen, Aviator World Time Watch If pilots are reliant on coordinated universal time (UTC) for flight plans, frequent travellers are reliant on Universal Time. This piece provides a permanent overview of the different time zones and UTC, which contributes to optimal readability, a feature important in an aviator watch. The 45mm stainless steel case holds an automatic winding calibre with a 42-hour power reserve. The central seconds hand complication has a stop function, and there’s a day/night indicator. Yours for AED 42,000.