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6 World Time Watches With Distinct Style

The Patek Philippe Ref. 5935A World Time Flyback Chronograph.

World time watches are the ultimate accessory for the discerning traveller. Here are six that elevate the complication in different ways.

For frequent flyers, the GMT watch is the most practical one, simultaneously displaying the local and home time for easy viewing. A world timer is a bit of a step up, offering a complete view across the globe in 24 cities. The romanticism of a worldtimer cannot be disregarded, especially since watchmakers often present them in visually spectacular fashion. The modern worldtimer with 24 standard zones was developed by Genevan watchmaker Louis Cottier in the early 1930s. Together with Patek Philippe, they gave rise to the Heure Universelle (Ref. 515 HU) in 1937. While most worldtimers retain the same design format as Patek Philippe’s, there are great alternatives by other brands which are functionally and aesthetically brilliant. Here are our picks.

Patek Philippe Ref. 5935A World Time Flyback Chronograph.
Patek Philippe Ref. 5935A World Time Flyback Chronograph.

The Modern Classic – Patek Philippe World Time Chronograph

There are multiple world time models in Patek Philippe’s arsenal. But the Ref. 5935A World Time Flyback Chronograph from 2022 stands out for its many little parts that contribute to a very desirable whole. Firstly, it is in steel, which Patek Philippe rarely uses with multiple complications. The 41mm watch has a gilt-rose opaline dial that is decorated with a carbon fibre motif, just like the Ref. 6007A-001 that was developed for the PP6 Manufacture’s opening. While there is a lot of information to track on the watch, it’s very legible. The monopusher on the left of the case controls the world time function, which is presented on the dial with a two-toned 24-hour day/night ring and a city ring on the periphery. The chronograph controls are on the right, with a 30-minute totaliser at 6 o’clock. The central chronograph seconds doubles a running seconds hand, which can be kept running thanks to Patek Philippe’s reliable vertically coupled calibre CH 28-250.

Breguet's Marine Hora Mundi switches flawlessly between two time zones.
Breguet’s Marine Hora Mundi switches flawlessly between two time zones.

Invisible Design – Breguet Hora Mundi 5557

A first-class take on worldtimers, Breguet’s Marine Hora Mundi features something rarely seen in this category: a dual time-zone watch that shows the local or home time on demand. The home city is selected via the crown at 7 o’clock, while the time, date, and day/night indication is via the crown at 3 o’clock. The second city is then selected with the 7 o’clock crown, with the time, date, and day/night indicator automatically adjusted. Once it’s set, triggering the crown at 7 o’clock switches between the two. Beneath the dial engraved with a wave pattern and the world map on a separate disc is the calibre 77F1. It features patented modules for the world time mechanism (with a city ring at 6 o’clock), the second time zone display, mechanical memory wheel, and day/night display.

The Epic SF24 Tourbillon by Jacob & Co. takes reference from the split display board.
The Epic SF24 Tourbillon by Jacob & Co. takes reference from the split display board.

Easy Reading – Jacob & Co. Epic SF24 Tourbillon

One of the most interesting and legible worldtimers the industry has seen in recent years is Jacob & Co.’s Epic SF24. The SF references the Split Flap display boards that hung in train stations and airports in the past, a poetic nod to its travel-friendly credentials. But it’s not just for window dressing – the time across the world is viewed in 24-hour format on the Split Flap style display by triggering the pusher at 4 o’clock. On the main dial, a flying tourbillon is presented at 10 o’clock with a two-hand time counter at 5 o’clock. This is all powered by the self-winding calibre JCAA02, which has 28 hours of autonomy. There are multiple variants of the watch for the dandy, the international man of mystery, and everyone in between.

Vacheron Constantin's Traditionnelle World Time has a 37-city ring on the dial.
Vacheron Constantin’s Traditionnelle World Time has a 37-city ring on the dial

The Ultimate – Vacheron Constantin Traditionelle World Time

Vacheron Constantin went beyond what was expected of a worldtimer in 2011 when it unveiled the Traditonnelle World Time. This pink gold watch made headlines for its display of 37 time zones, including those that are offset by half- or quarter-hours. A more recent update adds aesthetic refinements, including a 42.5mm platinum case and a breathtaking dial crafted in opaque enamel and grisaille enamel. The watch’s dial truly highlights Vacheron Constantin’s watchmaking expertise. The distinctive world time display comprises three superimposed discs, with a miniature enamelled world map on the innermost disc. The self-winding Calibre 2460 WT drives the simultaneous reading of the 37 time zones with a day/night indication and a single crown control. This is a spectacular model that reflects the brand’s history in world time pocket watches.

The Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Grande Tradition Calibre 948 takes the tourbillon on a global journey.
The Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Grande Tradition Calibre 948 takes the tourbillon on a global journey.

Global Revolution – Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Grande Tradition Calibre 948

When Jaeger-LeCoultre created the Calibre 948, it was the first time that a world time complication was united with a flying tourbillon. What’s particularly interesting is the 24-hour dial is not stationary. It makes a complete rotation every 24 hours, mimicking the rotation of the Earth on its own axis. The atlas in the centre of this 43mm white gold watch features a map of the world as seen from the North Pole. Miniature-painted details of the continents’ major landscapes complete the picture. The time is set with the crown, which synchronises all of the time zones around the world. On arrival at a new destination, local time is set by the same crown, which moves only the hour hand, in one-hour jumps forwards or backwards, allowing the minutes and seconds to continue running accurately.

Montblanc's 1858 Geosphere 0 Oxygen The 8000 splits the difference between a dual and world time complication.
Montblanc’s 1858 Geosphere 0 Oxygen The 8000 splits the difference between a dual and world time complication.

Bridging the Divide – Montblanc 1858 Geosphere 0 Oxygen The 8000

Montblanc’s Geosphere, developed by the Minerva Manufacture, is a non-traditional worldtimer that offers a geographical perspective. Two rotating domes on the dial represent the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, respectively, each with a 24-hour scale. This makes it possible to read the time across the world, assuming you know where each city or country is. The 1858 Geosphere 0 Oxygen The 8000 is dedicated to its Mark Maker, Reinhold Messner, with an oxygen-free hermetically-sealed 42mm titanium case to ensure the watch remains functional in extreme environments. It also has Montblanc’s gratté-boisé dial treatment in a dark grey hue. The watch is powered by an automatic Calibre MB 29.25, which provides 42 hours of power reserve.

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