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Travel at Ease with These Reliable World Time Watches

Travel at Ease with These Reliable World Time Watches

World time watch could be a handy and practical tool for traveling across different time zones. Find out some of the best here!
Mar 20, 2024

A watch and travel are among other combinations that work great together. For me, time is one of the essential things when traveling — there is more than just telling time when travel goes to different time zones. You need a specific travel watch that can be helpful to cope with this situation and that’s when world time watches come in handy.

Flying from Singapore to New York then having a virtual meeting with a client from Paris. While still suffering from jet lag, noticing the current time in the current timezone would be another time-consuming thing. As such, having a great timepiece on the wrist that can fulfill the needs could be much easier. For that reason, having the best world time watch would be an ideal option for your travel buddy.

What is A World Time Watch?

A world time watch, also known as a multiple time zone watch, displays 24 different time zones in the world. This tool watch is more complex compared to its counterpart, the GMT watch, as it needs to perform a reliable function at the touch of only a few buttons. 

Further, the watchmaker also needs to ensure that the dial design won’t be over-complex, cluttered, and hinder the wearer to tell time easily. The common design for a world time watch is displaying the 24 world cities around the watch dial (on an outer chapter ring). Each of the cities will represent its different time zone.

Most but not everyone often gets confused between a multi-time zone watch and its other siblings, a GMT watch. The two of them accomplish a similar task which is allowing the wearer to indicate the time zone in more than one location. As its name mentions, dual-time watches display two different times on the dial. 

In most cases, the dial is equipped with a sub-dial that indicates the second time on a 12-hour scale. GMT watches offer a function to set an additional time zone (could be two or three) on the watch. It also relies on a 24-hour scale for time indication. Still confused? 

For me, a world-time watch is a unique and interesting complication. Looking at its function itself, it provides the wearer with a full-time zone in the world — all the 24 major time zones on the wrist. Could you imagine other devices that will give you that feature in a single glance at any time without having to click here and there? 

That is why a world time watch is my favorite watch complication of all. If other complications, such as the moon phase or the perpetual calendar were made based on recurring natural inventions, the world-timer is a man-invented convention. It was made after world time was divided into several time zones.

A History of World Time Watches

World time watch is a complication designed based on the invention of time zones. Accordingly, people need to tell the time from each time zones and it needs a specific tool watch to indicate the difference with ease. 

The hassle of telling the time in different time zones inspired Swiss watchmaker Emmanuel to come up with a solution — to make travel between countries much easier with a reliable time-teller.

Prior to the invention of time zones by Scottish-born Canadian engineer Sir Sandford Fleming in 1879, the time was simply the local solar meantime. But when the standard time was settled, many countries adopted the system. Therefore, Emmanuel came up with the concept of world timer watches in 1885. 

Yet, he couldn’t finish his work and, then, continued by his son, Louis Cottier. He was the one who got the credit as the first person who succeeded in making the multiple time zone watch. His father’s work inspired Louis to continue the invention and develop his ‘Heures Universelle’ in 1931. 

The overall design was similar to how a world time watch looks now. It features the local time with watch indices at the center and a rotating 24-hour outer ring inscribed by the city names as the reference of each time zone. Although the invention was initially for pocket watches, Patek Phillippe asked Louis to make the first world time watch in 1937. 

That’s why, no wonder that when it comes to multiple time zone watches, Patek Phillippe is the top-tier of all in terms of values and quality. Until today, Louis’ mechanism is still used as the base for many world-time watches although the design is getting more elaborate with impressive dials. Among their world-timer collection, Patek Philippe Ref. 5231J is currently a benchmark. 

A yellow gold tone that displays the continents of Europe, Africa, and America on the dial – pictured in startling depth and detail. It is powered with an automatic movement of 240 HU caliber that offers 48 hours of power reserve. This particular timepiece is the one that should be in your collection if you’ve fallen for the world time watch.

Read also: 9 Best Outdoor Watches for the Bold and Adventurous Soul

How to Use World Time Watches?

The outer ring that displays the 24 reference cities for each time zone is synchronized with the hour and minute hands in the watch. In order to move the outer ring to index a particular city, you need to operate the crown or pusher. The pusher is used to move from one time zone to another. 

In a more complicated version, a watch can have two pushers for jumping back and forth among the time zones as desired. Anytime, the time zone is changed, the hour hand will automatically move forward or backward by an hour to the time in the reference city (or the local time).

Operating a world time watch can be considered easy as there are only two basic steps. First, use the pusher to move the time zone based on your local time. Then, use the crown to set the time. All you need to do is to identify the time difference between your local time and other time zones. From this process, adjusting and telling the time while traveling around the world would be easy.

As an example, let’s put this in an illustration. Let’s say you are in New York and it’s 10 pm. Align ‘New York’ with 10 on your watch dial using the pusher — or if it only has a crown, put the crown in the first position. 

To find out what time is in Paris, swap the operation to move the 24-hour dial and read the time that aligns with Paris — make sure to correctly set the AM and PM. And the time in Paris would be 4 am. The time difference shown would be measured in hours only since the minutes stay the same. At that moment, you could also tell the time in all the other time zones.

Read also: How to Use Dive Watch Bezels: A Simple and Thorough Guide

5 Enchanting World Time Watches for Your Travel Buddy

In these days, world time watches have become a common type of watch. You can easily find a list of options to find the best world time watch based on your preference. Yet, despite being common it doesn’t mean that it’s less valuable. In fact, multiple time zone watches are mostly still cost expensive. Below I’ve collected some that might interest you.

Ball Watch Co. Engineer Master II Diver Worldtime Black

The first on the list is the Engineer Master II by Ball Watch. Appear in such a bold and rugged appearance, the time zone scale is placed on the inner ring. Not only that it performs as a reliable world time watch but also a dive watch. The watch’s inner ring serves double purposes, both to display 24 global cities and diving graduations.Ball Watch Co. Engineer Master II Diver Worldtime Black

The dial layout might look busy but not cluttered. It has been redesigned with several layering to give optimal legibility. In addition to that, the dial’s layout is also redesigned by incorporating a two-tone circular 24-hour ring that flanged the hour and minute scale. That way, the time-telling experience can be better for both during a time-zone check or diving.

IWC Pilot’s Watch Timezoner Chronograph

Timezoner by IWC is one of the best world time watches around. In this state, I believe that many multiple time zone watches feature a bold appearance, especially on this watch. At the side of the watch, you can spot two pushers at each side of the crown. That means we can operate the timezone function using the pusher.

The cities of timezones are inscribed on the bezel, allowing for more space for other elements on the dial. At the heart of the watch is the in-house IWC movement with upgrades of a flyback function for the chronograph watches.

Vacheron Constantin Overseas World Time

An avant-garde world time watch by Vacheron. As part of the holy trinity of watches, Vacheron does give its best piece for this tool. Along with its luxury price tag, the watch features 37 time zones presented on the inner dial ring. At the center of the dial, you can notice a world map giving an impression to highlight its multiple time zone features.

The overall appearance of the watch has been perfectly designed. At the heart of the watch, a reliable automatic in-house caliber 2460 WT works delicately to run the overall function. Along with its 28,800 vph, the watch provides 40 hours of power reserve.

Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra Worldtimer

As for this case, you might notice quite a different appearance on the watch dial. The Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra offers a hand-crafted enamel world map design at the center of the dial that somehow makes the idea of traveling around the world becomes closer. 

Basically, the overall dial design and structure consist of many aesthetic elements from the multi-level dial to the exterior section of sand-blasted platinum-gold alloy. All in all the watch exudes an enchanting visual along with its shark tooth hour makers and a gradient of blue colors.

Read also: 5 Sleek and Magical Omega Speedmaster Moonphase Watches

Rado Captain Cook Over-Pole World Time

Presented in a vintage charm, Rado Captain Cook Over-Pole World Time spoils you with a taste of a traditional look with modern performance. This timepiece is a homage to Rado’s Over-Pole introduced in 1962. The updates can be spotted in a more meticulous design, refined finishing, open caseback, and gradient-colored dial. 

As a world time watch, the Captain Cook Over-Pole is considered the easiest to be operated. It features a 24-hour scale and a corresponding bidirectional rotating bezel in which the cities are inscribed. At the heart of the watch is the manual-winding caliber R862 which can last for up to 80 hours.

Final Verdict

A world time watch or multiple time zone watch, you can choose whichever name matches your preference, was and is still quite a complex movement. All the 24 time zones on a single piece of time-teller have truly amazed me. No wonder it is valued at a higher price tag than its siblings, the GMT or dual-time watches. With a world time watch on my wrist, telling time when traveling to different time zones isn’t a problem anymore – a true definition of a handy device.

It might be over-complicated for some people with its busy dial – as busy as me. But for me, the overall design and performance are stunning nevertheless. Eventually, watchmakers always come up with inventions to create a beautiful watch design. A world time watch is indeed particularly useful for either a businessman or someone who loves to travel.

You might also like: Holiday Tips: The Guide on How to Travel with Watches

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