Summer time How many watches can handle the switch to summer time?
This weekend, if you are in a country that uses daylight saving time, don’t forget to put your watch forward one hour.
Barely a month after the 29th February, which gave us an opportunity to look at calendar watches capable of coping with months of different lengths and leap years, the last weekend of March prepares us for the warmer months to come, as we switch over to summer time. And that begs an obvious question: are there any watches that can take this seasonal adjustment into account, allowing us to sleep soundly on Saturday night, safe in the knowledge that we will awaken on Sunday morning to the correct time, without having to tinker with our timepieces?
Apart from smartwatches, which handle the issue without missing a beat - but with the help of the phone - , there are no traditional watches, whether mechanical or quartz, that are capable of automatically adjusting the time forward or back one hour on a set date at a set time, twice a year. But there is one smart-mechanical hybrid watch that can: the Seiko Astron GPS Solar Universal Time. Its GPS module enables it to always display the correct time and date, and the on-board solar technology transforms the light absorbed by the dial into energy. Once a day Novak Djokovic’s timepiece of choice connects to the GPS network through four satellites, identifies the correct time zone and receives the time signal, then adjusts the time with atomic precision. A DST (Daylight Saving Time) indicator on the dial at 10 o’clock shows whether the watch is on summer time (ON) or winter time (OFF). The GPS signal can also be turned on manually at any time via the pusher at 2 o’clock. So you’ll need to do that on Sunday morning, if the watch hasn’t adjusted itself overnight.
This year’s Astron GPS Solar, a model originally launched by Seiko at Baselworld in 2013, features the new calibre 8X22, a slimmer titanium case (12.4 mm) and a more powerful GPS module. It is also available in a limited edition of 3500 pieces with an elegant black mother-of-pearl dial.
Glashütte’s Senator Cosmopolite doesn’t adjust automatically for summer or winter time. But this universal time watch, which accomplishes the feat of displaying all of the world’s 37 time zones, has two small apertures on the dial at 8 o’clock that show whether the destination time displayed is on daylight saving time (DST) or standard time (STD). If the destination country does not use summer time, the window remains empty. Time-conscious travellers can therefore see at a glance if there is a difference between local time and Greenwich. This elegant, incredibly useful and readable watch is driven by an automatic 89-02 movement, which allows the destination time zone to be set in quarter-hour increments, as well as automatically synchronising the day/night indicator and date.
A similar way of identifying summer time is provided by Greubel Forsey on its GMT model launched in 2011 (in white gold), driven by the GMT calibre with a 24-second tourbillon set at a 25° inclination. On the dial side, the second time zone is indicated by a miniature globe that performs one complete rotation on its own axis every 24 hours, while on the back, the 24 time zones are displayed more conventionally on a disc. An extra ring also indicates whether the city in the chosen time zone is currently on daylight saving time.
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