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Summer watches - World time on your wrist

Summer watches World time on your wrist

Different approaches by DeWitt, Girard-Perregaux, Louis Vuitton and Seiko lead to very different interpretations of the very specific world time function.

The classics
A world time watch displays the time in any of the world’s time 24 zones at a glance. Usually, the cities representing each of these time zones feature in some form or another, either abbreviated or in full, on the dial or the bezel of the watch. In the case of De Witt’s New Academia Hora Mundi, however, the emphasis is on understatement. The black dial with its sunray pattern is dissected by a sleek applied element along the 3 o’clock to 9 o’clock axis, allowing for the date and a second time zone reading, which remains constantly visible as the seconds beaten out by the DW2021 self-winding calibre relentlessly march on.


DeWitt Academia Hora Mundi


Girard-Perregaux offers the most classic representation of a world time watch in its Traveller ww.tc collection, which has been enhanced this year with a new model with a DLC-coated titanium case. The cities of the 24 time zones are written out in full on two levels on a ring around the circumference of the dial. Another ring immediately below this is inscribed with the 24 hour numerals, subdivided into black on white for daytime hours and white on black for night-time hours. The correct time in any of the world’s 24 time zones can thus be read at a glance. The GP 03300 self-winding calibre, which has a 46-hour power reserve, drives this function and in addition offers a chronograph. The understated black look is completed by a rubber strap coated with black rubberized alligator and a ceramic folding buckle with PVD-coated titanium blades.


Girard-Perregaux Traveller ww.tc


Look, no hands!
Louis Vuitton’s Escale World Time model offers a colourful approach to world time indication and dispenses with watch hands altogether, replacing them with three separate mobile discs whose indications are read off against a fixed yellow pointer in the 12 o’clock position. Radiating out from the centre of the watch are the scales for minutes, then hours (divided into daytime and night-time hours on the 24-hour scale) and finally the 24 time zones, arranged on the two layers of the outermost disc. This outer disc can be rotated to set the reference time above the yellow pointer, allowing the time in any of the time zones to be read at a glance.


Louis Vuitton Escale World Time


The technical prowess of this unique display comes from the LV 106 calibre self-winding movement developed and assembled by La Fabrique du Temps Louis Vuitton manufacture, as do the vivid colours of the world time scale, which are hand-painted on the dial – a process that can take 50 hours for each dial in the workshop and which alludes to the possibility of hand-painted customisation offered to purchasers of the legendary Louis Vuitton trunks.

40 time zones
Seiko harnesses the power of the GPS satellite network to offer a world time function not just for the 24 principal time zones but for a total of 40 different time zones, including all those time zones where there is less than a full hour offset from GMT. What’s more, the Astron GPS Solar Chronograph performs this task almost instantaneously at the touch of a button using light as its only power source, offering in addition a chronograph function and a perpetual calendar.


Seiko Astron GPS Solar Chronograph


Compared with its predecessor, the 2014 Seiko Astron GPS Solar Chronograph has a 30% smaller case (made possible by new energy-saving technology that allows a smaller GPS antenna to be used) and new blue and white dial versions. The latter may appear mundane, but for the Seiko Astron, the light penetration allowed by the dial is crucial to its operation, so even a simple change in colour requires careful calibration.

Whether for the sophisticated business traveller or the independent globetrotter, this selection proves that there is a world time watch to suit all kinds of personalities and tastes. 

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