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GPHG - Grand Prix d'Horlogerie de Genève
GPHG 2016 - Travel time watches honoured in new category

GPHG 2016 Travel time watches honoured in new category

We start our analysis of the candidate watches for the GPHG 2016 with a look at the contenders in the new Travel Time category.

Ever since John Harrison developed his marine chronometers in a bid to win the prize on offer from the Longitude Act, instruments that tell the time have long been inextricably linked with the world of travel. For some luxury brands, like Louis Vuitton, travel is part of the DNA, while for others, like Fabergé, travel offers the inspiration for unusual new types of display

This year, the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève takes this vibrant category of watches into account for the first time with a new Travel Time category. The nine candidate timepieces show the diversity of different displays and functions, from its simplest form in the Tiffany CT60 dual time, with an extra GMT hand, to more complicated designs in the form world time models and even a triple time zone timepiece produced by Bovet 1822.

Dual time
There are four dual-time watches in the category, two of which offer additional functions. The Yeslam Réveil Céleste Green Goldstone has an additional alarm function, which means that the additional central hand with an arrowhead tip is not a GMT hand but the alarm time indicator. The wearer therefore has to differentiate between two similarly-sized windows with similar digits – one at 12 o’clock for the date from 1-31 and another at 6 o’clock for the second time zone from 1-24. Until the 24th of the month, therefore, there is a risk of confusion between the second time zone and the date.

Tiffany’s CT60 also indicates the date, but uses a more conventional subsidiary dial at 6 o’clock, with the second time zone displayed by a central hand with a red arrowhead tip that makes one full revolution in 24 hours, with the 24-hour scale around the perimeter of the dial divided into two colours to clearly indicate day and night in the second time zone. The second time zone can easily be set using the chronograph style pushers to move the hand forwards or backwards in one-hour increments. The Tiffany CT60 Dual Time is the most affordable entry in this category.

In Carl F. Bucherer’s case, the chronograph pushers operate the chronograph in the Patravi TravelTec Black, with a separate pusher at 10 o’clock to set the second time zone. The hard diamond-like carbon (DLC) finish on the steel case and bracelet, as well as the imposing 46.6mm diameter, make the Patravi TravelTec Black stand out against the more classic materials used by the other entrants.

In addition to its unique balance wheel assembly visible on the dial side, Manufacture Royale’s 1770 Haute Voltige model is the only one in this category to feature a totally independent second time zone indication with its own hour and minute hands, which means that the second time zone can be set to the nearest minute and thus account for all 37 full time zones around the world, some of which are offset from UTC by 30 or even 15 minutes.

Fabergé’s Visionnaire 1 DTZ has by far the most original means of display a second time zone with a 24-hour window visible at the very centre of the watch which uses complex optics to magnify the 1.5mm high number on a small dual time-zone disc. Another intriguing aspect of this piece is the dial-side winding rotor, whose movement is barely perceptible beneath the hour and minute hands.

World Time
World time watches offer the additional facility to set the second time zone using a reference city, rather than having to know in advance the required offset from UTC or GMT.

Louis Vuitton’s colourful solution for this complication takes the form of two concentric rings on the dial, with the outer ring consisting of the abbreviations for the major time zones interspersed with hand-painted crests and emblems. The inner ring bears the 24-hour disc, subdivided into white on black indications for night time and black on white for day time. Like the Fabergé Visionnaire 1 DTZ, the hour and minute hands on the Louis Vuitton Escale Time Zone appear to float around the dial, with no visible axis. DeBethune’s DB25 World Traveller keeps the mysterious theme going with a ball bearing that seems to float around a 24-hour scale on the dial to indicate the second time zone, with an inner ring aligned with the ball to indicate the corresponding city.

Montblanc’s 4810 Orbis Terrarum 110 Years Edition sees a rare pocket watch in the running for a GPHG award. It follows on from the original Orbis Terrarum wristwatch presented last year, with its central superimposed discs to clearly indicate day or night around the globe, with the main time zone cities included in full around the dial.

Bovet 1822’s new Amadeo Fleurier Virtuoso VI timepiece has been kept under wraps until now and boasts three independent time zones, each of which can he set to the nearest minute and has its own hour and minute hands. The two additional time zones, displayed on subdials on the left and right of the centre, also have their own night and day indications and a separate window that indicates the city for the respective time zone. A separate hour and minute indication is visible on the back, so that the watch can be worn the other way around if you want to forget the stress of travel and multiple time zones. This limited-edition of 100 pieces each in red or white gold has a manually wound seven-day movement.

Given the choice in this new category, there may well be the need for some tough decisions when it comes to choosing a winner.

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