Time zones Venezuela sets the clock forward... again
The country adopts a more logical offset from UTC with its new time zone.
Located on the northern tip of the South American continent and smack in the middle of the tropical zone, Venezuela does not need to change its time to account for variations in diurnal lengths during the year. The country is blessed with just two seasons: dry and wet, with different climate zones accounted for by the large variances in terrain height.
The decision to establish a legal time for the whole country of Venezuela arose in 1912 when a zone, -4.30 GMT, was established by local experts. The basis for this was the large territorial size of Venezuela that required the definition of two time zones, one for the eastern side and another for the western side, but this was considered impractical at the time.
In 1965, in order to obtain full compliance with international standards that required, at that time, to set a full-hour offset to GMT, Venezuela decided to move to a -4.00 GMT time zone which was ideal for our geographical and climate conditions.
More recently, in November 2007, the Venezuelan administration decided to go back to -4:30 GMT, like in 1912, based on considerations that experts have not been able to back up with hard scientific, financial and energy consumption facts. An important group of engineers and researchers expressed its concern, at the time, about the long-term benefits of the decision, if any. Government critics voiced their opinion that the 2007 decision was based exclusively on political considerations.
The time elapsed since 2007 has confirmed that the decision to set the time at -4:30 GMT was not wise as energy consumption increased with no visible signs of benefits in the ledger. Hence after lengthy wrangling, due to the tainted legacy of the previous administration, a decision was taken to move back to -4:00 GMT on May 1st 2016.
All watch brands that produced world time pieces used, until 2007, Caracas as one of the 24 indicators on their dials. In recent times, the use of Puerto Rico, La Paz or St. Barth has replaced Caracas as the name of choice in this kind of complication. However, a few companies decided to keep Caracas due to the potential importance of the Venezuelan watch market.
Girard-Perregaux decided in 2009 to present a limited edition of just 15 pieces in pink gold and 30 pieces in steel, of its World Wide Time control WW.Tc watch which has Caracas with a slight offset in its cities ring that perfectly accounts for the -4:30 GMT time zone.
Vacheron Constantin, which has a great world timer tradition since the introduction of Louis Cottier’s invention in the 1950s, presented in 2011 its Patrimony Traditionnelle World Timer that is able to perfectly account for time zones with half an hour variance such as Caracas, until May 1st, as well as certain cities in India and Australia. As a further note, Vacheron Constantin is able to retrofit and adjust current world rings to its watches, as proven during the recent change ordered for Moscow, Russia in 2014 to +3:00 GMT. Probably the Girard-Perregaux Caracas Limited Edition will remain the same and will be a tasteful and workable reminder of the many time changes that impact our lives.
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