Similar to a GMT watch, world time watches allow you to display more than one timezone on your watch face. But, the difference is that a world time watch displays the 24 main time zones rather than just one extra. The original concept was conceived by Emmanuel Cottier in 1885. However, it wasn’t until 1931 that the first world time mechanism was successfully developed by Cottier’s son, Louis. Initially a pocket watch design, Louis Cottier’s ‘heures universelles’ were later developed into wristwatches, and are still popular in the contemporary market. Today, we will be delving into our Top 5 World Time Watches.
How Do They Work?
World time watches feature all the classic components of a dial: hands, indices, and even sub-dials. However, they also feature a ring that names the 24 main time zone cities throughout the globe. To save space on the dial, this time zone ring is sometimes located on the bezel. Adjoined to this is a chapter ring with 24 hour markers on, which correspond to the time in each particular zone. In other words, this ring indicates the time in each time zone instead of 24 separate sets of hands. The ring rotates as hands would, completing one full cycle a day.
Setting a World Time Watch
The process of setting world time watches can vary slightly depending on the brand and model. We advise that before adjusting your time watch, you should carefully read the watch’s accompanying instruction manual to avoid damaging the mechanism. But, in general, you need to ensure that the hour on the chapter ring is synchronised to the correct time in each particular zone, with your home zone at the top in the 12 o’clock position. Likely, this can be set by pulling the crown out to the world time-setting position, or using pushers if your model has them. With the time zone synchronised, as with any other watch, you should then set the time on the dial. Everything should then re-align accordingly.
Of course, there are many advantages of a world time watch. For the avid globe-trotter, world time watches make the perfect travelling companion. They can help you track your home, current, and the next timezone you will be arriving in. However, even for those who don’t travel much, the impressive complexity of its mechanism alone is enough of a reason to purchase a world time model. Below, we have compiled a list of our top 5 favourite world time models to show you what options are on the market today.
Top 5 World Time Watches
First up is this Raymond Weil Freelancer. A sleek all-black model, the Freelancer features a black gradient dial with a neat date display at 6 o’clock. Paired with this are silver hour, minute and second hands, as well as silver baton indices. This is housed in a black PVD stainless steel case measuring 40mm in width, protected by a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal. An automatic movement powers the watch, which has the brand’s own RW3230 calibre. The model is then finished with a timeless black leather strap but also comes in a variety of other colours. Multifunctional but not messy, this Raymond Weil effortlessly combines utility with style.
This Rotary Henley also has a clean matte black dial, which exhibits rose gold-framed baton indices and hands. This is framed by the rotating chapter ring, which is accompanied by the time zone ring sitting on the black bezel. Contrasting the dial is a white rectangular date display at the 6 o’clock position. Measuring 41mm, the case is made from stainless steel. For added character, the stainless steel bracelet features rose gold plated links through the centre. The model also boasts a water resistance of up to 100m (10 bar), making it the ultimate travel companion.
The considerate design of this Frederique Constant Highlife model makes it the next contender on our list. At the centre of the blue dial is a globe engraving detail to complement its world timer function. Instead of a date aperture, there is a date sub-dial accompanying the main dial which features sunburst detailing. Luminescent silver hands and baton indices keep the dial looking clean and sophisticated without compromising functionality. The watch is powered by an automatic FC-718 calibre with a 38-hour power reserve. Paired with an elegant stainless steel bracelet, the Highlife manages to optimise the space it occupies without overcrowding the design.
Ball Watch Company Engineer Master II Diver Worldtime (42mm) Green Dial Black Rubber Strap DG2232A-PC-GR
With its striking green dial, this Ball Watch Company Engineer Master II boasts a bold and modern design. Featuring a mixture of baton and numeric luminescent indices, the dial is paired with chunky silver luminescent hands. On the reverse side of the 42mm stainless steel case is a sapphire crystal exhibition case back. It also has excellent durability, having a water resistance of up to 300m, shock resistance of up to 5000 Gs and magnetic resistance of 4800 A/m. You’re also guaranteed high precision and accuracy with this model, which is a COSC-certified chronometer. A black rubber strap also makes this model perfect for both casual and active wear.
In true Junghans style, the Worldtimer is characterised by a stripped-back, no-frills design. Grey baton indices contrast the blue dial and complement the three silver hands. At the principle four hour positions these indices are accented by applied silver batons. Encasing the dial is a 40.4mm wide stainless steel case and a domed sapphire crystal. The watch’s movement is automatic and has up to 42 hours of power reserve. To tie the understated design together is a blue leather strap with a pin buckle fastening.
What do you think of our Top 5 World Time Watches? Do you think they would be a worthwhile addition to your collection? Let us know below!