Regardless of the trade war bubbling away between China and the United States, with the attendant risk of multiple countries throwing up protectionist barriers, the world is still a global village as figures for air transport show. The aviation industry is an economic heavyweight that directly or indirectly employs more than 60 million people worldwide and contributes a non-negligible 3.5% (US$ 664 billion) to global GDP; by 2026 it’s forecast that aviation will contribute US$1 trillion to world GDP. It’s a key player in terms of mobility too as air traffic has doubled every fifteen years since 1945. The International Civil Aviation Organization reports that the number of air passengers – 4.1 billion in 2017 (+7.1% year on year) – is expected to reach 6 billion by 2030.
With so many people travelling by plane – not just tourists but business travellers too – watch brands have every interest in producing timepieces capable of showing the time in two or more time zones, or even world times. Though not a recent trend, dual-time and world-time watches are gaining in popularity, particularly now that sales have come down from previous highs and brands are seeking to woo back customers with useful complications. And when it comes to practical functions, apart from the chronograph whose sporting appeal is unchallenged, multiple-timezone watches are top of the list. We take a look at a few of those on offer at this year’s Baselworld.
Blancpain Villeret Quantième Complet GMT
This complete calendar with GMT has become a mainstay of Blancpain’s collections since its launch in 2002, inspiring several reissues. It returns this year, still with day and month indications in apertures, central hands showing the date and the second time zone, and moon phases, but with the addition of Blancpain’s patented under-lug correctors for the calendar functions.
Breitling Navitimer 8 Unitime
This automatic timepiece offers a worldtime display with an independent hours hand that can be adjusted via the crown. Inside this COSC-certified chronometer is the Breitling Manufacture Calibre B35, an automatic movement with a power reserve of more than 70 hours.
Glashütte Original Senator Cosmopolite
The Senator Cosmopolite appears this year in a 44mm steel case with a minimalist dial – but the same array of functions. Two of the world’s 36 time zones are displayed in separate apertures at 8 o’clock, represented not by cities but by major airports, designated by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) code. A system of three colours indicates when a zone is offset from Greenwich Mean Time by 60 (black), 45 (red) or 30 (blue) minutes.
Grand Seiko Hi-beat GMT Blue Ceramic
The 20th anniversary of the 9S mechanical calibre provides an opportunity to review the history of the Grand Seiko as well as look ahead to its future potential. This timepiece evokes the past, with its 9S calibre, an emblematic movement accurate to -2/+4 seconds per day, hence the “Special” in its name, as well as the future, with the materials chosen for the casing.
Louis Vuitton Tambour Moon GMT Black
After 15 years’ service, Louis Vuitton released a new version of the Tambour in 2017 which, while retaining much of the original’s DNA, was updated with a more curved shape, hence its name: Tambour Moon. This latest version for men has a GMT-date function.
Oris Big Crown ProPilot Calibre 114
This pilot’s watch delivers a full ten days of power reserve, courtesy of the in-house Calibre 114 movement. Oris has put together a novel set of complications with a patented non-linear power-reserve indication, a date display in an aperture and a 24-hour second time zone function that shows half-hour offsets from GMT.
Patek Philippe WorldTime Minute Repeater Ref 5531R
Premiered at its New York Art of Watches exhibition in 2017, Reference 5531R now enters the current collection. This “grand complication” combines a minute repeater with a world-time mechanism. The enamelled dial sits within a pink gold case.
Rolex GMT Master II
Originally a tool watch for professional use, the GMT-Master II by Rolex has evolved into a timepiece for globetrotters. While the dual time zone display is as useful as ever for passengers transferring between flights, the GMT-Master II is also appreciated for its robust build and cosmopolitan style.
TAG Heuer Carrera Chronographe GMT
TAG Heuer’s Carrera turns 55 in 2018 and the brand is marking the occasion with this GMT chronograph – the first ever by the firm. The second time zone is set by the crown and read by way of a red lacquered hand on the black and blue ceramic GMT bezel.
Tudor Black Bay GMT
Still with its characteristic blue and burgundy bezel, Tudor’s Black Bay dive watch gets the addition of a GMT function, thanks to the in-house MT5652 movement.