Feeling jet lagged from a recent business trip to Arizona, for me the timing for this week’s deep dive into the top six Travel Time watches of 2017, according to the GPHG pre-selection, couldn’t be more appropriate. The watches that fall into this category are defined as mechanical watches that display time in several zones, with additional complications are permissible. Here we bring you a look at the top six travel watches of 2017 as entered into the GPHG — with award ceremonies just around the corner.
Czapek Geneve Tourbillon Suspendu “Ici et Ailleurs”
This manually wound mechanical Czapek Place Vendome Tourbillon Suspendu “Ice et Ailleurs” watch is a tribute to the Parisian square where brand founder Francois Czapek opened the first fine watch making boutique in the mid-1800’s. The limited edition piece will only have 15 produced and is constructed from platinum. The watch sports a one minute suspended tourbillon, along with a second time zone, a day/night indicator, a power reserve indicator and a kitchen sink. That last bit is to make sure you were paying attention. Those familiar with the brand will recognize the two subdials at the 7:30 and 4:30 positions and characteristic grand feu enamel of the Quai des Bergues used for the dial. The hour indices are done in Roman numerals and the hour and minute hands are finished in vibrant blue steeled fleur de lys hands. Offering 60 hours of power reserve and powered by the SXH2 movement the complications of the watch are easy enough to read on the dial. The power reserve found on the inner circle of the clock located at the 12 o’clock position. The day night indicator is found between the two subdials at the 6 o’clock position. The tourbillon is located at the the 7:30 and second time zone at the 4:30. Given the complications of the piece the height of the watch only measures 9.8 mm and will slide discretely under the cuff of a dress shirt. The watch retails for 100,000 CHF.
Frederic Constant Classic Worldtimer Manufacture
The rose gold plated stainless steel and brown patterned watch is meant to be a world timer that is equally at home in boardroom meetings as well as traveling the town in a destination city. A dark brown design of the world map is prominently displayed on the dial of the watch. On the outer rim of the dial the major 24 cities of the world are listed and a separate hand is used to track the time of the destination city while the hour hand displays your home time. The subdial located at the 6 o’clock position lists date. The piece is comprised of 139 parts, has a 42 hour power reserve and features an inhouse movement. The user friendly design of the movement allows for all adjustments to be made via a crown that has three positions. The first is used to manually wind the piece by turning the crown upwards. The second position allows for the date to be set via an upward wind while a downward wind sets the city. Finally the third position sets the home time of the piece. This is a highly affordable watch, retailing for 3,518 CHF.
Hublot Big Bang Unico GMT
The Hublot Big Bang Unico GMT works to make navigating the GMT function as simple as possible and has distilled the operation of the mechanism down to the push of a button. Powered by the HUB1251 and comprised of 358 components, the goal of the watch is simplicity and usability for the world traveler. In sticking with the theme of simplicity, the dial layout is also extremely straight forward and easy to read. The GMT hand stands out prominently and is designed as a an arrow, there is also a day night indicator located on the interior of the face of the watch. While the pushers that flank the crown of the watch are reminiscent of chronograph pushers and Big Bang designs of the past, their functions are uniquely tied to the function of the GMT complication. The pusher at the 2 oclock position moves the GMT hand forward by an hour and the pusher at the 4 o’clock moves it back. A safety design prevents both pushers from being activated at the same time. In reading the time for the second time zone, the GMT hand follows the 12 hour indicator of the watch and the day night function is used to help quickly distinguish between am or pm. The 45mm piece us available in either titanium or carbon fiber and comes on ribbed black and blue natural strap. It retails for 20,278 CHF.
Louis Vuitton Escale Time Zone Blue
The piece from Louis Vuitton looks to offer a fresh interpretation on how tell time in 24 times zones. The 39mm stainless steel piece features an elegant satin brushed middle with the time zones radiating around the dial. The distinct blue finish of the dial takes 40 man hours to complete in the workshops of La Fabrique du Temps Louis Vuitton manufacture. A total of 38 colors are applied by brush in small strokes and then dried in an oven at 100 C. The end result produces a textured finish that is as rich as the brands history. The time zone watch displays the initials of the cities and a 24 hour disk, which is adjustable by the crown, allows for the reference city to be displayed opposite of the desired city. At the center of the dial the local time is displayed via a triangular hour hand and minute hand. It retails for 5,934 CHF.
Manufacture Royale ADN Jumping Disk
The Jumping Disk is powered by the manually wound calibre MR09 and is the ninth movement created by Manufacture Royale. The mechanism is regulated by a flying tourbillon that displays the home times zone promintely at the twelve o’clock position and the second time zone at the 4 o’clock. Unique to the piece, as the name would indicate, is a jumping hour display for the home time display. The jumping hour mechanism is displayed through an opening that opens at the same location the hour display would be on a normal watch. For the second time zone, the watch allows for the minutes to be adjusted separately. The nifty function comes into play for those times zones that vary 15 to 30 minutes from the GMT standard. The time is set via the crown with the first position being for the home time and second position for the travel time. The accuracy of the piece is regulated by a flying tourbillon to help combat the accuracy eroding effects of gravity. The tourbillon is mounted on ceramic ball bearings, with the tourbillon cage fixed only on one side. The watch offers a power reserve of 80 hours. The case is inspired by two prior releases from the brand, the Opera and the Androgyne and looks to channel a steampunk aesthetic. The piece is available in three different metals, stainless steel, DLC and forged carbon, and pink gold and forged carbon. 86,000 CHF.
Parmigiani Fleurier Toric Hemispheres Retrograde
The Toric Hemispheres Retrograde displays two time zones and allows for the second time zone to be adjusted to the minute to accommodate those areas that are offset from the GMT standard. The signature knurled bezel which is signature of the watches in the Toric family, was first designed by the Michael Parmigiani in 1996. A restored pocket watch from the archives that featured two separate watch movements to display dual times zones served as the inspiration for this piece. The Tonda Hemispheres was the original iteration which was released in 2010, and now the movement is being extended to the Toric line. Two winding crowns are found on the piece and the dual time zone is set via the crown at the 2 oclock position and can be set to the nearest minute. The crown at the 9 oclock position is used to wind the movement as well as to set the time of the paired time zones. The piece also boasts a retrograde date indicator that is indicated by a third hand. AFter the 31st day of the month the hand will retrograde back to the 1st day of the month and the movement occurs so quickly that it cannot be seen with the naked eye. It retails for 29,500 CHF.
Our Picks for Travel Time Watches, GPHG 2016
Gordon Henderson: For the traveling business person, a trusted travel timepiece is the best companion aside from the perfect piece of carry on luggage. There are excellent value propositions in this lineup, and the Frederic Constant world timer has my attention thanks to the brown and gold aesthetic, which offers a unique color way not often seen in luxury watches. However, my vote for the category goes to the Manufacture Royal ADN Jumping Disk. The combination of the jumping hour hand and the flying tourbillon makes the piece a tough one to look beyond.
Roberta Naas: I love the Manufacture Royale ADN Jumping Disk, it is a fantastic concept that deserves recognition. A close runner up comes from the freshly re-established Czapek, which knows how to bring classicism to the forefront. I truly don’t understand how GPHG can put these beauties in the same line-up of the affordable value-proposition watches such as Frederique Constant and Louis Vuitton. Maybe one day they will get the fact that they need to distinguish between price points in certain complex categories.