A very appealing bunch of two-timers

For frequent flyers, the next best thing to being in two places at one time is keeping time in two places.

By Christian Barker 30/11/2016

It’s a tough deal for Australian residents who do business on an international stage. You’re challenged not only by the tyranny of distance, but the trickiness of time zones. Whether trying to keep track of when to Skype the family, check in with the office and remain punctual for meetings on the ground, or simply stay abreast of stock exchange opening and closing bells around the globe, a world-time or dual-time watch is an indispensable tool for keeping your head in the intercontinental game.

Thankfully, there’s no shortage of standout timepieces that have you covered on two continents.

Originally developed in cooperation with Pan American Airways for issue to its pilots, Rolex’s GMT-Master is the seminal jetsetter’s timekeeper. While the traditional red/blue ‘Pepsi’ bezel iteration remains a classic (and is now presented in a luxe white-gold case), in 2013 it was joined by the stainless-steel ‘BLNR’ GMT-Master II. This 40mm model features a groundbreaking bi-colour Cerachrom ceramic bezel rendered in blue and black, representing day and night, and rotatable in order to allow the reading of a third time zone.

Panerai’s Radiomir 1940 Minute Repeater Carillon Tourbillon GMT is an exercise in contrasts, packing elegant, sophisticated complications into the house’s trademark muscular casing. A three-hammer minute repeater chimes for each of the watch’s two time zones, an industry first. Exclusively made to order, the pricing of this 49mm red-gold piece is roughly equal to that of a new Lamborghini Huracán. But just try fitting one of those in your hand luggage.

A more affordable and perhaps more stealthy approach in the Grand Seiko Hi-Beat 36000 GMT Limited Edition will win approving nods from knowing aficionados, while escaping unwanted attention in less salubrious destinations. Only the cognoscenti will be aware that the award-winning watchmaking of Grand Seiko, hand-crafted at a dedicated manufacturing facility in Japan’s Iwate Prefecture, is an order of magnitude finer than the brand’s mainstream Seiko timepieces. It’s serious horology: priced in the high four figures, it’s also serious watchmaking bang-for-buck.

Also ‘affordable’ – in comparison with its $100K platinum-cased stablemate, the Traditionnelle World Time Collection Excellence Platine, that uses the same movement – is the Vacheron-Constantin Overseas World Time in stainless steel. The 43mm watch displays time in 37 zones (including, ingeniously, those offset by 15 or 30 minutes), is available in three dial styles (silvered, blue and brown) and comes complete with two easily interchangeable straps (croc and rubber) and a bracelet. Water resistance to 150 metres ensures durability, while the exclusive Geneva Seal guarantees impeccable timekeeping, finish and craftsmanship.

The DB25 World Traveller from boutique watchmaker De Bethune is another globetrotting beauty. In a 45mm white-gold case, it shows local time on blued hands, world time with a central disc and home time with day/night indication (via the mysterious, travelling ‘microsphere’ ball that shows blue for night, red-gold for day). A subtle pointer on the outer ring gives the date. Powered by a beautifully finished, fully in-house, 430-part hand-wound movement that De Bethune claims is virtually unbreakable – allowing the wearer to fearlessly fiddle with settings as the destination dictates – this $200,000-odd beauty is utterly fit for the journey.

Fashion-forward types should also consider Louis Vuitton’s Voyager GMT. While available in rose gold with crocodile strap, the stainless steel iteration perhaps better suits the traveller. A prominent ‘V’ indicates the alternative time zone on the central 24-hour GMT disc, as distinctive as the LV monogram that has long been the hallmark of the discerning adventurer.

Those who consider extreme resilience a priority will find it in Omega’s new Master Chronometer timepieces, which undergo a battery of tests by the Swiss Federal Institute of Metrology (METAS) to certify precision, as well as resistance to water, shock, temperature and strong magnetic fields. The Seamaster Planet Ocean Master Chronometer GMT with monochromatic ceramic bezel and dial, rubber-lined leather strap and 600m water resistance, is equally at ease on land or sea, at work or play – and at home or away.


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