CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT:
This Baume & Mercier Capeland
Worldtimer watch ($7,900)
features a 44mm satin polished
steel case with a 24 time zone
indicator on a blue alligator strap.
Govberg Jewelers, 65 St. James
Pl., Ardmore, 610-664-1715. From Breitling, this Transocean
Unitime Pilot ($10,715), crafted in
stainless steel, is a COSC-certified
chronometer offering world time
as chronograph and calendar.
Govberg Jewelers, 1521 Walnut
St., 215-546-6505. The Movado Red Label world
time watch ($2,195) is crafted in
stainless steel and features the
world time-zone cities on the
inner dial for animated drama.
Govberg Jewelers, 1521 Walnut
St., 215-546-6505. From David Yurman, this Classic
43.5mm GMT World Time watch
($4,200) features a steel case
and offers the worldâ€™s key cities
for second time-zone indication.
David Yurman, King of Prussia
FROM TOP: From TAG
Heuer, the Carrera GMT watch
($3,900) houses the Calibre 8
movement and offers a 12-hour dual
time-zone function. TAG Heuer, King
of Prussia Mall, 610-992-8670. This Louis Vuitton Tambour Spin Time
GMT (approximately $43,500) is an
automatic GMT watch with Spin Time
function, in which the jumping hours
appear on the rotating cube. The
secondary time is also read from a
cube, via a yellow pointer hand. Louis
Vuitton, King of Prussia Mall,
610-992-0392. The stainless steel Hamilton Jazzmaster GMT ($1,325) is a 42mm
watch housing an automatic
movement and offering a second time
zone via a red hand on the GMT
indicator. Bernie Robbins, 2123 S.
Eagle Road, Newtown, 215-579-8224.
The Rolex Oyster Perpetual-GMT Master II ($8,950) was
developed to meet the needs
of international travelers with its 24-
hour graduated bezel and separate
24-hour hand. Bernie Robbins
Jewelers, 595 E. Lancaster Ave., St.
Thanks to the creative minds of today’s watchmakers, coveted horological complications that display the time in other locations have taken center stage in our fast-paced world of global commerce and travel. For Philadelphia executives juggling business deals across multiple continents, these timepieces are an essential part of their everyday lives.
“We have a very erudite and well-traveled client base who are constantly traversing several time zones within each trip,” says Harvey Rovinsky, co-owner and president of Bernie Robbins Jewelers, who has seen heightened demand for these high-functioning watches in recent years.
The timepieces fall into two categories: Greenwich Mean Time watches and world timers. A GMT watch offers a second time zone, usually via a 24-hour indicator. World timer watches generally display the time in all 24 of the earth’s standard time zones—with each zone denoted by a key city—to allow instantaneous viewing of the time anywhere in the world.
Not only do these timepieces provide a vast amount of information, but they do it with new easy-to-use technology. In fact, many watches offer quick-or-instant-set buttons that allow the user to easily change time zones, either backward or forward. Thus, knowing the time difference between Philadelphia and Phnom Penh—or anywhere else—has become as simple as a flick of the wrist.
So, just how were time zones determined in the first place? In 1884, the International Meridian Conference was held in Washington, DC, to establish a prime meridian as a way of standardizing time calculation globally. The conference decided to set up a 24-hour timezone system, with the meridian in Greenwich, England, as the international standard for zero degrees. Each zone differs from those preceding and following it by one hour. By referring to a map and making a simple calculation, travelers could determine time differences. Many things have changed since 1884, including the number of time zones in the world. Although the original 24 are what most people refer to today, there are actually more than 35 around the globe, with some locales—such as Nepal and India—having zones of 15- (Nepal) or 30-minute (India) increments, known as offset time zones.
Many of today’s world timers display the key city names either on disks visible through an aperture or via outer chapter rings or bezels. In the past few years, several top brands have even unveiled watches with as many as 35 time zones, including the offset zones. Today’s GMT watches indicate the secondary time in a variety of ways, depending on the manufacturer. Generally they use a 24-hour hand (the wearer needs to understand 24-hour military time) or a 12-hour subdial with an am/pm indicator.
Although world time watches are favored by “business-minded men and women who engage in global activity, particularly in the world financial markets,” according to Danny Govberg, owner and president of Govberg Jewelers, GMT timepieces are the more popular category with Philadelphians.
Says Rovinsky, “The GMT allows them to maintain equilibrium to their home time zone. Most major brands have increased their offering in this model. Rolex’s just-released watch has become their most sought-after watch [for this feature].” Govberg agrees, adding that these watches are available from a number of brands, at all prices and levels of prestige. “The addition of a GMT,” he says, “represents a great stepping-stone for those looking to get into watches with unique complications.”