These world timer watches from the 1930s mark you out as a global citizen, while snazzing up the dial of your wristwatch

 
Timothy Barber
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Patek Philippe's world timer

There are plenty of ways to add interest to the dial of a wristwatch, but few do it in such style as the world-timer. It’s like an app from a time before there were apps: invented in the 1930s, in the early days of passenger aviation, it enables you to read the time anywhere in the world at any moment, via a ring that matches a 24-hour scale against cities around the globe. You may never need to know the time in La Paz, but a world-timer marks you out as a global citizen all the same.

Patek Philippe

Reference 5930G, £48,480, patek.com

This blue-dial beauty, Patek Philippe’s headline watch of 2016, combines the world time function with a chronograph – today a common enough combination, but one that Patek has performed just once in its history (you’ll find the watch, from the 1940s, in its museum in Geneva). Patek Philippe was one of the earliest to make a world-timer, and remains a master of the form – and this is arguably its most desirable modern interpretation.

Vacheron Constantin

Overseas World Timer, £28,800, vacheron-constantin.com

Given that Vacheron Constantin, like Patek Philippe, was one of the original makers of world-timers, it’s remarkable that the Overseas has never had a world-time iteration. Well, now it does – and how. The sensational world time display sits within a streamlined case, with a lug system that means you can change easily between leather or rubber straps or a steel bracelet (all supplied).

Montblanc

4810 Orbis Terrarum, €5,890 Montblanc.com

The map at the heart of this watch shows the continents as viewed from the North Pole, with the climate zones radiating out from cold blue to warm orange. Thanks to a rotating, tinted sapphire disc, they gradually shift to dark blue at night and back to daylight as the 24-hour cycle works its way around the globe. Beautiful as well as practical.

WATCH THIS SPACE

“With Love & Precision” at Harrods

Switzerland is staging a takeover at Harrods throughout the course of July, with every single shop-front window given over to watch displays, and a cluster of special watches and limited editions on sale, from brands including Breguet, Omega, Bremont, Speake-Marin and Panerai – who has produced its first ever green dialed watch, a Luminor 1950 limited to 100 pieces, especially for the event.

For more information, go to harrods.com

Breitling Avenger Hurricane

£6,480, Breitling.com

As muscular as a Russian shot-putter this watch may be – at 50mm in diameter, you’d practically need the wrists of one to wear it – but the new Avenger Hurricane also happens to be among the lightest watches Breitling has ever made. Its case, made of a special, high-tech polymer called “Breitlight” (see what they did there), is hypoallergenic, impervious to scratches and six times lighter than it would be in steel.

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