Watches showing more than one time zone, ostensibly the accouterments of the long-haul traveller, have at least been useful during the pandemic for keeping track of colleagues or loved ones elsewhere around the globe.
Actually that’s always been a side bonus of the travel watch, but let’s face it – the clue is in the name, and as jetting off becomes a possibility once more, watches designed to bring utility and style to globetrotting have a renewed pull.
Funny how the mere presence of an additional 24-hour hand on a watch dial can carry with it the promise of wanderlust and adventure, but that’s been the case since the first Rolex GMT Master touched down in 1954, and it’s the case with these three travel-time picks too.
Tim Barber picks out three of the best travel timers from this week’s WATCHPRO Salon, which takes place from November 12 to 13 (Friday and Saturday) at The Londoner Hotel on Leicester Square.
Mechanical Seasons: Spring
If you wanted a watch that really gets to the essence of Grand Seiko’s quiet allure, look no further.
Present and correct are the gleaming contrasts of the brand’s fabled zaratsu case finishing, and of intensively polished hands and applied markers set against an enigmatically textured dial, in this case rendered in a verdant shade of green.
Inside, you’ve got the joys of Grand Seiko’s refined high-frequency watchmaking, with the Hi-Beat calibre 9S86 (beating at 36,000 vph) – an engine that, as ever with Grand Seiko, mixes workhorse capability with ingenuity and finesse.
It’s one of a quartet of new GMT additions, each inspired by a different season: Spring and Summer are Hi-Beat automatics, while Winter and Autumn are powered by Spring Drive movements.
Each of them offers a version of travel time at its most cultured and elegant, as is Grand Seiko’s way.
Cap Camarat GMT
With its Cap Camarat collection, the family-owned French firm Michel Herbelin – in the game since 1947 – offers some nuanced options for those wanting 1970s sports-luxe style at a a relatively affordable price point.
The latest addition is this breezy GMT, which includes both a second time zone indicator (set with the lower of two crowns) and a city ring that can be manually adjusted for checking the time right around the world.
A watch for the global citizen for sure – but given its vaguely nautical ambience and chic styling, one with its heart firmly in the French Riviera milieu from which it takes its name.
Roadmaster Marine GMT Ceramic Bezel
Ball’s indefatigable Roadmaster Marine GMT has the feel of something that’s easily smart enough for C-Suite jetsetters, but will be most at home roughing it in properly extreme environments.
This is a ‘true’ GMT, tracking three time zones via a GMT hand and rotating bezel, but adds functionality (and distinctiveness) via quick-set pushers to move the GMT hand easily, rather than the crown – Ball developed a module in-house to manage this.
A flurry of new versions feature ceramic bezel inserts in a variety of colour option, while brand’s signature tritium gas tubes ensure low-light visibility whether you’re reading it in the gloom of a red-eye flight across the dateline, or ensconced an Arctic bivouac.
WATCHPRO Salon is a showcase of prestige watchmakers and a chance for brands, retailers and press to meet collectors and enthusiasts in 5-star luxury.
The two-day event takes place from November 12 to 13 at The Londoner, a brand new 5-star hotel on London’s Leicester Square.
Confirmed exhibitors include:
ALLEMANO | BALL WATCH | BIANCHET | BONHAMS | BRITISH HOROLOGICAL INSTITUTE | CHARLES GIRARDIER | CHRISTOPHER WARD | CYRUS | CZAPEK | DELMA | DOXA | DUCKWORTH PRESTEX | ENCELADE | GRAHAM | GRAND SEIKO | IKEPOD | JUNGHANS | LAURENT FERRIER | MARATHON | MAURICE LACROIX | MECCHANICHE VELOCI | MICHEL HERBELIN | ORIS | PARMIGIANI FLEURIER | PEQUIGNET | PERRELET | QLOCKTWO | SCATOLA DEL TEMPO | SCHOFIELD | SIDEREUS | SINN | SPEAKE-MARIN | SWISS CAPSULE | SWISS KUBIK | THE SPLINED HUB | U-BOAT | VICTORINOX | VOUTILAINEN | WOLF | WILLIAM WOOD WATCHES | ZEITWINKEL