The world time watch is one of the most useful, but also one of the most potentially troubling complications in watchmaking. Its usefulness is self-evident: a watch that can allow a world traveler to easily see the correct time anywhere in the world, they are at the same time slaves to human caprice. The reason for this is that the time in any given time zone is a combination of nature and human meddling –while the rotation of the Earth defines a day, the way in which time is told in any given country is a matter of statute, not natural order. Most world time watches, and most dual time watches, simply do the best they can by showing only the 24 time zones with a one hour offset from Greenwich Mean Time –or, in the case of two time zone watches, by allowing the user to set the time forwards or backwards from home time in one hour increments.
What this fails to take into account, of course, is the fact that there are close to forty time zones around the world, and many of them have half hour or even quarter hour offsets from GMT. Increasingly, however, watch designers have sought to make watches that accommodate this plethora of possibilities, and just last week, in Paris, Jaeger LeCoultre introduced one of the most compelling yet: the Duomètre Unique Travel Time watch, or UTT.
The basic concept behind all of Jaeger LeCoultre’s Duomètre watches is to keep whatever complication the watch includes –the Duomètre line has in the past included the Spherotourbillon, a chronograph, and a perpetual calendar –separate from the timekeeping train, by having a separate mainspring barrel for each. An idea originally used for sonnerie (chiming) watches, the concept allows Jaeger LeCoultre to add complications whose functions do not disrupt the basic accuracy of the watch –a common problem in watchmaking.
The Duomètre UTT has two dials: one that displays home time, and one that displays local time. The local time display on the left uses a jumping hour display that can be set forwards or backwards in one hour increments –but the minute hand can be set separately, to any position desired, in order to accommodate any time zone in the world. There are discreet power reserve indications for both the second time zone and home time indications, and a rotating globe, beautifully domed, shows the progress of day and night across the surface of Planet Earth.
The “Unique” part of the UTT is perhaps the most compelling aspect of the watch, though. Since the minute hand can be set to any position not only can the second time indication be used for any time zone on Earth, it can also be set to show any time indication the user desires. Fans of astronomical time, for example, may choose to set the second time indication to show local solar time, while the home time display shows civil time. Its versatility, clarity, and precision make the Duomètre Unique Travel Time one of the most useful, attractive, and practical dual time zone watches in the world –another home run for Jaeger LeCoultre, the watchmaking house known throughout the world as the Grand Maison.
The Duomètre UTT is powered by the hand-wound Jaeger LeCoultre calibre 383, with 50 hour power reserve in each mainspring barrel. Home time shown in hours and minutes; local time shown with jumping hour, minutes and world map; indication of power reserve for each barrel. Offered in white gold, 42mm diameter, in a 100 piece limited edition. Available at the Jaeger LeCoultre Place Vendôme boutique, Paris.