You see a lot of watches out there with two hour hands, supposedly designed for travelers — one hour hand to tell the time at home, and the other for the local time. But not all two time zone watches are created equal. In the vast majority, the 12-hour local time hour hand (two time zone watches usually have a 12- and 24-hour hand) can’t be set independently. To reset the watch to local time, you have to set it as you would an ordinary watch, and then set the 24 hour hand to home time — two operations, one of which stops the watch, meaning you have to resynchronize it with a local time signal. Not exactly the ideal situation for a busy traveler.
A real GMT, or two time zone watch, has an hour hand that can be set independently of the 24 hour hand, in one hour increments for ease of changing time zones — and the date should change as well as the hour hand goes forwards or backwards past midnight. They’re much more convenient, as it takes only one operation of the crown to re-set the local time; the date stays correct; and re-setting doesn’t stop the watch. It’s a much more complex mechanism, though, and only found in those watches especially built for frequent flyers.
Among the best of these rarities is Breitling’s new Chronomat GMT, which contains Breitling’s own in-house manufactured movement, the Breitling caliber 04. It’s one of the very rare true GMT watches which is also a chronograph — capable of timing intervals of up to 12 hours with officially certified chronometer accuracy. It’s perfect for seeing whether that transoceanic flight is taking longer than advertised, and easily gets you on local time once you finally arrive. The rotating, dive watch style bezel lets you time two intervals at once, if necessary. Water resistant to 500 meters, and with instantly recognizable Breitling style, it’s built to work hard anywhere in the world, and look good doing it.
The Breitling Chronomat GMT is available in stainless steel with a Barenia leather, crocodile, or rubber Ocean Racer (perforated) or rubber Diver Pro (raised central ridge) Pilot strap.
Jack Forster is the Editor in Chief of Revolution Magazine, a quarterly publication celebrating the world of fine watchmaking, and he also manages Revolution Online www.revo-online.com the foremost information and discussion site on the internet for watch enthusiasts.