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Budget Travelers: 5 World-Time Watches Under $5,000


It’s no secret that many watch aficionados are also avid travelers. And what could be more useful for globetrotters than a watch that lets them keep track of time everywhere in the world at once? Many world-time watches will cost you as much as several overseas vacations, but we found a handful, all with mechanical movements, that you can get for $5,000 or less.*

1. Ball Trainmaster Worldtime

Ball Trainmaster World Time
Ball Trainmaster World Time

From Ball Watch, there’s the Ball Trainmaster Worldtime ($3,299 on both leather strap, pictured, or steel bracelet), which has a COSC-certified chronometer movement with automatic winding. Its stainless steel case is water-resistant to 50 meters and shock-resistant to 5,000 Gs. In addition to the primary world-timer functions (the city ring with 24 world cities and 24-hour ring), the watch’s dial has a day of-the-week display at 6 o’clock and 14 luminous micro-gas tubes — a Ball Watch hallmark — placed on the “12,” the hour indices, and the hour, minute and seconds hands, enabling easy reading of the current time in low lighting.

2. Frédérique Constant Worldtimer Manufacture

Frédérique Constant: Classic Worldtimer Manufacture
Frédérique Constant: Classic Worldtimer Manufacture

Frédérique Constant is well-known to many watch aficionados as a purveyor of affordably priced Swiss mechanical watches, many with in-house movements. Among them is the Frédérique Constant Manufacture Worldtimer ($4,195), which contains the brand’s in-house FC-718 automatic movement. The watch has an extra-large date counter subdial at 6 o’clock, along with its 24-hour ring with day-night indicator and 24-city time zone ring. All the functions can be set and operated through a single winding crown. The three-part case is made of rose-gold-plated stainless steel and has a convex sapphire crystal and a sapphire exhibition caseback. The redesigned version of the Manufacture Worldtimer with elegant brown-and-rose-gold color scheme, as shown in the above photo, was unveiled at Baselworld 2017. Read all about the watch here.

3. Maurice Lacroix Masterpiece Worldtimer

Maurice Lacroix Masterpiece Worldtimer
Maurice Lacroix Masterpiece Worldtimer

The Maurice Lacroix Masterpiece Worldtimer ($4,900) is available with two different dials with world map motifs depicting two continents. The European dial features guilloché work with a Clous de Paris motif. The outlines of the silhouetted continent are in blue, matching the blued hands and hour-markers. The Asian version has a silvered dial, with a sun-brushed, satin finish on the engraved continent along with an opaline treatment on the oceans. Both versions have day/night indication on a subdial at 9 o’clock and the date on a subdial at 6 o’clock. The central 24-hour hand (rose gold on the European dial, black gold on the Asian) indicates the time in your home time zone using the 24-hour scale and city ring.  To change the current time on the main dial, simply press the push-button on the side of the case, which advances the 12-hour hand. For more on the Maurice Lacroix Masterpiece Worldtimer, click here.

4. Montblanc Heritage Spirit Orbis Terrarum

Montblanc Heritage Spirit Orbis Terrarum
Montblanc Heritage Spirit Orbis Terrarum

The Montblanc Heritage Spirit Orbis Terrarum comes in at an only slightly budget-busting $5,200. The 41-mm case is made of stainless steel and features a sapphire crystal case back, through which you can see the Caliber MB 29.90, which is based on the Sellita SW300 automatic caliber. The center of the dial offers a beautiful view of earth from above. The names of 24 cities, representing the different time zones, encircle the dial on a white ring. The 24-hour ring, with a day/night division, is outside the city ring. Read more about the Heritage Spirit Orbis Terrarum in our comparative review.

5. Tissot Heritage Navigator 160th Anniversary

Tissot: Heritage Navigator 160th Anniversary
Tissot: Heritage Navigator 160th Anniversary

Even if your travel-watch budget is below $2,000, you can snare a very striking world-timer from Tissot. The Tissot Heritage Navigator 160th Anniversary ($1,650) — a modern re-issue of a watch originally created in the brand’s centennial year of 1953 — has a dial that indicates the time in each of the 24 major world time zones simultaneously, with each time zone represented by the capitol of a nation within that zone (i.e., “New York” for Eastern Standard Time in the U.S.). Once the watch is set for the time in the wearer’s chosen country, the times in the other 23 zones are easily readable as the world cities line up with the numerals on the 24-hour disk. The watch’s automatic movement is a Swiss-made chronometer certified by COSC. Click here for more details on the Tissot Heritage Navigator 160th anniversary.

* Prices are from March 2017 and subject to change.

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11 Responses to “Budget Travelers: 5 World-Time Watches Under $5,000”

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  1. Mickael

    And none of them handles DST (Daylight Saving Time)… As long as they don’t I’m not interested

    Reply
  2. Clement

    How about narrowing it down to under $1,000. I am sure there are a few nice ones out there.

    Reply
  3. Niels Schaumann

    Interesting that none of these watches tells the time in India, the world’s second-most-populous nation. Pakistan is usually included, via Karachi, but not India, which is 30 minutes later.

    Reply
  4. Can this article be missing more watches?!

    1- The Longines Master Automatic GMT L2.802.4.70.6 is a beautiful timepiece in the $2k range and looks like the Frédérique Constant Manufacture Worldtimer.
    2- The MontBlanc Star 106465 looks similar to the two above and is in the $2,000 range.
    3- Baume and Mercier sells a Capeland Worldtimer Silver Dial for $3k and also has a similar look.
    4- Ball sells the Ball Trainmaster Worldtime in two versions for $2.5-$3.5k.
    5- Also Nomos sells the Zürich Weltzeit nachtblau which manufacturer retails for $6k, but can easily be found for under $5k. And it’s gorgeous.
    Do more homework before putting out articles please.

    Reply
  5. Randy Rogers

    ‘Mechanical’ being the caveat suggested, eliminates the greatest Value and Technology in the Timekeeping Universe, the SEIKO Astron GPS Solar Chronograph from $1,800.00 and the ‘only’ Watch accurate in all 40 Time Zones around the globe, a Perpetual Calendar to 2100, Daylight Savings Indicator as well as Lumi-bright Hands and Indices for 24 hour readability, the next execution, Dual-Time is available after Labor Day, and will add the Dual-Time Feature, as well as being 100Mtr. Water Resistant, enabling the use of a single Timepiece on any trip, business or pleasure, all from $1,800.00 U.S Suggested Retail.

    Reply
  6. Lou Fraser

    Interesting you didn’t mention the Christopher Ward C900 world timer. Great watch with a great price, $1500 on steel bracelet.

    Reply
  7. Steve J

    Nice article on lower priced world timers. Do you have any thoughts on the Accutron Gemini Richard Branson model? The watch can be purchased for less than $1,000.

    Reply
    • David Wood

      I purchased the Accutron Gemini Richard Branson. It is an incredible value, not sure why the heavy discount but for a COSC, titanium case, etc it is a very nice low priced watch. I wore it non-stop for a month on my last trip to Europe and it kept great time. Only negative is that is can be difficult to read in the dark.

      Reply
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