2019: THE WATCH YEAR IN REVIEW

Eight GMT and Dual Time Watches That Wowed Us in 2019


As we approach the end of 2019 and prepare for 2020 — surely destined to be another interesting year in the world of watches — we take a look back at some of the most noteworthy timepieces that came out this year, in various popular categories. Today, we look at 10 watches equipped with GMT and dual-time functions that had watch aficionados buzzing this year.

Among the plethora of watch-world anniversaries that 2019 brought us was the 25th year since A. Lange & Söhne’s release of its classic, flagship model, the Lange 1. Nearly every variation of the Lange 1 was honored with a special limited edition version, including this standout, the Lange 1 Time Zone 25th Anniversary Limited Edition. Its argenté dial, with blued hands and details, is designed to allow the wearer to read the home time and the time in a second time zone simultaneously. To set the second time zone, press the pusher in the side of the case to advance the rotating city ring, inscribed with the names of 24 world cities, in an easterly direction. At the same time, the hour hand on the second-time-zone subdial at 4 o’clock moves forward by one hour with each press of the pusher. As with previous versions of the Lange 1 Time Zone, the array of functions includes a day-night indicator (overlapping the second-time-zone subdial); an outsize date for the home time at 2 o’clock, and an “up/down” (“AUF/AB”) hand-type power reserve indicator between 2 and 4 o’clock. The white-gold-cased watch. limited to 25 pieces, contains Lange’s manual-wound, in-house Caliber L031.1, whose numerous decorative enhancements are visible through a sapphire caseback. More details and images here.

A. Lange & Sohne Lange 1 Time Zone 25th - front
A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 Time Zone 25th Anniversary Limited Edition

The unconventional dial layout of the Czapek Place Vendôme Ombres features an off-centered hours and minutes display on a subdial at 12 o’clock, two subdials at 4:30 and 7:30  — the former hosting a GMT function on a “dragging” second-time-zone disk, the latter, the suspended cage of the one-minute tourbillon — and a subtle day-night indicator at 6 o’clock that rotates, like the GMT disk, counterclockwise. Framing the whole ensemble is the movement’s exposed, anthracite-colored, sandblasted plate with steel sandblasted bridges. (“Ombres” — French for “shadows” — likely refers to the watch’s array of gray tones; the Place Vendôme series is named for the famed French square where brand namesake François Czapek opened one of the earliest high-end watch boutiques.) Another subtle display of functionality on the smoky gray champlevé dial is the semicircular power reserve display, artfully integrated into the 12 o’clock subdial.Inside the grade 5 titanium case is the proprietary, manual-wind movement, Caliber SXH2, which Czapek developed with the complications specialists at Chronode SA, and which is notable for its visible openworked ratchet. Click here for more details.

Czapek Place Vendome Ombres
Czapek Place Vendôme Ombres

Frederique Constant introduced a GMT timepiece with an in-house movement to its Classics dress-watch collection in 2011. This year, the Geneva-based “affordable luxury” brand added this travel-friendly complication to its nautically inspired Yacht Timer series.The 42-mm case of the Yacht Timer GMT is made of stainless steel with a rose-gold plating and sports a guilloche dial in either silvery white or anthracite gray, with rose-gold plated hands and hour indices and a date window at 3 o’clock. Bordering the inner edge of those markers is a 24-hour GMT ring, with a red-tipped central hand to indicate the hour in a second time zone. The user-friendly design of this scale uses black for the nighttime hours between 6:00 PM and 6:00 AM, and white or light gray for the remaining daylight hours. The date is paired with the local time displayed by the main hour and minute hands. Ticking inside the 100-meter water-resistant case is Frederique Constant’s self-winding FC-350 caliber, based on a Sellita SW200 and incorporating an in-house-designed GMT module. Check out both variations of the watch here.

Frederique Constant Yacht Timer GMT two-tone - reclining
Frederique Constant Yacht Timer GMT

Jaquet Droz’s innovative Grande Seconde Dual Time, introduced in 2016, got a facelift this year, in four total variations all sized at 43 mm in diameter and all featuring the maison’s familiar figure-eight dial layout. Among the new elements is the azimuthal globe projection (a view of the Earth from the North Pole) in the bottom half of the dial, with the globe’s continents surrounded by a mirror-polished ocean in either black or anthracite. Additionally, the 24-hour home time display is split into two distinct 12-hour segments: white for daytime and black for night, making the reading of the home time more intuitive. The local time, on the top half of the dial, has a jumping hour function, making it quicker to re-set; the date, indicated by a red-tipped hand on a circular scale, adjusts automatically to this change. The Jaquet Droz Caliber 2663H24 inside the case features a silicon escapement and pallet wheels, a skeletonized, fan-like rotor, and a 65-hour power reserve. More info on the watch  can be found here.

Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Dual Time

The Moritz Grossmann ATUM GMT, unveiled to U.S. audiences at the inaugural WatchTime L.A. show in May, bears the distinction of being the young German brand’s first timepiece equipped with a second time-zone display. In its fairly straightforward dial design, home time is indicated through a traditional 12-hour display with the hour and minutes hands on the central axis. Rather than incorporate a third hand to display a second time zone on the same axis, Moritz Grossmann instead added a 24-hour ring with Arabic numerals that runs around the periphery of the main dial. A separate, arrow-shaped marker moves around the 24-hour display to show the second time zone. This second indicator is controlled via a setting crown at 10 o’clock that allows the arrow to be quickly adjusted in hourly increments both backward and forward. The movement, Moritz Grossmann Caliber 100.8, stores up to 42 hours of power reserve, features a traditional Glashütte 2/3 mainplate, and incorporates the The GMT functionality on its dial side. Click here for more on the watch and its variations.

Moritz Grossmann ATUM GMT

The main talking point of the Porsche Design 1919 Globetimer UTC, introduced at Baselworld 2019, is the simplicity of its dual-time functionality: with a simple press of its ergonomic pushers — engineered like those of the racing-inspired chronographs for which the brand is renowned — the wearer can move the central, 12-hour hand in one-hour increments to change the local time while the UTC hand (which displays the home time) and the minute hand remain unaffected. The “+” pusher advances the hand clockwise while the “-” button sends it in the opposite direction, and a circular window at 9 o’clock serves as a white-to-black day-night indicator that helps ensure the local time is set properly for AM or PM. The three-part case is made of titanium and is uncommonly thin (just shy of 15 mm) as well as lightweight. The large, luminous-treated dial is offered in three colorways. Behind the specially engraved caseback showcasing the 24 world time zones beats the new automatic Porsche Design Werk 04.110 movement, with an exclusively developed GMT module and a chronometer certification. You can check out other dial versions and learn more details here.

Porsche Design 1919 Globetimer UTC - All-Titanium - Blue - front
Porsche Design 1919 Globetimer UTC

Rolex followed up the much-discussed launch of its iconic GMT-Master II with a red-and-blue “Pepsi” bezel and revamped jubilee bracelet in 2018 with another version of the brand’s quintessential traveler’s watch, this one sporting the popular black-and-blue “Batman” bezel. The Oystersteel case measures 40 mm in diameter and is waterproof to 100 meters (330 feet) thanks in part to a solid steel, fluted-edge caseback that is hermetically screwed down with a special tool. The 24-hour bidirectional GMT bezel has an insert made of Cerachrom, whose moulded, recessed graduations and numerals are coated with platinum in PVD. The ceramics used for the insert are exceptionally resistant to scratches, corrosion, and the effects of ultraviolet rays. The bicolor bezel’s 24-hour scale can be synchronized with the triangle-tipped GMT hand on the dial to quickly and easily read the time in a second time zone. Inside the case is Rolex’s in-house Caliber 3285, which debuted in the “Pepsi” version of the watch last year and boasts 10 patents pending for its technical advances. Lots more detail on the watch and its exclusive movement available here.

Rolex GMT-Master II Batman - angle
Rolex Oyster Perpetual GMT-Master II “Batman”

The latest iteration of the Vacheron Constantin Overseas Dual Time is distinguished by an enticing black lacquered dial and features all the elements Vacheron introduced into the Overseas collection when it redesigned it in 2016: a six-sided bezel inspired by Vacheron’s Maltese cross emblem; an in-house-made, mechanical self-winding movement with a 22k gold rotor embellished with a wind rose; and a patented easy-adjust/easy-replace strap and bracelet system. The 41-mm steel case is water-resistant to 150 meters and fitted in its interior with a soft iron inner casing ring to protect the movement from magnetic fields. Vacheron’s manufacture Caliber 5110 DT allows simultaneous reading on the sunburst lacquer dial of two time zones on co-axial hands. The main hour hand indicates the local time while the red-tipped GMT hand points to the home time or “reference time” on the 12-hour scale, which is linked to the day-night (“AM/PM”) indicator at 9 o’clock, allowing a traveler wearing the watch to determine at a glance if it’s daytime or nighttime back home. In the 6 o’clock subdial is a pointer-type date indication, synchronized with the local time. More info on the watch, and how to operate it, here.

Vacheron Constantin Overseas Dual Time Black - front
Vacheron Constantin Overseas Dual Time Black
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