world timer watch

What is a world timer watch, and which are the best to buy?

With their distinctive city rings and jet-setting, buckled-up designs, the world timer has a global appeal. But how do they work?

If you’re trying to impress, nothing says ‘frequent flyer’ like a world timer. These jet-setting, buckled-up timepieces are among a globe-trotter’s most faithful travelling companions — and they are surefire indicators that you know your way around a first class cabin.

Just look at them. With the distinctive rings of cities around their dials, world timers are not only among the most functional of watches, but also the most beautiful. They are sought-after slices of wrist-mounted wanderlust, ticking calls to adventure — and tools that will help you keep your bearings in 24 timezones.

Their cases conceal a complex, clever mechanism — but one that is remarkably easy to read. Most world timers coordinate an outer chapter ring with the names of 24 reference cities — one for each time zone. A pusher, set into the case, allows the wearer to move between these cities, one by one, to discover what the local time is wherever they may find themselves.

That means, whether you’re touching down in Bangkok or Buenos Aires, you’ll always be one step ahead. So you can stop flaunting your passport full of stamps or that rainbow of notes in your wallet — because a true frequent flyer can be identified by his world timer alone. Here are the best to buy…

An invitation to travel: Jaeger LeCoultre Geophysic Universal Time

Jaeger LeCoultre Geophysic Universal Time

Combining advanced watchmaking with a face that inspires emotion, this pink gold watch is firmly anchored in the twenty-first century, and features bâton à facette hands, appliquéd hour-makers and a water resistance of five bar.

Jaeger LeCoultre Geophysic Universal Time

Jaeger LeCoultre Geophysic Universal Time

£22000

Buy Now

A finer thing in life: Chopard L.U.C Time Traveler One

Chopard L.U.C Time Traveler One

Bringing together impeccable elegance, flawless quality and state-of-the-art technical sophistication, this L.U.C timepiece is the perfect piece of kit for the modern gentleman. Expect 18-carat rose gold, see-through sapphire crystal and a power reserve of 60 hours.

Chopard L.U.C Time Traveler One

Chopard L.U.C Time Traveler One

£19500

Buy Now

Fit for an aviator: IWC Pilot’s Watch Timezoner Chronograph

IWC Pilot’s Watch Timezoner Chronograph

The perfect Universal Time Coordinated watch, this IWC features a Timezoner that will display the time and date for a new time zone with a simple, single turn of the bezel. Add the black dial with red detailing, and you’ve got a true aeronautical instrument.

IWC Pilot’s Watch Timezoner Chronograph

IWC Pilot’s Watch Timezoner Chronograph

£10950

Buy Now

Day and night: Montblanc 4810 Orbis Terrarum

Montblanc 4810 Orbis Terrarum

With the Earth anchored at the core of one of Montblanc’s most contemporary and useful complications, this timepiece adopts a universal approach; telling the time in 24 timezones and indicating how night and day evolve all over the world.

Montblanc 4810 Orbis Terrarum

Montblanc 4810 Orbis Terrarum

£5300

Buy Now

Precise to the last: Vacheron Constantin Overseas World Time

Vacheron Constantin Overseas World Time

In a sporty steel case, Vacheron Constantin’s enviable world timer shows a full 37 different time zones — and the centre, featuring a ‘Lambert’ projection map, depicts the continents in sunburst satin-brushed and velvet finishes.

Vacheron Constantin Overseas World Time

Vacheron Constantin Overseas World Time

£32400

Buy Now

Out of this world: Ulysse Nardin Executive Moonstruck

Ulysse Nardin Executive Moonstruck

The only watch to depict the movements of the moon and sun in relation to the Earth, as well as a map of the tides, this astronomical wristwatch from Ulysse Nardin is a self-winding, water-resistant, limited-edition map of the stars.

Ulysse Nardin Executive Moonstruck

Ulysse Nardin Executive Moonstruck

£58800

Buy Now

The height of luxury: Patek Philippe 5230R

Patek Philippe 5230R

Highly coveted by frequent flyers and collectors alike, the recently relaunched 5230R from Patek Philippe features a carefully evolved rose gold case, a new pierced hour hand and a manually guilloched dial centre inspired by the Maison’s archives.

Patek Philippe 5230R

Patek Philippe 5230R

£37160

Buy Now

International appeal: Breitling Aviator 8 B35 Automatic Unitime 43

Breitling Aviator 8 B35 Automatic Unitime 43

Designed with international travellers in mind, this automatic wristwatch from Breitling offers world-time indication through an ingenious independent hour hand — and is available with a stunning dial in black or silver.

Breitling Aviator 8 B35 Automatic Unitime 43

Breitling Aviator 8 B35 Automatic Unitime 43

£6200

Buy Now

Further Reading