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Special watch

A tribute to Sanford FlemingA watch to celebrate the launch of world time 120 years ago

As a reminder of the almost forgotten 1884 World Conference in Washington, Andersen Genève has designed a special watch. Andersen Genève pays homage to Sir Stanford Fleming who was the driving force behind the introduction of our global time system. The watchmaker company Andersen Genève has designed his “1884” watch to reproduce Sanford Fleming’s model of time spanning the world. Fleming’s model is based on a unified concept of time measured at the zero meridian in Greenwich. On the basis of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) local time is determined. A watch must therefore show GMT plus or minus the hours difference in the particular time zone and then the minutes.

The dial is an image of Fleming’s model. In the centre a world map is overlaid with the meridians. The ring around the globe shows the 24 hours. Since this ring is rotating it always shows the current local time for the cities or time zones on the outer ring. Through the back of the watch, a historical automatic movement can be admired, together with the engraved portrait of Sir Sanford Fleming. Svend Andersen and his team has made 120 individually numbered jubilee world time watches. They are obtainable with cases in red gold, white gold or platinum. With these timepieces, the Genevan watchmaker recalls the “Prime Meridian Conference” that was held 120 years ago. At the “Prime Meridian Conference” in October 1884 in Washington, Sanford Fleming gained general acceptance for his world time model. It lasted until the 1920s when universal time was introduced all over the world.

In the mid-19th century, each city in America and each region in Europe had its own local time. This generally varied by just a few minutes from the time in the neighbouring time zone. Problems arose with advancing industrialisation and improved mobility. A journey by train across America passed through 144 time zones, a situation which would be inconceivable today.