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We Travel from One Time Zone to AnotherSIHH 2013: The Montblanc TimeWalker Watches for Globetrotters

Globalization ranks among the most important aspects of modern life. Goods and services are exchanged around the planet. Financial currents follow the opening hours of the world’s stock exchanges and flow around the world once each day. Residing in Germany, cultivating business relationships in the USA and enjoying holidays in the Seychelles: such arrangements and countless variations on them have become everyday features in modern people’s lives.

But this global presence has its cost because the sun never really sets on our planet: only from the local perspective does the sun appear to sink below the horizon, while it simultaneously rises into the sky elsewhere on Earth. If an American executive goes to a business dinner in Shanghai at eight o’clock in the evening, his family will still be fast asleep in San Francisco, where the local time is five o’clock in the morning, while his colleagues at European headquarters in Paris will be returning from their lunch break. That’s why global living makes it so important to keep a sharp eye on time zones and time differences in one’s interactions with partners, friends, colleagues, loved ones and clients. One certainly wouldn’t want to needlessly awaken a loved one or a customer with an ill-timed long-distance phone call in the middle of the night. Such mishaps are the undesirable results of failure to take time differences into account.

Watches that simultaneously show the time in more than one zone are accordingly an important speciality for watchmakers. Such timepieces belong to a genre in which Montblanc has achieved several attention-getting feats. These so-called “time-zone watches” can satisfy very different requirements for globetrotters and frequent flyers. Among these functions are the simultaneous display of the times in both the user’s local and home zones or the UTC (Coordinated Universal Time +/- time zone) function, but also the ability to show all of the planet’s 24 time zones at a glance, including day/night indication for the home zone, as well as showing the date, facilitating quick and easy changes from one zone’s display to another, etc.

Montblanc combines the TimeWalker’s modern, contemporary design with technical horological competence in three different interpretations for people who love to travel. Extremely practical functions for travellers are offered in the unmistakable TimeWalker look with narrow bezel, spacious dial, unified typography for the numerals and elegantly skeletonised horns to affix the wristband.

Montblanc TimeWalker World-Time Hemispheres

Montblanc’s TimeWalker Hemispheres are a very special kind of world-time watches, which simultaneously show the different times in all 24 of the world’s time zones. The local time in the zone where the wearer is currently sojourning is shown by the hands, while the flange around the dial bears the names of 24 cities, each of which represents one of the 24 time zones into which our planet is divided. A 24-hour disc indicating the hours at the locations positioned radially opposite the disc’s markings on the flange turns at the centre of the dial. Presto! The wearer can instantly see which hour has chimed on clocks in all of the world’s time zones.

That explains the functional principle of the mechanical Montblanc TimeWalker World-Time Hemispheres watches. As an additional exclusive feature, Montblanc has enriched these timepieces with another dimension. While the time zones progress with the sun from east to west across the meridians of longitude, Montblanc’s latest creation also brings the north-south axis into play because the Montblanc TimeWalker World-Time Hemispheres is available in a northern and a southern version. The Northern Hemisphere model shows a map of the Earth as seen from the north with the North Pole at its centre; the Southern Hemisphere variant puts the South Pole in the midpoint. Logically, the ring of place names on the Northern Hemisphere model consists solely of locations in that hemisphere; the southern counterpart bears only the names of places situated south of the Equator. These different perspectives naturally affect the time displays and require corresponding adaptations in the mechanical movements. Both models have immobile rings around their dials marked with the 24 place names in the relevant hemisphere, but the 24-hour discs in the centres turn in opposite directions: the disc turns clockwise on the Northern Hemisphere watch, it bears a 24-hour scale labelled anticlockwise; the 24-hour disc on the Southern Hemisphere timepiece turns anticlockwise and bears a 24-hour scale labelled clockwise. The two TimeWalker World-Time Hemispheres models differ not only because of their different dials, but also because they’re equipped with different movements, which are necessary to rotate the 24-hour discs of the two timepieces in the proper directions.

To assure that the wearer can keep an eye on the entire planet, from east to west and from north to south, the Northern Hemisphere watch bears the southern place names on its case back and vice versa.

This spectacle is packed into a stainless steel TimeWalker case which measures 42 mm in diameter and has a very narrow bezel, thus leaving ample room for large and readily legible indicators: a time-zone ring with the 24 place names, an hour circle with the TimeWalker’s typical relief numerals and indices, a 24-hour disc in the centre (where it turns clockwise in the one model and anticlockwise in the other) and a window for the date at the “6”. To preclude potential confusion, the northern model and southern variant each has its own colour scheme. The Northern Hemisphere watch bears a silvery grey dial and is affixed to a sporty black leather strap. The wristwatch for the Southern Hemisphere has a dark anthracite-coloured dial and a stainless steel bracelet with a folding clasp.

The Montblanc TimeWalker Voyager UTC

The acronym “UTC” stands for Universal Time Coordinated, which is synchronized with TAI (Temps Atomique International, i.e. International Atomic Time). In 1972, UTC replaced GMT/ Greenwich Mean Time, which had defined the starting points of the 24 time zones into which the world was divided at the Meridian Conference in Washington, D.C. in 1884.The classical design of the TimeWalker Voyager UTC shows the time in a second zone and is unmistakably inspired by the styling of the TimeWalker ChronoVoyager UTC chronograph, which was recently launched with great success. The 42-mm-diameter stainless steel case with a narrow stainless steel or satin-finished titanium bezel leaves plenty of room for a simple and tidy dial, the design of which is entirely subordinated to its function. The broad flange or réhaut around the dial bears the 24-hour scale for a freely selectable second time zone; pale- and dark-coloured zones on the scale enable it to simultaneously serve as a day/night indicator. The red tip of an extra-long skeletonised hour-hand sweeps along this scale to show the time in the currently selected second zone. The smaller hour-hand indicates the local time, i.e. the hour in the zone where the wearer is presently sojourning. The minute-hand and second-hand are valid for both time zones. When the crown is withdrawn to its first extracted position, the hand for the second time zone can be reset in hourly increments. This is an ideally useful function for a banker or businessman who always wants to keep his eye on the time where his most important business associate is currently located.

This intelligent mechanism is part of calibre MB 4810/405 with automatic winding, a balance paced at 28,800 semi-oscillations per hour (4 Hz) and a circa 42-hour power reserve. Available in three versions, the stainless steel case has a screwed back into which a pane of sapphire crystal is inserted. The rather sporty model with satin-finished titanium bezel and titanium crown has an anthracite-grey dial in unmistakable Montblanc TimeWalker styling and a dark grey leather strap with prominent lateral bulges and contrastingly orange-coloured seams. The more classical variant has a bezel and crown made of stainless steel and a black alligator-leather strap with large reptilian scales. The third model comes with a black dial and a linked, stainless steel bracelet secured by a triply folding clasp.

Montblanc TimeWalker TwinFly Chronograph

This chronograph in unmistakable Montblanc TimeWalker design combines a chronograph function, which is very popular with men, and the indication of the time in a second zone. It thus unites two complications that are extremely useful in daily life. And it achieves this union in a rather unconventional manner with central positioning for both its elapsed-seconds hand and its hand for sixty elapsed minutes. This arrangement was very popular forty years ago, but vanished into oblivion afterwards. That’s difficult to understand because this constellation improves the legibility of elapsed-time measurements and simultaneously frees space for a subdial with a 24-hour scale to show the time in a second zone. The small seconds at the “6” and the date window at the “3” complete the ensemble of this highly functional and exclusive timepiece.

The time-zone function is an extremely useful addition to a watch in today’s age of mobility. And the way this function is realized on the Montblanc TimeWalker TwinFly Chronograph enables it to be operated very simply and flexibly. The 24-hour subdial at the “12” can be adjusted to indicate the hour in any desired second time zone, although most users will probably choose to set it to show the time at their permanent residence. Its scale is calibrated for 24 hours, so it simultaneously provides day/night information, which is further emphasized by a fine relief: sunrays symbolize daytime hours and a celestial dome signifies the hours of the night. This home time remains unchanged when the wearer embarks on a journey, while the display on the main display can be set to show the new local time. This is easily accomplished by withdrawing the crown to its first extracted position, after which the hour-hand on the main dial can be separately reset in hourly increments until it shows the new local time, while the minute hand, which requires no resetting, continues to run unaffected by the change in the hour-hand. The TimeWalker TwinFly Chronograph is animated by Montblanc’s manufacture calibre MB LL 100, which features automatic winding, column-wheel control and disc coupling for the chronograph, a flyback function, a large screw balance that vibrates at a pace of 28,800 A/h (4 Hz), a double barrel for 72 hours of running autonomy and optimized profiles on the gears’ teeth to increase the efficiency with which energy is transferred. The entire ticking microcosm embodies an ideal combination of traditional chronographic mechanisms and state-of-the-art technology.

The ensemble is styled in the iconographic TimeWalker look, with which Montblanc has created a genuine classic. The 43-mm stainless steel case has a narrow bezel and offers ample room for a spacious dial on which relief numerals and diverse scales are positioned for good legibility. Both new models of this watch are available with a linked bracelet made of stainless steel or a brown alligator-leather strap secured by a triply folding clasp.

The new Montblanc TimeWalker watches will be available in September 2013.