“Siri, what time is it in Worcestershire?”
“OK Zach, here’s what I found on the web for recipes using Worcestershire sauce.”
We already know that mechanical watches are at a perpetual disadvantage when it comes to practicality in an increasingly connected world, but if there’s one complication that’s routinely both easier to reference, and easier on the eyes than its digital equivalent, it’s the worldtimer watch. Announced ahead of SIHH 2017, we recently had a chance to sit down with one of the nicer modern worldtimer options available – the Girard-Perregaux 1966 WW.TC that, with modern proportions yet classical design language, make a compelling “one watch” alternative for the modern businessman.
Now, before we get too deep into things, it’s probably worth pointing out that this is not a “traveler’s watch” (like these ten are). Yes, it has the names of 24 global cities written on the dial, but it is not designed for frequent fliers, pilots, or aspiring adventurers per se. Quite frankly, it’s more practical than all that. While the hour and minute hands rotate on a standard 12-hour basis, the inner day/night disc rotates on a 24-hour basis, making for a quick, and mostly reliable reference point for all 24 time zones, in relation to the current “home time.”
This complication is particularly handy at a glance for anyone in finance timing market openings around the globe, for bleary-eyed writers such as myself referencing the moment a story embargo lifts on London time, or the best window to Skype with a colleague in Hong Kong. Convenient for most? Without a doubt. But as mentioned, “mostly” reliable – because without making mention of daylight savings, there are technically 39 different local times in use around the globe – some of which differ by 30 (Adelaide, UTC +10:30) or even 45 (Kathmandu, UTC +5:45) minutes each, outside select standard hour zones.
In place of this Clous de Paris pattern on the prior steel and gold versions, the new Girard-Perregaux Laureato Skeleton has a skeletonized dial – what else were you expecting? The movement is said to be hand-finished, however it is difficult to tell from the press images. And on the flange of the dial are hour markers that also have luminescent substance. Also, if you look really carefully, there is a tiny seconds display at 10 o’clock. Finally, irrespective of whether you elect for the stainless steel or pink version, the watch will include a skeletonized rotor carved out from one block of 18K pink gold. The motion is made up of 173 components, beats at 4Hz, also offers a power reserve of approximately 54 hours.Overall, the brand new Girard-Perregaux Laureato Skeleton seems like a fine addition to the Laureato collection. With stainless steel, gold, a tourbillon, and also the newest skeletonized versions, there’s just about something for everybody. I suppose the upcoming logical step for Girard-Perregaux is to present new Laureato models with complications such as the chronograph or endless calendar.
Given the level of mechanical complication and the amount of dial real estate needed to make all 24 zones legible, worldtimers are rarely small. Particularly Girard-Perregaux’s own ongoing WW.TC (which stands for World Wide Time Control) collection, which have always been at or above 44mm. But this WW.TC sheds that mold, and the mold of many other large worldtimers by measuring a svelte 40mm by 12mm thick.
On the wrist, those proportions are nearly perfect – legible, modern and assertive, but able to deftly slide under a cuff as needed – a pleasant surprise, and a relative rarity amongst watches of this ilk. As part of GP’s 1966 collection, this Girard-Perregaux 1966 WW.TC also utilizes a specific set of mid-century modern design codes, like convex sides and rounded, softer edges found more commonly on watches of that era. The hour, minute, and blued small-second hands also utilize leaf-style hands, which further complement this softer, dressier aesthetic, yet still contrasting perfectly with the silvered dial.
The Girard-Perregaux 1966 WW.TC is powered by Girard-Perregaux’s in-house designed and manufactured GP03300 self-winding caliber – the latest in a long lineage of worldtimer movements that began back in 1990. This 248-jewel movement hums along at a familiar 4Hz, and exhibits some beautiful, high-end finishing through the case’s exhibition back, through which you can also note the solid 18k rose gold rotor. At 9:00 on the case, a second crown controls rotation of the outer city ring, enabling the wearer to establish the ‘home’ reference city for the hands on the dial to measure against. Sadly, water resistance for this WW.TC is a meager 30 meters, which suggests that it – like the Girard-Perregaux Perpetual Calendar, Dual Time, and the rest of the 1966 collection – is designed specifically for “dress” duty, whereas past WW.TC entries were sportier (Traveller WW.TC hands-on here), carrying 100 meters of water resistance, and better suited for everyday wear.
“Alexa, what time is it in Naypyidaw?”
“OK Zach, I’ve found two Burmese restaurants near you. Would you like to make reservations?”
No thanks, Alexa. Maybe next time. The Girard-Perregaux 1966 WW.TC will be available in three configurations, with prices starting at 12,500 CHF for the stainless steel case on alligator leather strap, then jumping to 13,200 CHF for the 9-link stainless steel bracelet, and then to 24,200 CHF for the rose gold case on alligator leather. girard-perregaux.com