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The Best World Time Watches For Trotting The Globe In 2024
— Updated on 28 December 2023

The Best World Time Watches For Trotting The Globe In 2024

— Updated on 28 December 2023
Randy Lai
WORDS BY
Randy Lai

With the ridiculousness of the past five years now all but a distant memory, there’s one category of wristwatch that is bouncing back with renewed vigour – the world time. Omega to the (much more ubiquitous) GMT’s alpha, world time watches enable you to flit between various international time zones in quick succession – displaying a great deal more information than the average dual-time sports watch. But how do they work exactly? And why are they, as a general trend, so much pricier than a GMT?

Below, we’ll take you through all of the basics and recommend a few of the best world time watches we’ve seen on the market in 2024.

What Is A World Time Watch?

The basic conceit of the worldtimer emerged from European watchmaking in the late 19th century – initially, as a complication found in pocket watches. This tradition continued pretty much undisrupted until 1931: the year when Swiss watchmaker Louis Cottier patented a world time mechanism for the increasingly popular wristwatch.

The fundamentals of Cottier’s ingenious invention remain largely unchanged even today. In brief, a worldtimer enables its user to tell the time in all 24 different international time zones simultaneously; as well as make adjustments depending on your local time. It was a mechanical solution that proved well ahead of its time – as the explosion of interest in large-scale commercial air travel wouldn’t come until the post-WWII period.

RELATED: The Best Watches We Saw At Watches & Wonders 2024

Beyond the world time watch’s practical utility among an emergent class of globetrotting business executives, Cottier’s design offered up an elegant canvas for various traditional artistic crafts. From hand-engraved day and night indicators to the esteemed cloisonné enamel dial, the world time proved to be an invaluable springboard for aesthetics in as much as mechanical beauty. Today, the rarity and importance of certain vintage worldtimers is well understood by collectors: particularly those made by Patek Philippe in the 1950s (e.g. the Ref. 2523 ‘Eurasia’).

The technical complexity that is required of the very best world time watches means that the style is often an important part of every fine watchmaker’s complicated catalogue. Just like every other mechanical wristwatch, there are only so many practical justifications one can leverage in favour of what is essentially obsolete technology; but despite that, worldtimers remain the preferred choice of a certain sort of watch collector – one who appreciates the dark art of the low-key flex and the innate value of craft itself.

Sound like you? Then, without further ado, let’s take a look at some of the very best world time watches on the market in 2024.

Best World Time Watches

A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 Time Zone

ALS 136 032 B03 Lange1 TimeZone 2020 2033384

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Case Diameter: 41.9mm
  • Case Thickness: 10.9mm
  • Case Material: 18-carat pink gold
  • Bezel Material: As above
  • Bracelet/Strap: Alligator strap
  • Dial Colour: Argenté
  • Water Resistance: N/A
  • Movement: Calibre L141.1
  • Power Reserve: 72 hours

The Lange 1 sports one of the best original design languages of the past three decades. The dial is meticulously balanced, with proportions that follow the mythical Golden Ratio first studied by the ancient Greek mathematician Euclid. Over the years Lange has augmented the Lange 1’s basic layout with additional complications: such is the case here with the Lange 1 Time Zone Eef. 136.032, which features a 41.9mm pink gold case and dial made of solid silver.

Despite the added worldtimer, the dial’s unerring balance has been carefully maintained: featuring a rotating city ring around the circumference of the dial; and two in-set registers for both home and local time. The city ring is activated by pressing the pusher at 8 o’clock, which will advance by one timezone from east to west. The iconic ‘Up/Down’ power reserve remains at 3 o’clock, as does the large date window at the top of the dial, which can be adjusted via the pusher at 10 o’clock.

Best World Time Watches

The A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 Time Zone in pink gold is powered by the in-house calibre L141.1, a new movement that made its debut in 2020. This calibre runs at 21,600vph and offers a 3-day power reserve. In our view – and that of almost every diehard horologist under the sun- this Lange 1 Time Zone embodies the pinnacle of German watchmaking today – alongside its limited edition siblings in platinum, white gold and yellow gold.

  • Creative worldtimer interface
  • Superlative movement finishing

  • Must be manually wound

Bulgari Octo Roma WorldTimer

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SPECIFICATIONS

  • Case Diameter: 41mm
  • Case Thickness: 11.35mm
  • Case Material: Stainless steel
  • Bezel Material: As above
  • Bracelet/Strap: Stainless steel
  • Dial Colour: Sunburst blue
  • Water Resistance: 100m
  • Movement: Calibre BVL257
  • Power Reserve: 42 hours

One of the newest additions to our list of BH approved worldtimers, this Bulgari Octo Roma was unveiled in late 2021 at the annual Geneva Watch Days event. Bulgari has spent much of the last half-decade focusing its efforts on building the Octo Finissimo collection, making it something of a surprise that the brand returned to the Octo Roma for their most recent execution of a world time complication.

Featuring a 41mm stainless steel case, the Bulgari Octo Roma WorldTimer arrives on a matching stainless steel bracelet and boasts 100m of water resistance. Despite these impressive specs – which put this release in authentic ‘steel sports watch’ territory – the Octo Roma measures in at just 11.35mm thick, burnishing Bulgari’s ongoing reputation as a maker of some of the world’s slimmest self-winding wristwatches.

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The dial is an eye-catching sunburst blue, contrasting very nicely against the almost entirely brushed steel case. The Bulgari Octo Roma WorldTimer is powered by the BVL257, an automatic in-house calibre that contains 261 components and offers 42 hours of power reserve. It’s an approachable new release from Bulgari that blends the best of their architectural Italian design, with a uniquely practical complication.

  • Interplay between case & bracelet
  • Robust value proposition

  • Wears large-to-size

Breitling Aviator 8 B35 Automatic Unitime 43

Breitling Aviator 8 B35 Automatic Unitime 43

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Case Diameter: 43mm
  • Case Thickness: 14.55mm
  • Case Material: Stainless steel
  • Bezel Material: As above
  • Bracelet/Strap: Stainless steel
  • Dial Colour: Black
  • Water Resistance: 100m
  • Movement: Calibre B35
  • Power Reserve: 70 hours

Breitling is a brand that has existed with a passion for aviation for the best part of a hundred years. Well known for producing some of the finest pilots chronographs from the middle of the last century, air travel is at the heart of what Breitling is appreciated for. But while Breitling pilots chronographs are world-famous, the Breitling Aviator 8 B35 Automatic Unitime 43 is a proposition that can fly under the radar for many watch collectors and enthusiasts.

Featuring a practical 43mm stainless steel case, complete with a matching robust steel bracelet, this world timer is as much a bulletproof tool watch as it is a refined instrument for the international traveller. The screw-down exhibition caseback guarantees the watch 100m of water resistance, and the sapphire crystal over the dial is finished with an anti-reflective coating to eliminate any glare that could cause legibility issues. The Breitling Aviator 8 B35 Automatic Unitime 43 is powered by the Breitling Manufacture Caliber B35, which offers 70 hours of power reserve and COSC certification.

  • Manufacture-grade movement
  • 100m of water resistance

  • Dial layout may feel cluttered

Chopard L.U.C Time Travel One 42

ChopardTimeTraveler1

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Case Diameter: 42mm
  • Case Thickness: 11.71mm
  • Case Material: Stainless steel
  • Bezel Material: As above
  • Bracelet/Strap: Black alligator
  • Dial Colour: Galvanic black
  • Water Resistance: 50m
  • Movement: Calibre L.U.C 01.05-L
  • Power Reserve: 60 hours

Chopard is a relatively young brand in the scheme of centuries-old Swiss watchmakers, but that doesn’t mean they haven’t fostered some of the finest horological expertise in the business. The highest quality of mechanical watchmaking that Chopard is capable of is housed within the L.U.C collection, which is also where their very own world time wristwatch sits.

Featuring a 42mm case in stainless steel, which stands just 11.71mm tall, the Chopard L.U.C Time Travel One 42 is an elegant and balanced travel watch. The black dial isn’t attention-seeking, happy to remain under the radar of most observers, but remains highly legible thanks to the brightly contrasting orange highlights. Chopard has cleverly included a date display on the dial, shown via the shortest hand at the centre of the dial.

ChopardTimeTraveler

The watch is powered by the L.U.C 01.05-L calibre, a self-winding mechanical movement that offers 60 hours of power reserve and COSC-certification. The movement is visible through the sapphire crystal exhibition caseback, which also guarantees the watch to 50m of water resistance. If you’re after a well-made watch that doesn’t draw too much attention to itself, this Chopard could be for you.

  • Elegantly integrated date wheel
  • Distinctive twin crown design

  • 42mm case larger than it needs to be

IWC Pilot’s Watch Timezoner Spitfire Edition “Le Petit Prince”

Best World Time Watches

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Case Diameter: 46mm
  • Case Thickness: 15mm
  • Case Material: Stainless steel
  • Bezel Material: Ceramic
  • Bracelet/Strap: Brown calfskin
  • Dial Colour: Sunburst blue
  • Water Resistance: 60m
  • Movement: IWC Calibre 82760
  • Power Reserve: 60 hours

In tribute to its ‘Le Petit Prince’ collection – which commemorates the work of author and aviator Antoine de Saint-Exupéry – IWC created a run of 1,500 limited editions utilising the line’s sunray blue dial and ceramicised dial.

The massive 46mm form factor can be thought of as a refinement of the same concept introduced with the ‘Longest Flight’ model from 2019, with a similar focus on toughness and legibility. The large case diameter is matched by the watch’s 15mm thickness, offering 60m of water resistance via the screw-down crown. The dial features a date window, as well as an aperture to display 24-hour time, but the real draw of this ‘Le Petit Prince’ LE is the bezel.

The bezel features IWCs patented time zone function, featuring all 24 different timezones and cities around its circumference, and advancing the hour hand as you rotate it. The IWC timezoner is powered by the 82760 Calibre, an automatic in-house movement that contains 284 components and serves up 60 hours of power reserve. It’s a very cool watch from a brand with authentic pedigree producing authentic flieger style pilot’s watches.

  • Handsome ‘Le Petit Prince’ styling
  • Patented ‘Timezoner’ crown functionality

  • Only available as a limited edition

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Jaeger LeCoultre Geophysic Universal Time

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SPECIFICATIONS

  • Case Diameter: 41.6mm
  • Case Thickness: 11.84mm
  • Case Material: Stainless steel
  • Bezel Material: As above
  • Bracelet/Strap: Stainless steel
  • Dial Colour: Blue lacquer
  • Water Resistance: 50m
  • Movement: Calibre 772
  • Power Reserve: 40 hours

First released in 2015, the Jaeger LeCoultre Geophysic Universal Time is a perfect example of the Le Sentier-based brand looking to its archive for timeless design cues. Drawing from the original Geophysic collection from 1958, the Universal Time is a more contemporary complication for the jet age in which we currently live.

Featuring a large rotating disc in the centre of the dial, the continents of the northern hemisphere are displayed with their corresponding time zones. Framing this top-down map are two rings, one of which shows the 24-hour time while the second lists the major cities within the 24 time zones. The watch is cased in steel, with easily wearable dimensions of 41.6mm in diameter by 11.84 mm thick.

The Jaeger LeCoultre Geophysic Universal Time is powered by the automatic calibre 772, which contains 274 components and delivers 40 hours of power reserve. It’s one of the more thoughtfully constructed world timers, created by one of the best watchmakers in the game.

  • Classic world time layout
  • Elegant, intuitive design

  • Lack of date may be a deal breaker

NOMOS Zürich World Time Ref. 805

0807 zuerich wz nachtblau 2d front masked

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Case Diameter: 40mm
  • Case Thickness: 10.9mm
  • Case Material: Stainless steel
  • Bezel Material: As above
  • Bracelet/Strap: Black Horween cordovan
  • Dial Colour: Blue
  • Water Resistance: N/A
  • Movement: Calibre DUW 5201
  • Power Reserve: 70 hours

For a relatively young, independently owned brand such as NOMOS, all it took was one watch to grab the attention of enthusiasts. We are of course speaking of the NOMOS Zürich World Time ref. 805, which was first launched in 2011 and immediately began writing headlines for the brand.

The 39.9mm steel world time watch was the most complicated the brand had ever produced at the time, blending Bauhaus design with modern watchmaking in a way we hadn’t quite seen before. Utilising a slightly different design to other worldtimers, the Zürich communicates the two individual time zones that you select but does not show all 24 time zones at the same time.

Best World Time Watches

Effectively, it’s probably closer to a GMT watch with a 24-hour city ring, but the different cities around the dial offer a cosmopolitan charm that is impossible to ignore. Inside the Zürich World Time ref. 805 is the impressive DUW 5201 calibre, which is made in-house at NOMOS and offers 42 hours of power reserve. If you’re after something with a minimalist feel that won’t break the bank, the Zürich needs to be on your list.

  • A unique part of Nomos’ offering
  • Fantastic value proposition

  • Closer to a GMT than a ‘true’ worldtimer

Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra 150M Co-Axial Master Chronometer GMT Worldtimer

Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra Worldtimer 002

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Case Diameter: 43mm
  • Case Thickness: 14.1mm
  • Case Material: Stainless steel
  • Bezel Material: As above
  • Bracelet/Strap: Stainless steel
  • Dial Colour: Sunburst blue
  • Water Resistance: 150m
  • Movement: METAS Calibre 8938
  • Power Reserve: 70 hours

After the length of its name, the thing you are immediately struck by with the Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra Worldtimer is its dynamic and richly textured dial. With a map of the northern hemisphere, the level of detail in the continents and the attractive blue of the oceans are mesmerising, offering the perfect destination for your eye.

It isn’t a small watch, with a 42mm steel case that will stand 14.12mm off your wrist, but it’s well-proportioned and wears comfortably. Arriving on a stainless steel bracelet that matches the case, the whole package is well finished, with all the details done right just as you’d expect from Omega.

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This world timer from Omega is powered by the calibre 8938, which contains the fabled co-axial escapement and is certified by METAS as a Master Chronometer. Basically, it’s very accurate and very robust, offering 60 hours of power reserve on top. This isn’t a space that Omega is typically known for playing in, but they have done a very fine job here.

  • Layered, visually rich dial
  • Master Chronometer certification

  • 43mm case may prove polarising

Patek Philippe Ref. 5231G

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Case Diameter: 38.5mm
  • Case Thickness: 10.23mm
  • Case Material: White gold
  • Bezel Material: As above
  • Bracelet/Strap: Matte navy alligator
  • Dial Colour: White grand feu cloisonné
  • Water Resistance: 30m
  • Movement: Calibre 240 HU
  • Power Reserve: 48 hours

When it comes to world timers, there are only a handful of brands that even approach Patek Philippe in terms of quality and tradition. As one of the original brands that Louis Cottier, the inventor of the world timer complication, sold his movements to, Patek Philippe is almost unique when it comes to expertise with world time watches.

The current benchmark for the brand is the Patek Philippe Ref. 5231G, a 38.5mm white gold world time watch that is remarkably thin at just 10.23mm. It features one of the most beautiful dials that is currently made in serial production, with a grand feu enamel centre depicting Australia and a number of countries in Southeast Asia.

First released in 2022, the 5231G is powered by Patek’s emblematic 240 HU calibre: a self-winding movement finished to the usual standards of the ‘Patek Philippe Seal’, powered by a solid gold rotor. Running at 21,600vph, the movement offers 48 hours of power reserve. Price being no object, we seriously reckon this is one of the all-time-great world timers of the 21st century.

  • Handcrafted enamel centre dial
  • Extremely refined movement with micro-rotor

  • Prohibitive price/availability

Vacheron Constantin Overseas World Time

1341907

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Case Diameter: 43.5mm
  • Case Thickness: 12.6mm
  • Case Material: Stainless steel
  • Bezel Material: As above
  • Bracelet/Strap: Rubber // Mississippi alligator // Stainless steel
  • Dial Colour: Blue
  • Water Resistance: 150m
  • Movement: Calibre 2460WT
  • Power Reserve: 40 hours

When it comes to extremely well-made sports watches from the best brands on the planet, the Vacheron Constantin Overseas collection was – until very recently – a criminally unsung hero. The collection contains a cornucopia of remarkable wristwatches, but the Overseas World Time is enticing for all the ways in which it classically expresses the eponymous complication.

Featuring a stainless steel 43.5mm case, and standing just 12.6mm tall, the Overseas World Time is like most world time watches, with a map of the northern hemisphere forming the centre of the dial. Where it differs, however, is that while many watches with a world time indication offer 24 time zones, this offers a full 37 different time zones for greater accuracy.

Vacheron Constantin Overseas World Time

The central hands of the Vacheron Constantin Overseas World Time are powered by the in-house movement 2460 WT/1, which features a 22k self-winding gold rotor and offers 40 hours of power reserve. It is water-resistant to 150m and can be worn on a bracelet or a rubber or leather strap, making it as versatile as it is a beautiful timepiece.

  • Indicates 37 different timezones
  • Quick-release system for watch straps

  • Movement feels disproportionate to the case

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Tissot Heritage Navigator Automatic World Timer

T078.641.16.037.00 R 1

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Case Diameter: 43mm
  • Case Thickness: 9.6mm
  • Case Material: Stainless steel
  • Bezel Material: As above
  • Bracelet/Strap: Brown calfskin
  • Dial Colour: Silver
  • Water Resistance: N/A
  • Movement: ETA calibre 2893-3
  • Power Reserve: 42 hours

In the last four years, the watch world has become obsessed with heritage-inspired reissues. Before the boom kicked off in the late 2010s, Tissot launched their own Heritage Navigator Automatic World Timer: a faithful reinterpretation of a classic design, celebrating over 160 years in Le Locle. Inspired by a navigator’s watch that was produced back in 1951, Tissot looked to create an affordable expression of the famed jet setters timepiece.

As with most world timers, this Tissot offers the correct time across multiple timezones (not factoring in the time difference of daylight saving time). However, unlike many other world time watches, it does not feature a world map in its centre, instead offering a more pared-back design. The cleanly designed watch doesn’t offer a date display like many other GMT watches, instead, focusing its design more specifically.

T078.641.16.037.00 MT

The Tissot Heritage Navigator Automatic World Timer arrives on a leather strap and is powered by an ETA ébauche with self-winding functionality. It’s one of the most affordable and coolest watches in the category, and definitely one to have on your radar if price is a key consideration.

  • Approachable pricepoint
  • COSC-certified movement

  • Vintage aesthetic isn’t for everybody

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Randy Lai
WORDS by
Following 6 years in the trenches covering consumer luxury across East Asia, Randy joins Boss Hunting as the team's Commercial Editor. His work has been featured in A Collected Man, M.J. Bale, Soho Home, and the BurdaLuxury portfolio of lifestyle media titles. An ardent watch enthusiast, boozehound and sometimes-menswear dork, drop Randy a line at [email protected].