What’s the deal with world timers?

montblanc_world-timerReading the time on your watch when you’re in a familiar city is a fairly simple affair – simply check the hour and minute hands, and that’s that. Any child can do it. But trying to figure out the time after crossing several time zones on just a few hours of sleep is another matter altogether, anyone would agree.

There are two standard time settings on watches. The first is the GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) or UT (Universal Time) — both represent the same thing: the universal standard time by which all watches are set.

The second is the world timer, which is a watch with a dial that indicates up to 24 time zones worldwide (see the Moncblanc World Timer above). The various time zones are typically indicated by the major cities that match up to them –- usually shown on the face of the watch or on the bezel.

With the GMT/UT type, you can usually and simply change the hour hand via the crown. This is a nice function and it works well, but you have to know the hour to which you are sending the poor little hour hand. Easily enough, you can ask the flight attendant for the correct time of your destination or consult the internet or even your cell phone. The person sitting next to you will most likely know, too.

It’s not a major undertaking figuring out the time, so what’s the big deal about world timers?

When you wear a normal world timer you can let the watch work with you, in the calculation or the figuring that occurs, when you try to set the watch. However, it is very confusing when having to adjust the watch to the current location. It should not be so difficult. There are some watches that have the names of the cities shown through the dial in a small window and those are very nice and simple, too.

What I’m referring to are the complicated, historical types of world timers that essentially require an engineer to use and appreciate. Then, just when you thought you knew how to work the world timer and you take your next world trip with your favorite travel watch, you forget to set the time correctly and reset the midnight setting or the bezel has to be here and you have to physically turn and face to the east, ad infinitum.

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