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Throwback Sundays: Six Watch Recommendations with a World Map, from Our Archives

The World in Your Hands
by Robin Lim on June 16, 2019

Imagine having the world in your hands, literally. No, we are not talking about having the command of the world, but having a timepiece that features the world map.

We have always been fascinated with interesting and beautiful dial designs. But one thing in particular that interests us are watches that comes with a world map. It gives the watch a rather intriguing appearance, but more importantly, most of them are executed so nicely that it becomes a work of art on its own.

In this week’s column, we will be looking at six magnificent pieces that are designed with a world map on the dial. What are the watches that we have selected? Let’s find out!

Montblanc 4810 Orbis Terrarum

The first watch that we have today is the Montblanc 4810 Orbis Terrarum.

Launched in 2016, the 4810 Orbis Terrarum is an improved version of its wildly successful predecessor: Heritage Spirit Orbis Terrarum. The updated model features a larger 43mm case, as well as a redesigned world map. This time round, Montblanc had incorporated an additional layer of sapphire crystal to indicate the passing of day and night through the colour gradients (yellow/green and blue).

The watch is powered by Calibre MB 29.20, a self-winding movement that has a power reserve of around 42 hours. This movement features an in-house world time module that is made by Montblanc while the base of the movement is supplied by Sellita. The finishing, understandably, is decent for its price point.

Priced at S$9,200, the Montblanc 4810 Orbis Terrarum is a solid timepiece for what it’s worth. It is one of the more modestly priced world timers, and it is surely a great addition to any watch collection.

Arnold & Son Globetrotter

The Arnold & Son Globetrotter is a timepiece that is part of the Instrument Collection, which notably plays tribute to the high-precision marine chronometers made by John Arnold and his son towards the end of the 18th century.

Notably, the Globetrotter is designed with the modern-day navigator in mind. The 45mm is held by a massive central arched bridge, and it is fitted with a gigantic three-dimensional globe that is integrated into the world time display. The globe is detailed exquisitely, with the mountainous areas sandblasted and oceans lacquered after chemical etching to provide a stunning sense of visual depth.

The watch is fitted with the in-house A&S6022. It is an automatic movement, with a power reserve of around 45 hours. The finishing is great, and it is completed with a myriad of finishing techniques. The Globetrotter is priced at CHF14,900 (approximately S$20,445), and it is an excellent option of someone who is looking for something slightly different from the crowd.

Jaeger LeCoultre Geophysic Universal Time

The Jaeger LeCoultre Geophysic is a timepiece that has a fascinating history. First launched in 1958, the original Geophysic was produced to celebrate the brand’s 125th Anniversary and the world’s first “International Geophysical Year”. Unfortunately, the production only lasted for a year.

The collection was reintroduced in 2014, and several iterations were further produced in 2015. This includes the Universal Time, which is a world timer that also comes with a seconde morte complication. The watch is fitted with a beautifully engraved map at the centre of the dial, and complemented with lacquered blue oceans.

While the design is seemingly complicated, but the 41.6mm watch is surprisingly intuitive to use. This is all thanks to JLC’s Calibre 772, in which the time is set using only a single crown. In addition, once the time is set, the time-zones across the world will be in sync; the user only needs to adjust the hour hands as an when he/she arrives at a new location to tell the local time.

The Geophysic Universal Time is available in both stainless steel and pink gold version, and they retail at S$21,900 and S$36,900 respectively.

Vacheron Constantin Overseas World Time

When the new Overseas collection was launched in the SIHH 2016, it was well-received by the industry. The revamped series features a stunning line-up of watches, coupled with great finishing and an ingenious quick strap change mechanism.

The Overseas World Time is one of our favourites from the collection. Not only is this a good looking watch, but it is certainly a functional as well. Aside from the usual compliments that we have mentioned in the paragraph above, the World Time also stands out in terms of its complication. This particular watch is completed with 37 different time zones, unlike the usual 24. On top of that, the map – which is enhanced with a combination of satin brushed and velvet finish – is overlaid by a layer of grey and transparent crystal to signify day or night at a particular area.

Powered by the in-house Caliber 2460 WT, the self-winding movement runs at 28,800 bph with a power reserve of 40 hours. The movement is magnificent, to say the least. It is fitted with an engraved 22k gold rotor, and its finishing is of haute horlogerie standard that is worthy of the Poinçon de Genève.

The 43.5mm timepiece may sound enormous on paper, but its lug design meant that it fits snugly on smaller wrists. The Overseas World Time is priced at S$56,900 for the stainless steel version, and it is presented with three different strap options (steel bracelet, rubber strap, and leather strap). If one is looking for a luxury sports watch, this is surely a compelling option to consider.

Laurent Ferrier Galet Traveller Asia

Simplicity, precision, and pure. These are the values of Laurent Ferrier, and how he envisions his watches to be. The Galet Traveller Asia seems to have it all.

The Laurent Ferrier Galet Traveller Asia is the maison’s interpretation of a dual-time watch. First launched in 2015, the 41mm timepiece features the brand’s signature pebble-shaped case and large onion crown. But the pièce de résistance of the watch surely lies in its dial. There are two parts to it: the first with circular satin-brushed on the outer ring, and the second with a magnificent grand feu cloisonné by champlevé enamel in the center. The latter is created first by shaping the continents through the bending of white gold strips, before enamel power is added and fired repeatedly. It requires a lot of skill and precision, but the end results are certainly nothing short of amazing.

The same story can be said for the movement as well. The watch houses the self-winding Caliber LF 230.01, from the famous line of Micro-Rotor movements with natural escapement. The watch features a dual time zone complication, as well as a power reserve of around 80 hours. The finishing is top-notch, and it demonstrates the authenticity of the watchmaking art as exercised by manufacturer itself.

The stunning Galet Traveller Asia, in 5N red gold, retails at S$136,000. It is available in different variants, although we have a soft spot for this particular edition for its special tribute to Asia (and Singapore).

Patek Philippe World Time Ref. 5131/1P-001

We round up the article with probably one of the most recognisable world time watch of all time. Cue the Patek Philippe World Time Ref. 5131/1P-001.

There is always something about world-timers from Patek Philippe, and the Ref. 5131/1P-001 is no exception. But this particular piece is a wee bit more spectacular than the others. For those with keen eyes, there are two things that stood out for this piece. The first one is the diamond in between lugs at the 6 o’clock position (not in this picture), which signifies that the watch is cased in platinum. The other lies in the dial, in which the map is finished in cloisonné enamelling – similar to the Laurent Ferrier above. It involves the bending of gold wires to form the desired designs, before it is being filled with enamel paste and fired in the kiln. The end result is stunning, as seen in the macro shot.

The watch is powered by the Calibre 240 HU, which is the derivation of the evergreen Calibre 240. Its finishing is spectacular as usual, and the movement now features the newly patented Spiromax balance spring in Silinvar manufactured in-house.

Finally, the 39.5mm watch is priced at S$171,700. It is pricey, but then again, this is a magnificent timepiece that is pretty much like no other.

Concluding Thoughts

In today’s column, we have taken a look at six rather interesting watches that features a world map on its dial.

Most of these watches, notably, also houses a world time function. Invariably, these two elements go hand-in-hand – and understandably so. The world time complication acts as a function, while the world map provides an artistic touch to the timepiece. The only exception to this is the Galet Traveller Asia by Laurent Ferrier, although it is arguably supplemented with a dual time zone complication.

These watches are certainly conversational, to say the least. We think that the pieces, from Montblanc to Patek Philippe, will attract a fair bit of attention from collectors and non-collectors alike. These watches are unique, and they are equally beautiful as well. For collectors who have yet to own a similar timepiece, we do think that these are some of the watches that are worth considering for the next “incoming”.

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