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Patek Philippe adds to the charisma of its famous World Time watch

Luxois | 04.12.08 | 04:03 PM

Among seasoned travelers and businesspeople who have a penchant for extraordinary mechanical watches, the Patek Philippe Word Time enjoys cult status. It is now available in a new version with a slightly enlarged case, a smartly updated dial, and an unusual ring-shaped hour hand. New horizons open up for a timeless classic.

A global celebrity

At the International Meridian Conference in Washington, D.C., in 1884, universal time was adopted and the world was officially divided into 24 time zones. Ever since, watchmakers have tried to outdo each other with clever ideas for displaying multiple time zones. In 1930, Patek Philippe presented its internationally acclaimed World Time wristwatch with two rotating discs that made it possible to simultaneously display the time in all 24 zones. Today, these timepieces crafted from the 1930s to the 1960s fetch astronomical prices at auctions. In 2000, the Geneva workshops took the functionality of this watch a step further by integrating a single-button mechanism to advance all displays collectively when moving from one time zone to another - without affecting the rate accuracy of the movement by even one second. It took four years to develop this patented mechanism which bolstered the popularity of the World Time watch on all continents.

A fresh, aesthetic look

Patek Philippe has dedicated this watch to modern nomads with its fresh aesthetic appeal. The diameter of the round case, which is in the classic Calatrava style and available in 18K rose or white gold, was slightly enlarged from 37 mm to 39.5 mm. Along with providing improved readability, the watch is more prominent on the wrist yet remarkably thin despite the complexity of its movement. The subtly reinterpreted dial was inspired by the first Ref. 1415 HU World Time watches from the 1930s. The enlargement of the case allowed the watchmakers to broaden the width of the exterior rotating disc showing the 24 time zones, making the names of the 24 reference cities even more legible. The center of the dial is decorated with a new guilloche sunburst pattern, and the distinctive hour markers give the watch a dynamic, contemporary look. The eye-catching, ring-shaped hour hand is reminiscent of historic Patek Philippe World Time watches, reserved exclusively for this type of timepiece. Its shape symbolizes the globe and reinforces the cosmopolitan personality of the watch. The new Ref. 5130 has a sapphire-crystal back and is worn on a hand-stitched, matte navy blue alligator strap in the white gold model and a matte dark brown strap in the rose gold version. The fold-over clasp matches the case. This watch replaces the Ref. 5110 that was launched in 2000.

A paragon of convenience

In spite of the complexity of its self-winding caliber 240 HU movement, the Ref. 5130 is ingeniously simple to use. The central part of the dial accommodates the hour and minute hands that indicate local time and is encircled by two rotating discs. The outer disc bears the names of the 24 cities that stand for the 24 time zones. The visible part of the inner disc, which turns counterclockwise, is a graduated 24-hour ring with a dark segment and moon symbol for the nocturnal hours and a bright segment with a sun symbol for the daytime hours. Local time is displayed for the city and associated time zone indicated by the red marker at 12 o'clock. The time in any of the other 23 time zones is shown on the 24-hour disc at the position directly opposite the respective city name. This watch is most useful when a trip traverses one or more time zones as the Ref. 5130 does not need to be stopped and requires no cumbersome adjustments or calculation of the time difference between two locations. Instead, the button at 10 o'clock only needs to be pressed as many times as it takes to align the name of the city in the destination time zone with the red arrow at 12 o'clock. Each time the button is pressed, the hour hand for local time advances by one hour while the 24-hour disc and the city disc move counterclockwise by one interval. Thanks to an ingenious, patented coupling mechanism, this intervention does not influence the precise progression of the minute hand. This instant correction feature that executes three commands with a single press of the button is exclusive to Patek Philippe World Time watches.

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