Buying Guide – High-End Traveller’s Watches of 2020

We said it multiple times here, at MONOCHROME, but a traveller’s watch, whether a simple GMT piece or a more complex world-timer, is a must-have for enthusiasts and certainly one of the most practical functions you can think of in watchmaking. We all love a nice hand-wound chronograph, we can dream in front of a minute repeater, but in the end, the traveller’s watch remains one of the truly useful functions. But what if you love complications, what if you want more than just a GMT hand or a rotating bezel? Well, we’ve selected 3 traveller’s watches recently introduced that go far beyond the classic GMT hand – and an additional one that can easily be qualified a dream watch. 

A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 Time Zone

The Lange 1 is, without a doubt, one of the most emblematic German watches ever created. Since its launch in 1994, its voluntarily unusual display is untouched and multiple variations, with all kinds of complications, have been introduced – among which is the Time Zone. In June, A. Lange & Söhne refreshed it with a new design. And this traveller’s watch is more than just a GMT. What’s usually a small second is now an independent 12-hour home time display. Newly designed day-night indicators have been added, and the 24-time zone city ring remains in place. It isn’t a proper world-timer but it is there to simplify the task of setting the time in the smaller subsidiary dial. To easily adjust the time when travelling, a pusher allows for one-hour jumps of the local time. Finally, a daylight saving time (DST) function has been added in the gold arrow at 5 o’clock. Best of all, this complicated watch has a new in-house movement with a 3-day power reserve, a single spring barrel (instead of two) and a new design… but the superb execution and decoration are still here. The 41.9mm case is available in pink or white gold, with respectively a silver or black dial.

More details in our review here.

A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 Time Zone 136.032 - 2020 Update

Quick facts: 41.9mm x 10.9mm – 18K gold case (white or rose) – sapphire crystal front and caseback – 30m water-resistant – in-house calibre L141.1, hand-wound – 72h power reserve – functions: home time, second time zone, day/night indicator, subsidiary seconds with stop seconds, city ring with daylight saving time display, power reserve indicator – alligator strap – from EUR 49,200

Glashütte Original Senator Cosmopolite Steel

Another German brand, another fine example of Glashütte’s watchmaking, the Senator Cosmopolite is amongst the most capable traveller’s watches on the market. And despite its high complexity, it remains quite clean and legible, especially this new steel and blue dial model. At first, this watch appears like a traditional two-time zone watch, with local time in the centre and home time at 12 o’clock. Sure it does, but there’s a lot more going on. In fact, this watch can display the time in no fewer than 35 time zones (including those with half or quarter differences) without the visual complexity of a world-timer. A time zone ring offers a choice of all 35 world time zones currently in use, each of them displayed using an official IATA location code, also including the DST function. And it’s simple to adjust too, as the crown at 2 o’clock allows you to set the home time and wind the watch and the crown at 8 o’clock allows you to set the city corresponding to the local time in the DST or STD window. Under the hood is a large and powerful in-house automatic movement with 3-day power reserve and signature Panorama date.

More details in our review here.

Glashutte Original Senator Cosmopolite Midnight Blue

Quick facts: 44mm x 14mm – stainless steel case (gold also available) – sapphire crystal front and caseback – 50m water-resistant – in-house calibre 89-02, automatic – 72h power reserve – functions: home time, second time zone, 35 time-zones incl. 1⁄2 h and 3⁄4 h differences, daylight saving time/standard time, small second, Panorama Date, day/night indicators, power reserve – alligator strap – EUR 20,700 (in steel)

Rolex Sky-Dweller Oysterflex

Meet the most complex Rolex ever. The brand’s ultimate traveller’s watch, a piece all about functionality and ease of use: the Sky-Dweller. Visually, things are simple; central hands for the local time, a rotating ring for the home time, a date window and the super-clever indication of the months next to the hour markers – because the Sky-Dweller is also an annual calendar. But the real deal here is the fluted bezel, named “Ring Command”. Instead of pulling the crown in X positions or pushing small buttons, you simply rotate the crown in one of the 3 positions and then the selected function (date, local time or reference time) can then be rapidly adjusted in either direction using the winding crown. Inside is the complex Calibre 9001, an automatic engine with 3-day power reserve and utmost precision “a la Rolex”. New this year, the Sky-Dweller gets the comfortable Oysterflex bracelet and new dial designs, cleaner and more modern than before.

More details in our review here.

Quick facts: 42mm – 18k yellow or Everose gold – sapphire crystal front – fluted bidirectional bezel with Ring Command system for setting functions – 100m water-resistant – in-house calibre 9001, automatic – 72h power reserve – functions: local time, reference time via off-centre disc, instantaneous annual calendar with 12 apertures for month display, date – Oysterflex bracelet – from EUR 37,700

Bonus: Bovet Récital 26 Brainstorm Chapter Two

And now we enter the world of dreams and ultra-high horology, with the Bovet Brainstorm Chapter Two… A sapphire crystal case, a two-sided flying tourbillon, a translucent blue quartz sub-dial, a fully opened movement and a decoration entirely done by to the highest level. And indeed, this second watch in the Brainstorm collection is now a traveller’s piece, which also includes a world-timer function on its domed sub-dial at 3 o’clock. For visual balance, the space at 9 o’clock is devoted to a 3D moonphase, which is glowing in the dark. Probably one of the most impressive traveller’s watches of the year, with an execution that simply is among the best of the industry.

More details in our review here.

Bovet Récital 26 Brainstorm Chapter Two

Quick facts: 47.80mm x 15.50mm – sapphire crystal and titanium case – sapphire crystal front and caseback – 30m water-resistant – in-house calibre 17DM06-DT, hand-wound – 5-day power reserve – functions: local time, rotating dome for world timer at 3 o’clock, rotating dome at 9 o’clock for precision phases of the moon, double-sided flying tourbillon, power reserve indicator – alligator strap – CHF 355,000

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