Fratello’s Top 5 Current Worldtimer Watches — Featuring Patek Philippe, Omega, Frederique Constant, And More
Another Friday, another Top 5! Last week’s list focused on Rolex watches that you can buy for less than their official retail prices. The list mostly consisted of precious metal watches and triggered a lot of opinions. This week, we will take a look at our five currently available worldtimers. While the GMT is the preferred travel timepiece for many watch fans, a classic worldtimer celebrates the spirit of traveling in true horological style. So we’ve selected our five favorites that stand out thanks to their functionality first and specific looks second. Or is it the other way around when you are creating a list of worldtimers? Well, it’s time to find out.
As a big fan of GMT watches, I do not always give worldtimers the credit they deserve. There is something special about watches that show the time in 24 different time zones simultaneously. But the more practical (for me) display of just two or three time zones leads me to prefer a classic GMT. On top of that, I adore the aesthetic of a GMT with a 24-hour bezel and the additional hand. If done well, that look can be incredibly exciting. Still, worldtimers also deserve a place in the spotlight. After all, they represent more than just their functional brilliance. They are also watches that have a very distinct look thanks to displaying the names of the cities in the different time zones.
Creating a Top 5 list of current worldtimer watches
While a worldtimer, therefore, is instantly recognizable, it doesn’t mean that they all look the same. That’s why we have picked five options that show various approaches to an adaptable platform. On top of that, we have picked five watches at different price points. It would be too easy to pick five stunning world timers from classic brands that will cost you an arm and a leg. Another thing we kept in mind is the difference between an actual worldtimer and a dual-time watch that looks like a worldtimer. Some examples of the latter include the Nomos Zürich, Lange 1 Time Zone, and Breguet Hora Mundi. All of them are great watches, but they don’t display 24 time zones at once. Maybe we’ll save those for next week. Now, without further ado, let’s get into our list of five great worldtimers.
Bvlgari Octo Roma Worldtimer
Let’s start this list with a modern worldtimer. The Bvlgari Octo Roma Worldtimer was introduced in 2021 as part of the extensive Octo family. While we have a great love for the Octo Finissimo line, the Octo Roma is the less-talked-about range of watches. But this particular version of the Octo Roma is a very nicely designed worldtimer indeed. Bvlgari released two different versions of the watch. The first is in brushed stainless steel with a sunburst blue dial, and the second is a black DLC version with a black dial. Out of the two, the stainless steel and blue model is our favorite. It feels classy, and what immediately stands out is how easy it is to read.
The overall proportions of the different elements feel perfectly in sync. That makes it simple to read the time in the 24 different time zones, and the design also feels nicely proportioned. The watch features a 100m-water-resistant case that is 41mm wide and a nice 11.35mm thick. As you can see, the dial’s central portion for the hours and minutes part is relatively small, but it is legible thanks to the large hour markers and numerals. Two rings surround that central part of the dial. The first is the 24-hour ring, while the outer one is for the cities corresponding to the different time zones. Inside the case, Bvlgari uses its automatic manufacture caliber BVL 257. It operates at 28,800vph and has a 42-hour power reserve.
Montblanc 1858 Geosphere 0 Oxygen The 8000
Our second pick is the brilliant Montblanc 1858 Geosphere 0 Oxygen The 8000. While far from traditional, it is indeed a worldtimer. This special edition of the watch honors the legacy of retired Italian climber, mountaineer, and adventurer Reinhold Messner. Its bigger limited-edition chronograph brother is linked to Nimsdai Purja, a Nepalese-born naturalized British mountaineer. But for me, the regular version makes for a better watch and Reinhold Messner for a better story. Messner was the first person to conquer all fourteen 8,000m peaks in the world. On the case back of the 1858 Geosphere 0 Oxygen The 8000, you will find a 3D laser engraving of K2, Messner’s favorite mountain. At 8,611m high, it is the second highest in the world and, according to many climbers, the hardest to climb.
While I could go on about the world of climbing for a bit, we’re here to talk watches. This version of the 1858 Geosphere has a 42 × 12.8mm titanium case with a 100m water resistance rating. The watch comes on a titanium bracelet to create a look that is more contemporary than some of the 1858 Geosphere models that preceded it, such as the brilliant Gobi Desert edition. The dark gray dial features a textured pattern that mimics glaciers. You will also find two globes for the world-time function on the dial.
The brilliance of the 1858 Geosphere series
As Lex explained, the globe for the Northern Hemisphere at 12 o’clock turns counterclockwise, while the one for the Southern Hemisphere turns clockwise at 6 o’clock. A fixed scale with 24 time zones surrounds each of the two domed hemisphere globes as well. This makes it possible to read the time in all the different time zones in the two hemispheres (as long as you have a good grasp of geography). It’s all made possible thanks to the Montblanc automatic caliber MB 29.25. That’s a Sellita SW300 base movement with an in-house-developed world-time module on top. The movement operates at 28,800vph and provides 42 hours of power reserve.
The Montblanc 1858 Geosphere 0 Oxygen The 8000 is available for €7,400. It will get you one of Montblanc’s most interesting non-Minerva pieces and a unique worldtimer at that!
Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra 150M Worldtimer
We had multiple options when it came to our next pick. Omega has released multiple Seamaster Aqua Terra 150M Worldtimer models recently. The first ones were a pair of green and brown watches that Daan reviewed not too long ago. But for me, the Aqua Terra Worldtimer that wins is part of the brand’s 75th Anniversary “Summer Blue” series that came out shortly after. There is something special about the combination of the Aqua Terra’s worldtimer design and the beautiful light blue color. Especially with the light blue rubber strap, the watch is the ultimate luxury traveler’s watch for summer.
The watch has a 43mm stainless steel case that is 50.3mm from lug to lug and 14.1mm thick. Now, the Summer Blue series is based on the principle of using an increasingly darker blue dial when the water resistance of the different models increases. With a 150m water resistance rating, the Aqua Terra is considered a “lightweight” in the Seamaster family. Therefore, this model has a light blue gradient dial. The overall dial design is quite complex, featuring a vertical meridian pattern, a globe depiction, and a two-tone 24-hour ring. But the soothing dial color is contrasted by a gold depiction of the continents that looks very nice. Inside the case, you will find the Omega Co-Axial world-time caliber 8938. This automatic METAS-certified Master Chronometer movement operates at 25,200vph, has 39 jewels, and provides a 60-hour power reserve.
The watch is €11,000 on the rubber strap, and on the bracelet, it is slightly more expensive at €11,300.
Patek Philippe 5935A World Time Flyback Chronograph
You cannot create a list of worldtimers and leave out Patek Philippe. The brand has six different models in its Complications line. We picked the latest addition to the collection that was added late last year. And unlike its peers, it doesn’t have a gold or platinum case. On top of that, it’s not “just” a worldtimer. The 5935A combines a classic 24-hour worldtimer with a 30-minute flyback chronograph. And boy, does it look good! The combination of the 41 × 12.75mm stainless steel case and the rose-gilt opaline dial with its “carbon” motif and charcoal-gray accents is a stroke of genius. It’s not the first time that Patek has shown that mixing “salmon” and gray tones can be stunning.
Inside the case, the brand uses its caliber CH 28-520 HU. This in-house automatic movement also resides in the gorgeous green 5930P from 2021. The automatic movement comprises 343 parts, operates at 28,800vph, has 38 jewels, and provides a 55-hour power reserve. The movement is beautiful, but I find it more intriguing how Patek Philippe managed to both keep a relatively slim profile with two complications and integrate the chronograph effortlessly on the beautiful dial.
That beautiful rose-gilt dial focuses on the world-time display first but integrates the chronograph with a 30-minute totalizer at 6 o’clock and a seconds scale for the chronograph between the outer city ring and the 24-hour ring. At €63,400, the 5935A World Time Flyback Chronograph is a proper grail watch!
Frederique Constant Highlife Worldtimer Manufacture
We’ll finish off this list with what has become a personal favorite of mine. Admittedly, since it was introduced, I have been on the fence about Frederique Constant’s Highlife collection. My main “issue” with it is the globe on the dial. When I first saw it, it reminded me of the ’70s images used by German electronic brands like Blaupunkt and especially Telefunken. It’s far from a negative image because I love German electronics, especially audio brands. But the globe never seemed fitting on the dial of the Highlife. Recently, the Highlife Automatic Edition Caron showed that different dials do the watch a lot of good. I love that specific version of the Highlife a lot.
But there is one version of the Highlife that makes sense with the globe pattern on the dial, and that’s the Highlife Worldtimer Manufacture. It suits the character of a worldtimer perfectly, and with the integration of the complication, the globe image becomes smaller. We have seen blue-dial and green-dial versions, which looked amazing, but the winner for me is the one with a chocolate-brown dial that came out earlier this year. It was released along with a rose gold version to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the Frederique Constant brand.
A beautifully designed worldtimer
The stainless steel tonneau-shaped case measures 41mm wide and 12.9mm thick while bearing a 100m water resistance rating. The integration of the world-time complication is done very nicely. With a mix of chocolate-brown and champagne elements, the color combination oozes class. Additionally, the watch has a pointer date sub-dial at 6 o’clock that is beautifully finished. Frederique Constant equips the watch with the in-house FC-718 caliber. This automatic movement operates at 28,800vph and has a 38-hour power reserve. This Highlife is a beautiful worldtimer at €4,295 on a brown leather strap. However, I would try to source a Highlife stainless steel bracelet to make it look even better. I think this is one of the best current worldtimers out there and the perfect fifth pick to close out our list.
Final thoughts on the Top 5 of worldtimers
There you have it — five different worldtimers, all of which were released not too long ago and are part of their brands’ respective current collections. But this is, of course, just the tip of the iceberg. That’s why we turn the question over to you. What are some of your favorite worldtimers out there today? Let us know in the comments section, and we will see you next week for another Top 5!