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If you frequently travel or are in touch with people in a different time zone, you may encounter the problem of not knowing exactly what time it is in the other time zone. Of course, like some famous personalities, you could solve this problem by wearing two watches at the same time, or you could simply buy a Dual Time watch. With this type of timepiece, you always have two separate time zones at hand. Let's take a look at a few of the most beautiful Dual Time watches and explore the background of this special function.

The push to create standardized time

The history of Dual Time watches begins in 1876 at a small railroad station in Ireland. The Canadian railroad director and surveyor Sir Sandford Fleming was literally left out in the rain while waiting for his train to arrive. This led him to recognize the necessity for standardized time, according to which the whole world would be able to orient itself. Until then, clocks had been set locally according to the highest level of the sun. This time meant naturally varied and, logically, even between different parts of one country.

The development of the 24 time zones

Faced with this problem, Fleming joined forces with contemporaries who shared his thinking. Their proposal was based on a calculation in which the 360 degrees of the earth would be divided by the 24 hours of a day. They used the resulting value of 15 as the basis for a uniform time within a zone of 15 degrees longitude. At the International Meridian Conference in 1884, the mean solar time of the Greenwich Observatory was established as the international prime meridian. Thus, 24 time zones were created to facilitate international coordination.

Since 1972, Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) has been declared obsolete and been replaced by Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). Nevertheless, the time in Great Britain and parts of West Africa still corresponds to Greenwich Mean Time.

Harry Winston Project Z4 Ocean Dual 400-MATZ44Z watch with Zalium case and black rubber strap lying on notebook and pen

Dual Time vs. GMT watches: What’s the difference?

One could assume that Dual Time and GMT watches are different names for the same type of watch. In principle, this is also true, but the two variations use different mechanisms.

What is a Dual Time watch? A Dual Time watch usually displays the second time zone using a totalizer with an additional 12-hour dial. These models normally feature a day and night indicator to provide information relating to the second time zone at a glance.

GMT watches employ a bidirectional rotating bezel with a 24-hour graduation and an additional GMT hand on the main dial that points to second time set using the bezel. The best GMT watches from Watchmaster can be found here.

The most beautiful Dual Time watches at Watchmaster

Let's dedicate ourselves to these special timepieces and take a look at five Dual Time watches from Watchmaster's collection. To save you from the trouble of wearing two watches at the same time like football legend Diego Maradona or two Rolex watches on one wrist like Fidel Castro, here's a look at a selection of Dual Time watches.

Travelling with a Zenith watch is so wonderful

With the Port Royal Dual Time (Ref. 01/02.0451.682), the manufacturer Zenith, which has been operating for 155 years, created a monument. Made of stainless steel, the Dual Time watch displays the second time zone on its dial with a GMT hand and also features a date window at 3 o'clock and a subsidiary dial at 9 o'clock with a small second hand. With a 24-hour display, Zenith avoids the need to indicate whether it is day or night time. This watch, which appears rather sporty at first sight, is in fact a precise and reliable tool.

Zenith Port Royal Dual Time 01/02.0451.682 steel watch with black dial next to white notebook lying on light grey marble

A small window for a second time zone

If you prefer watches with a less sporty, more elegant appearance, but still want to enjoy the benefits of a top-of-the-line, luxurious Dual Time watch, you should consider the Ulysse Nardin Dual Time (Ref. 223-88). This sophisticated wristwatch displays the second time zone in a small window at the 9 o'clock position on the white dial. Additionally, this Dual Time model has a date window at 2 o'clock, a transparent case back and two pushers on the left outside of the case. This model is also available with a black dial.

Ulysse Nardin Dual Time 223-88 steel watch with silver dial and black leather strap

Dual Time done differently by Audemars Piguet

Those who prefer sportier watches are guaranteed to get their money's worth with the Royal Oak Dual Time (Ref. 26120ST.OO.1220ST.01) from Audemars Piguet. This sporty timepiece combines modern design with traditional complications. In addition to the Dual Time display in 12-hour format at 6 o'clock, it also has a power reserve indicator, a day and night indicator and an additional totalizer with date display. This Royal Oak model emanates a cosmopolitan lifestyle that is essential for the wrist of a frequent traveller.

39 mm Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Dual Time 26120ST.OO.1220ST.01 stainless steel watch with white dial

The two faces of a Jaeger-LeCoultre

Just as the super villain Two Face from the "Batman" movies has thrilled millions of fans worldwide with his two personalities, Jaeger-LeCoultre has been doing the same for a long time with its popular Reverso series. With the Reverso Day Night (Ref. 270.2.54), JLC has created the perfect companion for travel, eliminating any possibility of confusion. As is typical of the Reverso, the case of this model can be rotated in its attachment and, in this case, does not feature an engraved steel back, but rather an additional, independently adjustable dial in black with a small 24-hour indicator at 6 o'clock. The small second hand on the silver dial with the home time provides the Reverso with additional charm.

Front and back of a Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Day Night 270.2.54 watch in rose gold with white and black dial on light grey marble

And the Oscar for Dual Time watches goes to...

... the Harry Winston Project Z4 Ocean Dual (Ref. 400-MATZ44Z) – for its role as the most avant-garde of all Dual Time watches. The Harry Winston brand may not be everyone's cup of tea, but the company, founded in New York City in 1936, definitely deserves a prize for pioneering design.

Harry Winston's outstanding quality is indisputable and the design of each model is hard to beat in terms of futuristic elegance. This is also true for this exciting model from the Project Z series. The dial displays range from a day and night indicator at 4 and 10 o'clock, two dials for different time zones at 2 and 9 o'clock, and a totalizer for the date display between 6 and 7 o'clock. The Zalium case is attached to the wrist by a robust rubber watch strap and reflects the charm of modern travel like no other dual time watch. This model is a must-have for anyone who appreciates extravagance on their wrist.

Harry Winston Project Z4 Ocean Dual 400-MATZ44Z watch with dark blue dial between black notebook and pen on grey marble