Multiple time zone watches can be the bane of watch designers everywhere. Unlike the chronograph, which has found a relatively stable user-interface and a comfortably homogenous display system, the multi-time zone watch exists in so many variations that one can never quite tell what it is, except on closer inspection. For example, believe it or not, there are countless people who have no clue how to use a mechanical worldtimer. The fault, arguably, lies not with the public but with the watchmakers. The Baume & Mercier Clifton GMT Power Reserve attempts to address this.
Revealed as a teaser for the full 2017 assortment ahead of the SIHH, this watch uses the real estate on its blue dial to good effect. It starts with having “GMT” on the dial at 12 o’clock, right below the 24-hour indicator, which might be too obvious for some but it certainly makes the watch easy to understand and use. At the same time, the 24-hour GMT display is admirably quirky, consisting of a single hand to track the time on a dual-arc subdial. One only needs a single hand for the GMT anyway and that double-track display makes optimal use of the allocated space. The lack of numerals here though might put some off, given that reading the time this way is not intuitive.
As far as proportions go, it is all smiles here. The GMT display matches up nicely with the power reserve arc at 6 o’clock. The date at 3 o’clock, with a rounded rectangular window framed by a sharp-edged rectangular white border, is a good effort at drawing attention to the aperture but again will likely divide opinions.
Chugging along beneath all this functional discourse on the dial is the automatic Soprod 9035 calibre with some custom finishes, including Cotes de Geneve on the rotor. The power reserve here is 42 hours, which is not too shabby given that this is an automatic. Frequent travellers who often find themselves on long-haul flights would do well to recall that the watch won’t wind itself if the wearer is motionless for long stretches.
At 43mm, this is by no means a particularly discreet watch, which makes the aforementioned dial layout quite vital. What looks best in a smaller watch often appears outlandish when blown up so it is no surprise that Baume & Mercier have opted for a watch that could be mistaken for a chronograph at a distance. The look of the chronograph is, after all, a proven proposition.
Movement Automatic Soprod 9035 with GMT,
Power Reserve 42-hour
Case 43mm stainless steel
Water Resistant Up to 50 meters
Strap Black alligator leather