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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So the argument goes:

A 12-hour second-time-zone display with no day-night indicator doesn't tell you whether that time from back home is AM or PM, and so any dual-time watch just must include some means of showing that information. Thus, the popular design for most dual-time watches is a 24-hour GMT hand and a 24-hour bezel. And either the hand is movable separately, or the bezel is.

Countering that argument is: A 24-hour hand requires mental fiddling to read, and really how hard is it to know whether the time zone in question is AM or PM?

But I think there are two use cases at work here. The first is the person who needs to know UTC time. There are not many people left in that category, but one group in which I participate are radio amateurs. Radio amateurs generally log things in terms of UTC, and many buy desk clocks with two displays for the purpose. A watch that displays true GMT (=UTC) is a fun thing for such people to own.

The other use case are for travelers. Sure, some people are constantly traveling to distance lands some large fraction of the distance around the planet. But even when I've been in Japan or Dubai, I've known whether back home was AM or PM. But it's nice to glance at the watch and know what time it is at home. And for the traveling I do these days, which is nearly all domestic, it's nice to be able to read time in two time zones no more than five hours apart.

Thus, I gravitate to the type of watch with a conventional hours and minutes sub-dial showing a second time zone. The classic example of this, for a watch that I could dream of owning someday, is the JLC Reverso Duo, where the second time-zone side of the watch also includes a 24-hour sub-dial. It uses a pusher to jump the hour hand on the reverse side. It's the best of both worlds.


(Image linked from JLC web site.)

It's also iconic and classy. It's definitely on my list of desires. These are priced at just under $10K, and I've seen them used for maybe half that or a bit less. At that price point and higher, there are other options, some of them quite elegant, but frankly those waters are too deep for me. I show it here to give a sense of what I think is the best dual-time watch on the market that I can even dream of owning.

But there are cheaper alternatives. At lower price points, most watches with a second time zone use a GMT hand. Many are based on the ETA 2893, but Zenith has a model based on their Elite movement and Rolex, of course, has their GMT offering. But I think that for most applications (radio amateurs excepted), that's an easy complication but not necessarily a good solution. What has been drawing my attention lately has been the use of a 12-hour sub-dial for the second time zone.

There are a couple of movement options for middle and lower price points: The Soprod A10-2 with second time zone modul, the 9351, and an ETA 2892 with a Technotime TT651 module. The newer version of both include a day-night disk that rides around the sub-dial hand. But there are even less expensive models using the older versions without that extra feature. Both include a big-date display at 12 O'Clock.

I have not found a watch that (admits to) using the Soprod movement. I can't determine how it works, but it's probably the same as the 2892/TT651, where the crown, in the outer position, sets both dials in one direction, but doesn't move the sub-dial hour hand in the reverse direction.

But I've found a number of watches that use the ETA/TT combination. Here's the module:


(Image linked from Technotime website.)

Two examples of these made until recently are the Louis Erard 1931 GMT:

(Linked from louis-erard.blogspot.com)

And the Ebel Classic Hexagon Dual Time:

(Linked from Ebel Classic Hexagon GMT Rose Gold Watch: Two Times Done Well - A BLOG TO WATCH)

These just seem to me more useful for traveling than a GMT watch with a 24-hour hand.

I have a line on the Ebel for a very good price, NOS from AD with warranty, on black alligator instead of the calfskin pictured above. It's a monster (45mm) but after wearing my 42mm Zenith and my larger sport and dive watches for a while, I'm getting used to it without dulling my appreciation for smaller watches. And I just plain love black-dialed steel watches that are not trying to look like they were made in 1930. I have to say, my love for the Reverso notwithstanding (it is truly timeless), watches styled to look like they are from the 30's don't rock my world. I find 60's designs more appealing, and also some modern designs if they show really good design. The Louis Erard is clearly calling up the deep past, while the Ebel is a modern design with a dial reminiscent of the 60's--very much my taste despite the huge size. The Ebel is also thin, and curved, and elegantly shaped, and just doesn't look monstrous.

So: Educate me. Is this ETA/TT combination flawed? Am I violating the Sacred Screed by considering a dual-time watch without an AM/PM indicator? Is there a better way to spend $1500 for the dual-time function, with a watch that won't make me sorry I left my Zenith at home when I traveled?

Rick "subject to sudden temptation" Denney
 

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Hi Rick,

Great to see you on WTF as I have always enjoyed your contributions elsewhere.

I can't answer your technical question around if the ETA/TT combination is flawed or not but I do think that dual time watches are infinitely more attractive than GMT's.

For something slightly different..... I normally use my Longines Master Retrograde as a dual time when abroad, or as a 24 hour indicator when at home (retrograde on the left of dial):

 

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Worldtimer(s) FTW

But then, I work with and travel to India regularly, so anything that can't handle 1/2 hr time zones is darn near worthless to me.

The Ball worldtimers are only slightly out of your budget preowned.

 

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I'd go with GMT - the hour hand is the only thing that needs to move; in the greatest majority of cases, the minute hand is the same the world over (India is the only exception that I know of at 30 minutes off). So, I'd recommend the Seiko Men's SUN005 Kinetic GMT or the Accutron by Bulova Gemini Automatic GMT Dual Time Zone, both available at Amazon at reasonable prices. The Rolex GMT Master II would work if you're prepared to drop a small fortune, but the other two I mentioned are just as good and much cheaper. The only reason why I mentioned the Rolex in this post is that you get to set three time zones, not just two...but is that worth the extra USD$6,000? Your call on that one. I'd only get a watch with two hour/minute hand indicators (like the Geneva Men's Two Dial Strap Watch) if I planned to use one of the two dials as an hour/minute timer - set everything to midnight at the start of whatever I'm timing, then look at its readout at the end of whatever I'm timing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
The newer Bulova, with the black dial, is one of the better GMT dial designs I've seen in this price range, to be sure. And it has a 2893--the usual better GMT movement from the House of Swatch. I have a couple of beefs with it: the pilot numerals and 40's-style case isn't my favorite, and the movement is Elaboree-grade meaning it won't have the better balance, hairspring, shock protection, and mainspring material. (And then there's the decoration, which is secondary.) But I do like the small crescent GMT pointer and inner 24-hour chapter ring compared to the usual 24-hour bezel on many GMT watches. And I've always liked dauphine hands. It's a good suggestion and I appreciate it. I'll have to look at one in the metal to see how it stacks up to the rest of my collection.

As to the Seiko, well, I already have a Tissot T-Touch which is exceptionally easy to set for a different time zone, so a quartz GMT tool-style watch is something already represented in my collection. I want this watch to be a bit dressier, and a bit thinner.

There are certainly more choices available at this price point with a straight GMT movement with a settable 24-hour hand. I'm just not sure if that's the style I want.

(I do not need half-hour time-zone setting, which none of the choices I presented provide. For that, a Reverso-style knockoff in quartz, where the two faces are independent movements, might be the preferred approach.)

For the price of the Rolex GMT Master, I'd get the Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Duo in a heartbeat. It really delivers the whole package.

The Ball is an interesting choice. There seems to be an older one with a chronometer-grade 2893, and the newer one with a chronometer-grade 2836 with GMT complication. I prefer the looks of the older one as pictured by TC, but both are awfully busy, and I seem to gravitate to a cleaner look. But given the right deal, I could definitely be attracted to it, if I could determine that reading the dial isn't more trouble than doing the math.

And GETS, the Longines is way cool, but too retro looking for me. But I've looked at a bunch of retrograde date and time displays, and find I have to exercise the bottom lens on my trifocals a bit too much for my liking.

These are good suggestions--keep 'em coming.

Nothing else with a dual-time display in this range?

Rick "enjoying the options" Denney
 

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I'd go with GMT - the hour hand is the only thing that needs to move; in the greatest majority of cases, the minute hand is the same the world over (India is the only exception that I know of at 30 minutes off).
Actually, there are a number of them. India and Newfoundland, Canada being to two I run across. I believe Iran also, but not really planning on going there or doing business with them.

There are also some 15 minute time zones, but they are usually pacific islands where you don't really need to know the time anyways
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I doubt that I'll find the Omega at 60 or 70% off of retail. And for the gray-market price of this one, I could find a used JLC or only a little more, which is much more to my liking, to be honest.

Rick "not really an Omega fan" Denney
 

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diver"didn't read the entire post"88
A side effect of always being on Island Time.... :lol:

I prefer the world times. I own the Ball Worldtimer Diver TC posted above, and love it. Very easy to tell the time anywhere in the world, Date and Day display, tritium tubes and WR to diver specs. Looks great on a bracelet, leather strap or rubber dive strap. I've owned mine about 2 1/2 years now and I haven't lost any of the joy I had on day one...
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Hi Rick. My GMT timepiece is my iPhone so I'm out of this discussion.

Ulack"grumpymoderator"focus
Question for you and others: has anyone had a 2892-with-Technotime module apart? Just wondering about the quality and serviceability. Technotime seems to be a quality manufacture, but I've seen no teardown reports of ETA movements with modules of that sort.

Of course, the iPhone won't tell me what time it is at home, not that the math is hard for me. It's just a fun complication.

But speaking of iPhones, check out Emerald Chronometer. Lotsa fun.

Rick "still considering the Ebel" Denney
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Sure it will - world time under "clock".

I gotta say, it may be a soul less robot, but it does that better than any clock/watch I am aware of :(
Yes, it's easy to simulate complication, but something is always lost. All models are false, even if some are useful.

By the way, the good folks at the Movado Company Store called yesterday to let me know that the Memorial Day sale price for the Ebel would be be about $300 higher than the current special offer. So, I bought it. I just haven't seen any decent mechanical with the dual-time complication for $1500. That's the way Ebel is while they unload their overproduction from the bottom of the recession.

Pictures eventually.

Thanks to all for your comments.

Rick "noting the current price is good through next Wednesday" Denney
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
Quote from a WIS friend after my visit to the Movado clearance store:

"Selling an Ebel is about as difficult as getting rid of genital herpes".

Know this so you go in with the idea of keeping the watch.
Several points:

1. You have to get them cheap. I've seen an "MR"-marked 1911 BTR Chronograph sell on ebay for $2400--$800 more than what I paid for mine at the Movado Store. That guy made a quick profit on that watch.

2. You have to give people a good story. People buy stories, and Ebel's story is a good one.

3. You have to get them to hold it in their fingers. Nobody, but nobody, makes better bracelets than does Ebel.

4. You have to wait until the current overstock is sold off, so that the price can settle back to what the watches are worth as watches. The MCS is actually undermining the price by dropping it so much and selling it in an outlet store. No wonder jewelers don't want to touch them right now.

5. Online reviews of Ebels are always very good. But the marketing in the U.S. has been dreadful.

I've talked at length with a couple of the salespeople at the Movado store, and they do indeed struggle to sell Ebel. But all the Ebel marketing literature they show people comprises models like Claudia Schiffer or Gisele wearing them. They don't know how to interpret the reference numbers to know what the movement is, and they don't know anything about those movements. The guy told me (before he realized I knew better) that Ebel made their own movements, and indeed were an ebaucherie of old. (In his defense, he just didn't know any better.) They didn't know that an Ebel cal. 330 is a Girard-Perregaux movement. Or that the cal. 134 is an El Primero. Or that the cal. 137 is a Lemania base and an in-house design, now sold to Ulysse Nardin. Or that Ebel only uses Top or Chronometer-grade ETA movements, when they use ETA. And so on.

They were honest about things like the proprietary straps, and the cases are not loved by everyone, of course.

The Ebels are by far the best watches in the store, but stores like that cater to folks coming in for a $150 Juicy Couture or $250 Coach (or, maybe, a $700 Movado). The sales folks only make about 1% commission, and expensive watches require some time to sell. They are selling some ladies watches for less than the diamonds in them are worth.

The local Zenith AD had exactly the same trouble selling Zenith--just no brand awareness in the U.S. He used to sell Ebel as well (and had one on his arm), and thought they were really worthy competition to the high-end watches in his store (including GO, Piaget, Bell & Ross, etc.).

But I don't buy watches to sell in any case. I don't seem to buy anything to sell, heh. I keep stuff until it's either worth something or until it's worth nothing, usually the latter. Probably, whoever disposes of my estate will just give my watches away to friends, which suits me fine.

Rick "congenitally disposed to collecting" Denney
 

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Thought I might dip into this thread, because it deals with my personal favorite complication and watch function. The only problem is that, my Rolex aside, I've made a rule that my watches won't exceed $1k in purchase price. So, if anyone sees an Ebel being slashed, please let me know!

I have a consultancy business that deals with clients in various timezones, mainly US East and CET. So, my laptop always has a world clock app running, and my iPhone is the main reference point. But I'm always looking at my wrist!

I've decided that two timezone GMTs are good, but 3 would be better, and so it was that recently I tracked down a 3 zone Fortis B-42, the arrival of which I awaited with great expectation.....except it was stolen while in transit....and I'm still awaiting insurance settlement via AusPost/USPS. First time that's happened to me, and a salient reminder that the postal services are not totally trustworthy.

Unless another Fortis comes along, I've decided now to purchase a Limes 1tausend 3 zone when the insurance comes through.

A simple alternative to the two face watches (I have a beater Wenger Qz, which has the Ronda 24 movement) is a simple three hand diver-style, with a 12 hr rotating bezel in lieu of a diving bezel. I don't know why there aren't more of these designs, as they make a very simple 2 zone watch, albeit you have to deal with the AM/PM thing (most folk with normal coordination CAN manage this! ;). ). Or, even better, an internal rotating bezel -- my personal favorite! This type of design means you can have a very robust, proven accurate mechanical movement without the complexity of an additional hand(s), mechanism, and setting process.

Tim "there's a simple solution to this need" Conway
 

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Nobody, but nobody, makes better bracelets than does Ebel.
I would debate that. Having held a few Ebels (I have a world timer sitting right next to me as I type this - and it's been on the sales forum for months) I'd say that both Breitling's Pilot bracelet and IWC's brick bracelet from the Spitfire / Mark line are better. I also have an Omega Aqua Terra that is still on the bracelet for 2 months, which might be a record for me, because it's done well. If it had a microadjustment in the clasp I'd never consider changing to a strap.
 

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I would debate that. Having held a few Ebels (I have a world timer sitting right next to me as I type this - and it's been on the sales forum for months) I'd say that both Breitling's Pilot bracelet and IWC's brick bracelet from the Spitfire / Mark line are better. I also have an Omega Aqua Terra that is still on the bracelet for 2 months, which might be a record for me, because it's done well. If it had a microadjustment in the clasp I'd never consider changing to a strap.
You're both wrong by a mile:

 
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