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With its revolving 24-hour ring and unusual viewpoint which centres the South, rather than the North Pole, this IMHOF World Time clock captures the nostalgia of the 1960s, when transcontinental travel still held an alluring air.
This Heure Universelle clock, produced by Arthur IMHOF SA in La Chaux-de-Fonds, builds on the established tradition of world time pieces. Founded in 1924, Arthur IMHOF SA was known for the manufacture of elegant desk and table clocks during the mid-20th century. An advertisement from an Italian magazine from the ‘50s, describes the brand as a maker of “pendulettes d’art”, which roughly translates to "artistic table clocks".
A Distinctive Design
This IMHOF Worldtime is an elegant piece, thanks to the complimentary combination of the brass with the stark blue rendition of the world time. The large mineral crystal covering the dial remains clear, allowing the details of the map to shine through. Whilst the ocean of the map is rendered in blue, which subtly complements the general aesthetic of the piece, the continents are exhibited in contrasting, brushed gold, with the black lettering and outlining remaining satisfyingly crisp and highly legible.
The cream outer ring features applied black numerals and indices. Additionally, there are “IMHOF" and "SWISS” signatures placed unobtrusively beside the 6 o’clock marker.
In Focus: the South Pole
Unlike the world time clocks which came before it, the IMHOF clock focuses on the visual representation of the South, rather than the North Pole. This is due to the fact that the Southern hemisphere is less fragmented and less densely occupied by landmass, allowing for enhanced visual clarity and more instantaneous reading of the time.
The period also coincided with increased interest in Antarctica in the collective mind, with the establishment of the first permanent stations on the continent from the late 50s onwards. It was often featured in National Geographic and other travel-orientated publications, no doubt offering an insight into why the azimuthal equidistant map might be centered around it.
The World Time Approach
The dial consists of a rotating central GMT disc on which the four continents and their respective twenty-four time zones are represented. This central disc makes a full rotation every twelve hours, and has a small arrow as an hour hand that can be set according to your preferred timezone. A second mobile dial indicates the respective time of each region, making one rotation every twenty-four hours, letting one know whether it is day or night in a specific location. The 15-jewel movement features an eight-day power reserve.
It should be noted that the mechanism should be delicately handled, as the central disc with the twenty-four time zones can only be set when the hands and outer ring are both set to twelve o’clock. Mishandling it can cause damage to the mechanism.
If sold within the United Kingdom, this IMHOF World Time Clock will be subject to 20% VAT.
Arthur IMHOF SA
World Time "Heuer Universelle" desktop clock
worldtime clock with 24 time zones with daytime/nighttime indicator, hours, minutes
world map on the dial, 8-day power reserve
14.5cm diameter (2cm thick) brass
The case remains in remarkable condition for an object of this age, and shows only minor and superficial marks, consistent with sympathetic polishing. The caseback has a few scratches, most prominently next to the crown. The dial shows some fading around the manufacture's signature at six o'clock and some loss of paint around the edge, next to the bezel.
This IMHOF “Heure Universelle” has been recently serviced, and the mechanism remains in very good working condition. It comes with a one-year mechanical warranty from A Collected Man.
We do not offer a warranty on our leather goods. This does not impact your statutory rights and your right to return a strap or accessory to us, if you are dissatisfied with your purchase.
Though every effort has been made to accommodate a wide range of watches, some our of straps of accessories may not be suitable for your timepiece. For example, not all spring bars will fit securely to all watch cases. We expressly exclude any liability, on our part, in the event of damage to your watch, should it become detached from its strap during wear.
Please be aware that any attempt to change a strap could result in unintended damage to your watch case or buckle. We cannot be held responsible for any attempt to fit a strap which is incorrectly sized for your timepiece.
Watch straps should be checked regularly to ensure they remain fully intact, particularly with quick-release spring bars, where the material is thinner on one side. Similarly, watch cases should be checked to ensure their inner holders and fasteners are free of defects and deterioration, outside of general wear and tear.
All of our leather goods are handmade products, where no two are identical. As a result, small cosmetic and size differences can be expected.
We offer worldwide delivery on our straps and accessories. If ordering from overseas, delivery will depend on the destination. All import taxes and duties are the responsibility of the buyer.
If ordering from the UK before 1 PM, your strap will be sent the same working day. For Royal Mail deliveries within the UK the expected delivery time is 1 - 3 days, and for international DHL deliveries the expected delivery time is 1 - 2 days.
You can cancel your order without giving any reason, within 14 days from the day the strap has been delivered to you.
The amount shown on our website does not include local tax rates. If this item is delivered to, or picked up from, a UK address, the standard rate of 20% VAT will be added at checkout. Otherwise, you will be responsible for paying local sales taxes and import fees.
By its very nature, the world time or heure universelle complication is one imbued in the romance of travel and adventure in varied, exciting locations. Invented in the 1930s watchmaker Louis Cottier, a world time displays real time in key cities across the planet’s twenty-four time zones. Cottier’s ingenious mechanism - adopted by Vacheron Constantin and Patek Philippe amongst others – has laid the foundation for world time watches ever since.