The World Time Complication
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. In 1959, Patek Philippe obtained a patent for Cottier's device, with the manufacture having since become well-known for their World Time watches.
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
For their interpretation of the World Time Clock, IMHOF chose to focus the movement and visual representation on the South Pole, whereas most other systems tend to focus on the North Pole. Holding both Swiss and American patents for this approach, this simple modification allows for instantaneous reading of the time, without the need for a special mechanism or correction.
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.
The brushed gold map in the center of the clock features a map of the world outlined in black, in addition to black lettering that remains satisfyingly crisp. The mineral crystal that houses the dial remains clear, allowing the details of the map to shine through. Furthermore, the date chapter ring is in silver, which provides a contrast against the rest of the dial. The piece also has an alarm function, which can be set through the back of the clock (as well as disengaged).
The matte-black outer ring features square index markers that are filled with luminous material, like the centre of the dial, have lightly oxidised over time, bringing warmth and a character to the piece. The hour and minute hands are filled with a similar material, with the alarm hand rendered in chrome and tipped with pink. Additionally, there are “IMHOF" and “SWISS” signatures placed unobtrusively on either side of the six o’clock marker.
Designed for use as a desk clock, the piece has a collapsible chrome metal stand which allows it to be laid flat and placed into a travel case or set on a bedside table, making it a perfect accessory for your home.
If sold within the United Kingdom, this IMHOF World Time Clock will be subject to 20% VAT.