The World Time
By its very nature, the world time complication is one imbued in the romance of travel and adventure in varied, exciting locations. Invented in the 1930s by the Geneva watchmaker Louis Cottier, a world time displays real time in key cities across the planet’s twenty-four time zones. Cottier’s ingenious mechanism - used by Vacheron Constantin and Patek Philippe amongst others - laid the foundation for world time watches ever since.
In the design, the local time zone is set at the 12 o'clock position, with the hour and minute hand set at local time. The correct hours and minutes are then displayed for every time zone in the world simultaneously, with clear local-time indication on a single dial. In 1959, Patek Philippe obtained a patent for Cottier's device, with the manufacture having become synonymous with the complication. In 1953, they released the reference 2523, which has since come to be cemented as one of the manufacturer’s most iconic models.
Twenty-four cities are displayed on the silver outer edge of the dial, with a guilloché pattern found in the middle. The oversized Observatoire-style hands are reminiscent of Patek Philippe's great world time watches from the past, also providing enhanced legibility against the centre portion of the dial.
At 39.5mm in diameter, the case is both contemporary and classic in its design. Its rounded shape, from its curved crown guards to its elongated lugs, lend fluidity and elegance to the watch. Polished throughout, the white gold case complements the ornate design of the dial. The pusher on the left side of the case is used to advance the hour hand forward in one-hour increments to set the local time when one is travelling. A truly functional complication, which may still prove useful today.
Powered by the above-mentioned ultra-thin 240 HU ("Heure Universelle"), this self-winding movement features an elegant 22K gold micro-rotor, allowing a height below 3.9mm; despite the world-time mechanism, placed dial-side on top of the movement.
The 240 HU features a Spiromax balance spring, made of silicon-based Silinvar, working in conjunction with a Gyromax balance-wheel. The movement is beautifully finished, with finely-applied Geneva stripes, perlage and anglage, as well as exquisite chamfering on all angles.
This Patek Philippe ref. 5130G-001 is accompanied by its outer box, inner box, envelope, leather folder, manuals and Certificate of Origin (confirming sale in December 2006).