I am often asked what an ideal travel watch is like. Well, I never have an answer till I know what travel means to the person asking the question. Is it for business or is it for leisure? Does it entail adventure like mountain climbing? Or does it simply mean crossing over time zones on a hectic trip? Travel has been an inspiration for watchmakers since centuries. Balloonists, pilots, divers, climbers, racers, astronauts, and businessmen all have had a role to play on how watchmakers have eventually created timekeeping devices for travellers at large. At the recently concluded Watches and Wonders Geneva—the holy grail of fine watchmaking or ‘Haute Horlogerie’ as the French would say—I saw over 200 timepieces and here are few I have handpicked as the best travel companions for a modern-day traveller like you.
1. Grand Seiko Evolution 9 GMT Titanium
This ‘go-anywhere’ Spring Drive GMT watch looks as good at home as it is when you are away. Made of high-intensity titanium, which is 30% lighter than stainless steel, it is light on the wrist and is a joy as day-to-day wear and on your travel. It also delivers a practical function of the GMT hand that allows a second time zone to be read at a glance—so essential when you are travelling to a new time zone. Spring Drive watches deliver the silent glide motion of the seconds hand, a treat to watch time go by. The 9R66 calibre delivers a power reserve of three days, enough to keep your watch running through the weekend without winding again. The watch also comes with useful features like 100m water resistance, a see-through case back, and an anti-reflective coating on the inner surface of the sapphire crystal.
2. Hermès Arceau Le temps Voyageur
The theme of Hermès in 2022 is travel and the new Arceau watch lends itself to a new expression of style and evokes the spirit of wanderlust as conceived by the maison. Crafted in platinum and titanium, or in steel, its round case with asymmetrical lugs reveals a singular reinterpretation of classic fine watchmaking complications roaming across the hours of the world, as the ‘Travelling time’ mechanism developed exclusively for Hermès. A perfect world-timer watch indeed, for a globetrotter!
3. Vacheron Constantin Overseas Perpetual Calendar Ultra-thin Skeleton
No other new luxury sports watch has garnered so much admiration in the past decade as much as the Overseas collection by Vacheron Constantin. Built on the theme of travel, the initial association with the renowned photographer Steve McCurry firmly set out the Overseas on a journey to explore the world. Famous for its detachable straps, a useful function during travel, the Overseas gained popularity rapidly among the watch aficionados. Now, a new interpretation of the Overseas ultra-thin perpetual calendar model joins the collection. Both contemporary and deeply horological by nature, this gold-clad piece is magnified by a sapphire dial allowing the wearer to dive into the heart of its anatomy and explore its ultra-thin, entirely open-worked perpetual calendar Calibre 1120 QPSQ/1. Another huge advantage, being a perpetual calendar, the watch tells you the correct date practically for perpetuity, meaning no more adjusting dates on month ends, not even the end of February.
4. TAG Heuer Aquaracer Professional 200 Solargraph
TAG Heuer’s new Solargraph uses the limitless energy source of the sun to create a timepiece whose movement integrates an innovative solar module. With this technology, there will be no need to change the watch's battery; it will recharge with the sun or artificial light. The sun will not only power the movement of the TAG Heuer Aquaracer Professional 200 Solargraph, but it also lightens the Super-LumiNova® elements of the watch like the bezel, dial and hands, allowing the watch to feature outstanding legibility in the darkness of the night. As an additional comfort to collectors, the TAG Heuer Aquaracer Professional 200 Solargraph is offering a warranty of up to five years upon registration. An extremely useful watch that uses solar power and offers high legibility even in the dark, this is the perfect companion for travel!
5. ROLEX GMT-Master II
One of the talking points of this year’s exhibition was the launch of an unexpected version of the Oyster Perpetual GMT-Master II by Rolex. On this watch, the crown is on the left side of the watch case. The date aperture also moves and appears at 9 o’clock. Rolex had to make several technical adjustments in terms of the movement and the superlative Chronometer certification, the brand is known for.Made from Oystersteel and fitted with an Oyster bracelet, this watch features a two-colour monobloc Cerachrom bezel insert in a first-time colour combination of green and black ceramic—which might be nicknamed by the fans as Sprite, after the ever-popular Pepsi and Coca Cola versions. The new version of the GMT-Master II is equipped with the robust calibre 3285, that enables it to display the hours, minutes, seconds and date, as well as an additional time zone in 24-hour format. Rolex GMT-Master II is a worthy torchbearer of arguably the best GMT watches in the world.
6. Montblanc 1858 Geosphere Chronograph 0 Oxygen LE290
Travelling to the peak of the Everest? Here is your timepiece! Montblanc removes the oxygen from its latest mountaineering timepiece for its brand friend Nimsdai Purja to test on his upcoming expedition to the summit of Mount Everest. Dedicated to making professional timing instruments for today’s explorers, Montblanc’s latest 1858 Geosphere watch sees the addition of a brand-new chronograph movement, devoid of all oxygen. This ‘Zero Oxygen’ timepiece, limited to 290 pieces, has several benefits for explorers who need their equipment to work in some of the harshest environments. Zero oxygen inside the movement not only eliminates fogging, which can occur with drastic temperature changes at altitude but also prevents oxidization. Without oxygen, all the components last far longer and will provide greater precision over time. Each timepiece comes with a zero-oxygen certificate that attests to the fact that the watch has been successfully encased without oxygen.