Saxon watchmaker Glashütte Original packs the world and its 37 time zones into precisely 8.72 cubic centimetres and straps it onto the traveller’s wrist. Following a highly focused development phase, Glashütte Original’s constructors, designers and master watchmakers completed the most unusual and sophisticated masterpiece in the history of the company: the Grande Cosmopolite Tourbillon.
This exquisitely complicated wonder enables the world traveller to track the time of day or night at home and on the road simultaneously, in any two of 37 world time zones, while accounting correctly for Daylight Saving (DST) or Standard Time (STD) and for travel forward in time (to the East) or back in time (to the West). All destination time and date changes made by the wearer are displayed by a Perpetual Calendar geared to register changes in both directions, forwards and backwards in time.
This unique combination of complications – an absolute world first in mechanical watches – is crowned by the extraordinary Flying Minute Tourbillon, developed in 1920 by the master watchmaker, Alfred Helwig. Glashütte Original has applied for four separate patents to protect the expertise that made this unique work of art possible. This exclusive masterpiece is limited to 25 pieces worldwide.
The Grande Cosmopolite Tourbillon is designed for the world traveller who wishes to keep track of both the home time and the destination time while travelling. The home time remains an unchanging point of reference and is presented at 6 o’clock on a dedicated 24-hour dial with a day/night indicator. The destination time appears at the centre of the main dial and tracks the local time at a given location away from home. To begin using this exceptional timepiece, the owner first sets the hour and minute of the home time, which is followed by the synchronization of the home and destination times. When selecting the home time, the owner sets the time zone governing his or her usual place of residence, selecting it from among 37 different world time zones on the city ring, including those that respect 30-minute (e.g. Delhi) and 45-minute offsets (e.g. Eucla), and then adjusts for Standard Time (STD) or Daylight Saving Time (DST). The time zones on the city ring are indicated using three-letter IATA codes (international airport codes, e.g. FRA for Frankfurt am Main, LAX for Los Angeles International, DXB for Dubai, etc.) and are displayed in two small windows at 8 o’clock on the dial, one dedicated to Standard Time (STD), the other to Daylight Saving Time (DST). The owner then sets the Perpetual Calendar to reflect the current weekday, date, month and (leap) year.
The extraordinary mechanics of the Grande Cosmopolite Tourbillon are set in motion by the traveller who wishes to change the destination time or who wants to simply observe an additional time zone. If heading East (forwards in time), the traveller turns the crown positioned at 2 o’clock clockwise; if travelling West (back in time), the crown is turned counter-clockwise. If the destination time is ahead or back a day, up to 5 displays of the Perpetual Calendar change accordingly.
The ingenious time machine can handle even a change from March 1st to February 29th or 28th, with no additional manual intervention required. It is an absolutely extraordinary combination of hand-crafted complications – an astonishing achievement, and a world first
for mechanical watches.
This exquisite set of display is put on show on a silver-grained, massive 18 karat gold dial and is framed by milled black Roman numerals and a railroad chapter ring. The 24-hour home time display at 6 o’clock joins the destination time displays in a functional array crowned by an outstanding example of the watchmaker’s art: the Flying Minute Tourbillon, developed in 1920 by one of Glashütte’s most admired master watchmakers and teachers, Alfred Helwig.
The back of the 48mm platinum case frames an antireflective sapphire crystal offering a clear view of this most complicated of manually wound movements, the Glashütte Original manufactory Calibre 89-01 with more than 500 components. The base plate features characteristic Glashütte ribbing, screw-mounted gold chatons, winding wheels and the 72- hour power reserve display. The case back is protected by a platinum hunter case fitted with a graphic presenting 37 time zones, each represented by a three-letter IATA airport code. The masterpiece is fitted with a black Louisiana alligator strap and fold-over clasp in platinum.
As befits this extraordinary example of the art of making watches at Glashütte Original, this grand complication masterpiece is presented in a finely crafted presentation case made of peat bog oak. A stainless steel globe presides over the case, which displays along its sides a series of maps evocative of past and present adventures of discovery around the world. When the exclusive timepiece is placed inside the case, an integrated winding mechanism ensures that the Grande Cosmopolite Tourbillon remains wound running at all times.
Possible changes of the time zones will not cause a problem for the master watchmakers and construction engineers at Glashütte Original in the near future. To the contrary, as a service to its customers, the Saxon watch manufactory will gladly exchange the city ring should there be a change to the time zones in the future. A special personalization is offered to the proud owner who can have his home town – in the form of an IATA code – printed on the city ring.