The C1 Grand Malvern Worldtimer marks the moment Christopher Ward ‘completes the set’ of premium dress watch models using the dynamic C1 case; it also oﬀers some of the greatest value in the wristwatch world.
In the frst issue of Loupe we ran a piece on the C9 Worldtimer, which saw the frst – and, to date, only – use of the JJ03 Worldtimer module, developed by master watchmaker Johannes Jahnke to work with an ETA 2893 movement. It was a striking piece, and amazing value, but not a conventional watch.
Well, now JJ03 is back, powering that watch’s replacement, the C1 Grand Malvern Worldtimer. This is the last of the company’s premium dress watches to move from the old C9 case to the 43mm version of the more sophisticated C1 Grand Malvern case – but the innovations don’t end there. “We called the old C9 model a ‘Worldtimer’, but it was really more of an unusual, innovative, but – to many people – slightly hard-to-use GMT watch,” says company co-founder Mike France. “A GMT watch gives you the time in two zones simultaneously, but a true Worldtimer lets you see what time it is everywhere in the world at once. And this new watch is very much a Worldtimer.”
On the old one, if you remember, the top of the dial displayed airport codes rather than full city names – LHR for London Heathrow, for instance – which corresponded to red dots on the world map in the centre of the dial. The hour hand was set to 24-hour mode too, meaning it went around the dial once a day, rather than the traditional twice. On the new watch, however, the cities disc features the full names, the map in the centre has changed to a projection centred on the North Pole – and the hour hand works the traditional way, on a easier to comprehend 12-hour cycle. An orange ‘city indicator’ on the dial makes it easy to pick out a favoured time zone – Paris, say – wherever you are in the world.
Worldtimers are, by their nature, ‘busy’ watches, cramming lots of information into a small space. The basic idea is that you can see at a glance the time – and, indeed, day or night status – in each of the world’s 24 major, whole-hour time zones. There are two rings on the outside of the dial: a 24- hour ring with the numbers 1-24 on it, their colouring indicating daylight or nocturnal hours, and a wider cities ring on the very edge of the dial, each city representing one of the 24 main time zones. Use of the worldtimer function is straightforward: line your local time up against your current city using the 24-hour GMT ring, and you can see what time it is anywhere else in the world within the same glance..
Although aﬀordable Worldtimers are a relatively recent proposition, the concept has been around for ages. Take the ‘World Time’ Bonbonnière, for instance. It was made in about 1790, is attributed to Pierre Morand, and has the names of 53 diﬀerent locations engraved around a 24-hour dial.
It was in the early 1930s, though, nearly half a century after Greenwich (London) was established as the prime meridian of the world’s 24 main time zones (and when air travel was becoming established), that Swiss watchmaker Louis Cottier created the frst mechanism to display them all on a single dial. He’d eventually help many of the major brands of the time develop Worldtimers, such as Vacheron Constantin, which, by the end of the ’30s, had produced the frst Worldtimer as a pocket watch, and Patek Philippe, which created the frst Worldtimer wristwatch.
Not so long ago, the only Worldtimers you could buy were incredibly expensive watches, created by just a handful of the very high end brands, but in recent years an increasing number of companies have introduced their versions of these watches. £5,000 is considered remarkable value for any watch oﬀering this functionality, yet the C1 Grand Malvern Worldtimer combines an in-house complication with attractive design, great legibility, and topnotch detailing, all at a ffth of the price. That this elegant watch, more usable than its predecessor, can be had for under £1,000 makes it 2018’s biggest steal.
The C1 Grand Malvern Worldtimer is launched in early November, £995