Sometimes you see a watch and there’s a jolt of unexpected recognition touched with nostalgia. In the case of the new Universalzeit (Universal Time) from Mortiz Grossmann, this comes in the form of a miniaturised old school world map, with multiple time zones at a glance. It also reminds me of images I’ve seen of old electronic world time maps displayed on walls.
For the new Universalzeit, the dial has apertures with rhodium-plated bevelling that are aligned with coordinates for six cities, with windows showing the hour from 1 to 24. A disc moves under the dial, which is connected to a 24-tooth ratchet wheel. This is printed with digits from 1 to 24, which are arranged at an angle of 15 degrees on six rings. If the minute hand moves over the ‘12’ the disc (ratchet wheel) advances by one position.
There is no time seasonal change in the cities; the Universalzeit indicates the time all year without having to make any adjustments. The hands are polished steel and the seconds hand, ever so slightly curved.
The dial is solid silver with a galvanised base, and a mix of painted and printed decoration for the map, which is a mix of blue and salmon coloured continents. There’s a very traditional look to it – almost like old school classroom maps. The dial has a sunray finish.
Both winding and setting the times are both done using the crown at 3 o’clock. The time in the other windows is automatically synchronised when setting.
The hour hand of the main time is set via the crown at 10 o’clock, with the hour hand corrected using the pusher also situated at 10 o’clock. The hour hand for the main time can be moved forward and backward in hourly increments using the pusher, independent of the disc.
Powering it is the new manually-wound in-house Calibre 100.7 which beats at 18,000 and has a power reserve of 42 hours. As you would expect, it has a shock-resistant Grossmann balance and Breguet terminal curve. There is a stop seconds, and the newy developed module for this world time display.
There is a pillar movement with 2/3 plate in untreated German silver. The finishing and decorative elements include horizontal Glashütte ribbing a floral pattern on the balance, and hand-engraved escape-wheel cocks. The surfaces of other parts are traditionally ground or polished. The ratchet wheel has a triple sunburst finish and polished bevel.
Measuring 44.5mm with a thickness of 13.78mm, the stainless steel watch comes on a brown alligator strap with an RRP of AUD 75,000.
Moritz Grossmann share an interesting historical anecdote in relation to ‘world time’ and this watch. In January 1885 Moritz Grossmann went to Leipzig to present a paper at the Polytechnic Society in the Kaisersaal – “Universal Time and the Introduction to Civil Life”.
[Photo credit: Moritz Grossmann]