Watches: Oris Greenwich Mean Time Limited Edition (+live pics)

By Thierry Ané on June 19, 2014

Before the invention of clocks, the time of day was determined on sundials thanks to the apparent solar time which is typically different for every settlement. A first standardisation occurred when well-regulated mechanical clocks became widespread in the early 19th century as each city began to use some local mean solar time. Although a step in the right direction, this system still left the world with hundreds of standard times which became increasingly awkward as rail transport and telecommunications improved towards the end of the 19th century.

At that time, Scottish-born Canadian Sir Sandford Fleming had the idea of a global 24-hour clock, conceptually located at the centre of the Earth and not linked to any surface meridian. This chief engineer at the Canadian Pacific Railway had to advocate his system at several international conferences before a universal day of 24 hours beginning at Greenwich midnight was finally adopted at the International Meridian Conference in October 1884.

To celebrated the 130th anniversary of this milestone in history of timekeeping, Oris has just unveiled the Greenwich Mean Time, a limited edition of 1,000 pieces that pays tribute to the time zones as we know them with one of the brand’s most advanced movements to date, the 690 calibre.

Based on the ETA 2836-2 calibre, this automatic movement with a power reserve of 38 hours features a second time zone module that can be set in both directions. Indeed, the second time zone jumps back and forth whenever the wearer presses the pushers located respectively at 8 and 4 o’clock. For convenience, this model also features a day-night indicator associated with the secondary time zone.

In a style characteristic of the Artelier line, these sophisticated models feature a silver dial with a guilloché motif and applied nickel hour markers. The leaf-shaped hands are filled with SuperLuminova to ensure an optimal legibility in all conditions. Located at 3 o’clock, the second time zone dial presents a subtle globe depicting the world’s time zones in the background. Realised in shades of grey, this motif does not alter the classic elegance of the dial.

The Greenwich Mean Time is housed in a beautifully polished redesigned 42 mm Artelier case that looks elegant and contemporary. In tribute to the man responsible for our 24-hour time zone system, the case back is engraved with Sir Sandford Fleming’s portrait in front of a globe and is marked with the inscription “Greenwich Mean Time Limited Edition”. It is mounted on a dark brown calfskin leather strap with a crocodile pattern but a version with steel bracelet is also available. They are both secured by a stainless steel folding buckle and presented in a luxurious wood keepsake box. It retails for CHF 3,300.

Like the rest of this brand’s production, this Greenwich Mean Time is a quality timepiece that will stand the test of time. It offers an original take on a very useful complication and is, at the same time, modern and classic enough to be the perfect daily companion.

For a technical description of the timepieces and additional pictures: