It used to be all about tourbillons and minute repeaters and complex chronographs, but if there is one genuinely useful complication that has been getting more attention from luxury watch brands lately, then it is the dual time zone display. The latest, and one of the most comprehensive additions to the ever-growing family of multiple time zone watches is the Bulgari Hora Domus.
In today’s world where it is not at all unusual to be wearing a luxury timepiece when traveling, functions that can actually make the frequent traveller’s life easier appear to be getting traction… especially since, if the design and brand name is up there, the “power to impress” is not at all diminished. Bulgari knows that and dressed the Hora Domus (latin for Home Time) into this powerful, double-ellipse-shaped case that seems to fair really well at holding more complicated and, consequently, more massively sized movements – see this Bulgari Carillon Minute Repeater Tourbillon for further reference.
Dual time-zone watches are based on the idea that the main hands, meaning the two similar-looking hour and minute hands (with the Hora Domus those would be the lume-filled gold hands) indicate your local time, while a secondary hand indicates your home time, so you can keep track of your home office hours or when your family and friends can be reached.
This secondary home time indication can either work on a 12- or 24-hour scale – the key issue with the former is that it can get confusing to know whether it’s AM/PM at home, and definitely is less convenient than being able to tell at a glance what time it is back home. While the Bulgari Hora Domus has a 12-hour home time display, it is linked to an AM/PM indicator just above the Bulgari logo in the center of the dial.
Things are quick to get complicated once you start to add city names to go with the secondary hour hand: the Bulgari Hora Domus can indicate any two of 24 full-hour timezones, and you can switch between them using the pusher set into the case at the 4 o’clock position. By each press of the button both the upper and lower apertures of the dial are advanced by one increment, and the local time’s hour hand (the lumed one) is also advanced by one.
What happens at this time is that you are adjusting the time for where you are at the moment (say, after getting to your destination from an intercontinental flight), while the skeletonized hour hand remains stationary, fixed to your home time. There is a small aperture below the center of the dial with a triangle in it, always pointing up or down to show your actual time-zone.
Don’t let the two city apertures confuse you: they are linked in the sense that the two you see are always “at the other end of the world” or 12 hours apart. To take the image above as an example: the lower window shows Bangkok and the little triangle is pointing towards it, while the AM/PM indicator shows AM. This means that you are now in Bangkok (along with our amazing copy editor and contributor, Zen) and the time is 10:08AM.
However, by pressing the pusher at 10 o’clock, you can advance the AM/PM indicator and magically you’ll be in New York. Simple as that.
The coolest, and more rare functionality of the Bulgari Hora Domus is that you can adjust it to daylight savings time by pressing the pusher set into the side of the case at the 8 o’clock position (no more pushers, we promise). This is a rare feat even though it really should be present in more multiple time zone watches to avoid confusion.
Powering all this time- and space-traveling madness is Bulgari’s in-house-made BVL 191 automatic movement along with an also in-house-made module. Just by looking at the two images above, you’ll see how much wider the module needs to be when compared to the BVL191 base so as to accommodate the two wide, and hence very legible discs, carrying the city names. This larger module is what necessitates the hefty, albeit not entirely unusual 45-millimeter-wide case.
Available in pink gold with a black or silver dial, the Bulgari Hora Domus is priced at around €36,000 and will be available starting around October, 2016. bulgari.com