Sometimes when I am dreaming away with a newspaper or magazine in hand, I find myself thinking how the world seems to become smaller and smaller every passing year.

Somehow it became an accepted norm to fly to neighboring countries for meetings, have colleagues or business partners in continents far off and spend long weekends in a completely different time zone without a second thought.

Today the world is our oyster. The watch industry has anticipated this for years and tried to cater to the world traveler mindset with appropriate timepieces with great success.

Watches with two faces, on a single caliber or sometimes two movements with two crowns to wind the calibers and set the time. In many instances, these watches end up looking busy and showy and are not the right type of watches to wear in a formal business environment.

Pierre Arpels — of Van Cleef & Arpels — a frequent traveler pur sang, designed in 1949 a watch for himself, that still carries his name today: The ‘Pierre Arpels’ watch.

A timepiece with a slim, round case and T-bar lugs, and just two hands and of course… no date window.

This watch is considered to be one of the most elegant gentleman’s watches around. The older, 36mm models were equipped with a mechanical caliber made by Jaeger-LeCoultre, while the current 38 and 42mm models sport a Piaget movement.

As an ode to its creator, when Van Cleef & Arpels decided to add a new model to the collection there could’ve been no better idea than to create a discrete travel watch. One which Pierre Arpels would have loved to travel with himself.

The Pierre Arpels Heure d’ici & Heure d’ailleurs, as it is called, is a serious and distinguished travel watch and is a complete departure from most other dual time zone travel watches.

The earlier mentioned possibilities are certainly fun and great for those who do no need to worry about formalities, but they don’t work as well for the businessman who may need to abide by certain decorum and has no need to show off his intercontinental life.

When Van Cleef & Arpels played with the idea, to launch a travel watch that would meet the wishes of the serious watch fanatic, the designers realized that it would also have to fit in, within the style and heritage of Van Cleef & Arpels’ existing watch collection. It was clear that this watch had to be created in the most symbolic and sober way possible, since it needed to blend in with the Pierre Arpels men’s watch collection.

Starting point was the fact that a jumping hour watch would be the best solution, since only such a complication could keep the dial really clean. After all, the owner should be able to check his watch discreetly, for time at his location and time at home, in the blink of an eye. That is also where the name of this watch comes from, Heures d’ici & Heure d’ailleurs: Time here and time elsewhere.

Just two hour windows, one for time at home and one for time while abroad, in combination with one large retrograde hand for the minutes. It had to be their top of the line men’s watch, powered by a bespoke caliber, which would be as accurate as possible.

Jump hour watches are very attractive to look at, but it can happen easily that the hour jumps just before or just after the 60th minute. And that’s something that Van Cleef & Arpels was not willing to make any compromise on.

The decision that it had to be a jumping hour watch, created the need to leave out excessive elements in favor of only that which is important: Time here and time elsewhere.

In 2009, Agenhor, the company of Jean-Marc Wiederrecht, one of Geneva’s greatest independent watchmakers, was asked to work alongside the maison to develop the movement for the Heures d’ici & Heure d’ailleurs.

In a conversation with Jean-Marc’s son, Nicolas Wiederrecht, I learned that at that time Agenhor’s specialty was primarily in the matter of adding modules to existing base movements. And with such an approach, no solution was found to make a mechanism that was suitable for Van Cleef & Arpels’ pursuit.

Jean-Marc’s traditional construction with a base movement, on which he would add a module of complication, including a retrograde hand in the center, and two very large discs for the two jumping hours, was not suitable for this watch. In fact, the whole mechanism would have been much too thick for a chic Van Cleef & Arpels watch.

The project was even put on hold for a few years, until the Poetic Wish watch was launched. Then, when Wiederrecht realized that he was able to make complete movements just as well, he began to re-think his approach to the Heure d’ici & Heure d’ailleurs movement.

Creating a large and thin movement, so that it could include two large discs for the time zones at the same level, a retrograde hand in the center, an automatic system, and the correction of the second time zone at the crown was suddenly a possibility. Wiederrecht’s work on this movement started again in February 2012 and the first prototypes were ready in August 2013.

For Wiederrecht, who is already well known for his work on the Van Cleef & Arpels Poetic Wish collection, Fabergé’s DTZ and the Hermes Quantieme Perpetual et Double Fuseaux, to name a few, it was the second time that he designed a complicated caliber, completely from the ground up. The Poetic Wish movement was the first.

The result is a very striking movement with amazing finishing. Thanks to the beautifully decorated and almost hidden platinum micro-rotor, which is responsible for keeping the watch’s 40-hour power reserve charged up.

As complex as the caliber is and looks through the sapphire crystal back, it’s amazing how simple and clean looking the dial is. Just one large, white gold polished hand to indicate the minutes and two round windows, one for each of the two time zones.

When the large hand has finished its climb up from 0 the 60th. minute, it falls back to zero and at that very same moment, both time zones jump to the next hour. The result is a simultaneously jumping hours watch, which creates quite a spectacle every hour. It happens so fast that one really needs to concentrate to catch the exact moment.

The time only Pierre Arpels watch, was drastically redesigned in 2012, to give the watch bolder applied gold numerals, a white lacquered dial, with a honey comb pattern in the center, topped it off with a diamond on the crown.

A very stylish symbol that now characterizes the Pierre Arpels collection, just like the smart looking new Art Nouveau styled buckle. The crown is very well designed, as well, making it easy to wind the watch and set the hours and the minutes, for the two time zones.

The Heure  d‘Ici & Heure d’ailleurs is not only a great choice for the man who spends more time abroad than at home, it is also the perfect watch for men working with colleagues and teams in different time zones.

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