Worldtimers occupy an interesting place in horology, especially in our increasingly hyper-technological world. If one were to ask, “What time is it in Hong Kong right now?” the answer is just a few clicks and an Internet search engine away. And yet, there is a strange romanticism in being able to answer that question with a simple glance of the wrist, via an intricate mechanical object that is the result of a centuries-long craft. The worldtimer allows for its wearer to identify the time anywhere in the 24 time zones around the world, and it is this complication that Hong Kong-based watchmaker ZTAGE brings to the forefront in its limited-edition 2022 release, the Earth Hour.
ZTAGE was founded in 2017, and its primary focus is to combine in-house design with traditional Swiss watchmaking techniques. Every watch is produced and assembled in Switzerland, adjusted for accuracy in five positions, and then sent back to the ZTAGE headquarters in Hong Kong where it undergoes a rigorous final 240-hour inspection to ensure that each timepiece is of the highest quality.
The ZTAGE Earth Hour Worldtimer (Ref. 240211) comes in a sleek-looking black PVD-coated case made out of 316L medical-grade stainless steel. The watch measures in at 43mm-wide, 13.5mm-thick, and a very manageable 50mm lug-to-lug distance — welcome news for those with smaller wrists who find most modern worldtimers too large and unwieldy to wear. The dial utilizes an alternating white, gray, and black color palette for maximum readability, which is an exceptionally important quality given the myriad details found on this watch. The cities representing the 24 time zones are neatly printed on the rehaut surrounding the inner rotating 24-hour disc, and the hour indices and handset sport a generous amount of Swiss Super-LumiNova material. The standout design element, however, is the center dial cutout featuring a graphic of the Northern Hemisphere which itself is also coated in SuperLumi-Nova, making for a highly unique and legible low-light wearing experience. The date window at 6 o’clock is neatly executed with an outline that mimics the layout of the individual hour markers but contains just the right amount of depth to stand out without introducing additional clutter to the dial.
The watch case itself utilizes an interesting lug structure by which the lugs themselves are divided into two separate components and then inserted and secured to the case from both sides. This, along with the various layers of the watch, from the 24-hour chapter ring to the dial graphic to the timezone flange, gives the watch a distinct visual texture while keeping legibility at a maximum. The nine total case components are polished in over 30 steps, creating a luxurious interplay of satin and polished lines.
Inside, the watch is powered by the ZTAGE Caliber 1100, a modified 21-jewel Soprod movement operating at 4Hz with hacking seconds, a 42-hour power reserve, and a respectable accuracy of +/- 6 seconds per day. The watch offers 50 meters of water resistance, and the dial is topped with a sapphire crystal treated with seven layers of anti-reflective coating. The crown is set with a luminous bead insert, a unique finishing touch that certainly meshes well with the overall luminescent aesthetic of the watch. The watch comes on a double-layered, carbon fiber-patterned nylon strap with a fluorocarbon rubber lining underneath that’s secured by a matching black PVD-coated deployant buckle.
Beyond its aspirations as a luxury watch brand, ZTAGE looks to create timepieces that show concern for global issues. As such, a portion of profits from the sale of the Earth Hour will be donated to the Hong Kong chapter of the World Wildlife Fund. The ZTAGE Earth Hour is limited to 200 pieces worldwide, and the price is 2250 CHF. For more information, visit the ZTAGE website at www.ztagewatch.com
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