Regular readers of Grail Watch know that I have a particular fascination with watches that contain multiple separate movements in a single case. Ever since the Nappey Jumelles Times and Ardath Long Distance of the 1960s, watch makers have used compact “ladies” movements in oversized travel watches for men. Now a modern maker, Alexander Shorokhoff, has done the same, first with the Los Craneos an now with the new Levels model.
I’ve recently written about the odd but surprisingly frequent practice of casing two movements into a single watch. From Nappey to Ardath to respected brands like Hermes and Cartier, many companies have used twin movements in a single watch. But what about squeezing in three, four, or more movements? The development of compact and inexpensive quartz movements made that possible in the 1980s, and this has lead to the creation of many novel oddballs.
Yesterday I talked about the Nappey Jumelles Times, the first dual timezone watch to use two separate movements in a single case. Although that model was quite obscure, today’s watch is much more famous. Ardath took Nappey’s formula and made it famous, producing a line of Long Distance watches that lasted a decade, including special models for Muslims and homemakers, and a cool sports model that reappeared in the 1990s!
You’ve probably never heard of Nappey or the Jumelles Times (“Twin Time”) watch, and for good reason: It was an obscure model in the 1960s that went nowhere. But the idea of a watch with multiple dials showing different timezones has become a common complication today. And it all came from this watch!
The Xeric Xeriscope is not an enjoyable watch. Mine was $349 on Kickstarter, and I feel it’s not worth even that. The finishing and usability is so bad I can’t even enjoy the novelty of the open heart carousel movement. I thought I knew what I was getting, but I didn’t know it would be this bad.
Yesterday on “Watch A Day” I presented my first mechanical watch. Today I’m presenting my first Swiss mechanical. This Maurice Lacroix Grand Guichet GMT has an excellent Swiss movement, a useful complication, and Swiss build quality. But it’s not a GMT and the big date isn’t very big at all.
The last few “Watch A Day” choices were quite inexpensive, but today’s watch is affordable only compared to other options in its class. The Montblanc Homage to Nicolas Rieussec combines unique complications, a special manufacture movement, and an eye-catching look at an attainable if not exactly affordable price. It’s also a comfortable, useful watch for traveling.
Today’s watch is a wonderful travel companion, a versatile and elegant accessory, and a true classic: The Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Duo. This was my first high-end watch and cemented in me a love for Jaeger-LeCoultre.
GMT or multi-timezone watches are one of my favorite complications, but many are so complex (with additional hands and dials) that they’re hard to use. Not so the Nomos Tangomat GMT with its integrated pushbutton time zone feature. In fact, you’d be forgiven for overlooking this handy and well-executed complication despite the clean Germanic look of the Nomos!