If a timepiece is a statement of your style and lifestyle, then owning a multiple time-zone watch in the near future might also become a statement of your political leanings – the dress ‘code’ of the more liberal classes. However, with the growing populist and anti-globalisation movements around the world, showing allegiance to global citizenship might come at a price. Let’s hope the pendulum swings.
Century-old Boeing celebrates the 50th anniversary of the unveiling of its 747 ‘Jumbo Jet’ this year, marking a significant turning point in aviation history both then and now. While the Champagne flowed for the well-healed in the bulbous upper deck that was First Class, the ‘Queen of the Sky’ ushered in the age of more affordable international travel for everyone below.
First flown commercially in 1970, 38-years on we see many airlines, particularly in the US, decommissioning their much-loved 747 fleets in favour of smaller, more efficient models. But fear not, your last flight is still some time off with the likes of KLM and Lufthansa having no immediate plans to send them to the desert graveyard.
My first experience of the 747 was almost four decades ago and gave my inner gypsy that first nudge, sending me on an endless adventure to engage with the world. Whether for work or play, most privileged fellow cosmopolites in this so-called borderless world will appreciate the appeal of an attractive tool to keep tabs as they hop time-zones.
In 1969, the same year that the 747 made its first flight, Longines unveiled the Ultra-Quartz, which was the first Swiss quartz movement designed for wristwatches. Back then, those ‘modern’ movements seemed just as exciting as the newly-connected world. Longines features some fine automatic movements in its various ranges, but it’s the evolution of their quartz movements into the ultra-precise Conquest VHP (Very High Precision) quartz calibre that fittingly in the early 80s attracted much of the attention.
This year, Longines has added sporty new GMT models to the collection. The Conquest VHP GMT Flash Setting features an exclusive movement that claims to be precise to within five seconds a year. Its Gear Position Detection system resets the hands in the case of bumpy rides or exposure to magnetic fields and the perpetual calendar extends to the year 2399. You can manually set dual times but with Flash Setting – Longines’ new light-driven management system – globetrotting is a breeze, eliminating the need for mental arithmetic for time-zone adjustments. The system relies on a dedicated smartphone App but does not require WiFi or Bluetooth for connectivity, instead transmitting info via light sequences from your camera flash to a tiny opening at noon on the dial.
With black being the new gold, the 41mm PVD version, R21,000, is more B-2 than B-747, offering a slightly more discrete aesthetic. Also available in steel models, starting at R17,000, with a choice of 41mm or 43mm diameter case with blue, carbon fibre, silvered or black dials. The 43mm PVD will be available in SA at R22,000. Conquest VHP GMT Flash Setting comes with a choice of steel or black PVD bracelets, blue or black rubber straps to complement your purchase. The Vault, 011-684-2023.
WATCH | Longines Conquest VHP GMT Flash Setting: