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Time Hopping: A Guide To The Weird World of Jumping Hours

September 21, 2018

BY Justin Mastine-Frost


Of the many complications on the market today, there’s still something oddly fascinating about a jumping hours display. On one hand, this digital hour display makes checking the time at a cursory glance even more effortless than with a 3-hand watch, and on the other the clever mechanism is a bit of a throwback to early 20th century watchmaking, where the Art Deco era saw a minor boom in jumping hour wristwatches, starting with none other than Audemars Piguet. These days Jumping Hour watches aren’t exactly common, but there are some fine examples out there from a mix of lesser-known brands as well as a few of the industry’s larger players. Thankfully these luxury watches come in all shapes and sizes, meaning our list has options for you regardless of where on the budget spectrum you land.

Reservoir Supercharged Classic

The Reservoir Supercharged Classic

Reservoir Supercharged Classic

Reservoir is a relatively new entrant to the watch world, though by relying on high-level swiss manufacturing they’ve established themselves as a respectable option in the sub-$5k price category. Split out into three core collections—Cars, Aeronautics, and Marine—their designs revolve around instrumentation from these three transportation categories, and are executed to a level that enthusiasts in each group will no doubt appreciate. Looking at the Supercharged classic, its dial and retrograde minute hand has automotive speedometer/tachometer written all over it, while its power reserve indication is more in line with the design of an analog fuel gauge.

A Lange & Soehne Zeitwerk

The Lange & Soehne Zeitwerk

Lange & Sohne Zeitwerk

One of the two true pinnacles of the category, the Lange Zeitwerk not only features a jumping hours complication, but a jumping minutes display as well. While this sounds simple enough, the mechanics required to operate a caliber in this capacity are vastly more complex than you would expect. Lange designed a special remontoir/constant force mechanism built into the mainspring barrel to manage this instantaneous jump, and even with the best of their movement engineers at work, only a modest 36-hour power reserve was possible from the hand-wound caliber. That said, the white gold marvel is unlike anything else from the Lange collection, and a total “gateway watch” for those who would otherwise find the Glashutte-based brand’s creations too conservative.

Bulgari Octo Maserati Gran Sport

Bulgari Octo Maserati GranSport

Unveiled this past year, the Octo Maserati GranSport is the latest release in the brand’s ongoing Maserati partnerships, not to mention one of the coolest auto-inspired jumping hour watches out there right now. By rotating and extending the retrograde minute scale the way they did, its textured dial has an even more automotive vibe than that of the Reservoir. We’ve also long been fans of the Octo line’s complex case across the board, so the pairing of this complication and casing is a total win-win, though we wish a variant was available without the aforementioned Maserati connection.

Meistersinger Salthora Meta X

Meistersinger Salthora Meta X

Meistersinger Salthora Meta X

Back to the more affordable end of the spectrum, the Salthora Meta X is the only diver-style watch we’ve come across with a jumping hours complication. Using a simple Sellita SW200-1 with an in-house designed jumping hours module, the 43mm steel gem is a unique take on the conventional dive watch whose 60-minute timing bezel adds an additional layer of practicality you won’t get out of its siblings.

IWC jumping hours Tribute to Pallweber

IWC Tribute to Pallweber

IWC Jumping Hours Tribute to Pallweber

Designed as a tribute to the Pallweber pocket watch from the very early days of IWC’s origins, the Tribute to Pallweber was unveiled as part of the brand’s 150th anniversary collection this past year at SIHH. Like the Zeitwerk, it features both jumping hours and jumping minutes, powered by a new in-house manufacture caliber with an impressive 50-hour power reserve. At 45mm across it takes up a fair bit more wrist real estate than its German counterpart, but not to the point of that being a strike against it. All told the brand decided to offer three variants of the new piece, a blue lacquer dial in a steel case, and a white dial offered in both red gold and platinum. The steel and gold offerings are limited to 500 pieces each worldwide, whereas only 25 examples of the platinum model will be produced.

Le Rhone Hedonia Dual Time

Le Rhone Hedonia Dual Time

Le Rhone Hedonia Dual Time

A slightly different angle of approach here, albeit a very practical one, the Hedonia Dual Time from the recently launched Le Rhone features a conventional 3-hand local time indication alongside a second “home time” timezone displayed via a two-disk jumping hour display running on a 24-hour scale. The cleverly designed and easy to read piece also benefits from a quick-set mechanism for the local time hand, allowing the hand to be quickly advanced one hour at a time via a broad pusher located at the 10 o’clock position. Its case design has hits of Royal Oak, Overseas, and Nautilus influence to it at first glance, however it’s a touch more chunky on the wrist, and presents quite well in person.



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