OWC World Timer
If you are new to the microbrand watch scene, you may be thinking that the OWC World Timer is one of the latest from an upstart brand. Orange Watch Company (OWC) has been around for about 10 years now though, hailing from Australia and a brand that really does go all out to build the best watch they can. Unlike some brands these days who take an existing design and/or case and slap a new dial in it to make it their own, OWC is constantly sourcing new manufacturers and making sure their watches are the best they can be for the price. The World Timer is a unique piece in that not only is it a true Super Compressor but can also track multiple time zones using the steel engraved bezel. Available with two different movements, this piece is not exactly on the cheap side, but it is also not a factory catalog piece and once you pick it up, you can tell this is not your average microbrand.
Case Diameter (no crown) 40.5mm
Lug Gap 20.0mm
Crystal (Sapphire) 4.5mm
Bracelet 20.0mm x 4.0mm (non-tapering)
End links Solid
All links removable via Torx screws
Bezel Stainless Steel with engraved markings
C3 SuperLumiNova Luminescence (hands and dial)
Dial Colors: Black
Complications: Date or No Date
Seagull ST-1812 Automatic (2892-A2 clone)
Sellita SW300-1 Elaborate Top Regulation (Chronometer Grade)
Case Back Stainless Steel with 6 Torx Screw (Torque: 0.175 Nm approx.)
Price as shown $1699 (SW300 Movement)
By far one of the biggest standout features of the OWC World Timer is the fact it is a true Super Compressor case. These days, Super Compressor cases are most often associated with cases that have dual crowns. While it is true that some of the most famous Super Compressor cases from brands like Wittenauer, Enicar, Benrus, and many more made by EPSA, the dual crowns do not make an SC. The WT and other watches from OWC utilize a crystal that has a retaining ring with the case back being retained by 6 screws. Both crystal and case back move inwards as pressure increases and makes the case more water-resistant. Simple but effective. Beyond that, here is all that goes into making their line of watches stand out in a crowd:
"Screwed in pendant (not press-fit or glued); Case Back secured using screws, because a threaded back will never fit flat or flush with the O-rings due to the threads; Torx screws – because they are better. They seal better, minimize burring and slippage, more tamper-resistant (http://www.orangewatchcompany.com/torx-design/); O-rings – top, bottom, in the crown in the pendant, under the crystal, everywhere needed; Extra thick sapphire crystal – because we want to be sure; Crystal retaining ring – because we do not want the watch to leak or the crystal to break during decompression. It maintains the integrity of the case; Bracelet links are thicker than most and use individual Torx screws. There are no pins or hidden fixings; Knurling – minimizes slipping; One of the thinnest cases tested to 30ATM, because comfort matters too."
The term tool watch can and is definitely overused, but similar to Elliot Brown watches, OWC watches absolutely fit the category. These watches are purpose-built, easy to use, easy to read (with a gorgeous and clear inner AR-coated sapphire crystal), and intended for hard use. The dial of the OWC World Timer is bright, clean, and really beautiful as well. A sunray style black dial, that really looks more charcoal grey the majority of the time is contrasted with a yellow outer half-ring that highlights the 24 hour time and of course orange accents on the logo and second hand. For those that are like me, fret not, the WT is available with a no date option, so you won’t be stuck with the @##$&@@ 4:30 date placement.
For those wondering, setting a second-time zone is pretty straightforward, but this is not your standard GMT. As you have seen, this watch lacks a fourth hand that you would use to set to another time zone. Instead, you use the cities engraved on the steel bezel and turn the bezel to the appropriate city of the time zone you want to track. The bezel is extremely solid and easy to grip, with the knurling around the bezel that matches the knurling on the crown, making sure you can use both no matter what you are wearing on your hands or how wet or slick your hands may be.
Chronometer-Grade movements are not inexpensive, and the SW-300 movement used in the OWC World Timer definitely contributes to the $1699 price tag. OWC claims the movements are Top Regulation and tested thoroughly alongside the watches as they are hand-assembled, but they are not sent for actual COSC certification. That said, I have found the accuracy to be pretty close to COSC accuracy, with it gaining just 2 seconds per day, measured over a 4 day period. If you can’t shell out that much cash, you can opt for the Seagull movement, which is an ETA 2892 clone. I will admit, I have not had a lot of experience with this movement over the years, maybe only 1 or 2 watches, but seeing how serious OWC is about their watches, I doubt one would have any issues.
A tool watch should have excellent lume, and the OWC World Timer fits the bill, but it is not the brightest watch in the dark. You may be scratching your head if you have already looked at the photo below, but I chose to add two photos for a reason. The WT uses C3 SuperLumiNova and is generously applied, but it is not as crazy bright as some watches are known to be. Fortunately, the green glow will last a decent amount of time, so if you are wanting to see the time after a few hours in bed, or at that movie theater, you will have no issue at all. The photo below though is right after I charged it up with a UV light, and shows how some over-exposure and camera settings can make lume look fantastic for a pic on the ‘Gram.
More realistic, this is what you can expect the lume to look like-
Unfortunately, not everything on the OWC World Time is perfect. The Oyster-style solid bracelet looks great on the curved watch case, can easily be removed with Torx screws both in the lugs and bracelet links, and balances the weight of the solid watch head.
The problem is the clasp. With a watch such as this, you would expect some kind of heavy-duty flip-lock clasp, or maybe even one of the ratchet-extension deals we have become accustomed to the past decade. Instead, we get a push-button butterfly depolyant clasp, that just feels out of place. It closes securely enough, and the bracelet does include two half links (one on each side), but getting the right fit can be problematic, and overall with this clasp and due to the bracelet having no taper, I have always found it to be uncomfortable. Sized, with 2 1/2 links removed, I can wear it a few hours before I need to take it off. Maybe it is just my wrist shape, but I still think a simple clasp change would put this watch in the A+ category.
I believe the OWC World Timer to be one of the newest models from OWC, but if you like this model and wondering what is coming next, you may be waiting quite a while? Why you ask. Well, unlike many microbrands that want to release 2-3 new models a year, this Australian-based brand takes things a little slower and instead looks to constantly improve their current models, always striving to use the best materials and manufacturers. They may even release a new version of a model that to your eyes, has no noticeable differences to your eye, but improvements were made, whether it be better seals or gaskets, new hands, new screws for a bezel, or an even better sapphire crystal. OWC really seems committed to making the best watch they can, instead of churning out new model after new model. Let’s just hope they can source a great clasp for the bracelet sometime soon.