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October 1999

Timepieces Data & Statistics

Know Time

GMT: It's on the watch, now here's what it means

Organizers of the official millennium event in England have created a Web site to educate the public about time and the events they plan to hold in Greenwich to mark the new millennium. Included are definitions of time topics, including GMT, or Greenwich Mean Time, which appears on many aviator and multiple time– zone watches. To inform your customers, here's the brief description of GMT.

Greenwich Mean Time was established to aid naval navigation when the globe started to open up with the "discovery" of America in the 15th century. England chose Greenwich as its center for time in 1675. Meanwhile, much of central Europe used Zurich as its center for time. If having two centers wasn't confusing enough, the U.S. had more than 300
different local times by the 1800s.

In 1884, the International Meridian Conference in Washington, DC, divided the world into 24 belts of one– hour time zones of 15° longitude each. Following the leads of the U.S. and England, world officials chose Greenwich as the starting point. Points east or west were referred to according to the number of time zones between local time and Greenwich Mean Time. See

Among many GMT watches, this Panerai allows the user to quickly tell Greenwich Mean Time. Panerai, Vendôme Luxury Group, Shelton, CT; (877) PANERAI.

Copyright © 1999 by Bond Communications.


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