Citizen sent a photographer around the globe to capture multiple sunsets in a single day

by Felix Esser

posted Monday, October 6, 2014 at 4:44 PM EDT

In a rather clever advertising campaign, watch maker Citizen had British landscape photographer Simon Roberts take a trip around the Arctic Circle and photograph the sunset in as many different time zones as possible -- all within a single day. The journey was made possible with the help of classic paper maps, precise calculations, and of course the new Citizen Eco-Drive SATELLITE WAVE F100 wrist watch.

In order to travel as far around the world as possible, Roberts and his team decided to travel close to the artic circle, where the Earth is rotating more slowly and its circumference is much smaller than further south. By travelling to the west, the team was able to effectively make time stand still, as they were moving in the opposite direction of the Earth's rotation. This allowed them to keep the same approximate angle towards the sun for a whole day, capturing the sunset in seven different timezones all the way from UTC 0 in Iceland to UTC -7 in northwestern Canada.

The final Citizen ad (still capture from the video)

Since the team was travelling so far up in the north, they were unable to rely on their plane's navigation system and radio connection. So they had to resort to more traditional methods of navigation: old-fashioned paper maps, the sun's position in the sky as well as the Citizen Eco-Drive SATELLITE WAVE F100, which according to Citizen adjusts to each new time zone within 3 seconds.

During their travel around the globe, Roberts and his team had to stop twice to refuel the plane, the second time so far up north that outside temperatures were around -50°C (-58°F), which made filming impossible. The crew also had to refuel the place in 20 minutes that time, as a prolonged stay would have caused the oil to get gloopy (which apparently is an actual technical term), essentially stranding them somewhere in the arctic circle, surrounded only by ice and polar bears.

In the end though, it appears the journey was worth the effort. The final Citizen ad features a unique composite of sunsets that were taken in eight different time zones on the same day, all at the exact same hour. And which photographer can claim to have been chasing the light quite as literally as Simon Roberts did in this project?

Below, you can watch the making-of video that documents the project before and during the actual flight. For more background information and in order to see all the 24 images that made it into the final Citizen ad, head over to Citizen's 'Chasing Horizons' minisite.

(via SLR Lounge)