Alexander Belopolsky email@example.com added the comment:
On Tue, Jul 20, 2010 at 11:39 AM, Tim Peters firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
.. As I recall it, the current wording was just to avoid saying "ahead of UTC" or "behind UTC" (which was the original wording).
Interesting. I actually like the original wording better. For me, "my watch is 6 hours behind UTC" makes it clear that when the Big Ben clock shows tea time (18:00), my watch displays noon (17:00 - 6:00 = 12:00.)
I wonder if east/west is somehow more natural for native speakers of English. I would really like to hear more from the international audience. When it comes to measuring time there are many interesting traditions that don't translate well between nations. For example, I've heard that in the Far East, the future is considered to be behind because you can see the past but you cannot see the future. If this is the notion that you are used to, time being ahead or behind can be truly confusing.