Saturday, 10 May 2008

Art Watches

Up until the middle of last century, the fine line between what was art and watch design had not been trespassed. In the late 1950s, an American, George Horwitt, a disciple of the Bauhaus movement mooted the theory that machine-inspired aesthetics would be used for everyday objects. His watch design, famous for its simplicity and still available today, features a plain black dial with a single gold dot marking 12 o'clock. It was the first watch face that was permanently put on display as part of the Design Collection at the New York Museum of Modern Art and became known as "The Museum Watch".

In 1961, it was acquired by Movado and has since inspired an entire collection of Movado watches, known collectively as "The Movado Museum Watch Collection". A very thin Movado quartz movement was used to replicate the flatness of Horwitt's design.

Since then, many watch companies have commissioned contemporary artists to either design a specific piece or to grant permission for a work of art to be incorporated into a time piece. Thus was born the Art Watch, meant to be taken more seriously than as the result of whimsy. Most art watches reflect contemporary motifs rather than classicism.

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