Projects goal in commissioning 17 icons of 20th Century Architecture to design a watch, was to create a wearable homage to the vision which created our century’s cultural touchstones; Museums and performing arts centers. A visit to a museum or arts center is as much an exploration of architecture as of art.
By recognizing the architect’s contribution to the world of the arts, “Building Timepieces” transforms a symbol of time, the watch, into a symbol of timelessness.
The inspiration behind the watches in this collection is as varied as the architectural and design talent it brings together. James Ingo Freed’s “Time Machine” is based on the astrolabe, which dates back to the late 15th century. An instrument that served primarily for determining the altitude of the stars, moon, and sun, it went out of use because it was incapable of great precision. No clock could have been constructed before the toothed gear.
For Antoine Predock, it was the Pantheon in Rome that gave rise to the design of his watch. The “High Museum Watch,” designed by Richard Meier, focuses upon the interplay of space and light, reflecting the essence of the Museum’s soul. Coop Himmelb(l)au’s “Vision of Johanna” (thank you Bob Dylan) is a replication of the firm’s Groninger Museum design. Francois de Menil’s “Contemplation Watch” draws our attention to the passage of large units of time, i.e., centuries: the raised number 13 represents the century Fresco murals created; the raised number 20 represents the century in which the Frescos were transposed through his Chapel Museum project.
It is this kind of attention to detail that makes each and every watch in the collection unique.