Vintage Watch Blog.
Okay guys, this isn't your traditional blog piece from me. But I spent so much research on a particular Museum Watch I have for sale, that I just had to share. So Here you go, my official description of this watch. It's a fun historical watch fact to read.
11/14/2016 TBD - in research.
11/15/2016 100% original Movado Museum high beat manual wind in 14k Solid Yellow gold; with original crystal, crown, strap and buckle. This could be a very rare piece. Please stand by for more information as I gather it - or you may just purchase it. Thank you.
11/19/2016 - okay, after much research, and I will tell you I wish I took pictures of the movement before my watchmaker serviced it because it appears to be a top loader with a 1 piece case; and the research would have been so much easier. This watch appears to be one of the original unauthorised versions of the Museum Watch circa 50s. The case construction is suggestive of the 50s, along with several other elements of the watch like it's original acrylic crystal and the fact that it's a manual wind movement with a frequency of 21600; which puts it in the caliber 15-18 family, a suitable caliber for this watch, - which was produced in the 50s and before any Zenith collaborations. This would be considered high beat at the time because most Movado calibers only had a frequency of 18000. Further support for this evidence, is that the original dial is signed just movado...while 60s and 70s and maybe even some 80s pieces were co-branded Movado Zenith. So at this point you may be like, okay Adam why is this so important? Well, let's start with the sorted story of how this watch was conceived.
Designed in 1947 by Bauhaus-influenced artist Nathan George Horwitt, the watch dial has a very simple design dial defined by a solitary dot at 12, symbolizing the sun at high noon. This design created a crazy phenomenon for at least 40 years, starting in the 60s, and is now making a comeback. When the design was conceived, it was well received by the elite modern art designers at the time, but the general public just wasn't ready to wear anything like this...I mean just look at every design from the 40s-50s and you'll see nothing like this because people wouldn't buy it. So, Horwitt, well known for attempting to sell his wildly modern designs, approached Vacheron Constantin-Jaeger LeCoultre and they must have struck a deal to produce a few to test the market. This was very short lived and the partnership on this design must have crumbled quickly because production stopped and there are almost none of these watches found on the market - it is however in the permanent design collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, in 1960, the first watch dial ever awarded this distinction.
So how did Movado get involved? Well, it appears that the folks at Movado loved the design and saw a bright future for the watch. They literally copied the design without permission and started producing what now is known as the most recognized watch in modern history; and very few people know that this was actually an exact copy of the original design and not the original design itself. That said, it fairly went unnoticed in the 50s; but in the 60s and moving forward, this design took the watch world by storm - likely because it earned the distinction it did coining it the Museum Watch. Rightfully so, the actual Museum Watch in the Museum of Modern Art, was produced by Vacheron.
As you can imagine, Horwitt was not too happy that Movado, who he never officially sold the design to, was reaping all the benefits. Finally in 1975; Horwitt and Movado settled; making Movado the official owner of the design. Surprisingly, the settlement was for a small sum of $29,000.
Okay, now back to why this watch is so important. It represents this sorted story before the story really took form. It's one of the original Museum Watches in which the design was sort of stolen in a way by Movado. They are extremely hard to find because people still didn't accept them in the 50s, therefore very few were produced. This is an exciting piece to have in any vintage watch collection.
If you are interested in another perspective, Ariel Adams did a really nice write up about the Movado Museum Watch.
Adam J. Dubilo, founder of Adam Vintage
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