Sunday, September 27, 2009

A little bit of Esperanto and a big bit of German

Established in 1881 in La Chaux-de-Fonds by the then 19 year old Achilles Ditesheim, Movado (Esperanto for "always in motion") is perhaps best known for what is known as the "Museum Watch", designed by American industrial designer Nathan George Horwitt.

Distinguished by a solitary gold dot at the twelve o'clock position representing the sun at high noon, the original Museum Watch was designed in 1947.  Horwitt's original design featured a plain black face and a white disk at twelve o'clock.  Movado copied the design in 1948. Horwitt sued, and it took twenty seven years for the case to be settled. During this time, it was added to the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in 1960, the first watch to be given such an honour, and at which point it became known by its current name.

In 1975, Movado finally settled with Horwitt for $29,000 and since Horwitt’s death in 1990 at the age of 92 (his last career being that of an organic farmer), Movado has heavily promoted Horwitt and his watch.

I first heard about the Museum Watch when I was fairly young. I'm not really sure how old I was exactly, but I think that I was probably around 10.  The idea of it being the first watch accepted into MOMA appealed to me, and I determined that at some point, I'd get one.

The problem with having a "want" that is always available is that one never really ends up being terribly motivated to take the plunge, and so literally decades passed.....

Onto 2009 and for some reason I thought of it again.  A discussion with Tart Tom lead to the advice that if I was going to get one, why not go for one with a Zenith movement? I had no idea that there were any, but Tom convinced me that if I was going to go down the Museum route, that this was the way to go.

The Tarts often send each other links to watches that they know each other is interested in, and so it was that I came across the Movado Museum that is now mine. With thanks to onomatopia for finding it, and to P, I am now the proud owner of this watch :

Movado Zenith Museum
17J manual wind
Gold plated Bezel / SS Back

Just as an aside, Zenith became a member of the Mondia-Zenith-Movado holding company in 1969 and in 1971, the American Zenith Radio Corporation took a majority stake in the M-Z-M group.

After receiving my new watch, I went in search of a new strap, as the Canadian made lizard strap, though of a sufficient length, was not long enough for my personal preferences.  Happily for me, my favourite watchmaker Max happened to have some Movado straps in his possession.

Even more happily, I got to see the MeisterSinger Granmatik.

What can I say except that it is one big horological bundle of fun! At 52mm it is obviously a ridiculously sized watch and not suitable for probably 99.99% of the population, but unlike some other monster sized watches that I've seen, like the 3 movement dialled Glycine Airman, I found that this one made me smile.

Okay then again that could be solely because I have a soft spot for MeisterSinger one handed watches....

This one uses a ETA2824-2 automatic movement, is 52 mm with a height 14 mm and weighs 135g. It is the only one available in Australia so for those of you who are interested, get cracking!



Anonymous said...

The Meistersinger makes the Movado look like a pimple on a pumpkin!
And the three dial Glycine is pretty cool even if it doesn't make you smile!

The Sydney Tarts said...

The question about the Glycine is whether, when you get it serviced, you are charged for three watches or one, given it has three movements LOL. The MS is one huge puppy.