Iconic clock designs have found their way into wristwatches in the past — see Mondaine’s evocation of the Swiss Railway clocks and the Lange Zeitwerk’s tribute to the Dresden Semper Opera House clock — and this week’s Watch to Watch carries on that tradition in a truly unique way: the Austrian-made Normalzeit is a wrist-worn version of Vienna’s classical urban Cube Clock.
Designed for the City of Vienna at the turn of the 20th Century, the first Vienna Cube Clock was installed in the city center in 1907; over the years, 78 of them would be erected throughout the city’s public thoroughfares, indicating the “Normalzeit,” or Standard Time, before being replaced by more modern clocks in 2007. The historical clocks, and their trademark rights, were purchased that year by Austrian art trading firm Lichterloh, which partnered with Vienna-born, New York-based watch designer Fredi Brodmann to create a wristwatch based on their now-famous design.
The Normalzeit wrist watch — limited to 1,907 numbered pieces, a nod to the year of the Cube Clock’s origin — is as close as one could come to a miniaturized version of Austria’s famous public timekeeper for the wrist. Its octagonal case shape (unlike any other in the industry, as far as I’ve been able to determine); deltoid-shaped indices and dots for the minute markers; and distinctive, thick arrow-shaped hour and minute hands, as well as the “Normalzeit” lettering below 12 o’clock, are identical to those used on the clock. The stark, white dial is coated with luminous material, making the watch easy to read in the dark.
The Normalzeit watch is outfitted with a mechanical automatic movement from Japan, Seiko’s Caliber NH35A, which carries a power reserve of 41 hours when fully wound. The smoothly-edged case is made of 316L stainless steel, with a sapphire crystal protecting the dial, and is water-resistant to 50 meters. The watch is offered on either a silicone or genuine leather strap with a simple steel pronged buckle. Best of all, you can place this little slice of historic Vienna on your wrist for just $500.