Movado, which made headlines last year with its release of a new series of smartwatches, returns to the iconic watch design that put the brand on the map back in the mid-20th century. Here’s what you need to know about the Movado Museum Classic.
Aficionados of horological history are aware of how Movado’s now-iconic Museum Watch and its instantly recognizable dial design came to be, but for those who are not, here’s the story in a nutshell. American industrial designer Nathan George Horwitt (1898-1990) came up with the idea of a simple black dial with no numbers or indices, and only a single gold dot at the 12 o’clock position, in 1946. The dot, according to Horwitt, was meant to symbolize the sun at high noon, an essential element in early timekeeping. The design was adopted for a watch dial in 1947 (a watch actually produced by Vacheron Constantin, then known as Vacheron & Constantin, and Jaeger-LeCoultre, with Movado beginning series production of the model now known as the Museum Watch a year later, in 1948. Heavily influenced by the Bauhaus movement in its avant-garde design, the Movado Museum Watch got its name after the very first version was selected by New York’s Museum of Modern Art for its permanent collection in 1959. Movado has created numerous successful variations on it ever since, including versions with date windows, indices, artistic dials, and even chronograph functions.
For this new model, Movado goes back to the understated simplicity of Horwitt’s original concept. The round case is a contemporary 40 mm in diameter and made of stainless steel treated with a yellow-gold PVD. The black lacquered dial has gold-toned dauphine hands for the hours and minutes (a departure from the stick hands on Horwitt’s original), and only the famous gold-toned, concave dot at 12 o’clock for timekeeping orientation. The crystal is sapphire; the movement is quartz (the Museum Watch has always been more about iconic design than technological complexity). It comes on a black calfskin leather strap with a pin buckle in yellow-gold PVD-treated stainless steel, matching the case material.
The Movado Museum Classic is available at retail, priced at $595.