March felt like a decade, April passed in a flash and May feels like it’s barely happening. From the confines of our homes, the passage of time has taken on a different texture of late, the minutes and hours by turn stretched and compressed in the maw of isolation. In other words, what better time for the comforting presence of a wristwatch? For design lovers seeking respite from the temporal void, here are our top five architecture-inspired timepieces.
The clean lines and elegant geometries of these I.M. Pei–inspired watches make for a simple standout. Honouring the Pritzker Prize winner, Breda’s budget-friendly eponymous collection features a 41-millimetre stainless steel case and a stitched leather strap. The quartz timepieces come in a range of colours and finishes.
2019 was the year of Bauhaus appreciation. Timed to the movement’s 100th anniversary, a wave of Bauhaus-inspired products hit the shelves. The Swatch Group got in on the action, using the primary colours and distinct geometries of Bauhaus design – hinting at the likes of Wassily Kandinsky and Marcel Breuer – to create an unpretentious and subtly playful homage.
Colour me Corb? A leading proponent and pioneer of colour theory, Le Corbusier designed the “Architectural Polychromy” system – consisting of 63 harmonized hues that embody spatial and emotional effects – which is the point of reference for Swiss brand Rado’s striking monochrome collection. The limited series is available in a wide range of Le Corbusier–approved hues.
It’s not so much Bauhaus-inspired as (almost) pure Bauhaus. Designed by architect and industrial designer Max Bill – a notable apprentice of Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee and Oskar Schlemmer – Junghans’ collection of mechanical watches was launched in 1961 and remains largely unchanged to this day. While the watches were produced decades after the Bauhaus heyday, Bill’s pedigree offers a rare direct lineage with the century-old design school.
Bauhaus is a theme here. Combining a minimalist aesthetic with a subtle homage to early modernism, NOMOS Glashütte’s classic Tangente collection has remained a staple of the luxury German watchmaker’s portfolio for over 25 years. The typography of the Tangente 101‘s 35-millimetre watch face nods to the legendary design school’s aesthetic, while maintaining an appropriately pared down look.
From Bauhaus to Le Corbusier and I.M. Pei, these wristwatches translate architectural inspiration to the personal scale.