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Hands-On The Mido 'Inspired By Architecture' Limited Edition, Inspired By The Guggenheim Museum

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Mido has been drawing inspiration for some of its designs from architecture – both ancient and modern – for many years and this year, Mido went on a world tour of 60 architectural sites in 12 cities, in search of the building that would act as the basis for a new, architecture-influenced design. The last stop of the tour was in New York, last October, when the company announced that the chosen building would be a classic of modern architecture: the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. 

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Interior and skylight of the Guggenheim Museum; Wikipedia

The Guggenheim seems an apt choice; the building lends itself to a horological interpretation both in terms of its formal language, and in terms of the experience it's designed to create for visitors. Architect Frank Lloyd Wright's creation was originally designed to house Solomon R. Guggenheim's collection of "non-objective art" and Wright's notion was that visitors would take an elevator to the top floor of the Museum, and then walk down the internal spiral ramp, exiting at the bottom – where the skylit atrium would act as the final visual experience. The design was controversial from the outset; Wright's detractors felt that, as Lewis Mumford put it, "Wright has allotted the paintings and sculptures on view only as much space as would not infringe upon his abstract composition." However, in the years since its opening in 1959, the Museum has become enormously popular and is now considered a classic of mid-century architecture.

The watch inspired by the Museum is called, logically enough, the Inspired By Architecture timepiece, which is being produced in a 500 piece limited edition. The case (40mm x 12mm, 50 meters water resistance) directly reflects the spiraling shape of the Museum's exterior, which is thought to have been inspired (as was the interior, for that matter) by the shell of the marine mollusc known as the chambered nautilus. 

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One of the defining features of the Guggenheim Museum is the material from which it's made: poured concrete. (Interestingly enough, Wright's original plan for the Museum called for a rather bilious pink exterior which I can only imagine would have somewhat altered the building's impact; the New York Times has written, "The thought of a pink Guggenheim leads down a rabbit hole of alternative New York history.") Concrete made it possible for the Museum to have a smoothly flowing exterior, and the Inspired By Architecture watch has a dial whose recesses reflect the Guggenheim's skylight, and texture and color reflect its exterior (fortunately for us and Mido, not bathroom-basin pink).

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The movement is something quite interesting: the Mido caliber 80 Si, which is based on an ETA C07.821. It's not an especially large movement, at 11 1/2 lignes (25.60mm x 5.22mm) but it is fitted with a silicon balance spring and is a COSC-certified chronometer; Mido was ranked the 4th largest maker of certified chronometers in 2013 (although, alas, the COSC no longer releases numbers of movements certified by brand any more, which is a loss). 

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Though there are reflections of the Museum's design cues in the watch, they're not heavy handed and the whole thing works rather well as an abstract design on its own. Price is $1,590, and you can order it online right here, directly from Mido.

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