Architectural Activity: Bulova Expands Its Frank Lloyd Wright Special Collection
This quartet of new watches added to Bulova’s Frank Lloyd Wright collection honor the American architectural maverick and provide a new “window” into time itself.
Unlike diving, cigars, sailing, spirits, and other endeavors, architecture isn’t always the first field to come to mind when you think about overlapping intersections with watchmaking. In fact, the only notable exception to this informal rule is, of course, Bauhaus.
However, when you sit down and think about it, the spiritual and structural connections are actually quite profound. A home is a structure you live in, and a wristwatch is structure you wear that time lives in.
So, if an America-based watch brand is going to take the time to design a collection to honor a particular architectural style, who better to start with than the legendary American architect Frank Lloyd Wright?
The Bulova Frank Lloyd Wright Collection
In 2018, already with decades of collaboration under their belts, the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation and Bulova launched a special collection of watches honoring the acclaimed architect. And prior to its recent expansion, the Frank Lloyd Wright collection included seven models, each paying homage to a Wright design.
For example, one of our favorites is the collection’s 39mm Blueprint Chronograph incorporates the pattern used for the stained-glass windows from the Coonley Playhouse outside of Chicago.
Now, continuing to draw inspiration from the innovative use of stained-glass windows and geometric motifs of Wright’s game-changing Hollyhock, Robie, and Dana-Thomas homes, the expanded collection has re-purposed the dial and crystal to gorgeous effect, just as Wright turned the concept of a stained glass window on its ear.
Holly Goes Lightly
Built in Los Angeles in 1921, Wright’s Hollyhock House was not only the architect’s first commission in the City of Angels; in 2019, it was his first building to become a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Already pushing the envelope on the use of windows in a residence when he drew up Hollyhock’s design, his geometric riffs on the shape of the hollyhock flower on some window details find their way to the dials of two new Bulova timepieces.
Powered by a reliable quartz movement, both new pieces feature a 39mm cushion-shaped case that provides a decidedly period frame for the exacting four-layered dial construction and geometric dial pattern with its intersecting line and triangular patterns visible under a mineral dome crystal.
Sophisticated yet excellent value propositions, the green-dialed stainless steel version on a classic steel bracelet costs $395 while the gray-dialed gold-tone execution on a textured brown leather strap lists for only $350.
Completed in 1910, the multi-tiered Chicago home of Frederick C. Robie defines Wright’s so-called “Prairie Style” and stands as one the best examples of his work during his time in the Chicago area.
In Bulova’s wrist-worn interpretation of the Robie House, the home’s famous art glass windows featuring diamond-and-chevron patterns are transferred onto the dial of a 31mm x 43mm rectangular silver-tone stainless steel case. Like the Hollyhock House models, this dial’s four-layered construction creates an uncanny depth to the whole presentation.
Meanwhile, a curved metalized mineral crystal adds even more dimension to the bold blue, gray, and green dial pattern that is further complemented by a handsome gray leather strap. Again, a reliable quartz movement powers this three-hand timepiece, which will set you back a mere $395.
Last but certainly not least, for the watch celebrating the 120th anniversary of the architect’s quintessential Dana-Thomas House (1904), Bulova appropriately chose a gleaming black and gold and an elegant 29.5mm x 47mm gold ion-plated rectangular steel case.
Softened by a rich brown leather strap, the gold-on-black motif of the Dana-Thomas House model is used to great effect, augmenting the sophisticated and angular expressions of sumac and other estate foliage on the dial. Moreover, the black negative dial space on the right side highlights the left side’s geometrical assemblage and acts as a kind-of golden garden wall for the presentation.
Sitting under a curved metalized mineral crystal, the regal pattern of this quartz-powered, three-handed timepiece captures the Springfield, Illinois, home’s signature grandeur for only $450.
To learn more about the special Frank Lloyd Wright collection, visit Bulova’s website.
(Photography by Liam O'Donnell)