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Time Change

Add a pop of 20th-century color—and a bit of The Met collection—to your wrist

When we launched our latest watches earlier this year, we wanted designs that felt funky and fresh, looked bright and bold, and made anyone who wore them smile. So we looked to works by modern masters in The Met collection for the designs we’re delighted to decode below.

“Calder #1” Textile Watch

Left: “Calder #1” Textile (Model No. 1-145). Alexander Calder (American, 1898–1976). Rayon, fiberglass; 55 x 49 1/2 in., 1949. Gift of Mrs.David M. Stewart, 1984 (1984.565). Right: “Calder #1” Textile Watch, $48


The spirited midcentury textile pattern shown on our watch celebrates “Calder #1,” which Alexander Calder (American, 1898–1976) created in 1949. Illustrating the artist’s interest in motion, energy, and perception, it features floating discs and dynamic lines in bold primary colors. This rayon-and-fiberglass fabric in The Met collection was manufactured by the New York–based design studio Laverne Originals as part of the company’s Contempora Series of textiles and wallcoverings.

Mondrian Composition Watch

Left: Composition. Piet Mondrian (Dutch 1872–1944). Oil on canvas, 19 1/2 x 19 1/2 in., 1921. Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection, 1998 (1999.363.57). Right: Mondrian Composition Watch, $48


Our watch design evokes an early example of the geometric mode of painting that Piet Mondrian (Dutch, 1872–1944) called Neo-Plasticism. For Mondrian, Neo-Plasticism was a universal style because its emphasis on planar relationships could be extended not only to painting, but also to design and architecture. In this work he used thick black lines to divide the canvas into 11 rectangles, some of which he painted in primary colors.

Léger Cubist Watch

Left: Divers, Blue and Black. Fernand Léger (French, 1881–1955). Oil on canvas, 66 1/4 × 50 1/2 in., 1942–43. Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection, 1998 (1999.363.37), Right: Léger Cubist Watch, $48


Our watch features details from Divers, Blue and Black (1942–43) in The Met collection. In this painting by Fernand Léger (French, 1881–1955), figures plunge into broad swatches of color like swimmers in a crowded pool. Its inspiration dates to 1940, while Léger was in Marseille awaiting passage to the United States, where he stayed until the end of World War II. Léger made about 25 works on the swimming-pool theme.

Figure 5 Watch

Left: I Saw the Figure 5 in Gold. Charles Demuth (American, 1883–1935). Oil, graphite, ink, and gold leaf on paperboard; 35 1/2 x 30 in.; 1928. Alfred Stieglitz Collection, 1949 (49.59.1). Right: Figure 5 Watch, $48


I Saw the Figure 5 in Gold in The Met collection is from a series of abstract portraits of his friends by artist Charles Demuth (American, 1883–1935). This 1928 work pays homage to the American poet and physician William Carlos Williams. Demuth’s portrait consists of images associated with “The Great Figure,” a poem describing the experience of seeing a red fire engine with the number 5 painted on it racing through the city.


Mexican Skeleton Watch

Left: Skeletons (calaveras) riding bicycles. José Guadalupe Posada (Mexican, 1851–1913). Etching on zinc, 6 1/16 x 10 9/16 in., ca. 1900. Gift of Jean Charlot, 1930 (30.82.112). Right: Mexican Skeleton Watch. $48


Our watch displays details of mischievous skeletons from an etching (ca. 1910) in The Met collection by José Guadalupe Posada (Mexican, 1851–1913), often regarded as the father of Mexican printmaking and known for his images of skeletons (calveras). A number of his prints relate to Day of the Dead festivities, celebrated annually throughout Mexico to honor the souls of the departed.

Shop more watches at store.metmuseum.org.

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