Bulova - The Frank Lloyd Wright connection.

FifthAvenueRestorations's picture

I've been researching a 1950's unknown model and heading in a direction:

In the 1950's famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright was either commissioned by or was a customer of Bulova, most likely both. I beleive this unknown model may be His piece, available in Gents and a smaller matching Ladies version.

*The image used was a piece belonging to Mr. Wayne Hanley, there are others in the 'unknown' database.

I will be using this column to update findings, any help and all comments are appreciated.

ML.

FifthAvenueRestorations's picture
FifthAvenueRest...
Posted January 16, 2011 - 12:27pm

Frank Lloyd Wright designed the Soloman R. Guggenheim Museum which opened its doors to the public in 1959.

The address:

1071 5th Avenue
New York, NY.

 

vintagebulova.com's picture
vintagebulova.com
Posted January 16, 2011 - 1:38pm

Club 5000

This came in a men's and women's model.  Here's a photo of them both side by side.

(c) vintagebulova 2011

 

Jay

vintagebulova.com

 

 

FifthAvenueRestorations's picture
FifthAvenueRest...
Posted January 22, 2011 - 9:19pm

Does anyone know where this Clock is located? It's identical to the subject Watch.

Bob Bruno's picture
Bob Bruno
Posted January 22, 2011 - 11:02pm

Club 5000

Mark, there is currently a set of men's and ladies watches like the one's in question on ebay. The current bid is 50.99 for both. The auction ends Monday. I E-mailed the seller to see if he knew what model it is, but he didn't know. I've been searching for the name for two days now. You got me curious. Now I guess I'l be searching for the clock.

Bob

Stephen Ollman's picture
Stephen Ollman
Posted January 22, 2011 - 11:17pm

Club 5000Panel Member

Wow where did you find that amazing photo???...could be a vital clue.

FifthAvenueRestorations's picture
FifthAvenueRest...
Posted January 23, 2011 - 12:26pm

Stephen.

Image courtesy of Google.

While performing a search to assist in an unrelated ID this popped up on the very last page of the results. The page the photograph was linked to had been moved, but it's progress. 

Very curious to find this Clocks location, Bulova Observatory building? 5th Ave Museum?.....

simpletreasures
Posted January 23, 2011 - 1:22pm

I also did about 2 hours of searching (obscure style) this morning with absolutely no luck... I did come across another clock picture similar to this and asked the owner if they remember where they took the pic, however no answer as yet! I also ask the owner if I could upload their pic for reference purposes because I've never seen anything like it!

FifthAvenueRestorations's picture
FifthAvenueRest...
Posted January 30, 2011 - 10:49pm

Please do as any information would help immensely.

ML

FifthAvenueRestorations's picture
FifthAvenueRest...
Posted February 6, 2011 - 10:28am

'Although his fame is based on his architecture, Frank Lloyd Wright also designed lettering and decorative embellishments for his building projects, to accompany his exhibition drawings and models, and for his book'.  The House Beautiful (1896–97)

A total of 7 known Font families were designed by Frank Lloyd Wright begining in the 1930's:

EagleFeather

EagleFeather P22

EagleRock extras

Exibition

Exibition extras

Terracotta

Terracotta extras

I have yet to find the Numerals, or the Clock. Suspicions are the Numerals are one of FLW's designs.

plainsmen
Posted February 6, 2011 - 10:43am

Club 5000Panel Member

Normally don't do this but there's a guy selling 3 of those clocks on the bay...  Looks like it could be somewhat connected.  They're ending soon though... doubt if he's going to sell all three.

cgi.ebay.com/Bulova-C3333-Frank-Lloyd-Wright-Exhibition-Font-Panel-/260602107075

FifthAvenueRestorations's picture
FifthAvenueRest...
Posted February 7, 2011 - 7:35am

Plains,

Yes, it is100% connected.

This wall Clock You show is a newer release by Bulova and called 'Exibition' which is also the Name of one of Frank Lloyd Wrights' font designs.

There's also a newer line of Bulova Quartz Watches named the Frank Lloyd Wright Collection.

The location of the outdoor Neon Clock shown above is key.

This mystery will be solved.

plainsmen
Posted February 7, 2011 - 9:37am

Club 5000Panel Member

I agree that you have a hypothesis they're connected.  As of now you have no proof other than conjecture and speculation that they look similar.

We don't know that the neon clock is anything more than another art deco piece of history.  We could be stretching way beyond what's feasible to be filling our own gaps.

GVP
Posted February 7, 2011 - 10:10am

 I am lucky enough to own both mans and ladies in boxes as photographed below (not the best quality as poor light today).  The ladies crystal measures just 10.4mm. However I can find no reference to models in any crystal catalogs.

plainsmen
Posted February 7, 2011 - 12:03pm

Club 5000Panel Member

I to am the proud owner of the both the men's and women's versions!  The men's I need to redail but the case is fantastic... Women's is in great shape and was just cleaned up by el-oose

GVP
Posted February 7, 2011 - 12:33pm

 I think ML could well be onto something with regards to the designer looking at the info and pictures....dagnamit we need an advert with a model name on it!

GVP
Posted February 7, 2011 - 12:36pm

 And just a note on the photo of waynes right at the top of this thread, note the sub dial has numbers, the original didn't as shown on the only advertising card found to date. So I am guessing waynes was either a later model or more likely a redial.

FifthAvenueRestorations's picture
FifthAvenueRest...
Posted February 7, 2011 - 1:37pm

GJ,

I'm either onto something here or completely wasting My time.

LOL

The design is so far from what Bulova was producing at in 1950 there has to be a connection, I feel it.

Look at the photograph of the old outdoor neon Clock and compare to this Watch design, it's identical.

I recall seeing a photograph of it a few Years back sitting on the ground as if it had been taken down.

The old outdoor Neon Clock, its original location and the Numeral font used on the Watch are all key.

Bob Bruno's picture
Bob Bruno
Posted February 7, 2011 - 2:08pm

Club 5000
GVP
Posted February 7, 2011 - 2:18pm

Bob Bruno's picture
Bob Bruno
Posted February 7, 2011 - 2:37pm

Club 5000

The clock is in NY. check the title of this photo     http://www.flickr.com/photos/brimleyneon/4933186092/

GVP
Posted February 7, 2011 - 2:49pm

 Has to be from fifth avenue surely?  I see Fifth Avenue come up often, not just with Bulova. Is this street something special or is it a big retail district etc? As a Brit I have no idea. Obviously I know the Bulova part of it. 

WatchCrystals.net's picture
WatchCrystals.net
Posted February 19, 2011 - 9:35am

 NYC's "Fifth Avenue" (in Manhattan) was/is the most famous fashion district, in the US...

"Madison Avenue" was/remains the "Advertising" Capital, of the USA...

 

:-)  Scott

FifthAvenueRestorations's picture
FifthAvenueRest...
Posted February 7, 2011 - 3:14pm

Excellent!

Bob rocks!

 

I just got off the phone with Dave Brimley of Brimley Neon Signs in Utah. The Clock was removed from a Building undergoing restoration in NYC and Sold by the Salvage Company. He is checking His records and will forward the information to Me.

* Photographs used by permission of Brimley Neon Signs.

Big break.

Bob Bruno's picture
Bob Bruno
Posted February 7, 2011 - 3:01pm

Club 5000

Wow Thanks Mark!   GJ 5th Ave is a prestigious shopping district in Manhattan. From the looks of the street in the photo I would say that it not 5th Ave. but hey what do I know I'm from Chicago!

Bob

GVP
Posted February 7, 2011 - 4:51pm

 Thanks bob. The photo could just be them picking it up from the salvage company not the actual place it was taken down from, maybe?

FifthAvenueRestorations's picture
FifthAvenueRest...
Posted February 7, 2011 - 6:42pm

Three shots of the Guggenheim Museum desiged by Frank Lloyd Wright on 5th Avenue in New York City. Obviously not the Building the Neon Clock is being removed from in the images above(?) but the Glass in the Dome is interesting.

For the record:

* Now, take a look at the Second image in the group above and then look at the Neon Clock when it's illuminated.

Watch superimposed onto the Glass Dome:

Aligns nicely.

This is Our Connection.

ML

Bob Bruno's picture
Bob Bruno
Posted February 7, 2011 - 5:18pm

Club 5000

GJ, good point but I see two ladders leaning against the building on the street photo. Makes me think they were used to remove the clock from the building.

Bob

FifthAvenueRestorations's picture
FifthAvenueRest...
Posted February 7, 2011 - 6:19pm

Frank Lloyd Wright appears to have been somewhat of a Magician. Only when the Sun is shining directly through the Museum Dome can You make out the same shape projected by the Neon Clock when it is illuminated.

Genious.

Bob Bruno's picture
Bob Bruno
Posted February 7, 2011 - 7:38pm

Club 5000

Mark when I saw your last post I thought maybe you were losing your mind ! but then I saw this. http://www.allamericanwatches.com/site/626101/product/96A104

Bob

mybulova_admin
Posted February 7, 2011 - 8:07pm

Club 5000Panel Member

Outstanding work Gents!

I so want to buy that clock!! Everyone chip in $50,000 :-)

I feel we are on the verge of IDing these two beauties!!

Mark, I love the Photoshop work....nice!

Bob Bruno's picture
Bob Bruno
Posted February 7, 2011 - 8:17pm

Club 5000

Stephen, I was picturing how the clock would on my garage roof :-)

mybulova_admin
Posted February 7, 2011 - 8:21pm

Club 5000Panel Member

Ok with the $50K each we put in we'll have to work out some sort of time share....bags the first 12 months!!

I'm putting a shiny new leather strap on this baby and wearing it on my wrist!!!

FifthAvenueRestorations's picture
FifthAvenueRest...
Posted February 7, 2011 - 8:30pm

lol, make it two and wear it like a backpack!

mybulova_admin
Posted February 7, 2011 - 8:17pm

Club 5000Panel Member

Does anyone have a 1950 crystals catalog with the name Lloyd or Wright as the model name.

Round crystal of course :-)

WatchCrystals.net's picture
WatchCrystals.net
Posted February 19, 2011 - 9:53am

 "Round" case models are unfortunately almost never named, in crystal catalogs... That's WHY I was saying that you need JEWELER catalogs, so the remainder can be ID'd... That being said, Jerin found/contributed many more IDs/Illustrations of late... and this thread is very impressive! Wish I hadn't let the "Berkshire" get away? FLW (and Co.) were the epitomy of latter Art Noveau, native American to French influenced Art Deco, and early Art Moderne Architectural style in the US, Canada and abroad... He practically de/refined the "Arts and Crafts" design style, along with the help of MANY exceptional apprentices... He was quite the designer, visionary and showman. And I have many of his books...

 

:-)  Scott

FifthAvenueRestorations's picture
FifthAvenueRest...
Posted February 7, 2011 - 8:29pm

Heres another look at the Museum.

Note the 2 cylindrical towers. - Ladies and Gents?

I would bet if scaled down they would match both of the Watches in the sets' diameters.

Thanks to everyone who got involved.

There's no doubt in My mind this Watch is a Frank Lloyd Wright design.

ML

mybulova_admin
Posted February 7, 2011 - 9:56pm

Club 5000Panel Member

Gents, can we get the Crystal measurements to see if we can match it with a catalog entry?

OldTicker
Posted February 7, 2011 - 10:13pm

Don't know if this will help but the 1950 BB Supplement shows 3 round crystals for Bulova

CB 123 is 12.31mm and listed as a Medallion and a Carolyn, the CB 132 is 13.25mm and listed as a Martha Washington and the CB 264 is 26.42mm and has no name. :(

FifthAvenueRestorations's picture
FifthAvenueRest...
Posted February 7, 2011 - 10:46pm

Gents looks like 20mm, but that's with old school Calipers.

GJ has the Ladies noted at 10.4mm in a post above.

GVP
Posted February 8, 2011 - 8:50am

 Just measured mens with Digi calipers at 21.15mm. Ladies is definately 10.4 as I had to replace.

in the 1960 SUC cata,log they  list a 10.6mm diamond faceted crystal for a Bulova Satellite A & B and a Marquise U model which is close, but not quite I think.

FifthAvenueRestorations's picture
FifthAvenueRest...
Posted February 8, 2011 - 8:19pm

Being these Watches are a matching pair or a set and shown that way in an ad, both the Ladies and Gents Crystal if named will carry the same name.

IMO.

Very few Round Crystals are named in Catalogues, most are listed by dimension and style only.

Bob Bruno could very well have been right in His prior post, I may be losing My mind. lol !  But, when I spoke with the Neon sign Company they mentioned the Neon Bulova Watch Time Clock when lit illuminated Blue and Reddish Pink. - Man and Woman?

General Question:

Are there any other known matching Ladies and Gents models produced by Bulova???

mybulova_admin
Posted February 8, 2011 - 10:07pm

Club 5000Panel Member

Academy Award and I believe an Olympics set.

FifthAvenueRestorations's picture
FifthAvenueRest...
Posted February 9, 2011 - 10:09am

admin,

You're right, the AA's and a 1940's (?) Olympics, the only 2 known in Bulova's History. There is possibly a reason or event for this set.

1950 is the earliest date I have seen for this Watch, 1953 the latest.

Below is a preliminay design drawing of the Musuem, dated 1943. The Year Frank Lloyd Wright was commissioned for the Guggenheim Museum project.

Again the 2 circular Towers are interesting.

The Sun is invoved.

In 1950 Frank Lloyd Wright built a Home for His Son David which was Solar powered in Carefree Arizona. Home of the Worlds largest Sundial.

Check out the Sign.

Franks' personal Home and School of Architecture called Taliesin are very close by.

 

Bob Bruno's picture
Bob Bruno
Posted February 9, 2011 - 3:09pm

Club 5000

Mark and everyone else. A new development as to where the clock was located. According to this post

it was in Philadelphia Pa. http://www.flickr.com/photos/chrisinphilly5448/410278452/ 

Bob

FifthAvenueRestorations's picture
FifthAvenueRest...
Posted February 9, 2011 - 5:50pm

Same Clock no doubt Bob, same picture as the first found of the Clock above.

The Neon Sign Co Owner and their pictures state they removed it from a Building in New York City in 2008. Still waiting for their detailed info.

Bob Bruno's picture
Bob Bruno
Posted February 9, 2011 - 6:48pm

Club 5000

Mark, no doubt It's the same clock but this guy Chris seems to be the actual photographer of the first picture. According to the fiickr map the building was at Broad St and Erie Ave. I've been on google maps all day going up and down Broad St looking for a building that has a missing clock. Didn't see one. I even called a law office on Broad St to see if they used to have the clock but she didn't know. I asked the guy from Philly on Flickr  if he could tell me anything about the clock so we will see. Hope the neon sign guy calls you soon. I'm becoming obsesed with this clock an IDing this watch.

Bob

 

FifthAvenueRestorations's picture
FifthAvenueRest...
Posted February 9, 2011 - 10:11pm

Bob.

I've been reading up on Mr Frank Lloyd Wright. Consensus is His designs became repetative in the latter Years of His life due to the spotlight of fame, a conclusion which would bolster the Clock and Watches connection to the Museums Glass Dome.

In 1949 at the age of 82 Frank Lloyd Wright recieved a Gold Medal from the American Institute of Architecture for His work. He opened His acceptance speach by saying "Well, it's about Time".

Frank Lloyd Wright passed away in 1959, 6 Months prior to the Guggenheim Museum opening its doors to the Public, a project He started in 1943.

Key are the production Dates of the Watches: 1950 - 1953.

Obsessed is an excellent choice of words Sir.

Bob Bruno's picture
Bob Bruno
Posted February 10, 2011 - 10:10am

Club 5000

Mark, Here's the answer I got from the guy in Philly. 

"I know this was over a watch store at Broad St. and Erie Avenue here in Philly. Once the neighborhood became run-down and dangerous, businesses like this one left for good but left things like this clock. The last time I was there a few years ago, I did notice that the sign was gone. I hope someone bought it refurbished it."
 
The mystery continues
Bob
Bob Bruno's picture
Bob Bruno
Posted February 10, 2011 - 12:30pm

Club 5000

Mark, I think I found the building were the clock was. You can see the clock just to the left of Dunkin Donuts.

Wayne Hanley's picture
Wayne Hanley
Posted February 10, 2011 - 1:53pm

Nice research work Guys. The "Pickers" TV program on the History channel, airs on Monday evenings, may be a good information source for old signs. On the show last week, they picked (bought) two old neon Ford Dealer signs & turned them around for at least double what they paid. The signs were sold  to a man that restores old signs, neon and all. Mike & Frank just may know a source for a Bulova sign.

Wayne