Due to the advent of the cell phone, wristwatches are dying a slow death, surmises Keith Moskow, principle of Moskow Linn Architects in Boston, Massachusetts. But rather than see people’s old timepieces slowly make their way to landfills, Moskow’s firm launched The Thousand Watch Project in late 2008.
The goal of the project is to collect 1,000 “old, discarded wristwatches,” Moskow says, and donate the collection upon completion to the Smithsonian Gallery in Washington, DC, as “an illustrative display of this moment in time.” Each watch is tagged with an epitaph written by the owner, ranging from the anonymous donors to notes such as “First Swatch Skin” (No. 23) and “Birthday gift from best friend bought duty free on way home from Cyprus. Cassandra Thornburg” (No. 297).
Although I disagree that the end of wristwatches is upon us, the project brings together an interesting array of designs and memories. My own watch, which I wear each day despite the fact that my cell phone is rarely more than an arm's length away, has a silver rectangular faceplate lined on two sides by diamond chips and is attached to silver, bracelet-like links. But perhaps its because my watch is as much a piece of jewelry and design as it is a timepiece that I still wear it daily. If one day I do choose to retire it, I imagine that the epitaph will read: "Purchased as a university graduation gift from grandparents."
To view the 432 watches Moskow and his firm has collected—or to learn how to donate your own—visit moskowlinn.com/TKWP.