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The original Mondaine Helvetica No1—and its various bold, light, and smart iterations—is characterized by a sophisticated, yet subtle design, one with a historical and typographic connection to the classic Swiss Railways Clock. The Swiss watchmaker’s newest Mondaine Helvetica No1 New York Edition is something darker and bolder, three variations of the Helvetica series filtered through the history of a completely different railway system serving a city with a notably different spirit than its Swiss counterpart: the New York City Subway.
While these new Mondaine Helvetica 1 series watches inspired by Gotham’s transit system all still retain an air of refined sophistication and the same typeface as their older siblings, it’s evident the Mondaine designers recognized a watch representing a New York state of mind required a punchier and more urban spirit.
Helvetica was developed as a typeface founded upon the modernist principle and philosophical desire to integrate a “harmonious means for structuring information” with legibility and universality meticulously measured into each letter and numeral. More than any typeface Helvetica seemed the ideal candidate to provide clarity where confusion might reign. For whether it’s a commuter patiently eyeing the clock/watch at the Zürich Hauptbahnhof station, or one searching for the A line at Penn Station, consistency and clarity are key. It’s no surprise Helvetica was eventually chosen as a universal solution to unify the entirety of New York’s transit line into one cohesive graphical experience using Helvetica.
These new watches available in light, regular, and bold editions have been additionally enlivened with colorful contrast stitching and band underside detailing in symbolic honor of New York’s transit color coding. The 38mm Helvetica light model sports blue contrast stitching as a nod to the A,C,E line, the vibrant green adorning the 40mm regular model symbolizing the 4,5,6 trains, while the 43mm bold model wears the bright red of the 1,2,3 line that serves the entirety of Manhattan, north to south. These bright colors – in combination with the gloss black dial and black matte face – result in a design with a sportier, younger, and edgier vibe, whether seen on or off the wrist.
All three Mondaine Helvetica No1 New York Edition watches are available today for $540 at Mondaine-usa.com.