The watch that inspired Richard Rogers’ Centre Pompidou gets a timely update

Richard Rogers looked to his treasured Accutron watch when it came to designing the Centre Pompidou

The Accutron Spaceview watch, which inspired Richard Rogers
Left, the original Accutron Spaceview watch and right, the Centre Pompidou
(Image credit: press)

‘I have a very beautiful watch from my mother,’ Richard Rogers once revealed in a video about his ethos. ‘It’s very much inside out, as it wears its machine on the outside. It’s a very beautiful watch in terms of colour, and I love colour. You can see the workings of it; so in a way, it encapsulates what I do.’

Richard Rogers, who at the time of the video had worn his Accutron Spaceview watch for 44 years, reflected its inside-out design in Paris’ Centre Pompidou – recently closed for refurbishment – which celebrated its ‘inner’ workings with exterior steel and coloured tubing.

The new Accutron Spaceview watch which inspired Richard Rogers

The Accutron Spaceview 2020

(Image credit: press)

Accutron has now built on this design legacy, releasing an updated version of the timepiece to mark its 60th anniversary, nodding to the original with slick technical innovations. Upon its initial release in 1960, the Spaceview was thought to be the world’s first fully electric watch. Now, the Spaceview 2020 is the first to be powered by electrostatic energy, created by twin turbines inside the watch that rotate at great speed, powering the hands. The aesthetic, with its open-dial design and vivid green accents, stays faithful to the original.

‘Materials are a very key part of the aesthetic of a building,’ Rogers said in that video. ‘It’s the humanisation of the parts, so they are legible, just like my watch. All those little bits in the watch give scale. Scale is key to architecture. It’s your hand, and your hand is the imprint you put on everything.’


Hannah Silver is the Art, Culture, Watches & Jewellery Editor of Wallpaper*. Since joining in 2019, she has overseen offbeat design trends and in-depth profiles, and written extensively across the worlds of culture and luxury. She enjoys meeting artists and designers, viewing exhibitions and conducting interviews on her frequent travels.