Movado makes luxury watches. The company has grown over the years to become a combination of several fine watch companies, the most prominent being Swiss Movado and Concord. It also manufacturers watches under the names ESQ and Vizio and the expensive, handmade, Swiss watch brands Corum and Piaget. Movado means always in motion in the international language Esperanto, but they are really about style.
Their most popular watch style is the Museum Watch and interestingly, it only has a marking at the twelve o’clock position, the rest of the face blank except for the different colors. Try to tell time with one marking, not easy, but the style is very popular, go figure!
Movado was started in 1881 by a team of seven Swiss watchmakers, including Achille Ditesheim, a 19 year old, and by 1897 the company employed eighty watchmakers. The company became one of the largest manufactueres in Switzerland. The company was one of the first to transition from manual watchmaking to using electrical machinery in their production of watches, which allowed them to increase their production tremendously. This put them well ahead of their competition.
Achille named his company Movado in 1905 and it has been the trade name ever since. Movado catered to style from the beginning, their Polyplan design resulted in an elongated face which conformed to the wearer’s wrist. They came out with the first digital watch in 1930, which is really amazing. And they were making water resistant watches in the same period. They were putting out more then 700 models in the 1920’s. 700 models is a really monumental achievement! The company made it’s first fully automatic mechanical watch in 1947, it was called the Tempomati, the design transitioned to the Kingmatic and was one of its best sellers during the 1950’s and 60’s.
The Museum watch, it’s signature model, was designed by the artist George Horwitt in 1947 and he donated his prototype to the Museum of Modern Art. Movado was allowed to produce watches utilizing the design, and brought out the first one in 1962. It is a timeless design that is one of Movado’s top sellers today, 60 years later. Horwitt, designed the stark, black, numberless dial watch and in 1960 he donated his prototype to the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Movado agreed to produce the Horwitt watch in 1962, and it went on to become one of the world’s bestselling dial designs.
The Japanese entrance into the luxury watch market hurt all the Swiss watchmakers and Movado radically increased it’s advertising effort and allowed it’s fine watches to be sold in luxury department stores in addition to the independent jewelers who had always retailed the Movado line. These moves stopped the bleeding caused by the Japanese competition and Movado doubled it’s sales between 1980 and 1990 and has continued to grow.
So if you want a wrist watch that is maybe not all about telling time, and is a real piece of jewelry, try their Museum watch, if you want something a little more conventional, they have plenty of models that will suit your needs. Best of all, they are about the best looking watches around and great for those occasions where you really want to make an impression.