History of Movado Watch Brand

Posted by Rachel Nizinski on

History of Movado

Movado founder Achille Ditesheim (Movado).

Movado was founded in the early 1880s by 19-year-old Achille Ditesheim, who employed six men in his Swiss workshop at its founding; the workshop still stands today. Later, the company grew very quickly, with the number of employees increasing to 30, just nine years later. This amount increased to 80 men in 1897, and just two years later, Movado was given six awards in their field. The company’s name derives from the Esperanto word for “always in motion”, which makes sense considering the company’s storied history and rapid progress over the years. This progressive attitude was first demonstrated by the company in 1912, when they released the Polyplan watch. This timepiece was angled to fit around the typical human wrist, a feat unheard of prior in the watch industry. The watch gave Movado a lot of attention and earned the company a patent. Nowadays, Polyplans are extremely rare and often coveted by watch enthusiasts.

History of the Museum Watch

Museum Watch designer Nathan George Horwitt wearing his own creation (Movado).

American designer Nathan George Horwitt designed a unique watch for Movado in 1947. The watch consisted of a black dial with a gold dot at the 12 o’clock mark symbolizing the sun at noon, being only visual feature on this timepiece outside of its thin hands. The watch was initially criticized for its extremely minimalist design, but afterwards became the first timepiece to ever be exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City in the year 1960. This gave it its name “the museum watch”, and is now the most popular and well-known of the brand’s watches.


History of Gerry Grinberg and the MGI

Gerry Grinberg, founder of the North American Watch Corporation, which bought Movado in 1983 (The Cuban History).


Gedalio Grinberg, also known as Gerry, was ordered to die by the Fidel Castro-led Cuban government in 1960, thus prompting him and his family to flee their home in Havana and move to the United States. At first, they fled to Miami, where Grinberg achieved little financial success before moving to New York City after being prompted by fellow Cuban watch dealer Fabian Weiss, his son Jose, and Camille Pilet, who was the former international sales manager of the Swiss watch company Piaget during that time. The men opened the very first American Piaget headquarters at the Rockefeller Plaza in New York. The agency expanded to become the North American Watch Corporation, the precursor for the Movado Group, Inc., in 1965. Later that year, Nathan George Horwitt, who designed the museum watch and was mentioned earlier in the article, tried suing Grinberg after accusing his and several other watch companies for copying his Museum watch design. Horwitt lost the Grinberg case while winning some of the other lawsuits, and  the two men became friends. Grinberg also admired the Museum watch’s design, and for a very long time, wanted to buy the Movado company, but didn’t acquire it until 1983 due to the company going under much turmoil with various owners during the previous 15 years. The North American Watch Corp. became the Movado Group, Inc. in 1996.

Conclusion

Movado has a long history. At first, it was a tiny Swiss watch company which enjoyed rapid success and eventually was acquired by the North American Watch Corporation, which it later became the signature brand and eponym of. Meanwhile, American artist Nathan Horwitt created their most well-known watch, which became a favorite of Andy Warhol and was featured in many modern art museums.


Sources:

http://www.streetdirectory.com/travel_guide/61811/modelling/history_of_movado_watches.html

http://www.movado.com/us/en/Heritage-1947.html

https://www.movado.com/us/en/about-us.html

http://www.movadogroup.com/company/cuban.cfm

https://www.movado.com/en/Heritage-1881.html

https://www.movado.com/en/Heritage-1912.html

http://www.thecubanhistory.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/download-2.jpg


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