The American-based Movado Group Inc. is a publicly traded company on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: MOV). Not to be confused with the Movado watch brand, which Movado Group owns.
The Group’s roots date back to 1983 when Gedalio (Gerry) Grinberg, founder of North American Watch Corporation, a distributor and owner of various watch brands, purchased the Movado watch brand. Grinberg then brought it under the North American Watch company’s umbrella.
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Images: Movado Inc. & Roberta Naas
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The Roots of Movado Group
Gedalio Grinberg, known to his friends as Gerry, was a Cuban-born Jew who, in 1960, fled Cuba with his family to escape Fidel Castro’s Marxist revolution.
Despite being held for hours by the Cuban secret police and being threatened with execution, Grinberg nevertheless got out of Cuba several days later and headed to Miami in America.
There, at the age of 30, he struggled for a while, until an old friend who had also escaped Cuba asked Grinberg to go to New York and establish an American agency for the Swiss brand, Piaget.
In 1960, three co-owners, including Grinberg who held 50 percent ownership (eventually, Grinberg would have total ownership) established the distribution agency for Piaget.
This company was renamed North American Watch Company in 1961.
In the early 1960’s, he found himself going door to door to a variety of retailers trying to sell the Piaget luxury watches.
Piaget Gains Traction
Finally, thanks to traveling to other cities, partnering with jewelers on special editions, and creating unusual ads touting Piaget as the most expensive watch in the world (at a time when no-one spent money on watches), he was able to draw attention to the brand.
Gringberg was instrumental in building Piaget (now owned by the Richemont Group) and inchanging the way Americans viewed watches.
In 1969, North American Watch Corp. purchased the little known and relatively young (founded in 1908) Swiss watch brand Concord and set about revitalizing that brand, as well.
In fact, in the late 1970’s the brand unveiled the Delirium, the thinnest watch in the world at 1.98mm thick. It was Switzerland’s answer to the quartz crisis.
The quartz movement had been co-developed by a team at Switzerland’s ETA movement producer under the direction of Dr. Ernst Thomke.
In Europe, the caliber was used by other brands (including Longines), but in America the Delirium went to Concord thanks to a generous donation Grinberg had made to fund the development of the movement. The watch made headlines.
Movado Group Inc.
In 1983, Grinberg purchased the Swiss watch brand, Movado – a brand he had set his sites on more than a decade-and-a-half earlier. Again, he revitalized the brand – making it a global sensation. A couple of years after that purchase, the company changed its name to Movado Group Inc.
In 1980, Grinberg’s son Efraim began working at the company, starting at the bottom and working his way through the ranks. By 1990, he became the president of Movado Group and spearheaded the moveto take the company public in 1993.Today hi is the CEO of Movado Group.
In the late 1990’s Movado Group Inc. completed its sales of Piaget to what is today the Richemont Group. In 1996, North American Watch Company changed its name officially to Movado Group Inc. and throughoutthe 1990’s and into the new millennium, the company developed its licensing division, creating partnerships with top fashion brands around the world.
Furthermore, Movado Group Inc. also purchased two young watch brands: MVMT and Olivia Burton.
As of publication of this article, the Movado Group Inc. owns Movado, ESQ by Movado, Concord, Ebel, MVMT, and Olivia Burton, and designs, manufactures and distributes watches under some of the most renowned names, including licenses with Coach watches, Hugo Boss watches, Lacoste watches, Tommy Hilfiger, Scuderia Ferrari Orology, and Rebecca Minkoff watches.
The company has manufacturing facilities in Switzerland, but is headquartered in Paramus, New Jersey (USA), as well as in Bienne, Switzerland. Collectively with divisions around the world, the Movado Group employs approximately 1,500 people. It offers top-quality products with the best value in their price categories.
The brands owned by Movado Group
Léopold Achille Isidore Ditesheim originally founded the brand that is today known as Movado in 1881 as LAI Ditescheim & Freres SA in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland. The company changed its name to Movado in 1905.
In the 1960’s and ‘70’s, the brand was sold several times and struggled to stay afloat. Finally in 1983, Grinberg acquired the brand and set about revitalizing it. One of his first moves was to introduce a collection around the brand’s Museum Dial watch.
Nathan George Horwitt designed the Museum Dial watchin 1947. It was a stark design that featured just a single dot at 12:00 on the dial and two hands. Thanks to its unique Bauhausdesign was accepted, in 1960, into New York Museum of Modern Art’s permanent collection.
Just about the same time, Movado in Switzerland had reached an agreement to market the design in its Movado line. However, there was not enough attention put on the design, and the watches were not a big sensation at the time.
Movado Joins North American Watch Company
In 1965, Horwitt approached North American Watch Company’s Grinberg, insisting that Grinberg’s Piaget stone-dial watches were infringing on his design. Horwitt sued.
However, the court found that because Piaget could not put metal logos or numerals on the brittle stone dials (technology was different then) and the dials had to remain devoid of anything but hands, Piaget was not guilty of infringing on Horwitt’s copyright.
However, the court did acknowledge that other brands were copying the minimalistic look.
When Grinberg bought Movado, he propelled the Museum dial to fame, creating a collection that has evolved over the decades into an icon in watchmaking history.
Today, the Museum dial is one of the brand’s best selling lines across multiple design categories, including Classic, Red Label and Esperanza. Movado also offers the Heritage collection, Series 800, Vizio and many other lines.
Read More: Movado History & Brand Guide
Swiss watch brand Concord dates back to 1908, when it was founded in Biel, Switzerland. The Movado Group (then North American Watch Company) purchased the brand in 1970.
The brand made a huge impression in America in 1979 with the now-famed Concord Delirium watch that was the thinnest watch in the world.
While the Delirium line still exists in new, evolved formats, the brand is also well known for its classic Saratoga line and for the sporty chic Mariner collection, among others. Today, the brand is sold around the world, but there is not much focus on it in America.
The Ebel brand was founded by husband and wife team Eugene Blum and Alice Levy in La Chaux de Fonds, Switzerland, in 1911. They were committed to creating Swiss watches that offered distinctive style for men and women.
The name Ebel is an acronym for Eugene Blum et Levy. This brand created the iconic wave- shaped bracelet links for its Ebel Wave collection and it remains a signature of the brand today.
The Movado Group purchased the company in 2004. The watches continue to be Swiss made and crafted in gold and steel, often accented by diamonds. Key collections in addition to the Wave are the Ebel Brasilia and the Beluga.
In 2018, thee Movado Group purchased the five-year-old MVMT Watches Inc., a brand built that creates affordable watches and accessories geared for today’s generation.
The company was founded in 2013 thanks to crowd funding, by two young partners: Jacob Kassan and Kramer LaPlante (both were named to Forbes “30 under 30” list in 2017.
The LA-based company has a global community of more than 1.5 million MVMT owners, and is incredibly strong on social media. The company saw revenues of about $70 million in 2017.
It offers the Movado Group a strong digital watch platform – with 160 countries that have a direct-to-consumers commercial site.
According to the Movado Group’s announcement last summer, the purchase price consists of an initial $100 million payment, and two additional payments of $100 million in total. The founding partners remain with the brand.
Similar to its purchase of MVMT, Movado Group Inc. also purchased the Olivia Burton line of fashion-forward affordable watches, jewelry and accessories. Founded in London in 2011 by two female partners, Jemma and Lesa, who were best friends and fashion buyers.
Both had a love of vintage and couldn’t find the styles they wanted in $100 -$200 watches and jewelry, so they started their own brand.
From working at their kitchen table, they grew the business into a lively company with striking floral and insect motifs. This duo also caters to the younger customer and also built their brand presence on line with its own digital platform. They also remain with the brand under the auspices of the Movado Group Inc.
Coach watches are created in the $90 to $300 range,and are fashion-forward timepieces for men and women. The colors and design motifs change with the seasons,but always reflect the Coach brand handbags and accessories created by the Coach brand since 1941.
Coach watches also include smart watches in the repertoire. Movado Group has been the licensed brand partner for Coach since 1998.
The Hugo Boss brand is known around the world for its fashion and accessories collections for men and women.
Founded in 1924, Hugo Boss originally produced uniforms, general purpose clothing, and workwear. After the Second World War, Hugo Boss turned its focus to men’s suits and eventually became the fashion brand that we recognise today.
Movado Group has been manufacturing and distributing HUGO BOSS watches under a licensing partnership since 2005, and has even created two distinct lines, the more sophisticated Hugo Boss watches and the more accessibly priced Boss line.
Stainless steel quartz-powered watches (and digitalwatches) characterize the Tommy Hilfiger line.
Like the clothing and accessories brand, the watches are both casual and reflective of today’s American lifestyle, but also sophisticated, classical andsporty chic. Movado Group has been designing, manufacturing and disturbing Tommy Hilfiger licensed watches since 2001.
The Rebecca Minkoff fashion brand is a relatively new licensing agreement for Movado Group Inc. The vast array of watches retail for $115 to under $300 and feature signature details evident in the Rebecca Minkoff line, including studs on straps, florals on dials and more.
Founded almost 90 yeas ago in 1933 by tennis champion René Lacoste, the Lacoste lifestyle brand is perhaps best known for the polo shirt with a crocodile logo on it.
On the courts, Lacoste had been nicknamed the crocodile, so the emblem was suitable. It was in 2006 that Movado Group entered into the licensing a partnership with Lacoste. It continues to create watches that reflect the brand’s signature sporty chic appeal.
Scuderia Ferrari Orologi
There are a host of different Scuderia and Ferrari watches on the market, but Movado Group’s Scuderia Ferrari watches recall the racecar brand’s Italian roots in styling, with bold colors, cutting-edge materials (including high tech composite cases), and distinctive accents.
Movado Group Inc. has had a licensing arrangement with the brand since 2012 to produce the Scuderia Ferrari Orologi collection. The first line launched in 2013.
Keep Learning About Movado Group
With its plethora of brands, Movado is a major group that offers a new experience for every wrist. While their official website doesn’t feature much in the way of information, check out our related content instead to learn more:
- Movado Watch Brand History & Overview
- All Watch Brand Guides
- Guide To Watch Movements
- YouTube Watch Videos & Reviews
- Bespoke Unit Watch Homepage
"Where design and technical innovation converge. The Movado Group's selection of both premium and fashion brands offer new and exciting experiences for every wrist."Rating: 5.0★★★★★