Movado is a watchmaker with a good reputation and unique design. However, where does it belong compared to the other Swiss brands like Omega or IWC? Is Movado considered a luxury watch?
In general, Movado is not a luxury watch brand. However, the higher-end models could be considered entry-level luxury watches. Movado makes exceptionally designed, almost artistic watches at a mid-tier price. It also serves as an entry point to Swiss watches for many people.
In this article, let’s explore a bit of Movado, compare Movado against the characteristics of a luxury watch brand, and further discuss respectability and holding value. We will also look at whether Movado watches are worth investing in.
What Is Movado Known For?
Movado is known for producing watches with a signature design that separates it from the rest – minimal, modern, and clean. Their iconic Museum watch is displayed in many museums worldwide. It is a permanent collection at the New York Museum of Modern Art.
Movado started off in 1881 at La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland. The Dietesheim family founded the company. In 1983, it was bought over by the North American Watch Group.
Today, Movado is the flagship brand of the Movado Group. The group also owns MVMT, Ebel, and Olivia Burton.
Movado Group also produces and markets watches for Scuderia Ferrari, Coach, Tommy Hilfiger, and Hugo Boss.
Movado is best known for its Bauhaus minimalist design. For example, their Museum watch has a clean dial, two hands (hour and minute), and only a single dot at the 12 o’clock position.
Initially designed in 1947 by Nathan George Horwitt, this model eventually became Movado’s signature design. Many Movado models use similar designs as well.
Movado is unique in naming its watches and collections in Esperanto. This artificial language was created to be learned quickly in the late 19th century. Movado on its own has the meaning of ‘Always in motion’ in Esperanto.
Other notable models in Esperanto include Bela (beautiful), Fiero (pride), Linio (line), and Brila (brilliant).
What Makes A Watch A Luxury Watch?
Luxury watch brands focus much more on workmanship, performance, and the use of materials. Hence, the watches are very high quality. Most luxury watch brands are made in-house, carry an image of prestige, exclusivity, and class, and usually start at a four-figure price tag.
In general, these are the characteristics that separate luxury watch brands from regular ones:
- In-House Movements and Technology
- Brand Image
Materials: You tend to see only 316L stainless steel or resin used on regular watch brands. However, most luxury watch brands have models made from more expensive materials such as 904L steel, platinum, or 18K gold. Some luxury watch brands also finish their watches with gemstones such as diamonds.
Assembly: Most luxury watch brands assemble their watches in-house and manually by hand. This allows them to ensure higher quality standards.
Regular watch companies tend to be laxer about this, either automating the process or outsourcing production completely.
In-House Movements & Technology: Most luxury watch brands develop and operate their own movements. This helps them to better control the performance and quality of their watches.
They also develop proprietary technology to improve timekeeping accuracy. Some new technology also improves aesthetics. Regular watch companies do this too, but not all of them.
Design: Luxury watch brands tend to have iconic designs. These iconic watches ended up becoming a benchmark for future designs.
For example, the Rolex Submariner has always served as a benchmark for any dive watch design.
Homages: Luxury watch brands also tend to have homages made after their watches. Homages are watches that look similar but are not a direct copy of the original.
Smaller watch companies take this opportunity and produce homages that look similar but are not expensive to own. A Tisell 9105 is an excellent example of an homage to the Rolex Explorer.
ALSO READ: Affordable Watches That look Like Rolex
Fakes: Unfortunately, luxury watch brands suffer from fakes and imitation. There are cases of clone watches made and sold at a fraction of the actual price.
Fakes also affect regular watch companies but are less intense.
Brand Image: Luxury watch brands tend to carry an image of class, prestige, luxury, and exclusivity. This is usually done by sponsoring events, people, or products with a similar image.
Rolex likes to sponsor tennis or golf events, while Omega sponsors the Olympics. These brands also place ads in publications that project power and prestige, such as Wall Street Journal or the New York Times.
Prices: Luxury watch brands often price their watch higher than average. This keeps the watch brand less accessible to mass consumers.
Watches often start from four-figures, with five to six-figure watches common. The most expensive watch sold is the Rolex Daytona worn by Paul Newman for $17.8 million over an auction.
Now that we have looked at the characteristics of luxury watch brands, we can now compare Movado against this list.
We have also written about what makes a watch a luxury in more detail here, so feel free to check it out.
ALSO READ: What Makes A Watch A Luxury Watch?
Is Movado A Luxury Brand?
In general, Movado is not a luxury watch brand as it generally produces watches in the middle price tier. However, some of their high-end models can be considered entry-level luxury watches. Movado also does not produce its own movement, nor do they claim to hand-assemble their watches.
|Characteristics||Luxury Watch Brands||Movado||Pass?|
|Materials||May use 904L steel, titanium, precious metals, gemstones||Uses similar materials.||✅|
|Assembly||Mostly hand assembled||No such claims, but watches are Swiss Made.||❌|
|Movement||Almost all have in-house movement||No in-house movements.||❌|
|Proprietary Technology||Almost all have proprietary technology||No proprietary technology.||❌|
|Design||Often iconic, and sets trends.||Iconic Museum Watch design.||✅|
|Homages||Have homages made after their models||Yes, but not as many as popular luxury watches.||✅|
|Fakes & Imitation||Suffers from fakes and imitation||Suffering from fakes and imitations.||✅|
|Brand Image||Prestige, exclusivity, class||Carries an image of ‘affordable luxury.’||❌|
|Prices||At least four-figure.||Has watches as low as $242.||❌|
Movado’s watches primarily use stainless steel. Their higher-end models utilize a PVD gold coating to achieve that gold watch case look. This is of lower quality than an 18k gold watch case.
However, they have watch models with diamond finishing on the dial, bezel, and watch lugs. These are one of their most expensive models.
Movado made no claims that their watch is hand-assembled.
Compare that to Rolex, who openly declared that all their watches are assembled in Switzerland by hand.
However, their watch dial has the label ‘Swiss Made’ printed on it.
To declare that a watch is ‘Swiss Made,’ the watch needs to have 60% of its production done in Switzerland. It also must have a Swiss movement and is assembled and encased in Switzerland.
This means Movado watches are probably not hand-assembled. But the watch is made in Switzerland, which is still a testament of quality.
In House Movement and Technology
Movado does not indicate that they have developed their own in-house movements on their website.
When viewing their watch offerings on their website, they mention the movement as ‘Swiss Quartz.’
Further investigation shows that their watch movements are generally sourced from ETA, a Swiss manufacturer. ETA is part of the Swatch group, another watch company.
This means Movado, at this time, does not develop its own watch movement. It also has not introduced any proprietary technology to improve timekeeping.
Movado can stand tall in this area. Movado watches have an iconic, unique design. It is so recognizable that many could tell that the watch a Movado just by looking at the clean dial, and the round dot at the 12 o’clock position.
There are homages made for Movado watches, although not in the numbers commonly seen by popular luxury watch brands.
Seiko’s SKP333 is possibly a homage to the iconic Museum watch. For comparison, a Rolex Submariner could easily count into double-digits for homages.
ALSO READ: 17 Affordable Watches That look Like The Rolex Submariner
There have been reports of fake Movado watches made in China and sold at a fraction of the actual price. This is an indication of Movado’s success and recognition, to the point of being able to attract fake watchmakers. As they say, ‘Imitation is the higher form of flattery.’
Movado carries an image of ‘functional art’ and ‘accessible luxury,’ a fact that is even acknowledged by the CEO of Movado group himself, Ephraim Grinberg.
This means Movado does not brand itself as a high-end luxury timepiece such as Rolex or Patek Philippe. Instead, it goes with the image of a middle-tier, entry-level luxury watch brand.
Movado also sponsors events different from Rolex or Omega, for example.
Instead of prestigious sports events, Movado has shown strong support for artistic endeavors. Movado is a sponsor of the New York City Ballet, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, and The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
Checking on their website, Movado’s lowest-priced model is the Movado Face at $395. However, the lowest priced model on Amazon is the Bold Gray at $242.
The most expensive model is the Faceto at $3,295. It is quartz, with stainless steel casing with PVD gold coating. There is diamond finishing on the dial, bezel, and watch lugs.
Of all the 242 men’s watches available on their website, only 70 are priced above $1,000. That is less than 30%.
We can form an impression here that Movado watches are within the affordable range, with a small percentage being an entry-level luxury.
Is Movado An Entry Level Luxury Brand?
In general, Movado is an entry-level luxury brand. Most of their watches are mid-level in price. Still, some of their higher-end timepieces can be considered entry-level luxury watches. These watches have gold plating and hand genuine diamonds on their watch dial, bezel, and watch lugs.
Looking at the previous section’s list, we can see that Movado checks many of the boxes. It has an iconic design. It has luxury timepieces, and it also has homages and fakes made after it.
However, it does not develop its own movement. It does not claim to hand-assembly all its watches. Its most expensive timepiece is not even close to the most affordable watch from Rolex.
Therefore, it made sense to say that Movado is not a luxury watch brand. At best, you can consider it an entry-level luxury brand. You can also see it as a mid-tier watch brand, similar to Hamilton.
Is Movado A Respected Brand?
Movado is a respected brand, as it has a long history and has shown effort to differentiate itself from its competition. It has developed an iconic design language and does not try to hide behind other watch companies by producing only homages.
A person who wears a Movado could also be seen as someone who has thought about the sort of watch they like.
They eventually concluded that they preferred something minimal, simple, and clean. Hence, a Movado.
A person who wears Movado also perhaps has a specific demand for their watches. They do not mind paying a little extra for great watch designs with great Swiss movements.
They do not approach it through the mindset of ‘what’s the cheapest watch I can get.’ Those that just want the cheapest watch would probably end up with a basic Casio or generic watches of unknown origin.
There is nothing wrong with those watches, but the point here is to show that Movado is generally a respected brand worn by respectable people.
Are Movado Watches A Good Investment?
Movado watches might not make good investments as they do not seem to generate much resale value. It might have a larger following since it is so iconic and unique. Still, the demands for Movado watches are not enough to help with resale value.
When it comes to watch investment, we all hope to spend money to buy a watch and one day be able to sell it for a profit. Even if we are not profitable, we hope to not lose too much money to depreciation.
Movado watches might struggle to help you keep your money, as it does not hold value well, so they might not be a good investment.
Watch resale value is determined by the forces of supply and demand. High supply and low demand result in lower prices, and high demand and low supply results in higher prices.
Let’s look at the Movado Museum watch, for example. The demand force should be pretty strong as it is an iconic watch, and many want to own one.
However, Movado has not stopped producing it. Instead, it continues to produce multiple variations of the same watch to continue profit from it.
There seems to be balanced demand and supply here.
For Movado Museum watch to really appreciate, there needs to be either an explosion of demand or a reduction in supply.
Demands could explode if the watch is suddenly seen on someone influential, such as artists, athletes, or politicians. Reduction in supply can come from the watchmaker stopping production of the watch.
This happened to some Seiko models in 2018 and 2019, notably the SARB033 and the SARB017 (Alpinist).
When Seiko stopped producing these watches, their resale value went up, and they are now selling much higher than their original MSRP.
ALSO READ: Does Seiko Watches Appreciate?