MovadoCopyright © David Boettcher 2006 - 2017 all rights reserved.
Movado was founded in 1881 by 19-year old entrepreneur Achille Ditesheim in the village of La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland. The name of the firm was changed in 1905 to Movado, meaning "always in motion" in the international language of Esperanto
In 1912 Movado created the Polyplan, a revolutionary, patented movement constructed on three planes to fit a case curved to follow the wrist.
In 1914 Movado developed their "Soldier's Watch" with an integral protective grill or shrapnel guard in a shrewd anticipation of the forthcoming conflict. This was a very successful product for Movado, and it is believed that they sold some 2,000 each year during the First World War.
Movado 1940 Advert
In "The Movado History" Fritz von Osterhausen writes:
"The year 1935 saw the introduction of the first Movado water-resistant wristwatch, the ‘Acvatic’. This unusual spelling of the word is derived from the Latin word ‘aqua’ (water) and was first registered as a trademark on 13th February 1936.
Produced in various sizes the Acvatic had a screwed back with a lead gasket and a cork seal for the winding crown. It was developed by the case-making firm of François Borgel of Geneva, which was owned by three brothers called Tauber [sic]. They developed many other variously shaped water-resistant cases for Movado during the subsequent decades. Later a two-button chronograph called "Cronacvatic" was developed."
The screwed back case was of course the decagonal back Taubert case, complete with cork seal for the winding stem. Von Osterhausen gives the year of introduction of the Acvatic as 1935, a year later than the waterproof models using the decagonal case back introduced by Mido and West End. So the wording of the 1940 Movado advert shown here is a little misleading, because the wording in the advert says "with the pre-tested waterproofing pioneered by Movado". It also says "Dustproof, airtight, unbreakable crystal ..." - how advertising standards have changed since 1940!
Movado became a big customer of the Taubert's and one sees many Movado watches from the 1930s to the 1960s in the distinctive decagonal back case, but unlike the Mido cases these are proudly stamped with the FB-key Borgel / Taubert trademark.
Sometimes these marks are also accompanied by the mysterious word "Vacuum", as discussed on my page about the Taubert compant in the section Taubert, Manufacture Vacuum.
One of Movado's best known watches is the iconic "Museum" watch, designed in 1947 by the American designer Nathan George Horwitt. The Museum watch featured a completely plain dial with a single marker dot at 12 o'clock. It was intended to suggest a sundial, the most ancient form of keeping time. One of these watches is part of the permanent collection of New York's Museum of Modern Art
Like every Swiss watch manufacturer, Movado suffered during the "quartz crisis" of the 1970s. It was bought in 1983 by the American Gerry Grinberg, who escaped the Communist revolution in Cuba. Today the Movado brand is part of a global group Movado Group, Inc. (MGI).
Copyright © David Boettcher 2006 - 2017 all rights reserved. This page updated July 2015. W3CMVS.