When Jean Calvin came to Switzerland in the mid 1530s
Generations of jewelers and goldsmiths were prevented from plying their trade because certain precious metal and stones were deemed immodest. There was, however, no proscription against timepieces. Watches were seen as utilitarian accessories and they could be constructed without the use of precious metals. Geneva soon became the world capital of watch making. Master horologists established the very first watchmaker's guild there in 1601.
By the end of the nineteenth century, the industry was exporting 60,000 pocket watches each year. But even so, they were not the world leader. Both France and England has access to cheaper materials and production processes. As a result, the Swiss began to compete on quality, accuracy and efficiency. Their timepieces soon became famous for these qualities. The expression 'runs like a Swiss watch' is a testament to their superiority.
As the number one trade in town, nineteenth century Geneva was often described as a city of watchmakers. In fact, competition was so stiff that thousands of young horologists relocated to the Swiss Jura Mountains. Some of them worked as assistants, others opened their own workshops.
Achille Ditesheim was a watchmaker's assistant from Alsace, France. He was just fourteen years old when his family relocated to a small town in the Jura Mountains. But Achille was an ambitious boy and within five years of the move, he had a watch shop of his own with six local watchmakers working under him.
By the time young Achille had become a man, he had 80 professional watchmakers working around the clock. The year was 1897, and the company, which had yet to be named, had a sterling reputation. It was, in fact, one of the largest watch shops in all of Switzerland!
What was their secret? Like many of history's most successful businessmen, Achille Ditesheim was a visionary. He was not affair to take chances or to experiment with new technologies. We know, for instance, that his company was one of the first to increase speed and efficiency with the aid of electricity and new machinery.
But it wasn't until the company became an international player that the Ditesheim finally got around to giving it a proper name. In 1905, on its twenty-five anniversary, he named it Movado, a word from Esperanto that means 'always in motion.'
Where are they now?
Like scores of other Swiss watchmakers, Movado was all but wiped out during the Quartz Watch Revolution of the 1970s. These cheap digital watches appealed to shoppers who could not afford handmade, precision timepieces. Movado hung on until the early nineteen eighties, when it was acquired by one of the largest watchmakers in the world, North American.
The company's mission statement is a simple and familiar one. They produce faithful reproductions of Movado's most popular and enduring models. With impressive international sales, the company has captured a large share of the luxury market. According to the latest balance sheet, Movado (North American) posted revenues of around half a billion dollars in 2010.
The Museum Watch
Movado has a handful of watches that are more or less indistinguishable from the Museum Watch. The inimitable design was developed by Nathan George Horwitt in 1947. With a solitary gold dot that symbolized the sun and hands that represent the movement of the earth, the timepiece became the first wristwatch displayed at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. It remains one of the company's top sellers after more than seventy years of continuous production.
Though Movado has always been famous for its elegance and sophistication, the company has tried to reach out to more casual users. With its black rubber strap and clean design, the Sapphire Synergy toes the line between sports and dress watch. If the dress code calls for business casual, the Sapphire is the perfect accessory. Like most Movado timepieces, this model is made from only the best materials. The watch face is scratch-resistance sapphire and the case is stainless steel. Although it is water resistant up to 100 feet, the Sapphire Synergy should not be submerged in water for protracted periods of time.
Junior Sport Watch
Because of their price, most Movado owners do not like to expose their timepieces to the elements. Though it is called a sport watch, the junior sport watch is really one in name only. Its stainless steel design and scratch-proof sapphire crystal watch face make it tough, but the timepiece should not be submerged in water on a regular basis. The classic museum dial against the silver-toned stainless steel truly is arresting.
Movado sells some of the world's most elegant and distinctive timepieces. Find the perfect model to suit your distinct taste now.