iW Magazine Spring 2019 - Page 62

Collecting MOVADO CONTINUES TO USE ITS PAST TO CREATE ITS FUTURE. BY LAURENT MARTINEZ MOVADO’S Historical Treasures A look inside the rich archives of this influential watchmaker. Movado historic designs. I PERSONALLY HAVE ALWAYS LOVED VINTAGE MOVADO WATCHES, and after speaking to other vintage watch collectors, my appreciation for this brand is shared by many in the community. Prior to my appointment with Stephanie Riccoboni, the person in charge of the Movado archive department, I had to brush up on my knowledge about the company’s history, founder, innovations, and watches. For this, I turned to the seminal book on the topic, The Movado History, by Fritz Von Osterhausen. In 1881, Achille Ditesheim founded his company, LAI Ditesheim & Freres SA in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland. Starting with just a team of six people, the company grew at a rapid pace and by 1897 there were eighty employees working there. In fact, LAI Ditesheim & Freres SA was the second largest employer in the industry at that time, with Jaeger-LeCoultre in the lead with about 100 people and Audemars Piguet in a distant third with a staff of ten people. The company’s main business was producing pocket watches, which were Stephanie Riccoboni, head of Movado’s Archive department 62 | INTERNATIONAL WATCH | SPRING 2019 assembled individually using parts supplied by other companies. They then finished the movements in-house. At the end of the 19th century, the company began producing in-house watches using their own components. Shortly thereafter, in 1905, the name Movado was introduced, which is a word meaning “always in motion” in Esperanto—a language created by Ludwik Zamenhof in 1887. USING HISTORY It turns out that Movado is the perfect name since the company has continuously been in action to stay ahead of its time. Movado continues to use its past to create its future. The Ditesheim family members at the helm of Movado were true visionaries in horology, filing an impressive ninety-eight patents to their name from 1900 to 1969. There was the 1912 Movado Polyplan designed with a revolutionary patented “form” movement to accommodate the curve of the watch. The Movado archive department