MOVADO CONTINUES TO
USE ITS PAST TO CREATE
BY LAURENT MARTINEZ
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
The company’s main business was producing pocket watches, which were
Stephanie Riccoboni, head of Movado’s
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.
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