MOVADO CLOCK FIRM, SWITZERLAND
In 1881, a 19-year-old graduate of the watchmaking school Achille Ditesheim founded his own watchmaking company, which his three brothers soon joined. In 1905, a new, modern factory was built, and the company became known as Movado. Movado in the international language Esperanto means “always on the move.” Esperanto was very popular among European cosmopolitan circles, providing an interesting insight into Ditesheim’s vision.
In the first decade of the 20th century, when the market was still directed towards the production of pocket watches, Movado began to manufacture watches. The company became a pioneer in the production of miniaturized movements and in 1912 launched the Polyplan watch. In the end, in the design concept, design, and development, Polyplan placed one of the earliest patented mechanisms built on three levels, housed in a curved case that followed the natural contours of the wrist. In 1926, the company began a new watch project called Ermeto. It was one of the most unusual watches ever created, this unique pocket watch, shaped like a pillow, had a patented mechanism, which was like a slider, allowing a sliding movement to open the case. The sections of the metal case consisted of two parts and opened like curtains to show the clock hands. Such a discovery provided sufficient winding up of the main mechanism for four hours; with six openings, the mechanism would work all day and night. The name “Ermeto” was derived from the Greek word “sealed”.
Although there was virtually no protection against water, but there was shockproof protection, protection against dust and temperature extremes. The watch could be worn either in free form or on a chain. Ermeto watches were known as the only watches suitable for both men and women. The 1930s were productive years for Movado. The factory developed its Chronograph wristwatch with two buttons, with a calendar that included even the lunar phases. Movado began producing watches with automatic winding in 1945 and in 1946 launched the Calendomatic watch. It was a watch with an automatic winding, which are still valuable collectibles. The next technological invention in automatic watches was 1956 with the advent of Kingmatic watches, a series of rotor-controlled watches.
A turning point for Movado occurred in 1947, when Nathan George Horvitt, a Bauhaus school design supporter and one of America’s foremost designers, decided to simplify the watch. His design project was to make modern watches a legend and named them Movado Museum Watches. “We do not know time as a sequence of numbers,” he said, “but we determine it by the position of the sun as the earth rotates.” Applying this theory, he removed the numbers from the dial. Influenced by the simple design lines of the Bauhaus school, he designed discs with a single golden dot, symbolizing the sun in full bloom and arrows, suggesting the movement of the earth.
The Horwitt’s prototype was selected by the Museum of Modern Art in 1959 for its permanent collection. The name, Museum Clock, is an integral part of the company logo. This is the first watch that comes to mind when everyone thinks of Movado.