Business News: Movado Buys “Millennial” Watch Brand MVMT for Over US$100m

Low price watches and a valuable business.

American watchmaking group Movado, which owns struggling luxury brands Ebel and Concord as well as better performing licensed brands like Hugo Boss and Coach, has just inked a deal to buy MVMT.

MVMT sells very affordable watches to young people, typically buyers looking for an accessory rather than a timepiece per se. The deal sees Movado paying US$100m upfront, with an additional US$100m in future payments depending on MVMT’s future performance.

MVMT Jake Kassan Kramer Laplante

MVMT founders Jake Kassan and Kramer Laplante

Founded in 2013 by a pair of college dropouts, MVMT’s success is largely social media driven. The brand has a million followers on Instagram and sells most of its wares direct to the consumer, as well as in a handful of large department stores like Nordstrom.

With its watches priced around US$100, with nothing past US$200, MVMT relies on suppliers in Hong Kong and China for its products, the standard business model in the category.

The company sold US$71m of watches and accessories in 2017, making it approximately the same size as Roger Dubuis, which had 2017 revenue of about US$68m according to Swiss bank Vontobel.

MVMT watches

The millennial-friendly MVMT site

Despite the size of the deal, MVMT is not the biggest player in its segment. The title goes to the company that arguably pioneered the concept, Daniel Wellington.

The Swedish company was founded in 2011 and grew revenue to over US$200m last year, with its youthful owner, Filip Tysander, still owning all of the equity and no doubt feeling very pleased right now.

Source: Bloomberg

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Introducing the Molnar Fabry Tech Art Skeleton

Powered by a dramatically modified and decorated Unitas.

Since 2006, Slovakian watchmaking duo Michal Molnar and Igor Fabry have specialised in creating elaborately decorated, one-off watches using stock or vintage movements (even highly complex calibres), typically to fulfil commissions from clients.

As with last year’s Classic Gentleman Blue, Molnar Fabry’s latest creation, the Tech Art Skeleton, is based on an ETA Unitas 6498-1 that has been modified and skeletonised almost to the point of being unrecognisable. While earlier creations tended towards classical, floral ornamentation on the movement, the Tech Art Skeleton is finished with clean lines and surfaces, and defined by geometric shapes.

Handmade in-house, the case is stainless steel and 44mm in diameter, a necessary size to accommodate the Unitas calibre, which was originally designed for pocket watches.

Molnar Fabry Tech Art Skeleton

Molnar Fabry Tech Art Skeleton watch 3

Both the front and back of the movement have been thoroughly open-worked. The mainspring, for instance, is visible through the skeletonised barrel, on both the dial and back.

Molnar Fabry Tech Art Skeleton 3

All the bridges and wheels are plated in white rhodium for a silvery finished, while the base plate is plated in black rhodium, giving it a dark grey surface. The black rhodium finish is both an aesthetic and functional decision, as it gives contrast to the dial, where the chapter rings for the time are in steel.

Molnar Fabry Tech Art Skeleton watch 4

A broad chapter ring carries the hours while a sloping flange has the minute markers. All of the markings are engraved and filled with blue lacquer, matched with blued steel skeleton hands, making time-telling easier than on the average skeleton watch.

Molnar Fabry Tech Art Skeleton 4

Notably, while all of the screws are blued, many of them are made in-house and feature a proprietary head, instead of the conventional slot.

Besides producing parts such as the cases, hands, bridges, screws and buckles, Molnar Fabry also produces many of its wheels. The movement is equipped with a proprietary balance wheel with unusual interlaced, curved spokes.

Molnar Fabry Tech Art Skeleton 2

Molnar Fabry Tech Art Skeleton watch 2

According to Molnar Fabry, the organic form of the balance wheel offers improved amplitude and rate over time, and is paired with a swan neck regulator for micrometric adjustment.

Molnar Fabry Tech Art Skeleton 6

Price and Availability

The Molnar Fabry Tech Art Skeleton is a one-of-a-kind creation priced at €14,000.


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