The Movado Revolution
The Movado group was started by what Fidel Castro would have called a counter revolutionist, his secret police actually did while Gerry Grinberg was jailed in Havana in 1960 and he was slated for execution. He was an entrepreneur and did not want to have any part of the Castro regime so he and his family escaped to America where he became the head of a $300 million watch company after much hard work. He was recognized by the Jewelry Industry Council and received the first Lifetime Achievement Award for his ability to successfully market luxury watches.
When he was not working at Movado he was appreciating art, he became personal friends with Andy Warhol, he supported the American Ballet Theater and lived in the Upper West Side of Manhattan. He was friends with powerful political people such as Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, Gerald Ford, Henry Kissinger, Princess Diana and artists such as Mikhail Baryshnikov.
Grinberg has always been a humble and private man, however, he maintains a hint of his Cuban accent and admits that he has always been fascinated with watches. He sold other brands as a kid and always made a profit, he considers himself a good salesman. As a young man he left the watch selling business to go to business school as he had a gift for numbers and loved marketing.
Soon he joined Fabian Weiss, the most successful watch dealer in Cuba, as a partner and was taught the business in order to succeed him. Grinberg excelled at marketing watches and was taught the business aspects from Weiss and marketing from Adolph Vallat who managed Omega in Switzerland. Grinberg implemented Vallat’s system in Cuba and added the Piaget line. All went well until Castro came into the picture.
After much hard work and after leaving Miami, Grinberg ended up in New York, his first watch company was Concord. His plan was to use quartz technology as the Japanese were gaining market share with Seiko and he developed an ETA -ligne movement for the Concord. In 1965 Nathan George Horwitt designed the iconic Museum Watch; he accused Grinberg of copying his design in the Piaget dial. Horwitt was an industrial designer influenced by Bauhaus, he was also a photographer, farmer, inventor, activist and writer. No one would market his watch, it was too minimalist. It was accepted by the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Museum models were sold in the United States alone. Horwitt sued Grinberg for copying his design and lost, other watch companies were named and they lost to Horwitt. Grinberg repeatedly tried to buy Movado and finally one day he succeeded taking the Museum watch on as his centerpiece and creating a line of watches around it. He is truly an American success story and Movado is a major force in the luxury watch market.