Movado: The Museum Watch Dial as an Icon

by Joseph Levy
Friday, August 15, 2008

Movado Watches a true icon of art in the luxury watch industry

Movado has a unique signature, one that stands out in its own special way above all other watchmakers. That signature is its Museum Watch dial, characterized by a single dot that marks 12 o’clock. The dial is a symbol of many things: the sun at high noon, sophistication and artistry in design. It is, in essence, what transformed Movado watches from fashion accessories into icons.

Swiss watchmaker Movado is known for its excellence in both technological and artistic innovation. One of its most impressive innovations was the Museum Watch dial, which first appeared on the market in 1947. It was modeled after the appearance of the sun in the sky on a clear day at noon. The Museum Watch dial did not get its name until after the Museum of Modern Art in New York selected the design for a permanent collection in 1960. For the first time in history, a watch was perceived as an actual work of art.

When considered as a piece of art, Movado’s simple design falls into the category of a minimalist work. The most basic elements of a watch include the hands and a simple reference point. That is exactly what the model that the Museum Watch follows.

The look is one of simplicity featuring only the hour hand, the second hand and one dot in the 12 o’clock position. It creates a striking contrast when compared with other luxury watches. In the shadow of the Museum Watch dial, an ordinary watch face looks cluttered.

Over the years, the physical design has remained relatively unaltered. In early production, the Museum Watch dial was crafted on a black dial with a gold dot. The very distinctive dots on many Movado watches are now made from gold, stainless steel, diamonds or sapphire crystals, and the dials also come in other colors besides black.

The Museum Watch dial continues to play an important role in modern Movado designs, such as its Amorosa and Fiero Collections. The various Movado Collections feature different band styles, watch shapes and sizes, but the distinctive Museum Watch employed in them is a unifying element. Movado continues to produce a Museum Collection that is dedicated to preserving minimalism by featuring the classic Museum Watch dial and simple leather straps.

The dial represents a certain level of sophistication and artistry that is an integral part of Movado’s ongoing relationship with the performing and visual arts. Brand ambassadors like trumpeter Wynton Marsalis and dancer-choreographer Mikhail Baryshinikov have played an important part in maintaining the reputation of the Museum Watch dial.

Art and Movado enjoy an interdependent relationship and it all began with the creation of a revolutionary dial design. There is one thing aspect of the Museum Watch dial that is timeless and will never change. That is its historical place as an icon among timekeeping pieces.The dial, in conjunction with the other fine elements in a Movado timepiece, transforms a watch into a work of art.