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What we can learn from millennials… and fashion watches

I stumbled upon an article in Hodinkee about Movado’s acquisition of two upstart fashion brands founded by and targeting millennials. It was astounding to read about the volume of sales by MVMT (pronounced movement), a mostly quartz analog brand founded by two guys in L.A. The female-focused brand Olivia Burton is its counterpart.

I had heard of this brand and also know of the success of Daniel Wellington, another minimalist dressy quartz brand, and didn’t understand why there was such widespread appeal for these seemingly basic watch designs. The secret is in marketing, more specifically the ability for these brands to actually connect with their prospects on social media.

MVMT does a particularly good job painting the romance around their watches, which is a big part of the appeals of all watches. How many of us feel more confident with a watch that evokes car racing or a dive expedition?

The Olivia Burton IG page follows the same principle of consistent messaging that paints a lifestyle and esthetic for their customers:

The fact that Movado has the foresight to bring in two brands that know how to draw in younger customers is a sign of the future of the industry. While I have met many watch enthusiasts in their 20s, I realize that for long term the industry needs to adapt to a marketplace that  has a tendency to either not wear watches at all or wear an iWatch.

As Hodinkee reports, the Movado brand is the best-selling watch in the $500 to $2,000 segment of the U.S. watch market. There’s a lot of competition is that category and it’s really smart for the brand to further cement its place there by adding MVMT and Olivia Burton to its company.

Efraim Grinberg, CEO of Movado Inc. Group, told Hodinkee that he wants strongly believes in the appeal of analog wristwatches. “Our mission is to continue to have young people interested in the design and beauty of traditional analog watches,” he said.

While it’s easy to be dismissive about young people favoring inexpensive quartz fashion watches, don’t be. It’s keeping the watch industry alive and like Grinberg alludes to, the key is celebrating the design and beauty of traditional watches. So this holiday season, try gifting a young person in your life with a traditional watch. Start planting the seed for the love we all know so well.