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PVD & DLC Coating

In the realm of horology, watch enthusiasts and manufacturers are constantly seeking innovative ways to enhance the aesthetics and durability of timepieces. As technologies and manufacturing techniques evolve and become available in the watchmaking world, one such advancement in this field that has left a large footprint in the industry is the advent of watch coatings. 

Among the most popular are Physical Vapor Deposition (PVD) and Diamond-Like Carbon (DLC) coatings. Both techniques have changed the watchmaking landscape, adding a blend of style, resilience, and functionality to modern timepieces. 

In this article, we will delve into the technical aspects of PVD and DLC coatings, analyze their differences, highlight the pros and cons, and explore other types of watch coatings available in the market. Let’s dive in.

What is PVD Coating?

First, a description: Physical Vapor Deposition (PVD) is a thin-film coating process that involves depositing various materials on the surface of a watch in a controlled environment. This technique ensures a uniform and resilient layer, enhancing the watch’s appearance and performance. 

PVD coating has gained immense popularity in recent years due to its versatility and ability to cater to various consumer preferences in both aesthetics and practical durability and wear. 

Brands across the price and size spectrum from the micro level all the way to the top high-end have models making use of PVD in various applications. At its core, PVD coating enhances a watch’s looks and durability.

The PVD coating process is a meticulously controlled sequence of steps in manufacturing that transforms the watch’s surface, providing it with an additional layer of protection and aesthetic style (color, texture, etc.).

Cleaning and Preparation

Before the PVD coating process can begin, the watch components undergo a thorough cleaning. This step is crucial to remove any contaminants from the watch’s surface, ensuring optimal coating adhesion. A clean surface allows the coating to bond effectively with the timepiece, preventing any imperfections and enabling a uniform appearance.


Once cleaned, the watch components go through a pre-treatment stage. In this step, the watch’s surface is prepared to increase its reactivity, enhancing the coating’s adhesion. Techniques like etching or ion bombardment are commonly employed in this pre-treatment phase to create a suitable surface for the subsequent deposition in the next step.


The heart of the PVD coating process lies in the deposition stage. In a vacuum chamber, the watch components are exposed to a vaporized source material. The most commonly used materials in PVD coating are titanium nitride (TiN), zirconium nitride (ZrN), chromium nitride (CrN), and titanium carbonitride (TiCN). Each material offers distinct properties, including color, hardness, and scratch resistance.

The source material is vaporized using various methods, such as arc evaporation, where an electric arc is generated between the source material and an anode (usually made of copper). The electric arc heats the source material to extremely high temperatures, causing it to vaporize and condense on the watch’s surface. 

Another such technique is sputtering, in which Argon gas (an inert gas that won’t chemically react with the target material) is introduced to the vacuum chamber. An electric field is applied, which ionizes the argon gas, creating a plasma. The plasma, containing positively charged argon ions, bombards the cathode surface with high energy. 

As a result, atoms or ions from the cathode (target material) are sputtered or ejected from the surface, traveling through the vacuum chamber to ultimately condense on the watch surface, creating a thin film coating. In either case, this forms a thin film that adheres uniformly, providing the watch with the desired color and properties.


In some cases, an optional post-treatment stage may follow the deposition phase. This additional step further enhances the coating’s properties, such as hardness and adhesion. Post-treatment may involve exposing the coated watch to high temperatures or introducing other elements to improve its durability.

What is DLC Coating?

Often erroneously used interchangeably with PVD coating, Diamond-Like Carbon (DLC) coating is, in fact, a subset of PVD coating, which deserves special attention due to its unique properties. 

DLC coatings are primarily composed of carbon, and as the name suggests, they possess diamond-like attributes, such as exceptional hardness and high resistance to abrasion, which are particularly useful in watchmaking for case durability and robustness. 

The DLC coating process is similar to the standard PVD process, with some modifications to achieve the desired properties of the diamond-like carbon layer. Let’s examine this further.

Cleaning and Pre-Treatment

The watch components undergo thorough cleaning and pre-treatment, as with typical PVD coating, to ensure a clean and reactive surface for the DLC coating to be applied.


Here in the deposition stage, we see the major breakaway from the standard PVD coating technique. With DLC coating, a carbon-based source material is used instead of the prior materials (ex: titanium nitride, zirconium nitride, chromium nitride, and titanium carbonitride). 

The carbon material is vaporized using various methods, such as plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition (PECVD) or arc evaporation, as described prior. Upon vaporization, the carbon atoms are then ionized and accelerated towards the watch surface, creating a dense and complex carbon layer organized in an amorphous diamond-like structure, giving it diamond-like attributes without the high cost associated with natural diamond material.  


DLC coatings often require additional post-treatment to improve their adhesion and hardness. Hydrogenation (introducing hydrogen atoms into the carbon matrix to occupy “vacant” sites within the amorphous carbon structure) is a common post-treatment method that enhances the DLC layer’s properties, making it more stable and less prone to delamination or cracking, as well as enhancing the coating’s ability to stay firmly bonded to the watch surface. 

Differences Between PVD & DLC Coating


The primary distinction between PVD and DLC coatings lies in their composition. PVD coatings are made of various materials, which allows for a broader spectrum of color options and various degrees of hardness and durability of the finished product. On the other hand, DLC coatings are composed of amorphous carbon, making them exceptionally hard and durable, living up to the “diamond-like” nature as described. 


DLC coatings have a superior hardness compared to PVD coatings. Diamond-Like Carbon ranks high on the Vickers hardness scale, giving watches with DLC coating an added level of scratch resistance and protection against wear. Given the atomic structure of the material, it’s likely that DLC coating will have greater resilience and less tendency to flake or wear off the watch case overall, given the same duration of time.


PVD coatings tend to be slightly thicker than DLC coatings, which can impact the final aesthetics of the watch. While PVD coatings are more visible, DLC coatings create a sleeker, smoother finish. And while we aren’t talking centimeters or inches of difference to the astute collector or those particular with watch thickness and measurements, it’s something to consider.

Color and Aesthetics

PVD coatings offer a wide range of colors, from gold and black to rose gold and bronze. These options cater to diverse consumer preferences and design choices. On the other hand, DLC coatings are predominantly known for their striking black appearance, though some variations like gray DLC also exist.

The stark black color gives DLC-coated watches a contemporary and sophisticated charm, appealing to many watch enthusiasts, and it’s often used in both sporty or military-leaning designs, which pair well with the material in aesthetic and functionality. 

Pros & Cons of PVD & DLC Coating 

Both PVD and DLC coatings have gained popularity in the watch industry for their versatility and ability to provide both functional and aesthetic benefits to watches. Let’s consider the pros and cons you might consider when choosing a timepiece with either treatment.


  • Aesthetic Versatility: PVD coatings allow watchmakers to experiment with various colors, catering to a broader range of consumer preferences and style choices. The striking black appearance of DLC-coated watches exudes a contemporary and sophisticated charm, appealing to many watch enthusiasts.
  • Improved Scratch Resistance: The additional layer provided by PVD coatings enhances a watch’s ability to withstand daily wear and tear, preserving its appearance over time. DLC coatings offer an unparalleled level of hardness and scratch resistance, ensuring the watch’s surface remains unmarred for extended periods.
  • Cost-Effective: PVD coating is relatively more affordable than DLC, making it accessible to a broader audience of watch enthusiasts.
  • Low Friction: The smooth surface of DLC coatings reduces friction, leading to enhanced performance and longevity.


  • Limited Hardness: PVD coatings are not as hard as DLC, making them more susceptible to scratches and wear in the long run.
  • Fading Over Time: While PVD coatings are durable, they may fade over extended periods, particularly when exposed to harsh conditions or regular friction.
  • Limited Color Options: Unlike PVD coatings, DLC coatings are predominantly black (or gray), limiting the color choices available to consumers.
  • High Cost: DLC coating is more expensive than PVD, which can influence the final retail price of DLC-coated watches.

Other Types of Watch Coating

Apart from PVD and DLC coatings, several other watch coating types are available in the market, each with its own distinct attributes.

Ceramic Coating

Ceramic coatings (ex: Cerakote) offer scratch, chemical, and corrosion resistance, as well as a broad range of color options. They are durable and maintain their appearance over time, making them a suitable choice for sports and dive watches, and provide additional personalized customization when added aftermarket. 

Gold Plating

Gold plating provides an opulent appearance to watches, exuding a sense of luxury and prestige. However, it is less scratch-resistant compared to PVD and DLC coatings and may require re-plating over time (look to vintage gold-plated watches as examples). In practice, a layer of deposited gold plating can be much stronger and more resistant to wear than 12-karat or 14-karat gold watch cases at a more cost-effective price. 

Rhodium Plating

Rhodium plating in watchmaking enhances a watch’s shine and offers increased scratch resistance. It is commonly used on white gold or silver watches to prevent tarnishing, though electroplating with Rhodium will not hide surface imperfections.


It would be no understatement to claim that watch coatings have transformed the world of watchmaking, offering a new blend of combined style and resilience since their introduction. PVD and DLC coatings, in particular, have gained immense popularity for their remarkable properties. 

While PVD coatings provide a broader color palette and affordability, DLC coatings excel in terms of hardness and scratch resistance. Understanding these coating techniques empowers watch enthusiasts to make informed choices based on their preferences and intended use when ultimately deciding which watch to purchase. 

Yet, regardless of the type of coating in question, these innovations highlight the dedication of watchmakers in their pursuit of crafting timepieces that not only stand the test of time but also exemplify aesthetic beauty and durability in use.

 As technology continues to advance and materials improve, we can expect even more new technologies and watch coatings to emerge, further evolving the art of watchmaking. Such innovations ensure that watches remain timeless companions that complement both style and substance in our own watch-collecting journeys.

ALL Types of Rolex Bezels Explained

Rolex watches are synonymous with luxury, precision, and timeless elegance. Renowned for their exceptional craftsmanship, engineering, and attention to detail, Rolex timepieces have become iconic symbols of success and prestige. 

With a history dating back to 1905, Rolex has consistently pushed the boundaries of watchmaking and marketing, introducing innovative features and technologies through the years. 

From the classic Datejust and Submariner to the sophisticated Day-Date and Cosmograph Daytona, Rolex offers a diverse range of models to suit various lifestyles and tastes. Each Rolex watch is meticulously crafted using high-quality materials, powered by precise movements, and designed to withstand the rigors of everyday wear. 

A Rolex watch is not just a timekeeping device but a statement of style and accomplishment recognized the world over. In this article, we’ll dive deep into a specific part of Rolex watches: the watch bezel. 

About Watch Bezels

Watch bezels serve both practical and aesthetic functions in wristwatches. A bezel is a ring-like component that surrounds the watch dial or face and is typically located between the crystal or glass covering and the watch’s case. While its primary purpose is to secure the crystal in place, bezels can also offer additional features and benefits depending on their design.

Protection & Durability 

The bezel acts as a protective barrier for the watch face. It helps prevent scratches, impacts, and other forms of damage to the dial, as well as the crystal or glass covering. By creating a raised edge around the watch face, the bezel adds an extra layer of protection against accidental knocks or bumps.

Timekeeping & Measurement 

Some watch bezels are specifically designed for timekeeping or measuring purposes. For example, diver’s watches often feature a unidirectional rotating bezel with minute markings to measure elapsed time underwater. 

The wearer can align the bezel’s marker with the minute hand to track the duration of a dive or any other time-based activity. Similarly, some bezels are designed with tachymeter scales to calculate speed or chronograph functions for measuring elapsed time.

Aesthetic Enhancement 

Bezels play a crucial role in the overall design and appearance of a wristwatch. They come in various materials, finishes, and styles to complement the watch’s aesthetics and create visual appeal. Whether it’s a simple, understated bezel or an elaborate, gemstone-encrusted one, the choice of bezel design can significantly influence the watch’s overall look and feel.

Functional Indicators

In certain watches, bezels can serve as functional indicators or markers. For example, a pilot’s watch might have a bi-directional rotating bezel with a slide rule function to assist with calculations related to aviation, such as fuel consumption or airspeed. These bezels often feature specialized markings or scales that aid in performing specific calculations or conversions.

Versatility & Customization

Some watches feature interchangeable bezels, allowing wearers to change the appearance or functionality of their timepieces easily. These modular bezel systems enable users to swap out bezels of different colors, materials, or functions, providing versatility and personalization options to match various occasions or preferences.

It’s worth noting that not all watches incorporate a functional bezel. Some timepieces, particularly minimalist or dress watches, may have fixed bezels that focus primarily on aesthetics while keeping the watch face unobstructed. 

In such cases, the absence of a functional bezel doesn’t diminish the watch’s overall value or functionality; instead, it reflects a design choice aimed at achieving a specific style or purpose.

Current Types of Rolex Bezels

Rolex watches are known for their attention to detail and precision craftsmanship, and the bezels they use are no exception. Rolex offers a range of different bezel types across their various watch models, each serving a specific purpose and catering to different needs. Here are some of the notable bezel types used by Rolex:

Smooth/Domed Bezel

The Rolex smooth bezel is a hallmark of elegance and sophistication, with just the right touch of sportiness. Found on models such as the Oyster Perpetual, Datejust, and Day-Date, and professional models like the Air King and Explorer, this bezel type showcases a sleek and polished surface devoid of any additional markings or textures. 

Its simplicity allows the focus to remain on the dial and overall design of the watch. The smooth bezel complements various styles, from formal occasions to everyday wear, making it a versatile choice for everyday wear. Crafted with meticulous attention to detail, Rolex ensures that the smooth bezel seamlessly integrates with the watch case, creating a cohesive and harmonious aesthetic. 

This understated bezel design adds a touch of refined class to the timepiece, making it a timeless and elegant accessory for discerning individuals who appreciate the art of understated luxury.

Fluted Bezel 

The Rolex fluted bezel is an iconic and instantly recognizable feature of many Rolex watches, most notably the Datejust and Day-Date models. This distinctive bezel design showcases vertical ridges or grooves that encircle the outer edge, resembling the edge of a coin. 

The fluted bezel adds a touch of sophistication and character to the timepiece, elevating its aesthetic appeal. Carved with high precision, the fluted bezel also serves a practical purpose, allowing for easy gripping and manipulation when installing the bezel above the sapphire crystal. This bezel design enhances the watch’s visual allure and serves as a hallmark of Rolex’s attention to detail and craftsmanship. 

The Rolex fluted bezel has become the brand’s symbol and trademark feature, making it a coveted feature for those seeking a luxurious and recognizable timepiece. Recently, Rolex released the Perpetual 1908 dress watch collection, featuring finer coin edge ridges set into the bezel.

Diamond-Set Bezel

Rolex gem-set bezels represent the pinnacle of luxury and glamor. These bezels are adorned with carefully selected and expertly set precious gemstones, including diamonds, sapphires, or other exquisite gems. 

Rolex offers gem-set bezels on select models such as the Datejust and Day-Date, and even on sports models such as the Submariner, GMT Master II, and Daytona, enhancing their already distinguished designs. 

The gemstones are expertly placed into the bezel, ensuring precise alignment and a captivating display of brilliance and light play. Rolex’s strict quality standards guarantee that only the finest diamonds and gemstones are used and chosen for their exceptional clarity, color, and cut. The gem-set bezels elevate the watch’s allure, catching the light from every angle and turning heads with a dazzling presence. 

Among the Crown’s technical achievements and prowess, their in-house gem-setting represents the epitome of opulence, making these timepieces a coveted choice for those who seek the highest levels of watchmaking from the brand.

Rotatable Bezel

Among the Rolex catalog, both unidirectional and bidirectional rotating bezels are available on specific watch models for added function. Of the unidirectional variant, both the Submariner and Sea Dweller collections feature rotating bezels designed for diving. Either model’s bezels feature minute markings, allowing divers to accurately measure their elapsed dive time by aligning the bezel’s marker with the minute hand. 

Made from robust materials like ceramic or aluminum (in older generations), Rolex diving bezels are known for their durability and resistance to wear. In the Yacht Master, a bidirectional rotating bezel with a raised 60-minute scale is utilized. 

This bezel is designed for regatta timing, allowing wearers to measure precise intervals. It adds a sporty and nautical touch to the watch’s aesthetics, a bit more modern leaning than the traditional dive bezels mentioned earlier.

24-Hour GMT Bezel

The rotating GMT bezel is a distinct and practical feature found on the GMT-Master II collection, designed specifically for tracking multiple time zones. The bezel, made of robust materials like ceramic or aluminum (in previous generations), incorporates a 24-hour scale that allows wearers to easily reference a second timezone. 

The GMT bezel is bidirectional, enabling smooth and convenient adjustment. It can be rotated in either direction to align the 24-hour scale with the GMT hand on the watch dial. 

By setting the GMT hand to the desired second time zone and aligning it with the bezel, wearers can effortlessly keep track of two different time zones simultaneously. This functionality proves invaluable for travelers, pilots, and individuals who frequently deal with international time differences. It allows for quick and efficient time zone adjustments without affecting the accuracy of the watch’s primary timekeeping function by utilizing the crown for adjustment.

Tachymeter Bezel

The tachymeter bezel on the Rolex Daytona is a functional and iconic feature that enhances the watch’s chronograph capabilities. The bezel incorporates a tachymeter scale, which allows wearers to measure average speed over a known distance using the chronograph function. 

The tachymeter scale is engraved or printed (as on older models) on the outer edge of the bezel and typically ranges from 60 to 400 units per hour. It enables users to calculate speed based on the time taken to cover a specific distance. When the chronograph is activated, the wearer starts timing and stops it after traveling the desired distance.

The chronograph second hand points to the tachymeter scale, indicating the average speed. The tachymeter bezel on the Daytona is a functional tool and adds a sporty and dynamic touch to the watch’s overall design, reflecting the model’s racing heritage and its association with speed and precision.

Ring Command Bezel

The Rolex Yacht-Master II is equipped with a unique and innovative feature known as the “Ring Command” bezel. This specialized bezel is an integral part of the watch’s mechanical movement and allows for manipulating complex functions with haptic ease. 

The Ring Command bezel operates in conjunction with the watch’s programmable countdown timer, which is designed specifically for yacht racing. By rotating the bezel counterclockwise, it engages and unlocks the timer function. From there, the bezel can be turned further to set the desired countdown time.

Once the countdown begins, the bezel remains stationary, ensuring accurate timekeeping. 
The functionality of the Ring Command bezel lies in its intricate internal mechanism, which interacts with the watch’s movement to control the countdown timer. This innovative design enables precise and intuitive operation, allowing sailors to focus on their race preparations without any complexity.

Other Notable Types of Rolex Bezels

Outside of the current catalog’s range of bezel configurations, Rolex has historically utilized other types of bezels which are no longer in production, whether due to style and taste preferences changing through the years or streamlining of manufacturing across their product offerings today. Let’s explore this further. 

Engine Turned Bezel

No longer in production, the Engine Turned Bezel, commonly featured in historic collections such as the Air King, Datejust, Oyster Perpetual, and Date models, was a practical alternative for those seeking a design less formal than a fully fluted bezel, yet not as stark as a smooth domed bezel. 

Bark Bezel

Also no longer being produced, the bark bezel was utilized mainly on Day-Date and a small number of Datejust watches and featured even finer ridging along the surface of the bezel (quite like the texture of bark) than a traditional fluted bezel in fine materials like yellow and white gold.

Pyramid Bezel

As the name suggests, the Pyramid bezel featured pyramid-shaped decorative carvings on the bezel. Found on dressier pieces and often paired with gem set detailing, the Pyramid bezel was utilized on Day Date, Oysterquartz Day Date, as well as Lady Datejust timepieces. 

Florentine Bezel

The Florentine bezel is a very fine, almost filed-like texture which was rarely used on particular Datejust and Oyster Perpetual models. Adding a finer texture to what otherwise would be a traditional smooth bezel, it’s a particularly refined look not often seen in the brand’s catalog.

Moreau Bezel

Not widely produced or replicated, the Moreau bezel is a rare bezel type from the Crown, which featured a hashmark mix of engraving and textured finishing on select gold Date and Datejust models.

Greek Key Bezel

Echoing emblematic Greek decoration and patterning, the Greek Key style bezel from Rolex was only available on special order from the brand, particularly on the reference 1506 Date. Its deep etchings replicate Greek art patterns along the circumference of the bezel, much as the name suggests. 

Moiré Bezel

Similar to the Moreau bezel mentioned prior, the Moiré bezel features small flutings directed inwards towards the dial, as well as flutings crossing against them horizontally around the full circumference of the bezel. The result is a unique texture with an almost antiquated handcraft feel.

Zephyr Bezel

The Zephyr Bezel was featured on the Oyster Perpetual “Zephyr”, produced between the 1950s and 1970s. It features fine fluting and small cut notches at each minute mark on the inner side of the bezel, which the wearer could use as “hashes” for minute markings outside of the dial in practical use. 

Morellis Bezel

Rarely seen, the Morellis bezel is a gold leaf-like texture that is crisp and refined when found on rare Day Date models during the 1960s. The center links of the accompanying president-style bracelets also feature the gold leaf “Morellis” texture, producing an overall impressive if not stark look when compared to fully polished or fluted alternatives.


Over the decades since the brand’s inception, Rolex has continually offered and improved upon its bezel designs across its full range of timepiece offerings. It’s important to note that not all bezel types are available on every Rolex model. Specifically, the choice of bezel type, construction, and materials, depends on the watch’s intended purpose, design, and target audience. 

As a watchmaking and engineering powerhouse of the industry, Rolex has, through the years, selected and designed bezels that align with the functionality and aesthetics of each watch model, ensuring a harmonious and purposeful timepiece. 

are movado watches good

Movado. You’ve likely heard the name before and might’ve even found this article hoping to learn more about the brand and whether its watches are good. For others, you may even already own one. Maybe it was your first real watch or one earned at graduation. 

Whatever the case, we’ll be exploring Movado as a whole in this article, navigating key points in history, and identifying objective ways in which to measure the brand’s qualities, strengths, and weaknesses. We’ll also discuss some of the prominent models in the catalog and even provide brand alternatives should you decide it’s not the brand for you. Let’s jump in.

About Movado Watches 

Movado represents a global brand with its presence reaching Europe, Asia, and the Americas. While initially based in heritage and traditional Swiss watchmaking in its early years, the Movado of today has branched into varied product categories ranging from analog watches (quartz and automatic) to jewelry, sunglasses, and even smart watches of late. 

In this sense, the brand can be seen as more of a fashion brand with a focus on timepieces, and it’s through this lens of focus that’s best to analyze the pros and cons of the brand’s strengths, weaknesses, and its overall product offerings, mainly through a watch enthusiast’s eye. Indeed, for the mass market, Movado has come to represent a certain standard of Swiss watchmaking and can be frequently found in malls and department stores alongside other watches, such as Michael Kors, Tommy Hilfiger, and Shinola. How did it earn this reputation? 

The History of Movado

Movado has a long and storied history. The company was founded in 1881 by Achilles Ditesheim, a young watchmaker who opened a small workshop in the town of La Chaux-de-Fonds. In 1905, Ditesheim renamed his company Movado, which means “always in motion” in the artificial language Esperanto.

Movado quickly became a leading watchmaking brand in Switzerland. Yet, it was in 1947 that the brand produced a watch that would come to represent a core component of its ethos and design language moving forward. Enter– the iconic Museum Dial.

Created by artist Nathan George Horwitt, this groundbreaking dial design featured a stark, minimalist face with a solitary dot at 12 o’clock, symbolizing the sun at its zenith. The Museum Dial captured the essence of modernism and quickly garnered acclaim for its unique blend of sophistication and simplicity.

Today, it remains one of the most recognizable watch dials in the world and, certainly, the watch most associated with Movado. So iconic that it was inducted into the permanent collection of the MoMA (Museum of Modern Art) in New York City in 1960, and the reason it’s called the “Museum” watch.

But let’s not sleep on Movado’s historical technical chops, either. As a brand, Movado has historically pushed the boundaries of innovation, embracing new technologies and materials to enhance the functionality and aesthetic appeal of its timepieces.

In the 1950s, the brand introduced the Calendomatic, a revolutionary self-winding watch that incorporated a day and date display—an impressive feat at the time. Movado continued to innovate with advancements like the Datron (in partnership with Zenith), one of the first automatic chronographs, and the Vizio, a fusion of digital and analog technology in their more modern catalog.

Are Movado Watches Good? 

Let’s be clear. All wristwatches are a luxury because we no longer need them in modern society. We’re surrounded by time in various forms throughout our daily lives, whether on the screen of our cell phones or on our laptops and computer screens just a quick glance away. 

In this light, wristwatches are then a subjective choice based on aesthetics and the things we value (for example: design, residual value, and so forth). But there are a few areas where we can make objective decisions based on fact. Let’s examine this within the context of our main question: are Movado watches good?

Overpriced Timepieces

Taking the Museum Classic as an example, one could expect to spend between $600 to $2,000 at full retail price to take home the brand’s most iconic design (with Swiss quartz and automatic movements available). Exploring other lines within the brand, a Vizio would land you in the range of $1,295 to $2,495, with another line yet in the Alta reaching into the near $4000 range for an automatic Swiss chronograph movement. 

For certain watch collectors who place importance on mechanical movements, or those familiar with the competitive landscape within each price point, it can be argued that what Movado is presenting may be overpriced. 

That’s because of the brand’s dependence on mass-produced quartz movements in the $1000 range and the availability of true luxury watches from brands in the higher price range. 

There’s nothing wrong with the practicality and accuracy of quartz for a daily wearer (and for most of the general mass market at large). However, using a quartz movement is typically associated with watches well under this price. It implicates lower relative cost to the manufacturer than a mechanical movement, which is more challenging to produce and ensure accuracy. 

For this reason, many would agree that Movado watches may be priced a bit aggressively for what’s on offer, especially with competitors in this range offering solid automatic movements and design at similar price points; for example, Hamilton and Tissot. 

Additionally, once we break into the $2,000 through $4,000 price range, we’re entering what many would consider a true entry-level “luxury” range. At this price point, you get brands like Longines, Oris, and Tudor, which all carry more weight and respect in the watch industry for their own individual accomplishments. 

Little to No Design Innovation

While beauty is in the eye of the beholder, it’s also true that Movado knows what they do well from a design standpoint and, to a certain degree, sticks to it. 

Surely, common design language throughout a brand’s range of products is a telltale sign of a brand’s confidence and understanding of its offerings; however, one can’t help but wish they’d deviate just a tad bit from their iconic Museum watch design, with a bit more innovation than what’s currently on offer. 

Speaking of the Museum design ethos, looking across the catalog, we see that a majority of their other lines are merely evolutions or variations on that minimalist aesthetic with the sole dot at 12 o’clock: the Bold line, the SE, Modern 47, Artist Series, Face, Bangles, Esperanza, etc. all pull from the same Museum design. 

The few watches that don’t tend to be generic fashion watch designs that pull from other popular models across the industry. There’s certainly nothing wrong with providing a base level of popular design; however, we know that, historically, Movado can be a powerhouse in new design should they choose to focus on it.

Significant Value Depreciation

A Museum Class Automatic in 40mm and Yellow Gold PVD has a full list price of $1,295. A quick search for completed sold listings of the same model in new condition on eBay shows that the price being paid on the secondary market is within the $250 to $300 range.

If you have no intention of selling the watch, secondary market values are likely of little concern. However, this does go to show that the brand suffers significant value depreciation after purchase. 

A prospective buyer would do well to find the best-discounted price available to them, whether from an official retailer or on the secondary market, in order to mitigate this depreciation. But it’s not all doom and gloom, and none of the above may deter you. So what are some reasons you might still want to buy a Movado watch?

Historic Watch Brand

Founded in 1881 and a survivor of the quartz crisis in the 1970s, Movado is truly a brand with a strong history within the Swiss watchmaking industry. The Movado group has grown to include brands like EBEL, MVMT, and even licensed brands under fashion labels such as Coach, Hugo Boss, Lacoste, Calvin Klein, and Tommy Hilfiger. 

At one point, they even owned Piaget, among the highest haute luxury watches and jewelry makers. Additionally, the Museum watch is truly an icon, since its development in 1947, despite how overused the term may be when talking about watch design (Bauhaus and all). If you appreciate the history, legacy, and design ethos of the brand, do not be deterred.

Several Models To Choose From

With a current catalog spread across eighteen model lines, each model line is made up of a plethora of color, size, material, and movement variants; one is spoiled for choice and likely to find something that catches your eye across Movado’s product range. 

Whether you prefer to stick with the tried and true classic Bauhaus-inspired Museum design, prefer the vintage-inspired Heritage series designs, or even prefer to express yourself with the bold color options within the Modern 47 line, there is plenty to choose from. 

Quartz variations on leather straps will typically be the most affordable, whereas the more complicated automatic mechanical timepieces on bracelets (steel, two-tone, PVD, etc.) will increase the price. 
Want diamond markers on your dial? Also an option! With such a broad range, let’s dive deeper with a look at some more specific collections.

Most Notable Movado Watch Collections

Movado Museum Classic

Movado Museum Classic

The bread and butter, the core of Movado’s lineup. The Museum Classic is the modern iteration of the infamous Bauhaus-inspired design from Nathan George Horwitt in 1947. Clean, stark (often black) dials adorned with a simple dot motif at 12 o’clock. 

The Museum Classic can be purchased in three primary sizes, 28mm, 33mm, and 40mm, with either Swiss quartz or automatic movements. It also comes in various case materials ranging from stainless steel to Yellow or Rose Gold PVD on leather or linked bracelets. Diamond markers or date functionality (with matching date wheels) are the only visual flairs to provide variety, should you choose further complication. 

Rated at 30m of water resistance, the Museum Classic is best suited for office or casual smart wear and is most at home in dressier situations. Models range from $595 to $1995.

Movado BOLD

Movado BOLD

Officially (from Movado promotional material), the Movado BOLD collection “offers a modern, minimalist aesthetic with a confident twist”. In practice, the BOLD collection provides a plethora of more modern leaning designs on existing models in the catalog on everything from the Museum Classic to their sportier complicated chronographs. 

With no true throughline across the various models (124 variants in total), perhaps the best way to describe the BOLD collection is in a focused fashion context: Looking for a blacked-out/ion-plated Museum design (BOLD Thin) or a transparent dial with integrated anthracite black rubber strap (BOLD Fusion Automatic)? You’ll find it in the BOLD collection. Models range from $495 to $1495.

Movado Series 800

Movado Series 800

Dive watches represent the best-selling form factor of watch design and function in today’s market. They’re sporty, bold, and altogether practical, ready to take a beating, with water resistance ratings at 200m and more. The Series 800 is Movado’s take on the modern dive watch. 

Stylistically, the Series 800 retains the brand’s dot at 12 o’clock but otherwise adopts traditional dive watch design language, which is often Rolex Submariner adjacent. To be fair, it’s hard to break away and make one’s own mark within such specific functional requirements (rotating bezel with minute markers, legible hands, indices, etc.).

However, Movado’s choice to include a 42mm Diver Chronograph variant is admirable. Prices range from $1,195 for 40mm quartz variants to $2,295 for Swiss automatic-powered movements. 

Movado Heritage

Movado Heritage

In the last decade, vintage-inspired designs have been at the forefront of the watchmaking landscape. The Heritage line is Movado’s version of this, and likely the line to most interested watch enthusiasts or those seeking more traditional design language from the 50s and 60s but in modern materials and size. 

Watches such as the Calendoplan with a sub-seconds hand register at 6:00, Calatrava style. The Alta Super Sub Sea Automatic, recalling Movado’s history with Zenith, to the Calendoplan S, a 43mm upsized skin diver design available on a steel mesh bracelet. Pricing ranges from $595 to $3,995, with Swiss quartz and automatic movements available. 

Movado Modern 47

Movado Modern 47

The Modern 47 collection is easy to understand. Take the Museum Classic in 40mm with a quartz movement, but make it colorful. And I mean all the colors. From a playful light pink to Yellow Gold PVD with a white dial, the Modern 47 will set you back $595 to $695 retail, depending on your shade of choice.

Should You Buy a Movado Watch?

If the watches speak to you, far be it from me to tell you otherwise. Certainly, Movado provides a wide range of options in color, design, and function, steeped in the historic design language of the Museum watch.

A Movado watch will be solid, low stress, and reliable (particularly quartz) and often provide that minimum intersection of style and function required by most modern consumers looking for a dedicated daily timepiece fit for all occasions. 

At its core, this is the target audience for Movado, and they’ve done well for themselves selling to the general zeitgeist. But what are the alternatives for the more discerning in the same price range?

Alternatives to Movado Watches 


Tissot is a renowned Swiss watch brand with a rich and illustrious history dating back to 1853. The company was founded by Charles-Félicien Tissot and his son, Charles-Émile Tissot, in the town of Le Locle, Switzerland. From humble beginnings, Tissot quickly gained a reputation for innovation and precision well into the present day. 

Today, Tissot watches are highly regarded for their Swiss craftsmanship under the Swatch Group umbrella, precision movements (ex: Powermatic 80, with 80-hour power reserve), and a wide range of styles to suit different tastes and occasions.

From classic designs to sporty chronographs and elegant women’s watches, Tissot offers a diverse collection that appeals to watch enthusiasts worldwide. Watches such as the Gentleman Powermatic 80 and PRX Powermatic 80, in particular at the sub-$1000 mark, are compelling options when weighed against offerings from Movado. 


Founded in 1892 in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Hamilton initially focused on producing high-quality pocket watches. It quickly gained a reputation for precision and reliability, becoming a trusted timekeeping companion for railroad employees, who depended on accurate watches to ensure safe and punctual train schedules.

Present-day Hamilton continues to innovate and create exceptional timepieces that blend American heritage with Swiss precision. The brand offers a diverse range of collections, including sports watches, dress watches, and vintage-inspired timepieces, catering to various tastes and preferences.

They’ve also become a darling to the watch enthusiast community in recent years both for their accessibility and pricing and their penchant for listening to what enthusiasts want. Watches such as the Khaki Field or Murph are often an entry point for collectors for this reason, offering mechanical movements and personality well under the $1,000 price point. 


Founded in Saint-Imier, Switzerland, by Auguste Agassiz in 1832, Longines eventually played a significant role in the development of early sports timing and aviation in the late 19th century into the 20th century. During World War II, Longines shifted its production to support the military, providing reliable timepieces to various armed forces.

The brand’s watches were favored by pilots and navigators due to their accuracy and legibility. In the post-war era, Longines continued to innovate and expand its collection. The brand introduced iconic models such as the Conquest, which showcased Longines’ commitment to timeless design and precision.

In the 1950s and 1960s, Longines experienced a surge in popularity as its timepieces became favored by celebrities, athletes, and watch enthusiasts worldwide. The brand’s watches graced the wrists of notable figures, including Audrey Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart, further enhancing Longines’ reputation for elegance and sophistication.

Today, Longines continues that tradition offering a variety of collections catering to diverse tastes, from traditional dress watches (Master Collection 190th Anniversary) to heritage-inspired dive watches (Legend Diver) and aviation-leaning GMTs (Spirit Zulu Time). Priced within the $1,000 to $4,000 range, the brand offers a foot into the entry-luxury experience. 

In Conclusion

So, are Movado watches any good? Ultimately, it’s up to you as an individual to decide. While there are certainly other brands with the history, iconic designs, and value to boot, we all like what we like as individuals and should use our own personal tastes and interests to help guide us in our purchasing decisions. 

We hope the information provided here can help you get closer to honing in on that decision. But one thing is for certain. In its over 100-year history, Movado has built a reputation for itself as a Swiss watchmaker at large, producing and developing its own iconic models with distinctive designs through the decades. 

It has achieved a level of success today recognized the world over, even as its focus continues to lean towards fashion and trends in the modern market context. For some, this is reason enough to buy into the brand. For others still, it’s enough to recognize Movado’s historical achievements yet opt for a competitive option with more relative value and modern innovation. The choice is yours.

bulova vs movado watches

Bulova and Movado. Two big names in the watch industry. Two watch manufacturers with American-based roots. In the years since their founding, both have become established and respected brands with historic achievements and celebrated models spanning their respective histories. 

In recent decades, the two have come to occupy similar price points and could even be said to compete directly with one another. Certainly, for a prospective customer looking for a watch in the few hundred to under two thousand dollar price range, both Bulova and Movado provide a wide range of choices to pick from. 

In this article, we’ll review the histories of both, draw comparisons between the brands, and ultimately pit specific models against each other to help readers decide which is the right choice for them. Let’s jump in.

About Bulova Watches 

Bulova was founded in 1875 by Joseph Bulova, a visionary immigrant from Bohemia who first established a small jewelry shop in New York City. Driven by an unyielding passion for horology, Bulova set out to create timepieces of exceptional quality. Initially, the brand specialized in crafting precision timepieces and quickly gained a reputation as the market took notice. 

In 1919, Bulova introduced the first-ever complete line of men’s and women’s wristwatches, revolutionizing how people kept time as pocket watches remained the general mode of timekeeping for the average person. 

They continued to push boundaries and launched the world’s first clock radio in 1928, followed by the groundbreaking Accutron, the world’s first electronic watch, in 1960.

During this time, Bulova established itself as a pioneer in accurate timekeeping. Their Accutron watches, powered by a tiny tuning fork, offered unparalleled precision and reliability compared to traditional mechanical counterparts. 

So impressive was their technology that NASA chose Bulova as the official timepiece for their Apollo lunar missions, eventually leading to a total of 46 missions together. Bulova’s Accutron timing instruments were vital in coordinating the intricate maneuvers required during these historic space expeditions.

Bulova has always been at the forefront of style and innovation. In the 1960s, they introduced the Caravelle line, offering fashionable yet affordable watches to a broader audience. The brand continued to innovate with the Accuquartz, the first affordable quartz watch for the mass market, in the 1970s. 

In more recent years, Bulova embraced cutting-edge technology with the Precisionist collection, boasting an unprecedented level of accuracy (timing to 1/1000th of a second), and the Curv line, featuring the world’s first curved case and chronograph movement.

Bulova’s commitment to excellence and innovation has earned the brand a loyal following over the years. Their watches continue to be cherished for their exceptional craftsmanship, timeless designs, and superior accuracy. 

Today, Bulova offers a diverse range of timepieces catering to various tastes and preferences. From classic dress watches to sporty chronographs, their collections showcase a fusion of heritage and contemporary aesthetics. At the end of 2007, the company was sold to the Japanese multinational conglomerate Citizen Watch Co.

About Movado Watches 

The year was 1881 when a visionary young entrepreneur, Achille Ditesheim, founded a small watchmaking workshop in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland. It was here that the seeds of Movado were sown. 

In 1905, Ditesheim officially registered the brand as “Movado,” which means “always in motion” in Esperanto, a language symbolic of universal communication, in tune with his passion for precision and innovation in watchmaking.

Over the years, Movado would produce a few iconic designs which would help characterize the brand’s design language into the modern era. Among the most defining features of Movado watches at this time is their iconic Museum dial. 

Designed in 1947 by American artist Nathan George Horwitt in the school of Bauhaus style, the Museum dial revolutionized watch design with its minimalistic and distinctive appearance. Horwitt’s vision was to create a dial that captured the essence of time by removing all hour markers except for a single dot at 12 o’clock, symbolizing the sun at its zenith.

This groundbreaking design has since become a trademark of Movado and an epitome of modern elegance in the industry. Movado’s commitment to innovation continued to propel the brand forward. In 1959, they introduced the “Kingmatic” watch, among the first self-winding timepieces with a full rotor system.

This breakthrough solidified Movado’s reputation as a trailblazer in watchmaking technology. The brand’s dedication to design and innovation did not go unnoticed, and the brand received numerous accolades and prestigious awards. In 1960, the Museum dial was recognized by the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York, joining the museum’s permanent collection as a timeless example of industrial design.

This recognition further solidified Movado’s place in the pantheon of artistic timekeeping. Along these lines, the brand has also collaborated with renowned designers and artists to create limited edition collections that embody the fusion of art and horology.

One notable collaboration was with the legendary industrial designer Yves Béhar. Together, they created the Movado Edge collection in 2015, featuring strikingly modern watches that pushed the boundaries of design.

As Movado embarks on its next chapter, the brand continues to create watches that blend timeless design with cutting-edge technology. From the classic Museum dial to innovative complications and Swiss-made precision, Movado watches remain synonymous with refinement and understated style.

Today, the Movado Group’s list of brands includes Movado, EBEL, and MVMT (purchased in 2018), as well as licensed brands ranging from Coach, Lacoste, Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, and Hugo Boss. 

Bulova vs Movado Watches: The Battle of The American Watch Brands

Now that we have brief histories of both companies under our belt, let’s get into the nitty gritty and explore a few areas of comparison between the two. As with any comparison (or all-out battle in our case), both brands have their particular strengths and weaknesses that may appeal to or act as detractors for different individual tastes.

Brand Recognition

Despite both companies being founded over a century ago and with all that heritage and historic recognition through the years, arguably, the more recognized brand in a modern-day context would be Movado. 

Movado’s recognition overall breaks down to two factors: consistent design language and marketing. With the development of the Museum dial in 1947 and its subsequent entry into the Museum of Modern Art, Movado has become somewhat of a household name for those seeking elegant, timeless design. 

Indeed, this level of simplicity in design is echoed across its model lines, from the traditional eponymous Museum Classic collection all the way to its hyper-modern BOLD lines. This makes Movado watches very distinct and easy to recognize. (much in the same way a Rolex watch could be easily spotted for its oyster case and bracelet). 

In marketing, Movado doesn’t rely solely on authorized dealers to sell its product (ex: Kay Jewelers, department stores, etc.). The brand has Movado Company Stores across the United States to help sell products with knowledgeable employees and a full in-house customer experience. 

Unfortunately, Bulova has become less of a known quantity since the mid-century due to its lack of marketing and focused product lineup until recently. As of late, Bulova is making strides with updated Accutron models and revived heritage models. 

We’re seeing the brand participate in more watch enthusiast-based events such as Windup Watch Fair, increasing visibility for a far more niche group of customers. It’ll be interesting to see where this takes the brand, but as it stands, Movado wins recognition for the general public.

Model Variety

While Movado’s focused design language has helped define the brand and produced recognition in the public at large, it can also be a detriment when looking for a diverse variety of design choices to fit your personal tastes. 

In this arena, Bulova takes the cake with their vast array of watches like the heritage-based MIL SHIPS, Lunar Pilot, and Devil Diver archive series entries, to ultra-modern integrated bracelet designs like the Series X or the classic dress watch Frank Sinatra collection (celebrating the brand’s ties to the famous entertainer). 

A buyer is likely to find a watch that suits their tastes within the Bulova range, whereas, if the minimalist design isn’t to your taste, you’d be hard set to find such variety within Movado’s collections. 

Build Quality & Durability

In the realm of build quality and durability, it’s safe to say both Bulova and Movado will provide similar levels of daily dependability and similar levels of case construction and finishing within their respective watches. 

While this will depend on the particular model and activity of use, generally a dress watch from either brand will provide at least 30 meters of water resistance. In contrast, the sportier options will provide around 100 meters and more of water resistance (ex: dive watches). 

Being on the dressier side, a larger amount of Movado watches may include ion-plated gold and diamonds as materials and finishing; however, both brands will generally use stainless steel on a wide range of their watches. 


Similar to build quality and durability, both brands are on equal footing when it comes to their use of both quartz and automatic movements (automatic movements occupying the higher price points for Movado particularly) in their portfolio of watches. 

That said, we must acknowledge the 2020 relaunch of the Accutron brand (under Bulova), which re-envisions the Accutron line of watches at luxury priced levels. It also utilizes a proprietary electrostatic movement, the likes of which made Bulova so groundbreaking in the 1960s and 70s in the original Accutron (particularly in the Accutron DNA model). 

Price & Availability

Finally, when it comes to price and availability, we have…yet another tie. Both brands have watches occupying the two hundred dollars to four thousand dollars price range. 

Both brands’ timepieces equally have a retail presence in brick-and-mortar shops and authorized dealerships (department stores, large jewelry chains, etc.), as well as having a wide selection on the internet through various channels (brand websites, Amazon, etc.). 

While Movado does provide its own company stores in major markets, Bulova’s brand participation in niche watch enthusiast events as well as dedication to brand history in recent years, prove that accessibility to new audiences is a new focus and that the brand is seeking patronage by listening to what their most loyal fans want. 

Bulova vs Movado Watches: Top Models Comparison: 

In this section, we’ll pit specific watch models from each brand against each other, as well as the ideal buyer for each. Each will represent comparable allegories that a prospective buyer may consider when looking to fulfill a specific style or watch type. We’ll also include some hard data (including measurements) for your reference.

Bulova Classic (ref. 96B149) vs Movado Museum Classic

When looking for a versatile day-to-day timepiece that wouldn’t look out of place in the office or in casual environments, both the Bulova Classic (reference 96B149) and the Movado Museum Classic present a solid choice.

Both options are powered by quartz movements, are rated to 30 meters of water resistance, and feature stainless steel construction. While the Bulova Classic will present a better value at less than half the price of the Movado Museum Classic (not to mention the inclusion of a stainless steel bracelet. Movado has an upcharge here).

It’s also true that with the higher price of the Museum Classic, you’re buying into the brand name, heritage, and the added recognition you’d get from wearing a more popular/known timepiece. 

That said, the Bulova would also wear better on smaller wrists, coming in at 38mm in diameter and a pronounced curvature of the lugs, which would drape well over any wrist. 

Bulova Classic (ref. 96B149)Movado Museum Classic
Case Size38mm40mm
MaterialsStainless Steel, Domed Mineral CrystalStainless Steel, Sapphire Crystal
Water Resistance30m30m
MovementQuartzSwiss Quartz
StrapStainless SteelLeather or Stainless Steel
Additional FeaturesIntegrated bracelet design with curved lugs to hug the wearer’s wrist. Patterned black dial for visual playClassic minimalist design with plain black dial and silver-toned dot at 12:00. Hour and minutes hands only (no seconds hand)
MSRP$295.00$595.00 (leather strap)
$895.00 (stainless steel bracelet)

Bulova Lunar Pilot vs Movado Heritage Series Calendoplan Chronograph

In the chronograph department, both Bulova and Movado have long, storied histories and accomplishments, which helped propel both forward as technological powerhouses in the last century. When comparing the Bulova Lunar Pilot and the Movado Heritage Series Calendoplan Chronograph, however, space geeks and historians might side with the Bulova, which is a direct descendant of the very watches used by NASA in the 1970s and Apollo 15 mission. 

The Bulova comes standard with a stainless steel bracelet, as well as a higher water resistance rating (50m against the Movado’s 30m). On the other hand, the Movado focuses on a cleaner aesthetic with traditionally-styled chronograph pushers, case, and overall design on a Cognac leather strap for the same retail price. Impressively, the NP20 movement of the Bulova is also higher-tech, with a frequency of 262 kHz, 8 times greater than standard quartz movements, providing an accuracy of seconds within a year.

Bulova Lunar PilotMovado Heritage Series Calendoplan Chronograph
Case Size43.5mm43mm
MaterialsStainless Steel, Anti-Reflective Sapphire CrystalStainless Steel, Sapphire Crystal
Water Resistance50m30m
MovementHigh Performance QuartzSwiss Quartz Chronograph
StrapStainless Steel (NATO leather strap included)Cognac Leather Strap
Additional FeaturesSame 43.5mm silver tone stainless steel case as the original NASA watch. NP20 Quartz Movement accurate within seconds a yearBlue dial with triangular indices, date window at 4:30 position. Swiss Super-LumiNova applied throughout

Bulova Marine Star Series B (ref. 96B256) vs Movado Series 800 Blue Chronograph Perpetual

In our final category of dive watch chronographs, we compare the Bulova Marine Star Series B (reference 96B256) with the Movado Series 800 Blue Chronograph Perpetual. Arguably, the Movado is more capable (200m depth rating vs. 100m) and more wearable for more wrists (at 42mm vs. 43mm). 

But, at over twice the price of the Bulova, we should expect such levels of refinement over the Bulova. On aesthetic looks alone, the Movado is more classic in design with an oyster-like styled bracelet and traditional sub-dial layout, whereas the Bulova features an additional crown at 10 o’clock for an inner rotating bezel in lieu of an external rotating bezel as on the Movado.

Bulova Marine Star Series B
(ref. 96B256)
Movado Series 800 Blue Chronograph Perpetual
Case Size43mm42mm
MaterialsStainless Steel, Mineral CrystalPerformance Stainless Steel and Aluminum. Sapphire Crystal
Water Resistance100m200m
MovementQuartz, accurate to within 15 seconds/monthSwiss Quartz Chronograph
StrapStainless SteelPerformance Steel Link Bracelet
Additional FeaturesIncludes fold-over clasp with push buttons, 6 hands with 1/20 second chronograph (up to 60 minutes), calendar, and small seconds handTrue divers watch with rotating bezel and trademarked Performance Steel bracelet for rugged durability


Ultimately, it’s a matter of taste and personal preference when deciding between Bulova and Movado watches, both brands having ties to American history. We’ve explored these histories and dived even deeper into direct comparisons across specific models between each brand. 

However, overall it can broadly be said that a Movado buyer is one that is likely more interested in design and classic refinement, whereas a Bulova buyer might tend towards design variety and, increasingly, niche preferences such as the heritage-based reinterpretations and the Accutron sub-brand. Both brands will provide similar levels of material construction and dependability, as well as price point variety and movement tech. 

Each has a long and storied history with representative models that have come to define each brand in the century since their respective foundations. While you can’t go wrong when choosing either, at the end of the day, it’s the stories and histories we build with our own personal watches we choose and wear that make them the objects we desire today. Godspeed!

Fake vs real richard mille

The fake watch industry is huge. In fact, the European Observatory on Infringements of Intellectual Property Rights estimates that nearly 1.9 billion Euros of annual revenue for legitimate manufacturers is lost to counterfeit watches and jewelry on the European market (nearly 13.5% of total sales for the sector), with counterfeiting causing an estimated 3.5 billion Euros worth of sales lost for the European economy.

It’s likely you’re even just as aware within your personal life that fake watches exist, so their proliferation in markets and social settings is common. Wear a branded watch, and you might get asked, “Is it real?”; Ask the same question to a peer, and the response, “It’s a fake…”, is just as likely. 

And with watches being increasingly present in the public consciousness today than ever before, it’s no wonder that their counterfeit counterparts are increasing in quality and numbers than ever before as well, copying brands the full spectrum from Seiko to Rolex and even Richard Mille.  

About Richard Mille Watches

Richard Mille is a Swiss high luxury watchmaker founded in 2001 by Richard Mille and Dominique Guenat. The brand is known for its innovative designs, cutting-edge materials, and high-performance movements with advanced technologies. 

Richard Mille watches are some of the most expensive watches in the world, with prices ranging from $100,000 to well over $1,000,000, and are worn by celebrities and world-class athletes the world over (You may have heard of Jay-Z, Michelle Yeoh, Kevin Hart, Drake, or Rafael Nadal for starters). 

With their unique designs, manufacturing, and celebrity endorsements, Richard Mille watches have come to represent among the highest tiers of achievement and attainment within the watch industry. Unfortunately, this popularity and status have also made them a target for counterfeiters.

Fake vs Real Richard Mille Watches: What to Look For

Counterfeit Richard Mille watches are often made with inferior materials and craftsmanship and may not even have the correct features or functions. As a result, it is important to be able to tell the difference between a real and a fake Richard Mille watch before you buy one. 

While this is not a “be all, end all” guide on how to spot a fake Richard Mille, these are a few helpful tips that can help you on your way, or at the very least raise a few immediate red flags to help you get out of dodge. Let’s jump in.

Watch Price

Is the deal “too good to be true”? Trust your gut; it’s probably a fake. If you see a Richard Mille watch for sale for a price that is too good to be true, it probably is; remember, the entry level pricing for a Richard Mille is nearly $100,000. 

If you see a watch at a fraction of the cost, ex: $20,000 for an RM 07-04, it’s likely a fake. Counterfeiters often sell their watches at a fraction of the retail price to lure unsuspecting buyers. This goes without saying that RM 11-03 on eBay for $450.00 is also…not legit.

Build Quality & Materials

Inspect the materials. Richard Mille watches are made from high-quality materials, such as titanium, carbon fiber, and sapphire crystal. If the watch you are considering buying is made from something technically “inferior” or low-tech, like steel or plastics, it is likely a fake. 

Additionally, look for flaws in the craftsmanship. Richard Mille watches are made with meticulous attention to detail and should be precise in execution. If you notice any flaws in the craftsmanship, such as uneven lines or misaligned screws, incorrect fonts, engravings, or even the wrong movement type (many fakes will use quartz batteries in place of mechanical movements), you’ll know it’s counterfeit.

Watch Weight

A watch’s weight can be a tricky tell for watch authenticity without experience handling many watches or understanding how weight should translate on the wrist; however, it can certainly be a factor when determining if one is real or fake.

In the case of fake Rolex watches for example, the legitimate watch will often feel much heftier and solid than the fake. However, due to their use of advanced materials, Richard Mille watches are inherently lightweight, so quite the opposite can be said.

If the watch feels too heavy, as if made of steel, etc., then it’s safe to doubt the authenticity. Indeed, watches such as the RM 035 “Rafael Nadal” are purpose-built to be as lightweight as possible for use on the tennis court, so be sure to do your research to gauge accordingly.  

Case Finishing

With pricing into $100,000 and beyond, it’s easy to understand that case finishing should be of the utmost importance for a manufacturer such as Richard Mille to meet the expectations of the prices being asked. 

On the other hand, manufacturers of fake watches are not going to be spending nearly as much time or effort in finishing their watch cases, as their intent is to pump out as many fakes as they can with as close to acceptable finishing as possible to maximize their profit margins. With a fake Richard Mille in hand, you may often find rough edges or surfaces that aren’t finished correctly (ex: brushed when it should be polished).


Is the watch ticking or does it have a visible battery? Unfortunately, that’s a fake. Is the movement finishing on par with the cost of the watch, or are there bare bridges, poor decoration, and missing jewels? 

All are tell-tale signs of a counterfeit watch (which isn’t to say there aren’t high-end quartz watches; rather, cheaply made quartz movements are often placed in fake watches). Do your research and get familiar with the functions of the particular model you’re aiming to buy. If it’s a chronograph, make sure the functionality is present. Oftentimes, a fake won’t be able to do it all.

How to Avoid Fake Richard Mille Watches: 

We’ve listed a few basics that should help you along the way. But even for the most hardened watch experts, it can still be difficult to tell a really good fake from a legitimate timepiece, particularly as the fake manufacturers continue to get better and better at what they do. It’s scary how close the counterfeits are getting these days, so what more can you do to ensure your safety?

Do Your Research

It goes without saying, but when spending over $100,000 on a timepiece (or any luxury purchase for that matter), do your research. A friend once told me you should be able to describe the face of the watch in perfect detail, at a minimum, before you even consider buying it. 

More than that, immerse yourself in the details of the watch; its dimensions, features, and functions, heck, make it your cell phone wallpaper so that you see it every day and know what a proper example should look like. When the example you’ve been waiting for comes to sale, do your research on that! This leads us to the next point…

Ask Questions

A legitimate and worthy seller should be willing to answer any question you have about the watch they have for sale. Ask to see the warranty card; every Richard Mille should have a unique warranty card with a holographic seal embedded. 

It should be signed and dated by a Richard Mille employee and should have a serial number that should match the serial number engraved on the bottom of the caseback of the watch. Ask about the history of the watch, its provenance, return policy, and more pictures of the details (ex: the movement, watch condition, etc.) as needed.

Take Your Time

Don’t be a victim of FOMO (fear of missing out); making a rash decision to purchase a watch without taking your time and due diligence can land you in a tough spot. You also shouldn’t feel pressured by the seller to make the purchase.

Get An Expert Opinion

Social media and local watch groups like Instagram and Red Bar are great resources for finding like-minded collector communities. Technology has brought us together in ways that can benefit you when making a purchase decision. 

You’ll find that, more often than not, people are willing to help. Reach out to other collectors or specialists, and they’ll be able to speak to a watch’s legitimacy or at least raise red flags if anything looks off. I’ve even personally saved a friend from being victimized by watch fraud when I noticed the URL of the watch he wanted to purchase was a fake eBay listing. 

Always Buy from a Reputable Seller

Which brings us to the final point: Always buy from a trusted dealer. There’s an adage in the watch community, “Buy the seller, not the watch”. A trusted, reputable dealer has nothing but their reputation and will go to great lengths to protect it.

They will do their due diligence to ensure a watch is legitimate, often with employed watchmakers on hand to confirm this, even down to the watch’s construction and movement analysis. They may even be certified to work on/with the brand, or at the very least, should be able to provide a post-purchase warranty and a flexible return policy, with authenticity guaranteed.

They should have experience dealing with watches of this caliber and be able to accommodate all of your questions and concerns detailed above. At the end of the day, your best ticket to guaranteeing an authentic watch is to purchase from a reputable dealer.


Richard Mille is a young brand, but it has quickly made a name for itself in the world of luxury watchmaking. The company’s watches are known for their innovative designs, cutting-edge materials, and high-performance movements. Its quick ascent has made it a target for criminal activity and the production of fakes. 

Purchasing a fake Richard Mille is costly. Not only will you be paying for an inferior product, but you may also be supporting criminal activity. By following the tips in this article and purchasing only from reputable sellers, you can help to ensure that what you’re getting is the real deal. Godspeed.

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