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Thread: Why do I keep walking into the store? (Incoming: Movado Datron)

  1. #1

    Why do I keep walking into the store? (Incoming: Movado Datron)

    I should know better.

    I needed a silver polishing cloth, so we stopped by one of the Redhead's favorite jewelry stores. Looked at TAG-Heuers, Longines, and Breitling offerings while there. I like Heuer but nothing moved me--as usual. Their watches are too neutral and lack the uniqueness I've become used to, except for the Monaco which I love in pictures but not on my wrist.

    The Longines Classic Retrograde interests me, but I wasn't moved to action. I really loved the Breitling Heritage Superocean, and that could find its way on my list at some point.

    But the cloth they gave me was good for touch-ups and I needed something capable of more acreage, so we stopped at another of our favorite jewelry stores. They have become a large Oris AD and that's the first I'd seen of their complete line in person. In the big, chunky, utilitarian diver department, they are impressive and original. But, again, I wasn't moved. I'm so spoiled by Ebel that I see every minor economy in watches that retail at the Ebel's discounted prices.

    The stores were empty--apparently the Memorial Day sale thing hasn't made it to mainline jewelry stores. But the outlet mall was packed. Why did we go there? That's one of those mysteries.

    There isn't much old stock left and I've bought enough Ebels to represent nearly every model, so I felt safe entering the Movado store. Wrong! After looking at a couple of Concord C2's that seemed to be trying too hard to be masculine, I wandered over to the Movado case. And the only watch on my Movado list, and one I'd been kicking myself for passing up a couple of years ago, was on display.

    The Movado Factories was part of the Jewish enterprise that blossomed in the upper Jura around the turn of the last century. Achilles Ditisheim founded The company in La Chaux-de-Fonds in 1881, and changed the name to Fabriques Movado in 1905. Movado subsequently moved to Bienne, and currently resides in the Silver Tower, adjacent to the Bienne train station, with sister companies Concord and Ebel.

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    Movado joined with Zenith and Mondia to create a joint holding company MZM in 1969. Thus, there are a number of Movado watches from the late 60's and 70's with Zenith movements and vice versa. Before the Quartz Crisis, Movado was a full manufacture with many movement calibers under its belt.

    In 1969, Movado designed a watch to house Zenith's latest creation, the El Primero chronograph movement. The watch was large for the day at 40mm, and heralded one popular 70's case concept. They called the new watch the Datron HS360, and it most frequently appeared in steel as a Panda with a black dial and silver sub-dials, unlike the tri-colored Zenith watches of the day.

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    Original 1970 Datron HS360 in gold with reverse Panda dial. (From the Movado website.)

    Time passes. MZM was bought by Zenith Electronics in 1971, and then sold to Paul Castella of Le Locle in 1978. Castella sold Movado to the North American Watch Company in 1984, and kept Zenith. The North American Watch Company, owned by Gerry Grinberg, immediately became the Movado Group and still is today.

    In 2011, to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Datron, Movado reissued the watch. They no longer have access to the El Primero, and used an ETA 2894 modular chronograph movement. Many say this discounts the watch, and to be sure Movado agrees: it retails at $3100, thousands less than the cheapest Zenith, and less even than original Datrons in good condition. At the discount I got, it was a spectacular deal.

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    The dial work is excellent and the overall build quality is very good--certainly consistent with its retail price.

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    The round date window at top is the one cue to Movado's current association with (and overuse of) the museum dial, and though it puts the date behind the resting chronograph seconds hand, I can't say it has ever gotten in my way reading the date.

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    The case is brushed on top with polished sides and bezel. The bracelet fits well and includes half links and a butterfly clasp. The end links are accurately fitted, but I wish there was less space between the links for this three-link bracelet style.

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    Okay, it has polished center links. Personally, I like them, but I understand the issues. A strap is certainly reasonable on this case, too.

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    The movement is nice, but not exceptional, and isn't quite as well appointed as one would expect at this price (I'm not sure of the grade, but I espied what is probably a nickel balance). Except for the custom rotor, I'm thinking this movement is basically identical to the Heuer caliber 17 used in the vintage-reissue Carrera chronograph (which retails a bit higher and gets much less of a discount even on the gray market). But the timing since yesterday has been quite consistent at about +1.5. Much more time will be needed to confirm the good timing. But the pusher action is stiff and notchy, as with all 2894's I have handled. In return for that, I see no startup jump of the seconds hand.

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    On the wrist, the size is big enough not to look small but still classically sized. And it is the same size as the original. The thickness is about 13-14mm, which is not bad for a modular chronograph, and thinner than much of the competition. The bracelet can't match the comfort of Ebel (not many can), but I'm not aware of the watch while wearing it.

    Rick "who still needs a large silver polishing cloth" Denney
    Last edited by Rdenney; May 26, 2015 at 02:17 PM.
    More than 500 characters worth of watches.

  2. #2
    As ever, an impeccable in introduction to a fine watch. I love the faintly Olympic overlapping subdials. Cheers Mr D.

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  4. #3
    That Movado Datron is a beauty, Rick. Thank you for sharing the history of this watch and the story of Movado.


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  6. #4
    The Datrons, both vintage and modern are handsome designs. I like the circular date window as a nod to what they are most known for now. It is subtle and actually fits the design better than the original square window.

    I keep wondering how you guys luck out at the Movado stores. I visited mine a few weeks ago and they had nothing but quartz Ebels and the Movado Bold models.

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  8. #5
    Happily unadjusted 😜 popoki nui's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Vancouver Island.
    Quote Originally Posted by JAGtime View Post
    That Movado Datron is a beauty, Rick. Thank you for sharing the history of this watch and the story of Movado.

    +1 A history lesson and a tour of your new (beautiful!) Movado....terrific post! Enjoy your new watch!

    Eterna | Tudor | Seiko | Casio | G-Shock | Orient | Swatch | Mondaine | Zodiac (pre-Fossil) | Rolex | Wenger | Pulsar Time Computer | Omega | Timex | Bucherer | Citizen I Bulova

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  10. #6
    El bot. geoffbot's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    West Sussex, UK
    Excellent looking watch that. Love a panda dial. Good work, Rick
    Follow IWL on instagram!

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  12. #7
    Grr! Argh! meijlinder's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Gothenburg, Sweden
    Beautiful piece and great write-up. Thank you for sharing both!

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  14. #8
    Very nice, Rick.

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  16. #9
    So...without finding the large polishing cloth the trip was unsuccessful?

    Congratulations on a handsome piece. I have to agree with Fuzzy about Movado ADs. Every one I walk into never has anything nice.
    Last edited by Henry Krinkle; May 27, 2015 at 01:25 AM.

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  18. #10
    The Dude Abides Nokie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Northern CA
    Great review.

    That too is the only model from Movado I like.
    "Either He's Dead, Or My Watch Has Stopped....."
    Groucho Marx

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