If you’re into watches, you have probably come across MVMT watches at some point. Your favorite YouTuber or influencer has either heavily endorsed them or bashed them to the ground. After all, MVMT is a very polarizing watch brand with ardent supporters as well as sworn adversaries.
But, what are their watches really like? Are MVMT watches any good? Is the criticism against them justified?
We’re utterly obsessed with watches here at Operandi, so in this MVMT watches review, we will answer these questions and give you our honest opinion on the brand as a whole.
Who Is MVMT?
MVMT was established in 2013 by Jake Kassan and Kramar LaPlante. The brand’s mission was to sell watches with unique and minimalistic designs at affordable prices. They promoted their watches through Indiegogo campaigns, thus avoiding retail markups. Compared to other watch brands, their prices were quite low but they still managed to put out a high-end vibe.
The Indiegogo campaigns were successful, and the brand took off. In 2016, MVMT branched into sunglasses, and in 2018 they were acquired by American watchmaker Movado. Nowadays, MVMT sells a plethora of accessories in addition to its wristwatches and sunglasses.
The philosophy behind MVMT is to provide good-looking and stylish watches that mostly appeal to a younger audience. However, a nice-looking watch is not always a high-quality watch.
Where Are MVMT Watches Made?
It is no secret that MVMT sources all of its watches from Chinese manufacturers. According to the brand, the timepieces are designed in Los Angeles, and they’re able to keep prices low by eliminating the middleman and selling directly online.
However, one of the most significant issues with MVMT lies in the statement above. The reality is that MVMT is the middleman, and the designs themselves are not particularly unique or exclusive.
You can find watches with similar and even identical designs through large Chinese retailers like Aliexpress for a fraction of the price. This likely means that the watches have no original designs, and it’s clear that there is a huge price markup that comes with the MVMT label.
So, where does all of that money go? Marketing, of course! MVMT invests a lot in social media promotion, and it seeks out famous influencers to endorse its products. That’s probably how you learned about this brand in the first place!
MVMT Watches Review
Now that we got the business part out of the way let’s take a deeper dive into the watches themselves, and figure out if their price difference actually comes with better quality.
The main reason why shoppers go wild for MVMT watches is their design. On the surface, their styles appear unique, thoughtful, and minimalistic. However, when you compare them to truly high-quality minimalist watches from brands like Junghans or NOMOS, it is evident that the designs are a little generic.
Not to mention that you can find the same watch design or similar for a fraction of the price. The only thing many of the watches on AliExpress are missing is the MVMT logo.
Essentially that’s what MVMT does…. The brand orders a large number of watches that cost a few dollars each, puts its logo on them, and sells them to you for several times the price they paid.
MVMT boasts that its watches are made of low-carbon 316L stainless steel with a hardened mineral crystal. If you know a thing or two about watches, then you’ll know that this is the industry standard and nothing to actually boast about.
The overall construction and feel of an MVMT watch are equivalent to that of a $10 watch. Probably because it actually costs that much or less to produce.
Another point to consider is that when you get your brand new MVMT watch, it won’t look nearly as good as advertised. Throughout the brand’s website and marketing material, all its watches look sleek and shiny. However, when you actually handle one, the quality is not up to par. We don’t know about you, but we expect our brand new watches to look as advertised.
Movement & Strap
Another claim by MVMT is that their watches are equipped with high-quality Japanese quartz movements. In reality, these are cheap quartz movements that only cost a few dollars to use in a watch. It takes little effort to find higher quality quartz movements (and even some automatic ones) in the same price range as an MVMT watch.
The watch straps on most MVMT watches are also nothing to be excited about. They’re made from cheap genuine leather that is hard to break in and can easily develop creases that look unattractive. Some buyers have also complained about discoloration on their straps.
All in all, you don’t get what you pay for with an MVMT watch. You get the quality of a $10 watch, but you actually pay close to $100, sometimes even more. For approximately that price, you can find beautiful and well-built timepieces from brands with actual horological history.
MVMT Alternatives We Actually Recommend
Let’s get one thing out of the way: normally, in the luxury market, the more you spend on a watch, the higher quality it is. Swiss luxury watch manufacturers like Rolex and Omega are expensive for a reason, as they make some of the best watches in the market.
However, that doesn’t mean you need to spend a fortune to get a high-quality timepiece. If you’ve already budgeted for an MVMT watch, here are some alternatives that won’t break the bank but still offer great value for your money.
Timex is a name that gets thrown around a lot when it comes to very affordable watches. Specifically, their Fairfield lineup features a very similar design philosophy to most MVMT watches. A simple, minimalistic dial that can accompany you on every occasion.
For less than what you pay for an MVMT timepiece, you get a watch from an American brand that has been making watches for over 150 years. Its quality and reliability are well established since Timex produces watches following military specifications.
You can find the Timex Fairfield in several dial colors and a plethora of strap options, all of which are good quality for the price. Another great feature of Timex watches is their INDIGLO technology, which lights up the whole dial of the watch with a push of a button.
Another great alternative to MVMT watches is the Seiko 5 lineup of watches. There are dozens of models available for a similar price to MVMT. With these watches, you get a unique design that is ideal for everyday wear.
Seiko is well-known for its high-quality timepieces. Particularly the Seiko 5 models have always had solid build quality for the price. Not to mention that these models are equipped with automatic movements or solar-powered quartz ones. Either way, you get a much better quality movement than the MVMT watches.
You can look through the abundance of different models and find one to suit your taste. Some of the more simple yet elegant designs include the SNKL23 and the SNE047. These watches usually come on metal bracelets that can sometimes be subpar, but you can easily pair them with a high-quality leather strap or a NATO strap.
Swatch basically created the fashion watch as we know it today. A low-cost, quartz-powered timepiece with loads of design options to suit anyone’s taste and fashion. If you prefer a more minimalistic design, the Rebel lineup might be the one for you. However, if you scroll through Swatch’s seemingly endless catalog, you may find something you appreciate even more.
Swatch watches generally feature a lightweight construction made of silicone and are powered by Swiss-made quartz movements. Their build quality is overall very good, and their comfort is unmatched. The only potential issue is in their crystal, as they use acrylic crystals that scratch more easily than glass. However, there are products in the market that can easily remove these scratches.
Another thing to point out is that Swatch utilizes proprietary straps, thus limiting your strap options. Also, their straps can be a bit pricey. Nevertheless, if you choose a watch with a strap you like, you probably won’t have to change it as they are very durable and comfortable.
Don’t follow the MVMT
At the end of the day, you can do whatever you want with your money. If you like the look of a watch from MVMT, then buy it and enjoy wearing it (just remember that you can buy its sibling directly from a Chinese manufacturer for a fraction of the price).
For us at Operandi, however, this brand is a miss. You don’t get the best value for your money with a brand like MVMT, and there are several other watches with much higher quality for the same price.
So, maybe steer away from MVMT and don’t forget to keep an eye on the time!