Movado’s $200 million deal with Millennial watch brand MVMT is beginning to take shape ahead of the company’s summit in Davos, Switzerland.
There, MVMT founders Jake Kassan and Kramer LaPlante will present their brand in Switzerland for the first time. True to their disruptive nature, the direct-to-consumer minded entrepreneurs have built their business without ever attending the Baselworld trade fair. The company’s purchase by Movado — which is opting out of Baselworld for a second straight year to hold its Davos conference — means MVMT will likely never appear on the Basel trade ground.
Last August, Movado revealed that it was moving to acquire MVMT with $100 million in initial payment as well as two future payments that could total an additional $100 million but are contingent on MVMT’s performance. The sale was completed on Oct. 1.
Movado Group chief executive officer and chairman Efraim Grinberg said the company is now working on fully integrating MVMT into its fold. “A lot of what you do in the first few months after buying a company is back office stuff. It’s the integration stuff that isn’t exactly sexy but ultimately, in the long-term, yields a significant benefit,” he said.
At Davos, MVMT will face its greatest population of third-party retailers yet. While the brand was born as a direct-to-consumer, Internet-native operation, it has sold with limited distribution in Nordstrom stores.
Grinberg said expanding physical retail “is a big opportunity, but I think it’s going to be a very well-balanced company.”
“Our focus as a company has been to evolve into a true omnichannel company, which means having a brick-and-mortar business, wholesale accounts around the world and driving our own e-commerce,” Grinberg added.
“For a brand that’s so heavily online-focused, we want to make sure we partner with the right people and continue to sell stories even through physical point-of-sale fixtures,” Kassan added. “We did a good job of that on social media and our web site. It’s important that with third parties that we continue to give a good shopping experience.”
Grinberg said retailers are looking for brands like MVMT to integrate into their stores. “They are excited about [experiential fixtures], in the digital age they are trying to bring that kind of excitement into their stores.”
At Davos, MVMT will present its latest collection, called Gritty Glow. MVMT’s new watch designs are minimal with neon flourishes, while its sunglasses are rendered in day-glow fluorescents. Kassan and LaPlante will also address the Davos crowd to explain their brand’s premise.
Grinberg declined to provide sales projections for the brand. At the time of its acquisition, MVMT was clocking some $71 million in annual sales. “Even though it’s been created for a younger consumer, I think it appeals to different generations. Everybody, even as they get older, wants to feel young. Here is a brand with excitement and accessibility — you can have fun with it as well. [The growth] could be substantial — it’s why we paid a lot of money for it,” Grinberg said.