Can Watch Companies Spring Forward To Stay Alive?

Posted on March 12, 2018

Over the past decade, the tension between Swiss watchmakers and American retailers has reached new heights. This can be seen through the growth in DTC (direct to consumer) growth in the watch space that has risen 62 percent according to L2’s digital index.

Brands are faced with a stark reality; either vertically integrate and move to pure play, or be at the mercy of retailers that are sucking margin away as they compete for consumer attention.

At Engine, we are in the “vertically integrate” camp. So what I’d like to do in the remainder of this article is highlight a watch company that in 3 years went from inception to the world’s fastest-growing watch company. This is the story of MVMT, and how they took advantage of going DTC with relentless speed.

This story is well documented, but I want to highlight a single variable that skyrocketed their success. Their ability to streamline and bring transparency to the manufacturing process allowed them to corner the tier one market with quality, at a price previously unaffordable.

Never underestimate the power of transparent storytelling in a luxury market, the industry might hate you, but your consumers will love you.

MVMT’s theory for success was simple, “Our story, our mission, and goal was to kill the retail market that you see with so many other watches; stop overpaying for products that you just shouldn’t be overpaying for.”

Their strategic pricing, and allowing that to be the story they tell to their consumers quickly established trust in the young brand. They used retailers and older brand’s greed against them.


  1. How you communicate your USP (unique selling proposition) is just as important as the proposition itself. MVMT never sacrificed quality in favor of price, which is the story told around how you can maintain quality and still remain affordable to your market.
  2. Be so concerned with your consumers, you do not have time to care about what your competitors are doing or saying about your company.
  3. Never outsource your core competencies. MVMT’s brand was not something they could rely on an outside agency to tell, so they became masters at telling their own story.