A Review of the MVMT 'Arc' Watch
Like all human beings who inhabit planet earth, I love receiving gifts. This year, I got a couple of really great items, but only one of them deserved a review fit for this blog: the 'Arc' watch from MVMT. Before receiving the MVMT watch as a gift, I had (believe it or not) never heard of this particular “fashion watch” company before. So, I initially opened the package and played around with the watch without any preconceived assumptions about the watch company. Before I even started doing any research, I actually already decided to return the watch. Yeah, you can tell I didn’t love my gift (though I do love the person who bought it for me)! With that enthusiastic introduction, here’s my full review.
In the box that the watch came in, MVMT included a card from the founders that begins with the following message: “In 2013, we made a promise to create high quality, minimalist products at a revolutionary price.” I stopped reading the card right there and almost threw up in my mouth. I am so sick of direct-to-consumer companies that use that exact “mission statement” as why their company is different than others. Moreover, I’m especially surprised to see that statement in the goddamn oversaturated watch industry. You started the company in 2013 because you couldn’t find a high quality, minimalist watches at a “revolutionary price”??? So… you charge $150??? Come on… I can get two high quality, minimalist watches from Timex, a company with a long and trusted history of watchmaking, for the price of one of MVMT’s watches. This is a classic example of a DTC company taking advantage of the digital consumer. Don’t be fooled.
MVMT did a very solid job on the packaging. There is no major innovation or super-creative design, but it still looks really nice. The box is a bit heavier than a usual watch box, which instantly gave me the feeling that this was not just another cheap watch company. The design of the box is also sleek and masculine. I also loved how when I opened the box it said, “Welcome to the MVMT,” which satisfied my hunch that MVMT was a cute way of owning “Movement.” Otherwise, as you can see in the pictures, there’s nothing that really stood out to me about the packaging.
In summary, I would say that the one word that came to mind as I was unboxing the watch was “classy.”
Quality & Construction
This watch runs on a battery-powered quartz movement (not every quartz is battery powered). So, this is not an automatic watch. Still, many quartz movements can actually be very high quality (like most anything Swiss-made), and have great accuracy; this MVMT watch, not so much. I’ve only had the watch for three days and it’s already off by a full minute. In all likelihood, it’ll be off by a couple of minutes in just a few weeks. It literally can’t properly do the one function that a watch absolutely needs to do: tell time accurately.
Other than this issue, everything else seems just fine. My gift came with a stainless-steel link bracelet which in general I don’t really like, but that’s a personal preference. If you like this type of strap, then you would have no complaints about this particular one. It’s appropriately heavy and decent-looking. The person who bought me the gift was kind enough to spend an additional $35 to buy me a grey leather strap as well, which happens to look and feel pretty nice. I wouldn’t say it’s very high-quality leather, but it’s not super crappy either. It’s sort of middle of the road as far as leather straps go. I also happen to really like the way the watch looks and feels with the leather strap. Like many watches, it’s not super easy to change straps, but it’s manageable.
In sum, I’m not a fan of the quartz movement on this watch, especially since it’s just not working correctly. Otherwise, the quality and construction are decent.
Design & Features
Despite my negative comments thus far, I must admit that MVMT does an above-average job with their design. The two things I noticed right away were the brandmark on the face of the watch and the blue hand on the complication. The brandmark design is okay (it’s a clever sideways hourglass that also looks like an ‘M’). I don’t love it, but I don’t hate it either. In terms of the complication, I love that they added just a splash of blue by virtue of the complication. This really gives the watch a personality, and I suspect that it is what drew the buyer to purchase this gift for me. This is actually my favorite aspect of this watch. Other than these two things, the watch is fairly nice if you are into the grey color. Truth is, even if you don’t love the color, this is definitely a nice-enough watch design to keep in your watch rotation. Bottom line, the watch design is the only above-average part of this watch.
On that note, the design of this watch is clearly following the modern trend towards minimalist watch face design. If this is something you like, then, as I said above, it certainly does it well, and in a unique fashion. On the other hand, it’s also very trendy. This is not the sort of timepiece that you will be passing on to your kids — both in terms of quality, but also in terms of the design. This is a very of-the-moment watch. Plus, it’s instantly recognizable as “one of those fashion” watches. Again, if this is something you don’t mind, then by all means. This watch looks nice enough, and is decent quality. However, like I stated above, I think you would be better off with one or two nice Timex watches.
Value & Conclusion
This watch retails for $150. It’s grossly overpriced. It is absolutely, positively not even worth $75. If it was $50 or less, I’d definitely understand the argument that based on its design it’s worth the price. And, then, MVMT would really be producing quite an intriguing product. At this price, though, you could literally get some beautiful Orient automatics on sale (give or take a few dollars). In short, unless for some reason you are specifically pining after an MVMT watch, while I don’t think you will be super disappointed with owning one, I do think that your money can certainly be better spent elsewhere.
And that really is the truth about all these sorts of fashion watches. They are not by any means scams, or crap. They are fine, they work, and the materials are of good-enough quality. If you buy one, you’re getting a fine watch. It’s just that, for the money, you could do much, much better.