MVMT Watches Honest Review | Affordable Luxury?...Or Chinese Ripoff?
MVMT (aka Movement) is an Indiegogo crowdfunded fashion watch company. Founded in 2013, with the marketed intention to create ‘high quality’ watches at an ‘affordable’ price. The founders say they are ‘tired of big brand mark-ups’ (taken directly from their website), and by being an online business, they claim to provide better value for their consumers.
What astonishes me about MVMT is the size of their online presence; I don’t think I have seen such effective marketing from an accessories brand. People are buying more and more MVMT watches, but should they be? In this article and accompanying video, I give my full, honest review of MVMT watches and whether or not they live up to the hype.
In this review, I will look at the quality and durability of the watch straps, the quality and appearance of the face and watch housing, as well as my overall impressions of the brand as a whole. This review will be based on my experiences of using 3 MVMT watches, over a period of several months; 1 from the revolver series and 2 from the 40 series. The watches I own (and from the brand in general), vary in price from around £85 to £110 each.
Almost all the reviews I have seen on MVMT watches have been paid (sponsored) reviews. I hate paid reviews, for one, they are not impartial so do not qualify (by definition), to be a review. Secondly, many of these reviews have been from bloggers who have no knowledge of watches, with MVMT watches being the only watches they own. I am no watch expert, but I do own dozens to compare these against.
I have, somehow, seen people complimenting the quality of MVMT straps, calling them ‘high quality’. This is either a lie or a misinformed statement. Each of the leather MVMT straps I have used have been woefully inadequate for the price-point. MVMT use almost exclusively ‘genuine leather’ in these; many people falsely assume this is just a reference to it being a real leather product and not PU mock leather. This is, actually, a reference to the ‘grade’ of leather used; which in this case is a really low grade of leather. Genuine leather is only one level above bonded leather, where they glue random cuts of waste leather together. This is not a good start.
Even compared to other genuine leather straps, from other brands, the ones MVMT use are poor. With some leather goods, the longer you wear them, they age well and look better. Unfortunately, with these straps that isn’t the case. They have very rapidly deteriorated and one of the three has even started to look grimy. Having only worn each watch a handful of times, and for a watch valued at £100, this was particularly disappointing.
One positive is that the straps are interchangeable. Nevertheless, this has become an industry standard for fashion watches over recent years - as opposed to a strength.
Overall, not good.
I have split opinions on this one. Why? Because there is a huge difference in quality across different MVMT watch ranges.
The cases on the 40 series watches are poor. They feel like plastic, even though they are apparently made of metal. They are exactly the type of case you would expect to find on a sub £15 Chinese watch. Extremely disappointing, considering these watches are almost ten times this cost to buy. From my research, this seems to be the same across many of their watch ranges.
However, the Revolver series watch I have seems far better. The build quality far exceeds it’s 40 series brothers and the design is also far less generic. The metal actually feels and looks like metal. Sounds basic, I know, but it needs to be mentioned. The quality seems more in line with what you would expect at this price.
MVMT use Japanese quartz movements. This means they are battery powered. This isn’t inherently a bad thing, I actually like the reliability and ease of use of quartz watches. However, typically quartz watches are often considered lower quality and they retail at far lower prices than automatic watches. Miyota quartz movements are extremely cheap to make and buy…this cost-cutting approach seems to be a recurring theme with MVMT.
There are various automatic watches at the same price point as the MVMT watches. If you are into watches, this could be the key factor; mechanical/automatic watches are seen as more premium by many watch enthusiasts.
The Face and Aesthetics
This watch brand has a focus on making watches that ‘look amazing’, similar to most fashion watch brands. So, how accurate is this description? Once more I am split on this. The 40 series watches look nice, they are very minimalist, however, they look extremely generic. There are literally thousands of watches that look absolutely identical to these. Mostly, cheap Chinese watches. Don’t believe me? Search Alibaba for ‘minimalist watch’ and the results speak for themselves. Most of these also have identical specs to MVMT watches, but we will discuss that later on.
Although they are minimalist on purpose, I still feel like the 40 series watches (and many of the MVMT ranges) look far too plain and boring. They lack any sort of life and personality, compared to many other, similar minimalist watches. Additionally, they look cheap. I think this is mainly down to the fact so many super cheap foreign watches have identical designs. When you have the watches in your hand, they just look like something a kid would design, with the logo plastered on the top.
I much prefer the revolver design. This watch range actually has personality. It doesn’t look like an overused Chinese design, as with the other ranges. The circular construction and the curved, almost convex, glass really suits the watch and adds to the appeal. It looks like some effort has actually gone into deciding the face design.
Frustratingly, the pictures on the website are not representative of the product you'll actually receive. The renderings make the watches look far higher quality than they actually are.
When it comes to the glass, the quality similarly varies. The basic 40 series watches have glass that barely even feels like glass. It is supposedly mineral crystal grade, as used in many other fashion watches, however, the glass honestly feels like plastic. Whether this is down to the thickness of the glass, or just a poor type of mineral crystal, I really don’t know. The revolver watches, as well as having nicer looking domed glass, also feel better by far. It is supposedly the same type of glass as in the 40 series watches, however, for whatever reason, it feels much more solid.
Admittedly, mineral crystal is the lowest grade quality of glass for watches; but is commonplace among watches at this sort of price point. Nevertheless, it is still possible to get hold of watches featuring sapphire glass, which is a higher grade of glass, for a similar budget.
THE BUSINESS MODEL AND CONTROVERSY
MVMT are masters of marketing. They have a huge online presence, across multiple social media platforms. Including getting their products into the hands of big social influencers. It is interesting to note that this seems to be their primary focus, as opposed to their actual products.
Repeatedly throughout this review, I have mentioned the poor-quality materials used in many of the MVMT products, making continual comparisons to cheap, Chinese watches. The reality is, that these watches…ARE cheap Chinese watches. Bought in bulk, their logo slapped on and heavily marketed to fashion conscious, ill-informed millenials. You can find hundreds of watches with identical specs and visuals, for a fraction of the price online. Yet, MVMT market their watches as ‘high quality’ and ‘luxury’, despite being rather the opposite.
What frustrates me the most is seeing many bloggers and YouTubers promoting these watches. So many of these guys tell straight up lies about the appearance and performance of these watches, claiming they are high quality and good value. There are so many better alternatives that offer better appearance and performance at lower prices, that I have a hard time believing anything these influencers are saying.
It’s extremely annoying, as an influencer myself, as the actions of these few influencers (by promoting such brands) can affect the credibility of us all.
This conclusion may be the most obvious I have come to on any product review. These watches are overhyped, overrated and overpromoted. Overall, I think they are OK. But, having watched so many other ‘reviews’, I have been left disappointed.
For this price range, I expect far more for my money. There are many watches from other reputable brands which have far better build quality, with similar minimalist designs for less money. Many people are left feeling that heavily marketed brands like MVMT are the only choice at this price range and that they are good value. For the most part, I disagree.
If you want a MVMT watch, stick to either the Revolver or Voyager series. These seem to be built slightly better than the rest and offer a less generic look. Otherwise, steer clear.
The alternatives are, either purchase a similar or identical watch for a fraction of the cost direct from China, or get a much better quality watch at the same price from a different brand.
I will leave many links to awesome watches that I think you SHOULD buy right below:
(Disclaimer: I do use affiliate links)