Movado Group’s CEO Efraim Grinberg Talks Challenges, Future Goals and Co-Branding After Second Annual Summit

Lara Mansour   |   17-06-2019

As Movado Group hosted its second annual summit in Davos, Switzerland, A&E spoke to Efraim Grinberg, Chairman and CEO of the group to discover more about this global enterprise.


Earlier this year, the Movado group held its annual summit in Davos Switzerland. Instead of presenting at a multi-brand exhibition, the group chose to showcase its brands and latest developments to 500 of the company’s most important customers, distributors and global press from over 40 countries. The Movado Group’s 11 brand portfolio includes brands such as Tommy Hilfiger, Coach Hugo Boss and Lacoste, as well as watchmakers Ebel and Movado.


Efraim Grinberg Chairman and CEO of Movado Group spoke of the Summit; “One of our main goals for the Summit was to create a more intimate meeting experience for our key partners – one that would be inspiring and informative within the dramatic beauty of Davos, Switzerland. We were thrilled with results and will announce our 2020 Summit plans in Summer 2019.”


The event saw keynote speaker Amal Clooney share her insights on important global topics in a discussion moderated by celebrity and fashion photographer Alexi Lubomirski. The two discussed topics including human rights, global politics and the effects they have on society today and in the future.


Another highlight included a panel discussion “The Power of Brands.” The panel focused on millennials and their view on watches, the success of direct to consumer brands, the critical importance of digital and social media initiatives in the ever-shifting retail/consumer landscape. The panel attendees were: Efraim Grinberg Chairman and CEO of Movado Group, Jemma Fennings Founder Olivia Burton, Jake Kassan Founder MVMT and moderator, Mary Leach, CMO of Movado Group.


The event saw the presentation of the newest products and developments from all brands including the latest novelties from Ebel watches and the Movado Artist Series in collaboration with Alexi Lubomirski. Movado is internationally recognized for its commitment to the arts, an association which is intrinsic to the brand’s identity and integrated into its marketing initiatives and this new partnership reinforces that.


Chairman and CEO of Movado Group, Efraim Grinberg, was at the core of the event by representing all of the 11 of the company’s varied brands. Originally from Cuba, Grinberg was named President and Chief Operating Officer of the group in 1990 and oversaw the company’s initial public offering in 1993 and has since been responsible for building the Movado Group into a global enterprise. Grinberg’s passion for innovation has helped the company grow globally in the digital age and expand into new markets and diversify its customer portfolio. A&E took time to meet with Grinberg to find out more about this multi-national company and where we can expect to see it grow to in the coming years.


A&E Interviews Efraim Grinberg 


Efraim Grinberg


What can you tell us about the strategy of omni-channelling that you are using in the group?


I think in today’s day and age it’s really about reaching consumers at every touch point and obviously everybody spends a lot of time on their screens, phones, iPads, computers, so we want to make sure that we reach them there and allow them to purchase there, but also allow them to do it in an omni-channel way. This means one thing not excluding the other, so print is still important, as is outdoor and television, it’s a 360-degree approach for the consumer.


There are some consumers who feel comfortable online and others who really want to go to a store, and we want to make sure that we are building that experience. In many of our visuals, you’ll see a lot of digital connections within our brands that can be done at a store and at a point of sale.


To what extent do you think co-branding and collaborations are still relevant and important today and how does it serve the brand?


I think it’s really about collaborations that are true to the brand and that’s what we’ve done historically at Movado. It’s really been about having connections with artists, starting with our first one with Andy Warhol. Doing significant collaborations with artists. I think with Alexi it gives us the opportunity to do something that really helps the planet and connects with consumers who want a vegan alternative.


He is a global guy and so we’re really excited to partner with him. He is excited and he is exciting and I think it’s the right time for us to be doing this.




What is a challenge you face as a group?


I think what we like to do and why we’ve been successful even in a challenging environment is that we are in control of the things that we understand. We can’t control everything and there are some markets that will be down at times and some that will be up at times. We also need to tell stories in a way that our consumers are engaged and want our products. We’ve been able to be successful by gaining market share even in markets that are declining.

Do you think it’s due to the medium price point that’s really attractive these days?


I think it’s a combination. There are people who are challenged in the fashion watch market but we have been really successful over the last few years in that market. I think what it’s about is that consumers understand when you innovate for them. The like it when you give them newness and things that are on trend and that’s what we have in our products across all of our brands. We have a lot of newness and innovation to drive consumers from a product point of view, and then we’re innovating at the point of sale and the content and the connection that we are making with consumers.


Watches have never been about telling time to me. All watches tell the time. It’s about an emotional connection and that’s what our job needs to be – to connect to consumers emotionally in an evolving landscape. You understand the power of digital and social media to reach customers and that’s throughout the whole world.


Alexi Lubomirski


Some say the concept of exhibitions is dying down – do you think summits are more engaging because of the experience they offer?


I think with the Summit we are able to give people time – which is the biggest luxury we have. We are able to spend time with people like you and also have people spend time with us in a relaxed atmosphere and not one where they have to be running from one appointment to the next and getting overwhelmed. We take three or four days so people are able to absorb everything and take the information back to their markets and tell stories to their consumers.


What do you think are the perquisites to make sure a brand is in the right direction of growing up again?


I have a philosophy that great brands are resilient. This is due to the fact that they have been developed over time. Every brand has ups and downs and any brand that doesn’t isn’t true. But great brands need to be continuously reinvented, updated, innovative and evolved. Throughout our history, we’ve proven that to be true. You take Tommy Hilfiger for example – they’ve had numerous ups and downs but are at a peak right now and that’s fantastic. There are other brands like Gucci for example who have gone through ups and downs but keep reinventing themselves. So great brands are resilient – even ones that aren’t mine!


To what extent do you think the disruption philosophy is important these days?


I don’t think that disruption for the sake of disruption is going to lead to success. What you have to do are things that are true to your brand. It’s about experiences – but it needs to be authentic to the brand. Movado, for example, is about art and artists and that’s authentic. There are brands I’ve seen using artists after we’ve used artists and it’s not authentic to them. So you need to do these things that are right for your brand and then you can do a bit of disruption – but you can’t do disruption just for the sake of doing it. I think that’s a waste of time.


Mountain Ski View


What’s in the pipeline for the Movado group in The Middle East?


We’re actually going to be having our global meeting there in September so we believe very much in the region and we will bring our customers from all over the whole world to see it. I find it an extremely exciting place from a retail and storytelling perspective and I think it’s one of the leaders in the evolving retail landscape.


If you were to describe what the group stands for in one word what would it be?


Energy. It’s about having energy in everything we do and doing things that we truly believe in, and having great people with a great amount of energy.

How would you like the world to remember you?


As somebody who listens. I think that’s one of the hardest things to do.


Group Skiing

Where does passion stand in what you do?


I think you always have to be passionate about what you do but I think you have to find something that you’re good at that you can be passionate about.


If you weren’t doing what you’re doing today what would you be doing?


I’m doing what I love to do. For me, it was about working with great people and great products. As long as I’m still learning I’m happy. You have to be changing and evolving so fast today.



Davos Panel


Capturing Change: Photographer Alexi Lubomirski on How He’s Bringing Veganism to the Fashion Industry

Ebel and Concord President Flavio Pellegrini Talks the Present and Future of the Luxury Watchmakers

The Face of Innovation: Chief Marketing Officer at Vacheron Constantin Laurent Perves Discusses the Industry’s Future and what sets the brand apart of others