Movado Kingmatic

Movado Kingmatic

Movado is one of those brands whose modern incarnation belies a truly enviable history.

While they're most known for their Museum Watch of the 1940s, Movado's roots go much deeper than that. It reaches all the way back to 1881, when watchmaker Achilles Ditesheim opened a workshop for the production of pocket watches in La Chaux-de-Fonds. His brothers Léopold and Isidore joined him in 1886.

By 1900, the Ditesheims began to produce wristwatches.

Their production from that point on proved how true their name brand was--it means "always in motion" in Esperanto. Throughout the 20th century Movado produced incredible mechanical timepieces. They gained notoriety for the sophistication of the equipment and technology they employed, including electric tools.

The brand produced its first water-resistant wristwatch in 1935. By the next decade the brand came out with first automatic wristwatch. Unlike many of their counterparts that turned out watches by assembling components from multiple suppliers, Movado's movements were designed and manufactured in-house.

Following the success of the Tempomatic, in the 1950s Movado released an upscale automatic wristwatch with a name that hints at its regal nature--the Kingmatic. 

For this svelte, thin dress watch Movado reserved its highest grade movements, often decorating the rotor with asymmetrical cutouts in the shape of the Movado logo. Artistic touches like that (unseen by the wearer due to the solid case back) proved how much attention to detail Movado paid to their watches. It's no wonder that many companies chose to use the Kingmatic as a presentation watch.

This particular Kingmatic shares a number of design cues with well-known automatic dress watches of the era from brands such as Longines and Omega. It features a round case with short, simple lugs. But the real stunner is that vibrant blue dial with Roman numerals and a sweeping central seconds hand, adorned with the logo of the King Resources Company, LLC.

KRC was founded by John McCandish King in the 1950s. A sickly child, King spent most of his childhood in bed, racked with bronchitis, but didn't let that stop him from excelling at any task he set his mind to. He started knitting, and even won a competition.

And when King turned his mind to the oil and gas industry after getting his bachelor's from UC Berkeley, his success went as sky-high as the oil derricks he erected all over the Western United States. What started as a 1500 investment in a friend's oil company in Oklahoma resulted in a fortune of $480 million by 1970. Much of that came from KRC, of which King owned 70 percent, netting him a salary of $170,000 a year (or a paltry $1.08 million in today's money). 

In addition to Oklahoma and Colorado, King was also instrumental in drilling in the Canadian Arctic, Greenland, and Israel. Of Israel, King was the first to drill off that country's Mediterranean coast. In fact, KRC's holdings were so vast that it owned over 15% of the world's oil rigs. 

King's other interests were diverse--he was an enthusiastic supporter of NASA and contracted astronaut Wally Schirra to appear in his marketing material.

Though King was forced out of his company in the early 1970s (which later declared bankruptcy), King soldiered on until dying in Denver in 2016.

For a presentation watch for one of the company's over 5000 employees, what better choice was there than the Movado Kingmatic?

You don't have to look any further than that dial--it's right there in the name. 


SKU: TT01180

Gold-plated case is approximately 34mm (excluding crown). Movado self-winding movement. Circa late 1960s/early 1970s.

Overall Condition: Gold-plated case is in excellent, virtually NOS condition with only the slightest signs of use and wear consistent with handling. Dial is likewise in excellent condition with crisp printing. Movado crown. Case back has original sticker.

Includes one 17mm blue suede Movado-signed Corfam strap.

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