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An American Watch in North Korea

Okay, the world of politics can be a real slog—most folks at a modern family dinner can attest. One thing that can bring people together, though, is a shared sense of style. But will this work out for one of the most notorious dictators in the world? Kim Jong-Un might not show up to your family dinner—but he has shown a taste for American wristwatches. Could peace come in the form of wristwear? Well, it’s not likely. However, since Switzerland banned exporting watches to North Korea in 2017, Mr. Kim has been seen sporting a Movado Museum timepiece. This is a pretty iconic American watch. Movado has been making their Museum since the 1940s—and if you’ve walked into a jewelry store at any point in your life you’ve likely seen one. Mistaken as a women’s watch on Kim’s wrist initially (by the press), due to its relatively small size and minimalist black-and-gold aesthetic, it’s a pretty subtle watch for such a bombastic world leader.

Movado Museum

With nuclear controversy abounding, it’s a little surprising to see Kim Jong-Un wearing this American classic (suppose it’s easy to wear whatever you want when you make all the rules). This is no reflection on Movado’s timeless design and horological character. Originally designed in 1947 around a Bauhaus-esque art style by Nathan George Horwitt, the Movado Museum is one of the few American originals that stayed states-side (in terms of manufacture). Its exterior look has just a minute and hour hand on a blank black dial. “Movado” is written at the 6-o-clock position and a single gold dot is set at the 12-o-clock position. It’s a clean style that’s withstood shifting designs in watchmaking. What’s more, each Museum still incorporates a Swiss ETA (quartz) movement in its make. Though this is the case, they’re still an American company. Maybe this was the loophole Mr. Kim needed when he couldn’t get a Rolex like many global leaders.

Movado Is a Staple

It’s likely due to isolating sanctions that Kim Jong-Un has reached across the Pacific for his wristwatch. Timekeeping doesn’t know borders but the devices we use to track time have restrictions in today’s global economy. Where people like the U.S. President, the Dalai Lama, and the PM of Canada (among other leaders) tend toward brands like Rolex and IWC—it seems Kim Jong-Un will have to take what he can get. If the best he can get is a Movado, he’s doing just fine. With a history of creating clean designer watches Movado owns plethora watch brands and retains true international appeal (aside from our famed subject of the day). Political affiliations aside, having a Movado Museum is a staple for many watch collections. Whether you’re a fan of fine jewelry or fine watchmaking (or both), you cannot go wrong with this piece. It’s an easy one to collect as well. With prices starting out around $3-$500 for base models, it’s a watch that’s not too far out of reach. Ownership is not a sign that you’re planning to take over a country, but you’ll certainly have a stately piece to show off at the dinner table.

Times Ticking has been in operation for more than 30 years, since 1982. We have performed watch repair for customers both locally and internationally. If it Ticks! We KNOW it! Our team of watch repair technicians have a combined experience in watchmaking of over 120 years.

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