Gedalio “Gerry” Grinberg, founder and chairman of the board of the Movado Group Inc., received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Jewelry Information Center during JIC’s inaugural Gem Awards, presented in January at a black-tie gala. Consumer magazine, newspaper, and international journalists also were honored, and Tiffany & Co. was recognized for its marketing campaign.
Grinberg’s career in fine watches began in Cuba in the 1950s, where he was exclusive distributor of Omega and Piaget timepieces. In 1960—shortly after Fidel Castro took over Cuba—Grinberg, then 29, emigrated to the United States and began working to develop a market for Swiss luxury watches in America.
His company, the North American Watch Co., bought Concord Watch in 1970, and in 1983 it acquired Movado, a small Swiss watchmaker, which Grinberg built into an internationally recognized watch brand.
Movado’s marketing and corporate sponsorships reflect Grinberg’s lifelong passion for the arts. He is an avid collector of modern art and has encouraged artists in diverse media. Movado became a principal benefactor of the American Ballet Theater (Grinberg has served on the board since 1990 and is chairman emeritus), sponsored the PBS series “Art of the Western World” and “Great Performances,” and began the “Movado Minute” radio series featuring mini-interviews with performing artists, choreographers, and conductors. In the 1990s, the company launched a collection of timepieces based on the works of artists around the world.
This longtime commitment to culture was given symbolic form in 1999, when, through Grinberg’s private support as well as a Movado Group corporate sponsorship, an 18-foot-tall sculptured bronze clock tower was installed in front of Lincoln Center in New York City. The tribute to time and the arts was designed by renowned architect Philip Johnson.