The Swiss independent goes easy on the disruption and unveils some beauties.
To these eyes the small Swiss brand H. Moser & Cie has made some of the best-looking watches around over the last few years. Yet a lot of the chat has not been about beauty, but cheek. Two years ago, Moser made a watch case out of Swiss cheese in order to highlight anomalies in the system for labelling watches as Swiss Made. Then last year they made the Swiss Icons Watch, a mash-up of famous Swiss watch styles created in order to… nobody seems to remember exactly what that one was about.
So what would it be this year? A few days before SIHH, Moser sent out a press release about the Nature Watch, seemingly made out of twigs. Here we go again: is it a watch or a metaphor? Perhaps both. Moser says it is an actual watch with a real hand-wound movement, a dial made from stone and lichen, and a grass strap. But it is also a symbol of the company’s environmental commitments. All very laudable, but thankfully at SIHH there are some things that are definitely real watches that people can buy.
The headliner is actually a new take on some earlier Moser cheekiness. Another “ooh how dare they!” moment last year was when Moser unveiled the Swiss Alp Watch, a mechanical two-hander that looked just like an Apple Watch. This year they have picked up the idea and run with it, and the Swiss Alp Watch Concept Black again has the smartwatch-esque case but the hands have been replaced by a flying tourbillon at six o’clock. Other than that, the face is blank and the only way you can tell the time is using your ears. Pull a slide on the side and the hand-wound minute repeater will melodically ping out the hours, quarters and minutes for you.
The next watch is another take on the kind of beauty we were talking about before being distracted by watches covered in moss. The Endeavour Centre Seconds Concept Blue Lagoon is a study in simple beauty with hidden depths, something Moser has made a speciality. The watch has no indices or logos, all the better to stare into the shimmering lights of the sunburst dial. Should you wish to know what lies beneath, the automatic, diamond-polished movement is visible through the sapphire caseback.
The last watch also has mesmeric sunburst dial, but this time paired with a flying tourbillon, for an extra visually addictive ingredient. The Endeavour Tourbillon Concept has a fumé dial in Cosmic Green with the one-minute tourbillon at six o’clock. It is in a limited edition of 50 pieces and has an 18K white-gold case. The oscillating weight is skeletonised, to increase the ocular acreage available to admire the automatic movement through the caseback. All in all, there is a lot of beauty on show from H. Moser, and barely a prank in sight.
Swiss Alp Watch Concept Black
Hand-wound HMC 901 calibre with minute repeater and one-minute flying tourbillon at 6 o’clock with skeletonised bridge; Power reserve minimum 87 hours.
Platinum, 45.8 x 39.8 mm
Hand-stitched black alligator leather with red lining
Endeavour Centre Seconds Concept Blue Lagoon
Diamond-polished HMC 200 automatic with three-day power reserve
40mm 18K white or red gold; limited to 50 pieces each.
Hand-stitched grey or brown alligator leather
Endeavour Tourbillon Concept Cosmic Green
HMC 804 automatic calibre with modular, one-minute flying tourbillon
42mm 18K white gold. Ltd to 50 pieces.
Hand-stitched beige kudu leather