H.Moser & Cie is a brand that has been in the news for the past few years after its relaunch in 2012, thanks to the “antics” of its CEO, Edouard Meylan. He has called out the Swiss watchmaking industry on its “Swiss-made” label, mocking the new 60% requirement as still far from Swiss-made. In a satirical video earlier this year, he introduced the H. Moser & Cie Swiss Mad watch, a 100% made in Switzerland watch, featuring cheese as a case.
He conceptualised the Swiss Alp watch, an attempt at lampooning Apple’s smartwatch which was plenty well-received by an industry a little scared at that time of the growing smartwatch trend. Behind Meylan’s aggressive stance towards a watch industry that’s changing (and swaying sometimes) is a manufacture that produces exquisite luxury timepieces. In that sense, he’s allowed to satirize or lampoon trends – his watches belong in the upper echelon of watchmaking.
This year, H. Moser & Cie introduced the entry level Pioneer Centre Seconds Automatic, an entry-level stainless steel watch, a first for the brand. We were lucky enough to get a go at it for a week so read on for our thoughts.
First off, there’s no denying the exquisite level of finishing that H. Moser & Cie caters to its timepieces. The dark blue graduated fumé dial (a signature of the brand) stands out and catches the eye easily. While out and about, it’s the kind of watch that gets the occasional nod, followed by “Oh, that’s a good looking watch. What brand is that?”
But therein lies the catch with a brand like Moser, of course. It’s a brand for people in the know, and if you’re not in the know, the Pioneer Centre Seconds Automatic is likely to surprise you with its price tag.
Priced at S$18,470, the 100% made in Switzerland (the brand no longer carries the Swiss-made label, citing that the label is deceiving) watch is not cheap. But if you’re a connoisseur of timepieces, you’d understand the level of workmanship that goes into a timepiece like the Pioneer Centre Seconds Automatic.
Apart from the fumé dial (that really, you’re not going to find anywhere for less than S$10k), the automatic calibre HMC 230 features a minimum 72 hour power reserve, hacking seconds, a bi-directional pawl winding system, as well as Moser teeth for all wheels and pinions (yes, they produce close to everything themselves). It echoes the idea of H. Moser & Cie’s “Very Rare” tagline.
My only concern with the Pioneer Centre Seconds Automatic however, was with the rubber strap. While the dial of the watch is still decidedly “dress-y”, the rubber strap lends an air of contrast, and not one that’s great. Here’s hoping that Meylan decides instead to create a steel bracelet to match the case. One can hope at least.
All in all, I think for the brand’s first entry level piece, H. Moser & Cie has done a good job of not compromising on the qualities that make the brand’s timepieces attractive. In a market that is constantly changing, the brand may have just found a way to reach new customers and that’s not an easy feat these days.
H. Moser & Cie timepieces are available at Sincere Fine Watches in Singapore.