H Moser & Cie - H.MOSER & CIE , Swiss Alp Watch
Luc Virginius / Chronopassion
H Moser & Cie - H.MOSER & CIE , Swiss Alp Watch

H.MOSER & CIE , Swiss Alp Watch

H Moser & Cie

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See other pictures Luc Virginius / Chronopassion

TO CONNECT, DISCONNECT OR RECONNECT? THE NEW CHALLENGE FOR SWISS WATCHMAKING

With more than 6 million units sold in 2015, producing a turnover in excess of 6 billion dollars, the smartwatch market exploded in the past 12 months, driven by the giants of the electronics industry. With R&D budgets of more than 8 billion dollars, a figure higher than the turnover of even the largest Swiss watchmaking group, the market leaders have barely begun, and they will once again revolutionise this market and change consumer behaviour. Faced with the threat of these heavyweights, there are a number of ways a Swiss watch company could react. They could do nothing, the course most watch brands are adopting; they could take a short-term, opportunistic approach to combine tradition with technology, or, lastly, they could fight for the values underpinning the reputation of several centuries of Swiss watchmaking. This last path is the one that H. Moser & Cie. has decided to pursue, and the Swiss Alp Watch is the symbol of this fighting spirit. 

As the challenge of the smartwatch emerged, it threw Swiss watchmaking into turmoil. However, the complete lack of a response from most market players is remarkable in itself. Doing nothing and waiting for the threat to pass is certainly a dangerous course, but it is less offensive to Swiss watchmaking than the opportunists’ approach of combining traditional, high-end watchmaking with already-obsolete technology such as connected bracelets, NFC/RFID chips and other outmoded interfaces. These attempts are bound to fail, due to the lack of resources, vision and a captive market. The future of Swiss haute horlogerie will be bright, provided it continues to innovative and be creative, while focussing on its inherent values of quality and tradition. 

"I grew up in the heart of the Swiss Alps in a family of watchmakers that date back several generations. Swiss watchmaking is part of our heritage. This heritage has faced serious challenges in the past. My father survived the quartz crisis and often speaks of this trying time, which rallied watchmakers around a unified cause. Today, H. Moser & Cie. launches the Swiss Alp Watch as a statement of this new challenge and to prove that traditional mechanical watchmaking has a future, and it is, in fact, the future. It is much more than a watch for us. The Swiss Alp Watch is symbolic. It represents our resilience, our ferocious desire to fight for our values and traditions. It embodies everything we believe in", explains Edouard Meylan. 

And rather than create a model with an electronic heart trying to look like a mechanical watch,
H. Moser & Cie. has chosen to do the opposite: the Swiss Alp Watch is inspired by the modern design of smartwatches, but is entirely mechanical. With its 100% Swiss Made manufacture movement and a minimum power reserve of 100 hours, the Swiss Alp Watch is designed to last and is well equipped for the next generation. With its iconic fumé dial, a classic signature dial for H. Moser & Cie., it is timeless. Its tapered lugs give it a vintage look, and the kudu leather strap with a leather lining in Moser green, lend the watch a modern edge that also stands testament to the company's attention to detail. Driven by the hand-wound HMC324 calibre, the Swiss Alp Watch is a marvel of ingenuity and watchmaking technology at its best. 

"The Swiss Alp Watch does not allow you to make calls, or send messages to share the latest gossip; it does not give you the option to send beautiful sketches you have created on a two-inch screen or to share your heart rate. It does much more than that: it lets you reconnect to what matters in life. It takes you back to sharing emotions with your nearest and dearest without a filter, interface or embellishment. Most importantly, it is something you can pass on to your children one day without having to upgrade it!", says Edouard, with a smile. 

 

Technical specifications

TECHNICAL FEATURES
Reference 8324-0200, white gold model, signature fumé dial, kudu leather strap, limited edition of 50 pieces 

Case
Solid 18 carat white gold
Dimensions: 38.2 x 44.0 mm / height: 10.3 mm Sapphire crystal
See-through sapphire crystal case-back Screw-in crown adorned with an “M” 

Dial
Fumé with sunburst pattern Applique indexes
Leaf-shaped hour and minute hands Small second offset at 6 o'clock 

Movement
In-house hand-wound HMC 324 calibre
Dimensions: 32.0 mm x 36.0mm / height: 4.80 mm
Frequency: 18,000 Vib/h
27 jewels
Power reserve: minimum 4 days
Hacking seconds
Moser teeth for all wheels and pinions
Interchangeable Moser escapement
Original Straumann Hairspring® with stabilised Breguet overcoil Gold escapement wheel and pallet fork
Movement and components hand-finished and decorated 

Functions
Hours and minutes
Small second
Power reserve indication 

Strap
Beige hand-stitched kudu leather, with a leather lining in Moser green 18-carat solid white gold pin buckle engraved with the Moser logo 

 

Who's who

H. Moser & Cie is probably the least well-known of the great manufactories – one of the hidden pearls of top watch-making beloved of Laurent Picciotto. How many people know that as early as 1840, H. Moser & Cie had a dominant position on the watch market – in Japan, China, Persia, Turkistan and Russia? And how many know that the manufactory produced no fewer than 70 in-house calibers? Heinrich Moser was not only a watch-maker but above all a visionary and entrepreneur. Like all free thinkers, he was ahead of his time, initially rejected by his home town of Schaffhouse – although paradoxically enough, it was to become a leading watch-making centre with IWC! “Contrary to what you might expect, Mosers are watches that don’t reveal everything at first glance,” emphasises Laurent Picciotto. In the same way, Heinrich Moser’s personality is not easy to delve into. Although he was deeply attached to Schaffhouse, he began his career in Saint-Petersburg. He didn’t set up a manufactory straight away, but as was the custom at that time, founded a trading post for watches produced by him or by other manufacturers. When he decided to develop the use of his own movements, he settled in Locle, rather than Schaffhouse. And his output was aimed not at the European market, but at Nijni Novgorod and Irbit! These two cities hosted the major trade fairs at that time, ensuring rapid commercial development, and leading to him hiring 50 employees. Still going against the flow, at a time when the most famous watchmakers were Swiss and French, Heinrich Moser used German, Russian, Italian and Swedish watchmakers. At the same time, the entrepreneur returned to his home town and began industrialising the region, building things like railways and dams – still in use in 2012! In the end – still in keeping with the somewhat atypical journey of the brand – despite Heinrich Moser having built a great empire with amazing potential for growth, when he died in 1874, his family decided to sell everything. The watchmaking part of the business was disbanded, but Heinrich Moser had nonetheless ensured that the brand name “H. Moser & Cie” remained attached to any watch production based on the fundamentals he had established. And so it was that the brand passed down through the decades (with varying degrees of success) until 2002, when Dr Jürgen Lange filed the original brand name of the founder internationally. It was time for the company Moser Schaffhausen AG to come to life again, reincorporating the Moser line. Today, Heinrich Moser’s great-grandson, Roger Nicholas Balsiger, is honorary chairman. In autumn 2005, at the time of the bicentenary of its founder, Heinrich Moser, the company was making a comeback on the international watchmaking scene. “Today they are subtle, rational pieces,” explains Laurent Picciotto. “We’ve given the brand time to find its feet. The approach is certainly Germanic, but offbeat, with traditional yet uncommon tones and basic functions, concealing high-class workings – large date, retrograde display, 7-day power reserve, and so on. Today’s timepieces really do correspond to precise specifications – a purist’s approach, aimed at strong personalities.”

Journalist : Olivier Müller

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