By Stephen Pulvirent
H. Moser & Cie. pushes the boundaries of traditional watchmaking with throughly modern timepieces.
The world of Swiss watchmaking can sometimes obsess a little too much over the past at the expense of the future. The same can’t be said of H. Moser, which breaks the mold by making watches that are rooted in the fundamentals of fine horology — which have remained unchanged for centuries — while also exploring new territory in wrist-worn mechanics. Moser makes serious watches that don’t take themselves too seriously and feel very much of our current era.
The Pioneer Perpetual Calendar exemplifies this approach. The red gold case is a robust 42.8mm and has black DLC-finished accents around the lugs and on the crown to add some visual definition and protection. The ardoise fumé dial is bold and graphic, with applied red gold markers, luminous dots and hands, an easy-to-read power reserve indicator and a date wheel (color-matched to the dial, of course).
The brand’s signature perpetual calendar complication is deliberately restrained with a month indicator arrow at the center and a date wheel that changes instantaneously. As a result, it avoids a common design pitfall by not screaming out: “Look at me, I’m wearing a highly complicated machine on my wrist.” The multi-part case is also water-resistant to 120 meters, so you never have to baby it or take if off at the pool. When you’ve got a watch this cool, leaving it behind is the last thing you want to do.
On the more traditional side, Moser offers the Venturer Big Date. Slightly smaller with a 41.5mm white gold case, its white lacquered dial, Roman numerals and blued-steel hands all take their cues from the classics. The instantaneous date remains, again with big numerals, and the hand-wound movement packs a 10-day power reserve into a slim, wearable package.
Moser’s Concept series is one of the most iconoclastic in all of modern watchmaking. The signature fumé dials are stripped of all markers and text — even the brand’s name — for a clean-as-can-be look. It’s something no other brand amongst the modern Pantheon has dared to do.
The Endeavour Centre Seconds Concept pairs a solid rose gold case and three simple rose gold hands with the vivid “funky blue” fumé dial. Here it’s allowed to shine in all its glory, without any distractions on top. Lurking beneath the dial is a hand-wound movement that includes an indicator for its seven-day power reserve.
In response to the folks making a much-talked-about digital watch in Cupertino, California, Moser counter punches with the Swiss Alp Watch. The curved rectangular case, arched wire lugs, and curved crystal might feel familiar, but the fumé dial and expertly finished mechanical movement are nothing like what you’ll find in a so-called smart watch. The Swiss Alp Watch is at once a tip of the hat, a wink of the eye, and a confident assertion that fine watchmaking is here to stay, circuit boards be damned.
As some brands race to please the mass market, it’s refreshing when a watchmaker heads in its own direction. H. Moser’s watches challenge preconceptions and teach collectors along the way.