We had a chat with the CEO of H. Moser & Cie on the latest novelties that caught our gaze this year at Watches & Wonders 2021.

Today, watches are appreciated, not for the properties but more for the emotion that they bring. It could be through the mechanical aspect. It could be through the design in many aspects. But I think people need to think of watches less as an instrument.

Edouard Meylan

Take a look at H. Moser & Cie and you’ll notice a sense of elegance and timeless essence it brings to the products you’ve seen and love. The watchmaker has brought a modern take on the brand by blending heritage and innovative aspects to the timepiece you’re seeing today. If you’re a true fan, you can easily tell what makes a Moser timepiece through a single look from the dial. Hint: there’s no logo.

While staying true to the minimal aspect of the brand, Edouard dishes on what makes the company who it is today, what’s next for the brand and how these latest watches are changing the signature Moser.

All images credit: H. Moser & Cie

Since taking over the company as CEO in 2013, what would you say have been the most rewarding moments for you so far?

With the breakthrough of certain products and including people referring to Moser as a leading independent brand, we felt that it’s not down to a specific moment. We emerge as a classic-traditional brand, and to be able to bring something new, was rewarding. Winning two GPHG awards last year was an incredible reward for the entire team. 

Making this company profitable a few years ago, when we make the turnaround was the most rewarding element for me, from bleeding and losing money to researching ideas and your positioning. In terms of products, the Pioneer collection was a breakthrough by moving from the classics to elevating it to a sporty touch. 

Do you mind sharing with us a little bit on the signature Moser timepieces, especially by having the Moser Fume dials as a signature?

The signature of Moser is not to have a signature. Eventually, you’ll see that our products are created without a logo because we believe that the timepiece itself is a signature, along with the Fume dial. The best way to make it ours was to remove the logo so that people can recognise it as a Moser timepiece – other watch brands refer to this as our Moser dial too. It was a smart idea to remove ours on the dial, and we used the same approach on the design aspects – from the case, hands, and the finishing of every single movement – to bring a lot of consistency across the entire panel of products. Just by combining these elements, it makes you understand what our signature is all about, despite being a small brand. 

As a family business, how have you balanced out by staying true to heritage while being experimental or innovative every single time?

By taking over a brand like H. Moser & Cie, the first thing you need to ask yourself is what elements are good to keep? There are various things done by our predecessors that I didn’t want to cease, by focusing on something new. 

For example, from a function standpoint, I took the perpetual calendar for Moser and saw it as the essence of the perpetual calendar, where you remove everything unnecessary. I told myself that if we take on the perpetual calendar, it has to go with the essence of the perpetual calendar by reproducing that with everything else. And that has become kind of our guiding principle in developing new complications. With our Chronograph, Tourbillon, Centre Seconds, Minute Repeater – they all follow this principle. 

From a design standpoint, we saw Moser as a classy-meets-dusty timepiece when I started, and although these watches are already amazing, they should also be contemporary. Then I thought, how do I elevate these designs to a more classic yet edgy approach? This was the next principle; to keep these classic designs with this beautiful finishing on the movements by keeping it sexy in everything you do. Combine those two principles, and you’ll understand the collection of Moser. 

As an independent brand, do you think that you will explore the Asian market by involving friends of the brand from Asia?

We are now working with an agency in Hong Kong and China to develop content globally. I think Asia in many aspects is very avant-garde, and we need to look at it and understand it. So I think it’s important to be involved and work on collaborations with people from Asia.

Related to the latest 2021 novelties, care to share more about the inspiration behind these latest releases?

We wanted to express the simplicity aspect of our brand across our collection this year, starting with our symbolic product, which is the Endeavour Centre Seconds  x seconde/seconde/. This is a collaboration we did with a French artist, where we asked to express the philosophy of Moser. His idea was to use an eraser to express the idea of creating a design with our minimalism approach by redoing and erasing to try again. The most difficult part in creating is to make it simpler because it’s easy to make it more complex but extremely difficult to make it effortless.

Endeavour Tourbillon Concept Tiger’s Eye in Falcon’s Eye and Ox’s Eye

 

Next up, the Endeavour Tourbillon Concept Tiger’s Eye, which is a limited collection. It’s a semi-precious stone where I wanted to represent the beauty and dynamics of the Moser dials. What’s great about it is how it changes its colour with the light, and I wanted to find a stone that would be similar in its properties in the Tiger’s Eyes, which is the Falcon’s Eye in blue and the Ox-Eye in red. It was the first time we can create a transformation of our identity from the man-made Fume Dials, to the naturally made Tiger’s eyes collection. Take note of the beautiful flying Tourbillon, dancing in the middle of this empty dial with no logo and indexes so you can appreciate the beauty of the watch. 

Pioneer Centre Seconds Mega Cool

 

And last but not least; is the Pioneer Centre Seconds Mega Cool. We wanted to create a very classic elegant watch that we would wear once we get out of this lockdown. If you must know, the codename of the project was called Mega Cool. In mind, we wanted a mega cool watch and went along by designing and preparing it, which shows the Blue Lagoon logo and colour for a fresh and summery take. When the first watchmaker assembled it, his reaction was “Wow, mega, mega-cool”. From that moment, we knew it had to stay as the name of the watch. 

How far have you pushed on the artisanal aesthetic of the watch while incorporating complication into the watch?

For us, it’s always this same philosophy of trying to go to the essence of a function. We try to remove everything that would disturb what we’re trying to achieve. If it’s a Three-Hand watch, then we’ll keep just the Three-Hand. If it’s a Minute Repeater, just a hammer and in the gong, and if it’s a Chronograph, we’ll reduce it to the essence. It’s the same thing with our Tourbillon because you’ll see this beauty floating on the dial, and at the same time, it just tells you the time – it’s this perpetual research of how to make it as pure in terms of function as possible.

Any other creative ideas you’d like to explore if you have the opportunity to do so?

We’re always working on new colours as we’ve been very active in blue and green for years, along with new movements. In 2022, we will continue to explore the three-dimensional silhouette after we collaborated with MB&F last year. We’re also currently working with universities in advanced research on materials to bring new innovative materials to the industry in 2023. 

From an independent brand point of view, how do you think the novelties that were unveiled will help the brand navigate the future challenges of the industry? What‘s next for the company?

Currently, the entire production is booked out for 18 months, so we’re aware of the direction as we strive to increase capacity. These pieces are pushing the boundaries of the brand, and we’ll continue to express our vision by heading in that direction. What’s important to us is to get closer to our customers through media and social media digitalisation.  

Mega Cool Tourbillon
We're sure that these latest releases are your favourites, but if you could pick one, which timepiece would be on your top list?

Indeed, they are all my favourite. Considering the situation we’re dealing with right now worldwide, I cannot wait to take the Mega Cool Tourbillon or Centre Second and enjoy a beer with some friends, heading to the beach to do some sport, and get out of this and lot look back to this crisis. I hope we get out of it and that we can enjoy life as we used to.

 

Amalina Anuar
Senior Writer
A writer by day and spin instructor by night. Amalina fuels her day with anything that’s covered in chocolate and breaking a sweat in the spin studio. With fashion and music as inspiration, you can find her obsessing over her favourite artist's music videos or swaying to funky tunes at live gigs.