Embracing the spirit of April Fool's Day, we’d like to tell you about some whimsical and fun timepieces by H. Moser & Cie – the brand that keeps pushing creative boundaries of Haute Horlogerie every year!
Moser is not afraid to push the boundaries of creativity. Love them or hate them – their watches are too different to ignore. Several years ago they decided to remove their logo from the dial, and then the Swiss Made inscription vanished too – to achieve the maximum minimalistic look, of course. After all, neither Monet nor Picasso had their brand stamped in large letters all over their paintings, but you can recognize their style at a glance. In the same vein, Moser managed to make their brand stand out without any logos, so you can easily tell it’s a Moser just by looking at the dial, hands and the case.
The parallels with Monet and Picasso are not as farfetched as they may seem, because Moser sees its mission as creating pieces of art. Or rather, functional art. Because you see, watches are not instruments anymore.
Get a Life, Upgrade to a Mechanical Watch
For a brand that produces only 1,000 watches a year, Moser sure knows how to court controversy. This was particularly clear in 2016 when they decided to poke a little fun by blending an Apple watch inspired design with some serious Swiss independent watchmaking.
Named the Swiss Alp Watch, it was a result of “over 200 years of research and development”. With a simple interface and state-of-the-art ergonomics it was designed to help people reconnect with each other by getting out there. No phone calls, no messaging, no emoji to send – just the essential function of time telling. In 2021 we were greeted by the final chapter of this fairly thought-provoking exercise in its most sardonic timepiece to date.
The Swiss Alp Watch Infinite Reboot does away with conventional notions of timekeeping altogether. In fact, only the small seconds spinning disc at 6 o’clock is the only evidence that this puzzling sculpture of blackened steel is actually telling the time.
The seconds counter disguised as a spinning loading wheel reminds of the device that has hopelessly frozen during the software update. Thankfully, the Moser watch doesn’t need any software updates due to its beautiful mechanical heart. Take that, Apple! And well-done, Moser – that’s how you promote real Swiss watchmaking!
Beware of the Black Hole
Quite satisfied by the dramatic effect of the “all black” mode, Moser released a round-cased Endeavour Tourbillon Concept designed in the same spirit as the Swiss Alp Watch. And they chose the perfect timing too, having announced the new release on April, 1.
Dressed in blackest black from head to toe, this timepiece has its dial made of the darkest artificial substance on Earth called Vantablack. Just like a black hole, it traps and absorbs all light that hits it. Even the hands are totally blackened, which makes it devilishly difficult to read the time in certain light conditions. But if you really try, the time can be actually read – at least, theoretically.
Wearing a black hole on your wrist will probably make a black hole in your wallet, since the H. Moser & Cie Endeavour Tourbillon Concept is priced at $69,000[ii].
An Ode to an Eraser
What do Moser and an eraser have in common? The Paris-based artist Romaric André, better known as seconde/seconde, decided that an old-school eraser would make for a nice symbol of the brand that erases its dials. So seconde/seconde thought that it wouldn’t hurt to get rid of the hour hand too and replace it with a pixelated cartoonish eraser.
Perpetual Calendar for Dummies
Moser just keeps coming up with more and more ways on how to make its dials even more difficult to read. The brand has been enjoying wiping off all markers whatsoever from their dials, so when it came to the perpetual calendar, things turned serious.
Because instead of the busy dial crowed with all sorts of markers, indices, graduations, etc. Moser created just a bare “funky blue” fumé space where you can see some contours of the main indicators, such as power reserve, month pointer and a small-seconds display.
Finally, the brand have taken pity on its loyal fans and provided a tongue-in-cheek user guide for them... by transforming the whole dial into a cheat sheet! So instead of Google searching this perpetual calendar’s configurations, you can fully rely on the quirky explainers provided on the watch’s face.
But this cheat sheet doesn’t come cheap – the Endeavor Perpetual Calendar “Tutorial” will cost you CHF 59,000, which is CHF 5,000 more than the “ordinary” Endeavour Perpetual Calendar Funky Blue[iii].
We love H. Moser & Cie for their ingenious watchmaking solutions and thinking outside of the horological box (to the point that sometimes we begin to wonder if there even was a box at all!). It’s important, because we need independent creative brands like Moser to challenge us and look at traditional timepieces in a different way.
[i] A Swiss Watch Goes for RMB 388,000 Yuan in Charity Auction on JD (2021, April 20). Retrieved from: https://jdcorporateblog.com/a-swiss-watch-goes-for-rmb-388000-yuan-in-charity-auction-on-jd/
[ii] Moser & Cie Brings April Fools Joy To Life With Three New Vantablack Watches With Blackened Hands (2020, April 1). Retrieved from: https://www.ablogtowatch.com/h-moser-cie-brings-april-fools-joke-to-life-with-three-new-vantablack-watches-with-blackened-hands/
[iii] Moser Gives You A Horology Lesson With The Endeavour Perpetual “Tutorial” (2022, February 14). Retrieved from: https://monochrome-watches.com/h-moser-cie-endeavour-perpetual-calendar-funky-blue-updated-42mm-and-tutorial-edition-introducing-specs-price/