H. Moser & Cie is an independent watch brand that has become known as the enfant terrible of the Swiss watchmaking industry. Quite a polarising brand, they made their name initially creating beautiful elegant timepieces but in the last few years, they have really become a force to reckon with introducing satire into their watchmaking, with pieces such as the one-off ‘Swiss Cheese’ watch and ‘Apple’ watch. I for one think this is refreshing that a brand is taking an active stand to criticize and create a commentary on the Swiss watch industry, especially as it comes from a brand with a very strong pedigree.
While there have been many more complicated timepieces from the brand, for me, the flagship will always be their Perpetual Calendar 1. This was the first watch that Moser released when they relaunched in 2005 and it was disruptive in its own right. It even won the 2006 GPHG award in the complication category.
The Moser Perpetual Calendar is truly a lesson in minimalism as perpetual calendars are traditionally trying to cram a lot of information onto a small dial. What Moser did was distill down all of the most important information, making it intuitive and the result is a watch that could be mistaken for a time and date only watch from far. So as we all know, a perpetual calendar watch is able to distinguish the number of days in every month, including during leap years so you need to be able to see the day, month, and which year it is in the leap year cycle. The most obvious is the large date aperture at 3 o’clock, but if you look closely, there’s a small arrow hand and that is the month indicator. 12 hours in a day, 12 months in a year with 1 being January and 12 being December. Furthermore, Moser realized that knowing the leap year is not as important so they placed it behind on the movement side, which actually makes a lot of sense. How often do we check whether it’s a leap year or not? When this came out, it really made people rethink what a perpetual calendar should look like.
Moving on to the 40.8mm case, it wears excellently on the wrist and this is partly due to the fact it has a curved sapphire case back. This of course helps with wearability and with the different brushed and polished finishing, I’d have to say that this is one of the more thought out cases in the industry. On the surface, it looks like your average round watch case, but there’s so much more going on.
The in-house caliber HMC 341 is really a beautiful looking movement. Manually wound and finished nicely, it has a double-barrel construction and is architecturally well designed as well. With only approximately 1200 pieces produced a year, H. Moser & Cie is truly an enigmatic independent brand that creates highly original timepieces.