H. Moser & Cie is an independent watch brand that has become known as the enfant terrible of the Swiss watchmaking industry. While initially gaining recognition for crafting beautiful and elegant timepieces, the brand has taken a bold turn in recent years by injecting satire into their creations. Notable examples include the one-of-a-kind 'Swiss Cheese' watch and the 'Apple' watch. This approach has sparked both admiration and controversy, making H. Moser & Cie a polarizing presence in the watchmaking scene. What sets them apart is their willingness to actively critique and comment on the Swiss watch industry, a stance particularly noteworthy given their strong pedigree.
Amidst their repertoire of more complex timepieces, the Perpetual Calendar 1 remains a flagship for me. Launched in 2005 as the first watch after Moser's relaunch, it carried a disruptive quality of its own. Notably, it secured the 2006 GPHG award in the complication category, solidifying its status as a standout creation from the brand.
The H. Moser Perpetual Calendar is truly a lesson in design minimalism, deviating from the traditional approach where perpetual calendars often attempt to convey an overwhelming plethora of information on a small dial. Moser, in contrast, distilled the most crucial information, creating an intuitive design that gives the impression of a time and date-only watch from a distance.
So, as we all know, a perpetual calendar watch can distinguish the number of days in every month, including during leap years so you need to be able to see the day, month, and 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 makes a lot of sense. How often do we check whether it’s a leap year or not? When this watch came out, it made people rethink what a perpetual calendar should look like.
Moving on to the 40.8mm DLC-coated titanium 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 well-thought-out cases in the industry. On the surface, it may seem like a typical round watch case at first glance, but a closer look reveals intricate details that set it apart.
If you follow the brand closely enough, I think it is no surprise that Moser makes one of the best fumé dials in the industry, period. There is a very mesmeric quality about the fumé dials made by Moser and the dial on this Perpetual Calendar is no different, because during my experience with it, I frequently found myself captivated by the lustrous yellow-green fumé dial, often losing track of time. Under certain lighting conditions, the colour subtly transitions between a shade of lime green and yellow, creating an absolute visual delight that contrasts nicely against its black DLC-coated titanium case.
Powering this beautiful perpetual calendar from within is Moser’s in-house, manual-winding Cal. HMC 341 —an exceptionally stunning movement when viewed from behind the exhibition case back. Meticulously crafted and thoughtfully finished, it features a double-barrel construction and boasts a well-designed architectural layout. With a manual winding mechanism, this movement not only exudes visual elegance but also promises a hands-on and engaging experience for the wearer. With only approximately 3000 pieces produced a year, H. Moser & Cie is truly an enigmatic independent brand that creates highly original timepieces.