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 by introducing satire into their watchmaking, with pieces such as the one-off ‘Swiss Cheese’ watch and ‘Apple’ watch. I for one think it is refreshing to see 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.
Today we have on offer a watch that came from the 2010s – the H. Moser & Cie Monard Central Seconds Ref. 343.505-017 in 18-carat rose gold. Like most of the independent manufacture’s horological offerings, the Monard is a beautiful, understated and elegant piece with a lot of details going for it.
The Monard’s three-part 18-carat rose gold case measures at 40.8mm x 10.9mm, a great size for modern wrists. Despite it looking like a traditional watch case from the front, the construction of the lugs actually gives it a lot of extra depth which makes the case look far more interesting. The case design is done so that the softly beveled lugs run off to the side of the case and slowly diminish, with its polished finish perfectly contrasted with the brushed finish in the background. Another aspect that I really enjoyed about the Monard is its mysterious yet sharp-looking black lacquered dial that is complemented by the applied rose gold markers, which provides a great visual contrast and a touch of elegance. Staring at the dial almost feels like staring into the abyss- there is a certain hypnotic quality to it that adds a lot of complexity to such a simple time-only design.
Now, the Monard may look simple from the outside, but the movement encased within is far from that. Internally, it is powered by a very impressive 26-jeweled, manual-winding, in-house caliber HMC 343.505, which beats at 18,000 vph and is regulated by a Straumann hairspring that is produced in-house. The springs move in opposite directions, offsetting gravity errors and impressively, not many manufactures can say they create their own hairsprings! Furthermore, there is a power reserve indicator on the movement and it has a whopping 7-day power reserve thanks to its double barrel system. The movement is beautifully finished and architecturally very pleasing to look at.
I love Moser for what they stand for in the watchmaking industry as a whole, and for always being unapologetically authentic to themselves when it comes to modern watch design. With only approximately 1200 pieces produced a year, H. Moser & Cie is truly an enigmatic independent brand that creates highly original timepieces.