With the launch of its Swiss Alp Watch, independent watchmaker H. Moser & Cie (HMC) is drawing attention to the latest challenge to befall the Swiss watchmaking industry – the smartwatch. The brand is also committing to fighting the smartwatch onslaught by inspiring its fellow mechanical watchmaking counterparts to uphold the centuries-long tradition of Swiss watchmaking.
If you looked at the picture of the Swiss Alp Watch above (reference 8324-0200) and thought ‘Hang on, that rounded rectangular case looks very familiar’, that’s because it closely resembles the smart watch that made the biggest splash in 2015 – the Apple Watch.
In fact, H. Moser & Cie’s latest is pretty much the same size as the smaller of the two Apple Watch offerings, thanks to a 38mm 18K white-gold case. Looking closer, you can even see that the wire-lugs of the Swiss Alp Watch resemble the lugs you get on some of the Apple watches. The difference here is there’s actually a springbar sitting between the lugs on the HMC.
Despite these similarities and the fact that the HMC video (end of article) presented by CEO Edouard Meylan is very Apple-esque in its style, H. Moser & Cie isn’t actually singling out Apple, or any other smartwatch. The company realises that smartwatches are a big deal, and recognises that a lot of mechanical watch brands are doing one of three things; nothing at all, some are adopting a knee jerk reaction by combining older/outdated tech into watches or straps, and some are upholding the tradition of watchmaking by doing what they do best. The last, and best approach, is the one that HMC has chosen, and the Swiss Alp Watch is said to symbolise the company’s fighting spirit. In short, the company is trying to rally the mechanical watch industry around a common cause.
All of the above is neatly summarised by Meylan in the following quote, “I grew up in the heart of the Swiss Alps in a family of watchmakers that date back several generations. Swiss watchmaking is part of our heritage. This heritage has faced serious challenges in the past. My father survived the quartz crisis and often speaks of this trying time, which rallied watchmakers around a unified cause. Today, H. Moser & Cie. launches the Swiss Alp Watch as a statement of this new challenge and to prove that traditional mechanical watchmaking has a future, and it is, in fact, the future. It is much more than a watch for us. The Swiss Alp Watch is symbolic. It represents our resilience, our ferocious desire to fight for our values and traditions. It embodies everything we believe in”.
The Swiss Alp Watch is undeniably dressy in its appearance and features the gorgeous grey sunburst fume dial that we’ve seen on some of HMC’s other timepieces. This is an elegant watch offering just time and seconds complications on the dial, and turning over the watch, you’re greeted with the in-house H. Moser & Cie 324 calibre, and a power reserve indicator. The manual-winding movement offers hacking seconds, an interchangeable Moser escapement and, of course, a Straumann Hairspring. The entire movement is decorated and hand-finished, as you’d expect of a high-end independent watchmaker.
Check out the video below to see Edouard Meylan introduce his company’s latest creation in smartwatch beating style.
The Swiss Alp Watch is limited to just 50 pieces, and is presented with an attractive beige hand-stitched kudu leather strap and an 18K white-gold pin buckle. It carries a retail price of approximately US $25,000. Look for it at SIHH 2016.