A few weeks ago H. Moser & Cie. (HMC) announced that it was dropping the ‘Swiss Made’ label from its dials, and promised to unveil ‘the most Swiss Made watch ever created’ on January 12, 2017. True to its word, the independent watchmaker unveiled the Swiss Mad Watch yesterday, a piece unique watch (1/1) with a case made from Swiss Cheese (seriously).
Before we discuss the watch, allow us to give you a bit of context. HMC says its timepieces derive 95% of their value in Switzerland, and thought that even the updated requirements for a watch to qualify for the ‘Swiss Made’ label were too lax. You see the new legislation requires 60% of a watch’s value to come from within Switzerland (up from 50%), which ultimately means that brands can continue to manufacture a substantial portion of their watches in other countries, but yet take advantage of the Swiss Made label.
To protest against the legislation, H. Moser & Cie. said it would drop the Swiss Made label from all of its watches at the start of 2017, and kicked off a #MakeSwissMadeGreatAgain campaign. As part of the campaign, the brand said it would unveil the most Swiss Made watch ever created, and this is exactly what they’ve done. We discuss the above in greater depth in our original story (click here to read), and do check out the hilarious video below starring HMC CEO Edouard Meylan (the video more or less tells the story).
The base of the Swiss Mad Watch’s 42mm case is Vacherin Mont d’Or cheese, it is added to a high tech material called ITR2 (short for Innovative Technical Resin and Revolutionary), after which it is machined and polished. Moser has promised that the case won’t spoil and is free from odors, and if you’re wondering why the brand chose cheese, it’s because they consider cows the most precious Swiss resource. The brand is using humor to drive their point across on a serious topic – for reference, Switzerland does not have gold mines, which meant that Moser had to get creative if they wanted to make the most Swiss Made watch ever created (the brand didn’t want to use materials from outside of Switzerland for the case, which is a reasonable portion of the watch).
The piece unique features a brilliant red fumé dial with white double indexes at the three, six, nine and 12 o’clock positions. The design and layout is obviously meant to resemble the flag of Switzerland, and sticking to their quip about cows being the most important Swiss resource, the timepiece is presented on a Swiss cowhide strap. Internally the watch has Swiss legs, so to speak, as it is powered by the in-house HMC 327 calibre, which offers a minimum power reserve of three days.
Another nod to Swiss heritage comes in the form of this timepiece’s price tag. It costs an eye-watering CHF 1,081,291, which is a reference to the founding date of Switzerland – the first of August, 1291. But before you say that H. Moser & Cie. is trying to make off like a bandit, we should point out that the brand has committed to using all the proceeds from the sale of this watch, to create a fund to support independent Swiss watchmaking suppliers. Moser says these small suppliers are struggling as a result of the challenging market conditions for luxury watches, and because of outsourcing to Asia. This then is a noble cause as smaller suppliers tend to work closely with independent watchmakers, and play a significant part in the evolution of watchmaking.
Alongside the piece unique Swiss Mad Watch, H. Moser & Cie. also unveiled the Venturer Swiss Mad. It’s basically a less extreme version of the piece unique Swiss Mad Watch, in that these timepieces feature a more standard white-gold case (39mm). This watch is therefore not as Swiss made as its cheesy brother (pun intended) but you still get the same red fumé dial with white double indexes, and the distinctive cowhide strap. The Venturer Swiss Made is also powered by the HMC 327 calibre, and is limited to 50-pieces. The retail price for these watches is a far more digestible US $21,500. The piece unique Swiss Mad Watch and Venturer Swiss Mad can both be seen at SIHH 2017.
To read more about H. Moser & Cie., click here.