Maverick independent watchmaker H. Moser & Cie. and auction house Christie’s are partnering to support the Swiss watchmaking industry. Through the partnership H. Moser & Cie. will supply Christie’s with a unique watch for auction each year, with the proceeds going to the Fondation pour la Culture Horlogère Suisse (Foundation for Swiss Watchmaking Culture).
Moser is kicking off the partnership by providing Christie’s with two watches for its May 2017 auction in Geneva – the prototype of 2016’s Swiss Alp Watch (our story here), and the recently announced Swiss Mad Watch (our story here) with a case made from Swiss cheese. The latter was the flagship product in a campaign (#MakeSwissMadeGreatAgain) to protest the recently revised laws governing the use of the ‘Swiss Made’ Label (read our story here). Moser even produced a hilarious video to tell the tale (click here to watch).
The Swiss Mad Watch was announced at SIHH earlier in the year, and carried a substantial price tag of 1,081,291 CHF. The watch’s price is a reference to the founding date of Switzerland, the first of August, 1291, and since Moser is donating the entirety of the watch’s value in support of the watchmaking industry, there’s no element of self-serving. Another thing that’s worth mentioning is that the high price tag was also a subtle jab at the sky high prices of products within the industry (basically a satire price).
Considering that Moser intended to sell the Swiss Mad Watch through standard sales channels, we were surprised to hear that the watch was now going to be auctioned through Christie’s. But rather than speculate on why H. Moser & Cie. changed gears, we reached out to Edouard Meylan, CEO of H. Moser & Cie. for his thoughts, “Christie’s is a respected auction house that is trusted by collectors across the world. I wanted to bring transparency and legitimacy to the concept of raising money for a good cause, and this was the best option.”
Following the Geneva auction, H. Moser & Cie. will produce a unique watch every year – the watch will be unveiled at SIHH, and will then be placed in Christie’s care, to be sold to the highest bidder. The proceeds will then go to the Fondation pour la Culture Horlogère Suisse, which will manage the distribution of the funds.
The Fondation pour la Culture Horlogère Suisse is headed by Georges-Henri Meylan, former CEO of Audemars Piguet, and current Chairman of the Board of MELB Holding. Georges-Henri Meylan is also the father of H. Moser & Cie’s Edouard Meylan. The Fondation pour la Culture Horlogère Suisse is focused on two objectives – supporting apprenticeships in the watchmaking profession, and safeguarding expertise in the related artistic crafts.
To read more about H. Moser & Cie., click here.
To read more about Christie’s, click here.