The H. Moser & Cie Swiss Alp Watch Concept Cosmic Green was recently showcased at SIHH 2018. Angus Davies looks at this contemporary offering and discusses its specification in detail.
This detailed review of the H. Moser & Cie Swiss Alp Watch Concept Cosmic Green includes images, specification and pricing.
H. Moser & Cie has always crafted exquisite timepieces imbued with a high quotient of mechanical prowess. However, until a few years ago, the Swiss brand’s watches tended to be somewhat conservative. While this may not have been a problem for traditionalists, it did have a tendency to alienate younger clientele.
In more recent times, H. Moser & Cie has imbued some of its existing lines with a youthful zest. For example, the Endeavour Perpetual Calendar is now offered with a ‘funky blue’ dial, a shade which evinces a vibrant neoteric character, capable of garnering admiring glances from fresh-faced individuals.
Under the stewardship of Edouard Meylan, Moser’s CEO, new products have been released which boldly exhibit a contemporary aesthetic. The Pioneer collection perfectly illustrates this, fusing modernity and sports-watch practicality.
Part of the company’s strategy, under the auspices of its parent company, MELB Holdings, has been to adopt a ‘style of irreverent Haute Horlogerie’. The brand has dared to question the watchmaking establishment by enacting innovative marketing campaigns and conceiving unconventional watches.
In January 2016, the company from Neuhausen am Rheinfall, unveiled its answer to the ‘Smart’ watch. The Swiss Alp Watch was ‘inspired by the modern design of smartwatches’ but employed a hand-wound mechanical movement. Sporting a brown-grey, fumé dial and housed in a rectangular case made of 18-carat white gold, the watch exhibited a graceful and fresh appearance, prompting the brand to refer to it as a ‘smart watch’.
A few weeks ago, at SIHH 2018, H. Moser & Cie unveiled a new version of the Swiss Alp Watch, showcasing an eye-catching green fumé dial. I was eager to see the watch at close quarters and to ascertain whether it upheld the ‘smart watch’ tag assigned to its forebears.
The first aspect to arrest onlooker’s attention is the green fumé dial. Taking photographs of the watch dial from various angles reveals an interesting visual phenomenon. The shade of green alters depending on the position the watch is held. At times, the hue appears pale and then from another perspective it exhibits a rich, dark emerald tone.
The bewitching nature of the dial is augmented by the sunburst pattern gracing the dial surface. Each radiating line emanating from the centre of the dial exquisitely plays with the light.
Contrary to many watches, the Swiss Alp Watch Concept Cosmic Green eschews branding with a distinct absence of logos and names. Furthermore, there are no indexes, subdials or snailing. There are merely two-leaf shaped hands imparting the hours and minutes. The sparsely populated dial distinguishes the Swiss Alp Watch Concept Cosmic Green as highly unusual.
The modernity of the case design is in stark contrast to Moser’s models of yesteryear. The intention of H. Moser & Cie to emulate the appearance of a ‘Smart’ watch has been deftly realised.
Housed in an understated 18-carat white gold case, the Swiss Alp Watch Concept Cosmic Green measures 38.2 x 44.0mm with a case height of 10.3mm. The tapered, loop-style strap attachments sit unobtrusively against the case, ably guiding the strap downwards.
The corners and sides of the case are curved, providing an agreeable contrast with the predominantly straight edges of the rectangular sapphire crystal. This blend of shapes and contours imbues the watch with an interesting mien.
The crown tapers as it approaches the case-band, facilitating ease of adjustment. The brand’s ‘M’ logo graces the vertical plane of the crown.
Upholding the contemporary character of the Swiss Alp Watch Concept Cosmic Green, the case is paired with a beige kudu leather strap. The lining of the strap is presented in ‘Moser Green’ leather, adding a vibrant flourish to the strap’s overall appearance.
A pane of rectangular, sapphire crystal graces the dorsal flank of the case, granting sight of the hand-wound HMC 324 Manufacture calibre.
H. Moser & Cie has upheld watchmaking tradition, equipping its ‘smart watch’ with a finely decorated hand-wound movement, rather than an inert amalgam of electronic components.
Unusually, H. Moser & Cie not only craft its own movements but produce regulating organs and balance springs. This capacity provides an impressive degree of independence, mitigating the risk of the supply problems that have afflicted some watch companies.
The HMC 324 Manufacture calibre has a frequency of 18,000 VpH (2.5Hz) and contains 27 jewels. The power reserve is a minimum of 4 days.
Scrutinising the specification of this movement reveals some virtuous details. The balance features an ‘Original Straumann Hairspring’ with stabilised Breguet overcoil. The Breguet overcoil aids isochronism and is a feature typical of fine watches. In addition, the escapement wheel and pallet fork are formed of gold.
Interestingly, the movement is equipped with an interchangeable escapement. This feature, first seen on Moser’s watches several years ago, allows a regional service centre to replace the escapement module in one simple step. This mitigates the requirement for the watch to be returned to Moser’s Swiss headquarters.
The bridges are adorned with ‘Moser Stripes’, a form of embellishment similar in concept to Côtes de Genève motif. The bridges feature gleaming bevelled edges and the jewels sinks are highly polished. Moser’s skilled watchmakers have expertly hand-finished and decorated the movement.
Finally, a power-reserve indicator is positioned to the rear of the movement, ensuring the dial remains notably uncluttered.
The Swiss Alp Watch Concept Cosmic Green is a fascinating watch. The absence of branding on its dial flies in the face of conventional marketing. In a world obsessed with logos and designers labels, this watch provides an interesting alternative.
Where this watch may polarise opinion is with the omission of hour markers. This does impair the ease of read-off and may well prove off-putting to some would-be purchasers. Conversely, it is the absence of hour markers which will be the primary reason for some to select this watch. Indeed, the sparsity of the dial sets this watch apart from its mainstream competition.
H. Moser & Cie has cleverly captured the visual characteristics of a ‘Smart’ watch by embracing a rectangular-shaped case, brimming with modernity. However, I am pleased to report there is not a battery or charging socket in sight. By equipping the Swiss Alp Watch Concept Cosmic Green with the hand-wound HMC 324 Manufacture calibre, H. Moser & Cie has upheld watchmaking traditions. It is the quality of this timepiece and its obsolescence-proof specification which will confer value to its owner and potetially their descendants. This is my idea of a genuine ‘smart’ watch.
- Model: H. Moser Swiss Alp Watch Concept Cosmic Green
- Case: 18-carat white gold; dimensions 38.2mm x 44.0mm; height 10.3mm; sapphire crystal to front and case-back
- Functions: Hours; minutes; power-reserve indicator
- Movement: HMC 324 calibre; hand-wound movement; frequency 18,000 VpH (2.5Hz); 27 jewels; power reserve minimum 4 days
- Strap: Stitched and buffed kudu leather strap with pin buckle
- Price: CHF 26,900 (RRP as at 5.3.2018)
- Limited Edition: 20 pieces