It’s a little-known fact but (the very) Swiss brand H. Moser & Cie, based in Neuhausen-am-Rheinfall near Schaffhausen, was not founded in “chocolate and watch Land“. In fact, its roots go back to another country, which as surprising as it is, is Russia. Indeed, Heinrich Moser founded his eponymous company in Saint Petersburg, in 1828. With these origins in mind, contemporary brand H. Moser & Cie. presents a Swiss-manufactured watch with Russian inspiration, the Venturer XL Stoletniy Krasniy (for “Centennial Red”, the iconic red of Russia).
H. Moser & Cie. – A Russian story
While the watch industry has long been related to Switzerland, some of its best watchmakers found that there was good business to be done in other parts of the world – think Jaquet Droz in China for instance. One of these was Heinrich Moser, who decided to incorporate a watch brand far from his Schaffhausen home in the Swiss mountains, in Russia (although the watches were still manufactured in Le Locle). Heinrich Moser was selling his Swiss-Made watches in his own stores in St. Petersburg, Moscow, Nizhny Novgorod and Kiev, and also via a network of independent retailers within the Russian Empire and along the Silk Road. He supplied the Imperial Court and the Russian army. Heinrich Moser was hugely successful, with almost 500,000 watches sold in his lifetime.
The Russian story doesn’t end there. In 1874, upon the death of Heinrich Moser, his widow handed control of the Le Locle factory to Paul Girard, and entrusted the Russian company to Cornelius Winterhalter, who joined forces with Octave Meylan (Octave Meylan is none other than the great-grandfather of Edouard Meylan, the current CEO of H. Moser & Cie. whose family purchased the company in 2012). At the start of the twentieth century, Carl Fabergé, goldsmith to the tsars, equipped almost all of his table clocks with H. Moser movements. The 1917 October Revolution led to the nationalisation of H. Moser & Cie., which then ceased trading completely at the end of the 1970s. 100 years have passed since this rather dramatic moment in the history of the brand, which is now more alive than ever. This was probably the time to present something to remember these Russian roots.
The Venturer XL Stoletniy Krasniy
For this new watch, the H. Moser & Cie. Venturer XL Stoletniy Krasniy, the brand plays with its usual codes of simplicity (not to say minimalism) and with an iconic colour for the brand: red – even if here, it has nothing to do with the Swiss flag. The base watch is familiar as it has already been used previously for several editions, however it usually features a small second at 6 – such as the Venturer Small Seconds XL Purity Cosmic Green. Here, we have again a perfectly nude watch: no date, no second (even a central one), no indices, no Swiss-made mention (of course)… In fact, nothing else than the dial and two hands.
The clear emphasis on this H. Moser & Cie. Venturer XL Stoletniy Krasniy is on the red fumé dial – with a red colour that gradually darkens when approaching the periphery of the dial – and on the specific logo that has been printed. Indeed, to be consistent with the Russian theme, Moser chose for the company’s original Cyrillic logo – with a specific font and a black and yellow style. Finalizing the original style of this watch is a military-green fabric strap.
The rest remains known from the brand: a 43mm stainless steel case, with the usual shape used by the brand, and inside an in-house manufactured movement, the HMC 327, with 3-day power reserve, Moser balance wheel and original Straumann Hairspring and the interchangeable regulating organ. Finishing is, as usual, pleasant, with polished bevels and Moser ribbings on top of the bridges.
The H. Moser & Cie. Venturer XL Stoletniy Krasniy will be produced in only 17 pieces, price is CHF 19,900. More details on www.h-moser.com.
Technical Specifications – H. Moser & Cie. Venturer XL Stoletniy Krasniy
- Case: 43mm diameter x 12.6mm height – Stainless steel – sapphire crystal on both sides
- Movement: HMC 327 calibre, in-house – hand-wound – 3Hz frequency – 3-day power reserve – hours and minutes, power reserve indicator on the movement side
- Strap: green fabric strap with steel pin-buckle
- Reference: 2327-1207
- Limited Edition: 17 pieces
- Price: CHF 19,900