H. Moser & Cie. does it again with the Swiss Icons Watch…! Yes, it is a mess. Yes, it looks terrible. No, it is not a joke and it does really exist. But indeed, it is again a brave move from the brand. Early 2017, Moser decided to remove the “Swiss Made” inscription from their watches and coincidentally they launched the Swiss Mad Watch (100% Swiss, including the cheese case). Now, the brand again wants to make some noise and to point what they believe to be the watchmaking industry’s main issue; the lack of creativity and the overly-present marketing.
H. Moser & Cie. wants to make Swiss-Made great again…
Back in early 2017, H. Moser & Cie. created a buzz with one and only goal: to draw the attention of the general public on the lack of consistency of the “Swiss Made” mention that is printed on all the supposedly “Swiss Made” watches. Indeed, at least 60% of the value of the components within a “Swiss Made” watch will have to be of Swiss origin in order to be considered eligible. This leaves a margin of 40% of the added value of the watch that can originate from anywhere else on the planet, without losing the “Swiss Made” mention. In order to point this issue and to emphasize the fact that Moser watches feature over 95% of components produced in Switzerland, the brand decided to remove “Swiss Made” from all its production.
The Moser Swiss Mad Watch and its Cheese Case…
Second, Moser launched a unique piece named the Swiss Mad Watch, a sort of gimmick/mockery with its case made of real Swiss Cheese and its dial depicting the white Swiss cross over a bright red dial. The proceeds of the sale of what was the most Swiss Made watch ever (at least they said so… hard to verify) were used to create a fund to support independent Swiss watchmaking suppliers currently suffering under the difficult economic situation.
The H. Moser & Cie. Swiss Icons Watch
This year, the idea is the same. Moser creates a talking piece, a watch that certainly has no commercial interest, yet that is carrying a strong message. However, the topic highlighted this year is different. Remember that what follows is Moser’s position. For the brand, “Swiss mechanical watchmaking owes its longevity and its international renown to its creativity and ability to innovate. It was able to rebuild itself and confront complicated situations, such as the great depression and the quartz crisis, by pooling common strengths, working hard, remaining true to its values, and particularly, remaining true to the product. At the time, little was said but much was done.”
Again, for Moser, the situation is different today (should we say worse). “Today, there is an immense chasm between the humility and serenity of the watchmakers who create these watches and the marketing that focuses on glitz and glamour above their products.” Moser points the lack of creativity of most brands that use vintage-inspired pieces or known design codes, as well as the use of ambassadors or influencers to create hype, as to them “Many brands, even historical ones, create and produce nothing but substitute substance with artificial hype to stay relevant.” Do we entirely agree with that here, at MONOCHROME? Probably not. Yet, if Moser tends here to make as much noise as possible, they indeed point one existing issue of the luxury industry in general.
In order to support this point, Moser has created a watch that has to be seen as a mockery or as a righter of wrongs. This watch is not intended to be serious and has to be regarded with a certain sense of humour and of irreverence… simply because it is admittedly (deliberately) ugly. This unique piece revisits iconic watches from yesterday and today, fusing their various characteristic signatures into one single watch. It pays homage to those timepieces that have given Swiss watchmaking its reputation but also points a certain renunciation.
If the watch shows some signature Moser design elements, such as the Funky Blue dial, a double hairspring and interchangeable one-minute flying tourbillon, it mainly reissues some elements of the most iconic Swiss watches known:
- Case: Hublot
- Screws: Hublot
- Crown protection: Panerai
- Crown with Cabochon: Cartier
- Bezel shape: Audemars Piguet Royal Oak
- Bezel insert: Rolex GMT Pepsi
- Dial pattern: Patek Philippe Nautilus
- Dial inscription: IWC
- Dial numerals: Panerai
- Tourbillon bridge: Girard Perregaux Three Gold Bridges
- Hands: Breguet
- Bracelet: Girard Perregaux Laureato
The melting-pot that is the Moser Swiss Icons Watch will most certainly again make some laugh, some think and some gnash their teeth… The Swiss Icons Watch is a unique piece that will be auctioned off after the SIHH. The proceeds from the sale will be donated to the Fondation pour la Culture Horlogère Suisse (Foundation for Swiss Watchmaking Culture) and will be used to support apprenticeships in the watchmaking professions and to safeguard expertise in the related watchmaking arts and crafts. www.h-moser.com.
In an official statement, the brand announced that they won’t be presenting this watch at the SIHH 2018, nor it will be auctioned after the fair, in support of the Fondation pour la Culture Horlogère Suisse. It seems that message Moser wanted to share with this watch was unclear and certain brands probably didn’t like the idea… While not stating clearly on the topic, we can imagine that Moser’s presence at the SIHH, alongside some of the brands used as references here, created some tensions. Here is the official statement, explaining the decision to retract the Swiss Icons Watch.
Dear H. Moser friends and others,
No one said #MakeSwissMadeGreatAgain would be easy…
You might have noticed that we have stopped our campaign promoting our Swiss Icons Watch.
While our objective was to pay tribute to the great founders of our beautiful industry and warn against certain practices of others, the message was unfortunately sometimes misunderstood.
As such, the Swiss Icons Watch will therefore no longer be presented and won’t be sold to raise funds to support education and training of young Swiss Watchmakers.
But fear not, we still have a number of surprises to share with you next week at SIHH.
CEO H. Moser & Cie.