With more than 6 million units sold in 2015, producing a turnover in excess of 6 billion dollars, the smartwatch market exploded in the past 12 months, driven by the giants of the electronics industry. With R&D budgets of more than 8 billion dollars, a figure higher than the turnover of even the largest Swiss watchmaking group, the market leaders have barely begun, and they will once again revolutionize this market and change consumer behavior.
Faced with the threat of these heavyweights, there are a number of ways a Swiss watch company could react. They could do nothing, the course most watch brands are adopting; they could take a short-term, opportunistic approach to combine tradition with technology like TAG Heuer is doing, or, lastly, they could fight for the values underpinning the reputation of several centuries of Swiss watchmaking. This last path, is the one that H. Moser & Cie. has decided to pursue, and their new Swiss Alp Watch ref. 8324-0200 —which we had the opportunity to review hands-on during the SIHH 2016 in Geneva—, is the symbol of this fighting spirit.
As the challenge of the smartwatch emerged, it threw Swiss watchmaking into turmoil. However, the complete lack of a response from most market players is remarkable in itself. Doing nothing and waiting for the threat to pass is certainly a dangerous course, but it is less offensive to Swiss watchmaking than the opportunists’ approach of combining traditional, high-end watchmaking with already-obsolete technology such as connected bracelets, NFC/RFID chips and other outmoded interfaces. These attempts are bound to fail, due to the lack of resources, vision and a captive market. The future of Swiss Haute Horlogerie will be bright, provided it continues to innovative and be creative, while focusing on its inherent values of quality and tradition. With its iconic fumé dial —a classic signature for H. Moser & Cie.—, it is timeless. Equipped with an 18K white gold case measuring 38.2 mm x 44.0 mm with a thickness of 10.3 mm and tapered lugs, the appearance of the watch is quite vintage inspired.
These are the words of Edouard Meylan from H. Moser & Cie. regarding this launch: "I grew up in the heart of the Swiss Alps in a family of watchmakers that date back several generations. Swiss watchmaking is part of our heritage. This heritage has faced serious challenges in the past. My father survived the quartz crisis and often speaks of this trying time, which rallied watchmakers around a unified cause. Today, H. Moser & Cie. launches the Swiss Alp Watch as a statement of this new challenge and to prove that traditional mechanical watchmaking has a future, and it is, in fact, the future. It is much more than a watch for us. The Swiss Alp Watch is symbolic. It represents our resilience, our ferocious desire to fight for our values and traditions. It embodies everything we believe in".
The video below, was produced by H. Moser & Cie. to launch the watch and is definitely a must see. The video is not only very creative and funny, but the pure truth when it comes to the differences between a mechanical watch and a smartwatch. Ultimately, the smartwatch trend will just turn into a fad in the years to come.
The new H. Moser & Cie. is fitted with their iconic beige hand-stitched kudu leather strap with a leather lining in Moser green that lends the watch a modern edge that also stands testament to the company's attention to detail. The strap is equipped with a matching 18K white gold pin buckle.
Rather than creating a model with an electronic heart trying to look like a mechanical watch, H. Moser & Cie. has chosen to do the opposite. The new H. Moser & Cie. Swiss Alp Watch is inspired by the modern design of smartwatches, but is entirely mechanical.
Driven by the manual wound H. Moser & Cie. HMC324 calibre, the Swiss Alp Watch is a marvel of ingenuity and watchmaking technology at its best. With its 100% Swiss Made manufacture movement and a minimum power reserve of 100 hours when fully wound, the H. Moser & Cie. Swiss Alp Watch is designed to last and is well equipped for the next generation. The beautifully finished calibre features a power reserve indicator that unlike a battery powered smartwatch, it won't die on you. The movement is equipped with 27 jewels and beats at a frequency of 18,000 vph.
Edouard Meylan continues to say with a big smile: "The Swiss Alp Watch does not allow you to make calls, or send messages to share the latest gossip; it does not give you the option to send beautiful sketches you have created on a two-inch screen or to share your heart rate. It does much more than that, it lets you reconnect to what matters in life. It takes you back to sharing emotions with your nearest and dearest without a filter, interface or embellishment. Most importantly, it is something you can pass on to your children one day without having to upgrade it!".
On the wrist, the watch wears like a real watch should wear and extremely comfortably. Just knowing that what you have on your wrist is so exclusive and rare, should make any wearer feel special about it. Furthermore, the fact that this timepiece was fully created by the highly skilled hands of a few horologists on the other side of the world, should be enough for you to cope with its price tag. Remember, a smartwatch is just another technological device created by machines, mass produced and available to the masses; the new H. Moser & Cie. Swiss Alp Watch is truly a marvel of mechanics and 'very rare' as the brand likes to say. Kudos to H. Moser & Cie. and the Meylan family for going in the right direction and coming out with this exceptional timepiece. The new Swiss Alp Watch is available in a limited edition of 50 pieces.
Sticker Price $24,900 USD. For more info on H. Moser & Cie. click here.