Known for its minimalistic designs, daring concepts and clever mechanisms, H. Moser & Cie has always had a list of ardent collectors awaiting each limited-edition watch. At one point, under its founder Heinrich Moser, the brand became such a synonym for luxury timepieces in Russia that it was included in a folk song—the man himself sold about 500,000 watches during his lifetime. Today, under the Meylan family, with Edouard Meylan as the CEO, the Swiss-based watchmaker celebrates its rich historical ties while looking boldly ahead for new inventions. We talk to him here.
What’s the story behind the creation of the Venturer XL Concept Stoletniy Krasniy?
In 1917, there was the Bolshevik Revolution, and H. Moser & Cie, which was a well-known brand born in 1828 in Russia, was expropriated to Switzerland. My great-grandfather, Octave Meylan, then was in charge of the company after Heinrich Moser passed away. Until almost two years ago, we weren’t allowed to go back to Russia because someone else owned the brand. When I took over in 2012, I tried to find the person and found him in early 2015; right away I negotiated on how to buy the brand back. Then there was the big crisis in Russia and the ruble fell dramatically, which made it difficult to go even though now we have the right to return. Finally in early 2017, when the situation was stable enough to go back, we decided to create something special to celebrate the return of H. Moser & Cie to Russia and to symbolically create the bridge between now and 1917. We like to do things differently because Moser was the brand of the empire, but we didn’t want to use Russia’s black double-headed eagle as many other brands have.
Besides aesthetics and technology, what else does the H. Moser & Cie team consider in designing?
The future is also something we have to consider in designing besides the past, which is the case in Stoletniy Krasniy, which is made using a strong artistic inclination as seen in Russia during the Revolution. So we decided to use the colour red along with one of our historical logos in Cyrillic to create the special-edition Venturer XL Concept Stoletniy Krasniy, which means the hundred years red. It’s a limited edition in steel with a manual movement and green NATO-style fabric combined with H. Moser & Cie’s minimalistic design code present on all watches.
Speaking of the future, what has H. Moser & Cie prepared for SIHH 2018?
We’ve prepared the Endeavour Tourbillon Concept featuring a flying tourbillion in white gold and minimalist funky blue dial available in 20 pieces measuring 42mm. The Tourbillon Concept is extremely precise, but here lies a contradiction, because the face shows no minute markers, so you could enjoy the movement and get lost in the beauty. It’s an all-Swiss-made watch with hand-stitched, soft kudu-leather straps.