The usually staid Swiss watch industry experienced a quirky fillip this week as we approached the annual SIHH trade show in Geneva on 15 – 19 January. Here is the diary of events:
11 January 2018: H. MOSER & CIE. PRESENTS THE SWISS ICONS WATCH
In “tribute” to the legendary timepieces of yesterday and today, when watchmakers outnumbered the marketing teams, H. Moser & Cie. presents the Swiss Icons Watch. A unique piece to debut at SIHH, from January 15th to 19th, 2018.
The H. Moser Swiss Icons watch was a reminder to the industry to remember the days when watchmaking prowess rather than marketing iconic motifs.
Moser CEO Edouard Meylan said,”Many brands, even historical ones, create and produce nothing but substitute substance with artificial hype to stay relevant. Reinforcing their efforts with prestigious events and paying ambassadors who have no links to watchmaking; these tactics are just artifice that serve as smoke and mirrors. It’s all about who has the longest history, the most famous celebrity ambassador, or influencer with the most followers. Their efforts are in vain, the essential lies elsewhere: with the product. The watch will be auctioned after the 2018 SIHH, and proceeds will be donated to the Fondation pour la Culture Horlogère Suisse, to support apprenticeships in the watchmaking professions and to safeguard expertise in the related watchmaking arts and crafts.”
Discussions revolved around how many watch brand icons could be spotted:
1. Moser & Cie flying tourbillon movement is actually authentic
2. Girard-Perregaux style ‘Golden Bridge’ above tourbillon
3. Audemars Piguet Royal Oak style octagonal bezel
4. Rolex style ‘Pepsi’ bezel colours
5. Panerai Luminor inspired numerals
6. Breguet style hands
7. Patek Philippe Nautilus style striped dial
8. HMC Schaffhausen logo; IWC is also based in Schaffhausen.
9. Cartier style carbochon crown
10.Panerai crown guard
11.Hublot style case lugs and screws
12. Richard Mille style case sides
Lo and behold, a day later, Moser was forced to issue this retraction…..
12 January 2018: OFFICIAL STATEMENT
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.
The H. Moser Swiss Icons watch is the latest in a series of thought provacative watches, which in the past, has included swipes at the Apple Watch and the Swiss-made Label.
Who can forget the H. Moser Swiss-Mad watch with a watch case made of real Swiss cheese? It protested the lax regulations for the Swiss-made label, in favor of companies outsourcing work rather than really invented and made (invenit et fecit) in Switzerland.
All we can say is that H. Moser & Cie can actually make real Swiss watches when they are not distracted by playing ‘agent provocateur’
VIDEO of H. Moser Swiss-Mad Watch
Author’s Biography: Melvyn Teillol-Foo (MTF)
Dr Melvyn Teillol-Foo is a contributor on AlphaLuxe web-zine.
He was also CEO of PuristSPro.com horology discussion fora. He blends his scientific medical objectivity from the pharmaceutical industry with purist passion, in his musings about watches, travel, wine, food and other epicurean delights.
His travelogue ‘Lazing’ and feasting ‘Grazing’ series of articles have now passed into “mythic legend” on the original ‘ThePuristS.com’ website. Those were the halcyon days when he was “rich and famous” that he remembers with bittersweet fondness.
Dr Teillol-Foo is a quoted enthusiast on the watch industry, appearing in feature articles and interviews by Wall Street Journal, International Herald Tribune, Sunday Times (London), Chronos (Japan), Citizen Hedonist (France) and other publications. He has authored articles for magazines like International Watch (iW) – both U.S. & Chinese editions, ICON (Singapore), August Man (Singapore), Comfort (China) and The Watch (Hong Kong).