H. Moser & Cie. kicks off 2020 with an all-new collection that applies the Schaffhausen-based brand’s renowned minimalist aesthetic to one of the most technically complex horological machines, the chronograph. And not just any chronograph, but one that breaks new ground in the industry: The H. Moser & Cie. Streamliner Flyback Chronograph debuts as the first self-winding chronograph with a central display also equipped with a flyback function.
The Streamliner, which Moser says was five years in development, takes its name from the high-speed trains of the 1920s and ’30s remembered for their rounded, aerodynamic curves — a reference to the new watch’s ergonomically shaped steel case with fluidly integrated bracelet. This style of metal sport-luxury watch, whose most famous standard-bearers include the Patek Philippe Nautilus and Audemars Piguet Royal Oak, appears to be having a moment in today’s watch market, as witness last year’s launches of the Chopard Alpine Eagle, Bell & Ross BR 05, and A. Lange & Söhne Odysseus.) For its part, Moser has not strayed from the design codes for which it has become known, i.e., harmonious simplicity outside belying complexity inside. In the tradition of its award-winning take on the perpetual calendar, Moser has ensured that its first chronograph adheres to the same philosophy, with stopwatch readouts displayed on the main dial rather than on subdials.
The steel cushion-shaped case measures 42.3 mm in diameter and 14.2 mm thick, and offers water resistance of 12o meters — enough, says Moser, to ensure that a wearer can use the chronograph underwater. The crown, positioned off-center at 4 o’clock, is engraved with a Moser “M,” while the chronograph pushers are placed at 10 and 2 o’clock, evoking the “bull’s head” designs of vintage stopwatches. A subtly domed sapphire crystal, framed by a sunray-brushed bezel, tops this sculptural, shaped case, which flows into an organically curved bracelet with alternating brushed and polished surfaces on its articulated links.
The dial, in a new shade of anthracite gray, is enhanced with Moser’s now-signature fumé gradient effect but also with a vertically streaked pattern called “griffé.” Surrounding it are two white-and-red minute tracks, the outer one for elapsed minutes, the inner for elapsed seconds. At the 12 o’clock position is not a numeral “12” but a numeral “60,” which hearkens back to stopwatches of the 1960s and ’70s and confirms the central principle behind Moser’s approach to the Streamliner, which is “a chronograph which displays the time rather than a watch which features a chronograph.” Precise readings of recorded intervals on these scales are made easier by the central chronograph hands, which are thicker at their bases and finer at their tips, like counters found on car dashboard instruments, and determining minutes from seconds at a glance is simple due to the use of two colors: red for the seconds hand and rhodium-plated for the minutes. Meanwhile, the current time in hours and minutes is displayed on curved, two-part hands with luminous inserts made from Globolight, a ceramic-based, Super-LumiNova-treated material used here for the first time on a watch’s hands.
An all-new watch, the first of what the maison says will be an entirely new product family, demands an all-new in-house movement, and Moser delivers here as well. The new Caliber HMC 902 was developed jointly by Moser’s team and the complication experts at AGENHOR, all with an eye toward maximum functionality in a minimalist architecture. Viewed through the sapphire caseback, the resulting caliber, made up of 434 components, could fool you into thinking that it’s a manual-winder, but it’s actually an automatic. The tungsten rotor that winds the movement in both directions has been placed unconventionally between the front of the movement and the dial, thus allowing the column wheel and the other devices driving the chronograph to be admired in full view. The system operates on a retrograde principle, using accumulated to allow the minutes hand to jump instantly before being released by a snail cam, thus ensuring greater accuracy. The stopwatch functions also use a horizontal clutch with a friction wheel equipped with micro-teeth that prevent the intermeshing of gears and minimize accidental jumps when the chronograph is engaged. Caliber HMC 902 stores a minimum 54-hour power reserve in its double barrel.
The H. Moser & Cie. Streamliner Flyback Chronograph is limited to 100 pieces and is priced at $39,900.