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H. Moser & Cie. - Edouard Meylan

H. Moser & Cie. Edouard Meylan


Édouard Meylan's family having been in watchmaking for decades, he was born into the trade, and never strayed very far from it – although he originally had other plans, dabbling in a whole range of fields including engineering, consultancy and robotics. One notable achievement in this respect was his co-creation of Celsius X VI II, the brand that introduced the first ever micromechanical mobile phone: one model was even equipped with a tourbillon.

And in 2012, there was a momentous phone call to the Meylan household. On the other end of the line was a struggling little Schaffhausen-based firm seeking advice on how to get back on track – a firm by the name of H. Moser & Cie. The Meylan family duly gave some advice, and it was blunt. The Manufacture was a diamond in the rough; and so a lot of work needed to be done to put things right. Initially, this stiff medicine did not go down well with the then owners, but eventually they called the Meylans back – asking them to implement the remedy they’d prescribed.

Edouard Meylan

Edouard Meylan © H. Moser & Cie.

And so in October 2012, Édouard Meylan agreed to do just that – provided he could have completely free rein. The reliability of the timepieces had to be reviewed, as did the inventory; the brand had to be positioned, and staff laid off, if the company was to survive. The Meylans took on the project, almost at the same time as they took over Hautlence (March 2012), bringing both into the orbit of the family with a view to creating synergies.

At H. Moser & Cie., the first task was to restructure and improve the production facility, before moving on to focus on marketing. Moser created a sensation – and uproar – with models like its Swiss Mad Watch (with its cheese case), as well as the Frankenwatch and the Concept watch. It paved the way for a new breed of prestige watchmaking with a difference, 100% Manufacture made. Fumé dials became the firm’s hallmark, so much so that on occasion, it didn’t even bother to add its name, brand, or (horror of horrors) the words Swiss Made – a daring approach that left the industry reeling.

Little by little, H. Moser & Cie. became the hype brand of watchmaking tradition – two terms that nobody could have dreamed would ever belong together. Looking back at the H. Moser & Cie. story, Édouard Meylan says he did “what I most enjoy doing – building a brand”, admitting that “I had very high ups and very low downs” and that “there was a huge emotional cost.” It’s paid off, however, sealing his reputation as the entrepreneur he’d always dreamed of becoming.

*On the occasion of GMT Magazine and WorldTempus' 20th anniversary, we have embarked on the ambitious project of summarising the last 20 years in watchmaking in The Millennium Watch Book, a big, beautifully laid out coffee table book. This article is an extract. The Millennium Watch Book is available on www.the-watch-book.com, in French and English, with a 10% discount if you use the following code: WT2021.

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The brand

H. Moser & Cie. was created by Heinrich Moser in 1828. Based in Neuhausen am Rheinfall, it currently employs around 60 people, has developed 14 in-house calibres to date, and produces more than 1,500 watches per year.

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