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H. Moser & Cie. - Interview with Edouard Meylan, CEO

H. Moser & Cie. Interview with Edouard Meylan, CEO

After launching mid-June in Undefeated’s hometown of Los Angeles, H. Moser & Cie. brought its Streamliner Chronograph Undefeated to Paris

Ten years ago, Edouard Meylan and his family took over H. Moser & Cie., transforming an almost two-hundred-year-old sleeping beauty into one of the hippest independents around. So hip that Californian streetwear label Undefeated, which already had collaborations with McLaren and Nike under its belt, contacted Moser about a possible crossover. Undefeated co-owner and watch collector Eric Peng Cheng bought the first Streamliner in 2020, describing it as “the watch with the best integrated bracelet in a very long time.” In Paris to welcome the 700 members of the Undefeated community who were invited to the launch party, he explains how Moser, “with its unconventional approach and philosophy, is a sort of Undefeated of the watch industry. It’s a very inspiring brand, which is why we decided to contact Edouard and his team.”

Interview d’Edouard Meylan, CEO

Edouard Meylan and Eric Cheng © H. Moser & Cie.

Was it a “yes” straight away?

Edouard Meylan: We like to explore new territories. Also, Eric understood where we were coming from and the two of us hit it off, which are the basic conditions for any collaboration. We looked at the overlap between our respective clienteles and saw there was a lot of potential to expand. Moser is well-known among watch collectors. We wanted to widen that circle and also learn new ways of working. Apart from the product itself, I was interested in seeing how Eric and the team in LA operate; how they plan, develop and launch their collabs. These are experts who’ve already teamed up with Nike, McLaren and Moncler, so obviously there was a lot we could learn from them. It was an amazing experience in many ways. Undefeated doesn’t just look at the product. They imagine an entire ecosystem. In this instance, the Streamliner is offered with a wall clock, a jacket and a tshirt. Then there’s the teasing and the drop itself through a microsite. There were a lot more people wanting to buy the watch than there were watches available, and choosing who would get one was no easy task. We spent a week going through the applications.

Interview with Edouard Meylan, CEO

Streamliner Chronograph UNDEFEATED © H. Moser & Cie.

Clearly there was a lot to be gained. Including commercially?

In addition to everything we learned, plus the publicity for the brand, we sold 76 watches at $55,000 each, so yes, you can call it a commercial success. Having said that, what I really want to do is introduce independent watchmaking to a whole bunch of people who’d never heard of it before. Undefeated attracts a huge community with the potential and, for many of them, the means to fall in love with a micro-brand. They have many celebrity followers, athletes, actors and singers. Seven hundred people came to the launch party in Paris.

Interview with Edouard Meylan, CEO

Streamliner Chronograph UNDEFEATED © H. Moser & Cie.

When you look at Moser’s collabs individually, there’s no obvious connection between them.

If you take each one separately then, yes, it may seem quite random. If, on the other hand, you consider how we’ve built this up over ten years, you realise there’s a clear strategy, which is to extend the circle of people who are interested in Moser and to shake things up. Obviously this doesn’t rule out a certain amount of spontaneity, within a given framework, in which the human element always plays an important role, and enables Moser to step out of its spectrum. Our first collaboration was in watchmaking with MB&F, followed by art with seconde/seconde and now clothing, thanks to which we’ve been able to express the two extremes of Moser: firstly the brand’s traditional, elegant side with The Armoury and now the wilder side with Undefeated. Next we’ll explore a theme that will bring out Moser’s origins.

Is this a new step forward for Moser?

Absolutely. We’ve acquired a certain maturity that has taken us beyond the collectors’ circle, even though collectors remain an important base. We’ve become slightly more mainstream, which gives us a form of stability. Products launched several years ago continue to sell well, which means we don’t have to bring out new watches quite so often. There’s greater recognition. People get what we do. We have a much stronger in-store presence. From a couple of watches in the window, we now have entire spaces, even shop-in-shops. We’re opening boutiques in Dubai and Hong Kong. Moser is becoming a major brand for certain retailers, which automatically boosts our presence. It’s a virtuous circle.

Interview with Edouard Meylan, CEO

Streamliner Chronograph UNDEFEATED © H. Moser & Cie.

Will production follow suit?

It’s been ten years since my family took over Moser and that my brother, Bertrand, and I have been growing the brand. Production is still fairly modest compared with the industry overall, although we will exceed 2,000 watches this year. Moser’s manufacture is integrated to such an extent that we can’t up production overnight. Especially at an average price of CHF 40,000. We’re buying new machines and hiring more watchmakers in response to increased demand. We’re also considering acquisitions, integrating certain suppliers, for example.

What else can we look forward to this year?

Definitely the opening of our first boutique in Hong Kong this autumn, as well as a lounge in New York, at our US subsidiary. Everyone’s looking for a concept these days and we have to find ours. We have a showroom in Hong Kong which we use a lot and New York is shaping up with a great space where we can welcome customers. On a different note, at Geneva Watch Days we’ll be announcing the official relaunch of Hautlence. Samuel Hoffmann will lead a small team based at the Moser manufacture. They’ve worked hard on product and positioning. Initial customer feedback has been extremely positive.

 

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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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