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H. Moser & Cie. - Edouard  Meylan

H. Moser & Cie. Edouard Meylan

Interview of the CEO of H. Moser & Cie.

H. Moser & Cie. enjoyed an exceptional year in 2021; how do you explain this?
We should mention two internal factors and several external factors: the market has evolved towards independent brands; a new generation of collectors is emerging; and we are seeing a snowball effect as more and more people discover them, talk about them, invest in them and spread the word. Internally, we are reaping the fruits of what we have been sowing for several years, with very strong launches in 2020 such as the Streamliner, which will reach their full potential in 2021, as well as the completion of our digitization, which provides very effective data analysis and customer follow-up tools that crystallize this set of positive parameters.

Does the secondary market also play a role?
The surge in pre-owned watches has indeed contributed to the development of brands such as De Bethune or Moser, whose preowned watches are sometimes worth twice as much as new models. This further accentuates the acceleration that we have been feeling for the past 18 months. Whereas buyers sometimes wondered whether such or such an independent brand was viable, they now realize that if they have access to one they can resell their model at a higher price! Retailers are rubbing their hands as they are longer having to refuse requests for discounts, since customers consider themselves fortunate if they are able to obtain the timepiece they are after.

“We sense that a lot of customers are looking for intrinsic value and are interested in scarcity rather than branding.”

The Streamliner collection is particularly remarkable; is it also driving the other lines?
Definitely. The Streamliner has opened up for us a new segment of customers who have discovered H. Moser & Cie. through this model. They have been coming into stores with it in mind and then discovered the rest of the collection, which has also benefited from the momentum. This wave of enthusiasm has given retailers the confidence to order more of all models. The acceleration of Streamliner sales has led to increased interest in the Pioneer, which spilled over to the Heritage line, which has in turn driven up the Endeavour. In discovering the brand’s four mainstays, people have been attracted to several of them.

Edouard  Meylan

Heritage Bronze © H. Moser & Cie.

Of which 2021 model are you most proud?
The Streamliner Perpetual Calendar, whose case took seven years to develop, contains an evolution of the movement that made me fall in love with Moser, and is particularly close to my heart. Its sleek style, smoked dial and functionality are 100% in line with Moser’s DNA; it is very representative of the brand as it is today. In parallel, the latest edition of the Swiss Alp Watch was a great and exciting product to launch. We used our last movements for this final 50-piece edition, for which we received ten times that number of orders: it was crazy!

What struck you most about the latest edition of Only Watch?
A lot of adrenaline! We were hoping for a nice result for our one-of-a-kind Only Watch timepiece, estimated at around CHF 200,000, and I was secretly dreaming of an amount 50% higher than that. It actually went under the hammer for the phenomenal sum of CHF 750,000 – and all for a good cause! This kind of figure is significant and enables concrete advances in research, so we are very proud to be able to contribute in this way. Only Watch has become a cult event, and the results of some brands have really soared.

Since the 2019 edition, Patek Philippe has pulled everyone in its wake, which is great! H. Moser & Cie. participates in several exhibitions, including the biennial Dubai Watch Week in November. What do you think is the right formula for these professional events?
I think we need a dynamic, relatively light-touch formula, well spread out over a few key periods of the year in the major regions attracting end customers from the main markets, while maintaining a reasonable, people-friendly scale. The concept must include digital. It is not about making the brand known, but it enables us to communicate with existing customers and then to build on the markets. For me, the best example is definitely Dubai Watch Week, which has done so much to educate end customers since our first participation in 2015! At the time, nobody knew the brand in the region and we were selling two watches a year there. Today, visitors to the show ask us about the availability of this or that piece and make substantial purchases.

Based on your experience, what do you see as the most important shifts in trends and consumer tastes over recent years?
We sense that a lot of customers are looking for intrinsic value and are interested in scarcity rather than branding. The new generation seems to be less attached to brands than to products that suit them personally. Furthermore, the segment of watches with integrated bracelets seems to know no limits; sizes are tending to shrink and online purchases are increasing – but all this is matched by a need for a Manufacture experience and an encounter with the people who create the watches, which we at H. Moser & Cie can provide.

“Internally, we are reaping the fruits of what has been sown for several years, with very strong launches in 2020 such as the Streamliner.”

How would you describe H. Moser & Cie. today to a potential customer who is new to the brand?
I like to say that it is an independent family Manufacture that combines genuine watchmaking traditions with a modern touch. In product terms, this is expressed through the tension stemming from this dichotomy notably embodied in the Heritage line – which is composed of watches with an aesthetic inspired by pocket watches yet endowed with modern technologies, such as Vantablack and Globolight, and very colorful dials like Funky Blue and Burgundy. The Streamliner is inspired by the 1970s while flaunting a resolutely modern air. The classic elegance of the Endeavour is becoming very sexy with its pure dials and bright colors, while the Pioneer is our highly versatile sporty-chic watch that is both refined and sporty. 

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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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