H. Moser & Cie. has made elegance its watchword and minimalism its signature. And, with the Swiss Alp Watch Concept Black, it is going even further. After removing both logo and indices from the dial of its Concept models, it now presents a watch with no hands which gives the time without displaying it. The glossy black dial features a one-minute flying tourbillon at 6 o’clock. And nothing else. To find out the time, you need to use your ears. As it was in the time before the use of electricity became widespread: people had to use minute repeaters to discover the time when it was too dark to see. H. Moser & Cie. is using this delightful nod to a highly prestigious watchmaking tradition to play with contrasts: this most minimalist of creations integrates a minute repeater and a tourbillon in a rectangular case that looks like a smart watch.
Inside the case, with its modern rectangular design with rounded corners, H. Moser & Cie. has placed a form movement equipped with a flying tourbillon and one of the most difficult complications a manufacture can produce: the minute repeater with shaped chimes. The Swiss Alp Watch Concept Black marks a return by the Schaffhausen-based Manufacture to the fundamentals of traditional watchmaking, restoring the watch to its rightful place as an instrument for measuring time which sounds the hours, and not a time-wasting “smart” device displaying notifications. Like a manifesto for the art of mechanical watchmaking, imbued with all the elegance inherent to H. Moser & Cie. Even the time setting system is discreet with adjustments made via the crown. A marking engraved on the crown allows the time to be corrected using a graduation, which only appears when the crown is pulled out, with twelve indices each representing five minutes. A subtle system that respects the minimalist spirit of the model.
The Swiss Alp Watch Concept Black is driven by the hand-wound HMC 901 calibre. For the design of its thirteenth manufacture movement since 2005, H. Moser & Cie. called upon the expertise of MHC Manufactures Hautes Complications SA, the experts in minute repeaters. Together, they have performed a remarkable feat, managing to combine perfect harmony with a strong sound. The HMC 901 is a true jewel of a movement, combining a minute repeater and a tourbillon — itself a rare feat in watchmaking — inside a shaped calibre. Housed within the rectangular case of the Swiss Alp Watch Concept Glossy Black, it is equipped with two rectangular shaped gongs, which are particularly difficult to tune.
To amplify the sound of the hours, quarter-hours and minutes produced by the two angled gongs, the case had to be significantly reworked, with the middle completely hollowed out to create sufficient space for a resonance chamber. With perfect mastery, H. Moser & Cie. has managed to achieve a beautiful sound that combines amplitude, a certain length and a pure note. The one-minute flying tourbillon at 6 o’clock is certainly eye-catching. Visible behind a skeletonised bridge, it is fitted to a ball bearing to improve the precision and chronometry. Resolutely contemporary and in line with modern times, the tourbillon appears to float weightlessly on the completely naked dial, looking like a smart watch on standby, in the kind of clever nod that H. Moser & Cie. delights in. The unmistakeable H. Moser & Cie. style of irreverent Haute Horlogerie.