At the end of every big watch event, it is always insightful to take stock of the watches that seemed to have created the most buzz, the ones that got people talking. Not specifically watch journalists and people in the industry, but watch lovers. Last year, in the case of Watches & Wonders Geneva, with its large number of participants, this ‘most-talked-about-watches’ list was long, and in Geneva Watch Days, given the 20-odd brands, the list shrunk. In both cases, H. Moser & Cie. made the cut.
At Watches & Wonders Geneva 2021, the brand’s 42.8mm Pioneer Centre Seconds Mega Cool grabbed attention with its simplicity, Blue Lagoon fumé dial, and a transparent lacquer H. Moser & Cie. logo. At Geneva Watch Days 2021, the Streamliner Perpetual Calendar (Ref. 6812-1200) burst onto the scene and sped to the top of ‘best watches lists’, much like the train it is named after. The third watch in the Streamliner series took a minimalist, understated approach to crafting a mean perpetual calendar, and came out a clear winner.
The Design Ethos
At first glance, the Streamliner Perpetual Calendar seems to be a watch with four central hands. Moving past the hours, minutes, and seconds hands, a tiny red and white hand makes its presence felt—this is the month indicator. The white indices double up as months, with 1 being January, 2 being February, and so on. At 10 o’clock is the power reserve indicator displaying the duration of the 168 hours the watch can function for, once fully manually wound. At 4 o’clock, a date window appears, in large format, thanks to two superimposed discs which operate one after the other, from 1 to 15 and then from 16 to 31. Given the position, the numerals are tilted at 26°. The crown is aligned to this position itself.
H. Moser & Cie. Streamliner Perpetual Calendar
One of the most ingenious features of the watch is the ‘Flash Calendar’ function that allows for the date to change in an instant at midnight. The system ensures that, even going from the 28th to the 1st, the date change takes place instantaneously, and not gradually, over the last few hours of February in a non-leap year. “The Flash Calendar function is one of the most striking features of our Perpetual Calendar movement,” says Edouard Meylan, CEO, H. Moser & Cie. “At midnight, the date changes instantaneously and jumps to the correct date. Thanks to the construction of the calibre, we can adjust the date and the month backwards and forward without any risk of damaging the movement.”
The movement features double horizontal stripes and an anthracite grey PVD coating on the balance bridges, train wheels, barrel, and escapement plate
Making all this possible is the calibre HMC 812, whose roots can be traced back to the HMC 341 and the Perpetual 1 (more on both in a bit). The movement is visible via the sapphire caseback, with double horizontal stripes and an anthracite grey PVD coating on the balance bridges, train wheels, barrel, and escapement plate. The main plate is microblasted and features anthracite rhodium plating. Also visible on the back is the leap year indicator, a star shape with 12 sections, where every fourth section is a blacked-out leap year. A red-tipped indicator spring can be set to point to the leap/non-leap year. The watch is water-resistant to 120 metres.
The movement side features the leap year indicator and a red-tipped indicator spring can be set to point to the leap/non-leap year
The watch’s Blackor fumé dial, on which the transparent ‘H. Moser & Cie.’ logo rests, is topped by a subtly domed glass box-type sapphire crystal. These curves extend to the integrated steel bracelet, whose design ensures that it sits well on wrists. All the links feature a wave combining a vertical brushed finish with polished surfaces. The bezel has a sunray brushed finish; the case has alternating brushed and polished surfaces, with hollowed and satin-finished forms on the sides—a nod to the unusual shapes of Moser cases.
The Streamliner Perpetual Calendar comes inspired by H. Moser & Cie.’s 2005 Perpetual 1, which won the complication prize at the 2006 Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève (GPHG). This was a 40.8mm gold watch whose minimal design approach to a perpetual calendar is what the Streamliner today follows. On its face were two large leaf-shaped hour and minute hands, and a smaller centre arrow hand. While it had a similar Flash Calendar functionality, it also featured a small seconds. Powering it was the HMC 341 movement, with a power reserve of seven days. The new Streamliner follows in its footsteps, albeit with changes to the movement to accommodate a new design and the absence of a small seconds counter.
“It took us 18 months to revisit our Perpetual 1 movement, adding a direct centre seconds hand and a very contemporary finishing. Of course, we have kept the exceptional features of this movement, such as the Flash Calendar function and the concept of the 12 indices to indicate the months through the small central hand,” says Meylan.
Since the Streamliner was launched in 2020, it has quickly risen to become a signature of H. Moser & Cie. Starting with the Flyback Chronograph and Centre Seconds, a perpetual calendar seems like the next logical step. But the Streamliner in itself represents much more. Named after the high-speed trains from the 20s and 30s, its steel cushion case and integrated bracelets represent the brand’s move towards pared-down aesthetics. Melding this ideology with an award-winning movement means that Moser has packed two powerhouses into one. “The Streamliner collection was an immediate hit while the Perpetual Calendar movement is the movement that put Moser on the map 15 years ago. It made perfect sense to take these two icons and mix them to give birth to the Streamliner Perpetual Calendar,” says Meylan.
Edouard Meylan, CEO, H. Moser & Cie.
The Streamliner Aesthetic
The brand has been very clear in communicating that the focus going forward will be to create watches (read designs) that are instantly recognisable, and the Streamliner is a model that proves this. This is a sporty watch (though it could easily pair with dressier outfits as well), and its black, white, and red colours evoke the world of precision and sport, with the white minute-track and the choice of hands—thicker base and a fine tip—are like those found on counters in cars or measuring instruments. Additionally, the hours and minute hands have Globolight®, a ceramic-based material which has Super-LumiNova inserts.
Understandably, the Streamliner Perpetual Calendar mimics design aspects of the Flyback Chronograph that came before it, the watch that won ‘Best Chronograph’ at the GPHG last year. “There is a unique DNA between these two models, so that customers immediately understand that they are part of the same watch collection,” says Meylan. Apart from being the same diameter, the crown is at 4 o’clock in the Perpetual Calendar, the same as the Flyback Chronograph. The chrono featured a Blackor fumé (with a griffé vertical pattern); in the Streamliner Perpetual Calendar, the colour is the same, but only with the fumé effect.
The addition of a perpetual calendar, that too one based on a winning movement, to this young line has only strengthened its position in the H. Moser & Cie. universe. “Streamliner enabled us to reach new heights as a brand. The success of the collection shows that we are going in the right direction, that we are doing well,” says Meylan. “As a pillar in our collection, the Streamliner line will be enriched in the future, with new movements, materials, and complications. I cannot say more for now, but stay tuned.”
The story first appeared in Dec 2021 Issue (Special Issue on Sports Watches) of WatchTime India. To subscribe to the print edition, click here.
Images: Courtesy Brand