New boutiques, more visibility, designs that stay forever, and plans for the Indian market – Edouard Meylan, CEO and owner of H. Moser & Cie., gave WatchTime India an insight into his achievements for the brand and what he looks forward to in 2024.
WatchTime India: How was 2023 for H. Moser & Cie.?
Edouard Meylan: 2023 was an amazing year for Moser. We are way above last year and we continue this strong development. There were not many points of sales earlier, but they are growing very fast. We increased the visibility of the brand, with boutiques, lounges, and shopping stops. We have more windows now, which shows the power of the brand. So for us, it was an amazing year and I hope it becomes more amazing in 2024.
Edouard Meylan, CEO and owner, H. Moser & Cie.
WTI: What would you count as the recent milestones for the brand?
EM: The opening of the boutiques. We had our first boutiques in Hong Kong, then in Shanghai, and now we have one in the US. And that's a big milestone, because earlier we had boutiques only in the multi-brand stores. It was 150 or 120 years ago when they closed the boutiques, and it was great to reopen.
WTI: Which collection is best performing for Moser and why do you think that is?
EM: We tried to balance, so for us internally between Pioneer, Endeavour, and Streamliner, to have 30 per cent each, but the Streamliner and the Pioneer are the strongest. They’re a little more of a sports line and people want everyday watches, in steel or gold, but they want something they can wear whenever they want. Streamliner Small Seconds Blue Enamel
WTI: What went into the creation of the new Streamliner Small Seconds Blue Enamel?
EM: I wanted to create something timeless. With this watch, I hope when people look at it in 10 years, they say that this is the Moser that hasn't changed. That's why we used a micro-rotor, and an enamel dial. Enamel for me is timeless – its craftsmanship is stable in terms of colour. We have optimised it [the watch] in all aspects. It's a new movement, it's slimmer and smaller, and it fits my wrist. I have a slimmer wrist and it's something that goes on my wrist and can go on everyone else’s. I'm super proud of it.
WTI: You have reduced its size to 39mm - what prompted the move and what were the challenges you faced in doing so?
EM: The challenge was that we used to work with standard escapements for other movements; here we had to reduce the size so we had to redevelop a new escapement. Also, we didn't have experience with micro-rotors which are quite specific, something that winds well, and in this case in both directions. So it was a lot of testing and trying and simulations to create something that works well.
WTI: Which collections will be your focus for 2024?
EM: For 2024 we have launches for every collection, but Streamliner and Pioneer will be the highlights.
WTI: How do you define what Moser is today?
EM: Moser for me is two things: It’s the bridge between traditional and modern watchmaking. We are deeply rooted in traditional watchmaking. Look at the finishing, the type of movements we have developed, and at the same time we are really in tune with modern watchmaking, using modern materials, sometimes crazy designs and colours. Look at the nanotechnology in the Vantablack - we are trying to combine the two worlds. At the same time, another aspect of Moser is that we are the entry door to independent watchmaking, in terms of creating products that may be a little bit more democratic than some of those crazy developments from our peers. And also from the price point. If you look at the Pioneer, it’s a watch that has a lot of value and at the same time has in-house movement, and a beautiful dial, you can have a leather, rubber or steel bracelet. It is very versatile. An independent brand, an independent watch, fully manufactured at that price, I think there’s nothing else like that in the market. I think Moser is so dynamic at the moment because of those two aspects.
WTI: How do you think the Indian market has been for Moser?
EM: It has been incredible. It was beyond my expectations in terms of Moser fans there. The sales are great, we could not deliver enough watches for those who love to have them and unfortunately, we can’t. I hope next year it will be a bit easier. And there's a lot of knowledge. Earlier, it was only gold watches and established brands, but it has changed a lot in the last five years, and I feel Ethos [Watch Boutiques] has helped a lot. When Pranav took over, he kind of brought this new vision about independent watchmaking. He loved our watches - by us I mean [the independent watch brands] like Urwerk - and I think he contributed to making it emerge in the Indian market.
Pioneer Centre Seconds Mega Cool
WTI: Your plans for the Indian market?
EM: Yes, there is one to open a boutique eventually. We are looking at options that would be great for the brand. The other is to increase visibility in the stores, maybe one or two other stores. For that we need to be able to bring more watches to India.
WTI: Learnings with which you are approaching 2024?
EM: Well, take nothing for granted. We had amazing years but we have to be careful if it stops. If you overshoot, if you order too much or produce too much, then you have to be careful in the way you manage. There’s gonna be many opportunities in the year 2024, but we have to keep our feet on the ground rather than see and react quickly to what's happening.
Images: Courtesy Brand