As a collector I love that this watch exists. Like I said, I still call it a prank watch, but that makes for what could be a hell of a collector’s timepiece. Think about it, a relatively new brand with decent manufacturing muscle makes a design amalgamation of popular watch features into a single, coherent, working watch. I also like that the design puts aesthetic elements together into one watch from brands that can be very hostile to one another. If anything, I appreciate the solidarity comment from H. Moser & Cie regarding how the watch brands they homage are a lot closer than they sometimes admit in how they speak about themselves. H. Moser & Cie is absolutely correct that the Swiss watch industry is incredibly insular, and should be regarded as such by the brands themselves.

Are you able to pick out all the brands/models the Frankenstein Homage watch takes design elements from? The dial includes IWC (in the logo style), Girard-Perregaux Three Golden Bridges (for the tourbillon bridge style), Patek Philippe Nautilus (for the face), H. Moser & Cie (for the face color), Panerai Luminor (for the hour markers), and Breguet (for the pomme-style blued-steel hands). The bezel is from the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak, while the bezel insert is inspired by the blue and red-colored “Pepsi” bezel on certain Rolex GMT-Master II models. The case includes Panerai once again with the crown protector, and the Hublot Big Bang for the case design and lug screws. For the crown itself, the watch references Cartier with the blue sapphire cabochon. The bracelet looks like a combination of design elements ranging from the TAG Heuer Carrera or Girard-Perregaux Laureato, to the Rolex Oyster bracelet.

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Is it nit-picky to complain that it has a 24-hour bezel but no GMT hand? Did you notice the micro-adjust in the steel bracelet deployant? H. Moser & Cie hasn’t written what the water resistance of this reference 3802-1200 watch is (so don’t consider it a diver). I wonder if I will ever get to put this watch on.

In their press release on this topic, H. Moser & Cie discusses their desire to point out a need for increased humility and focus on the product itself in the watch industry. The brand seems to take issue with the marketing side of the industry, which they indicate is a world rather far removed from the actual product making (watchmaking) side of it. This is often very true. H. Moser & Cie even calls these practices where marketing takes precedence over product to be “opportunistic watchmaking.”

H. Moser & Cie sees a need (or an opportunity) to go beyond leading by example and actually calling the business practices of many of their colleagues into question. While this activity might seem merely vitriolic on the outside, it exists within a larger context of the watch industry having severely overextended itself over the last 15–20 years. H. Moser & Cie has clearly become a sort of “activist brand” among its peers. Whether or not the message sent by H. Moser & Cie is the precise message that I would have sent isn’t what is important to me. What is important is that I agree with their overall goal… and I do love to see what is probably the wackiest watch I’ll see all year.

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H. Moser & Cie refers to the Swiss Icons Watch Frankenstein Homage to be “irreverent haute horology.” Is there a market for that? I think there is, and at the least there should be if there isn’t. I do appreciate a serious brand doing something that is all types of not serious. It’s an excellent preamble to set the mood for SIHH 2018 (where the watch was to be officially debuted but shortly before the show the brand announced that it would not be for industry politics reasons), which to me says “before you decide to take yourself a bit too seriously, watch industry, remember that it’s important to appreciate the group effort involved in making each timepiece, as well as the importance of being able to laugh a little bit (even at one’s own self).

Will an activist statement such as this be enough to get people to invest in new and more innovative watch designs and reform their existing marketing plans? Not overnight… There is a larger discussion in the Swiss watch industry of reformation and restructuring, and moves like this watch release from Moser are important because the industry listens to its “own” before anyone else. So, while publications and analysts all over the world can tell the watch industry ways it might be wise to improve, the chances of it listening to a fellow watch company is much more likely to occur. To repeat the H. Moser & Cie Swiss Icons Watch Frankenstein Homage reference 3804-1200 has no set or estimated price and it is intended to be auctioned off in the near future.

And additional wrinkle to the story is that H. Moser & Cie chose to cancel their plans to debut this latest Swiss Icons Watch at SIHH 2018 (a major trade show where H. Moser & Cie along with more than one of the brands it homaged in the above watch are exhibiting). The particular statement released by the brand was; “No one said #MakeSwissMadeGreatAgain would be easy… You might have noticed that we have stopped our campaign promoting our Swiss Icons Watch. While our objective was to pay tribute to the great founders of our beautiful industry and warn against certain practices of others, the message was unfortunately sometimes misunderstood. As such, the Swiss Icons Watch will therefore no longer be presented and won’t be sold to raise funds to support education and training of young Swiss Watchmakers. But fear not, we still have a number of surprises to share with you next week at SIHH.”

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