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Hands-On With The H. Moser & Cie Swiss Alp Watch As It Enters Final Production Runs

Hands-On With The H. Moser & Cie Swiss Alp Watch As It Enters Final Production Runs Hands-On

First introduced about four years ago, the H. Moser & Cie Swiss Alp watch is now nearing its final production runs. While it may have been conceived as a parody of the Apple Watch, the rectangle-cased Swiss Alp gained popularity within the (admittedly self-selecting) group of watch enthusiasts who appreciate this brand of wit and watchmaking. Well, that and the ~$22,000 that a Swiss Alp watch goes for. Explanations, takes, and thoughts on the nature of parodying the Apple Watch have been exhaustively shared over the years. When it was first released, I honestly don’t know if I would have expected the Swiss Alp to remain in production this long and with several iterations over the course of its life.

Hands-On With The H. Moser & Cie Swiss Alp Watch As It Enters Final Production Runs Hands-On

Then again, when I asked H. Moser CEO Edouard Meylan, it doesn’t sound like anyone at the company anticipated even a modicum of success of this concept presented by the then-new head. I asked Meylan about the early days when the Swiss Alp was just an idea, to which he said:

Internally at Moser, the team didn’t actually believe in it. They thought I was crazy and would waste money on this. I was quite new at H. Moser & Cie., so they didn’t listen when I asked them to prepare a few prototypes and get ready for the series right after the launch. We ended up launching the concept with a low-quality prototype, and it took six months for us to produce watches and start delivering the large numbers of pre-orders we had. The response was unbelievable.

Hands-On With The H. Moser & Cie Swiss Alp Watch As It Enters Final Production Runs Hands-On

It’s hard to blame anyone resisting the idea by this new young CEO. Entering into a potential legal battle with a tech giant with a market cap larger than 183 countries (including Switzerland and Saudi Arabia) for a product that the enthusiast community could very well deride and dismiss as a gimmick would unbalance any pros and cons list. Of course, none of this happened, and four iterations of the Swiss Alp watch were made, including the non-limited Small Seconds version you see pictured in this article.

(A short editorial aside: It’s sad to think that while Apple decided that leaving H. Moser & Cie alone was the best move, unnamed Swiss peers of the brand weren’t able to have a sense of humor in 2018 when the Swiss Icons watch was forced to be retracted.)

Hands-On With The H. Moser & Cie Swiss Alp Watch As It Enters Final Production Runs Hands-On

Hands-On With The H. Moser & Cie Swiss Alp Watch As It Enters Final Production Runs Hands-On

The reason the Swiss Alp is soon headed off to the Valhalla of hard-to-find watches that are highly coveted by collectors is simple enough: They’re running out of movements, and Meylan wisely decided that once they’re done, they’re done.

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It’s a reasonable argument that without the movement inside, the Swiss Alp could have been a flash in the pan. The tonneau-shaped caliber HMC 324 was first used in the Henry watch from the mid-aughts. Though nice enough, the pre-Meylan-era Henry stood out in no particular way, but the movement that powered it would go on to make the Swiss Alp possible. Though risky at the time, this was a clever and ultimately highly successful repurposing of the HMC 324 movement. However, it still wouldn’t have been possible without the decision to no longer use the Straumann double hairspring on the movement, which was highly costly to build and resulted in untenable profit margins.

Of course, with these upcoming final production runs, it’s possible that we’ve seen the last of the movement.

Hands-On With The H. Moser & Cie Swiss Alp Watch As It Enters Final Production Runs Hands-On

The H. Moser & Cie Swiss Alp Small Seconds watch has been the collection’s non-limited version. Done in an 18k white gold case that measures 38.2mm-wide, 44mm-high, and 10.3mm-thick. This meant it was larger than the Apple watches produced at the time, though the new Series 5 has a version that’s about the same at 38mm-wide and 44mm tall. The Moser wears large, but you won’t hear me complaining.

Hands-On With The H. Moser & Cie Swiss Alp Watch As It Enters Final Production Runs Hands-On Hands-On With The H. Moser & Cie Swiss Alp Watch As It Enters Final Production Runs Hands-On

On a leather strap, the H. Moser & Cie Swiss Alp Small Seconds watch is priced at $21,900. You can learn more at h-moser.com.

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Comments

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  • IanE

    Ugly, trashy and vulgar things – I for one will celebrate their demise

  • SuperStrapper

    I’m not so much a fan of how Moser thumbs their nose at those more successful than they are. Just seems so petty and petulant.

  • JosephWelke

    I love the Always-On Display.

  • Sheez Gagoo

    I don’t understand why there’s an article about Richard Milles clownish candywatches but no one about Mosers cheesewatch. Would be a job for Mr. Bredan.

  • SuperStrapper

    If you’re going to do it, just jump in feet first, get a Haldimann, and ignore these middling low-test trolls by Moser.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/3bcf0c44212b2c32af5054c568a1a3fa53291db170c6e224986a879b85fb96e0.jpg

    • Independent_George

      I had to Google this. I still have no idea what it does or doesn’t.

      I mean, does it just do this?

      • SuperStrapper

        It’s art, but sold as a watch because it looks like one and goes on the wrist. There is a functional watch movement inside, the art is that you can’t see it! *smugly contemplates while biting the arm of my hornrims*.
        I just think it’s trashy, like the concept behind this Moser and the Swiss Icons thing before it.
        Before the H9 they release the H8, where you could at least watch a functional tourbillon, but it still doesn’t tell the time.

        https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/ed8746f047256f0cec174d3698e2a51b0764fb0d806199652978beac51f08fd2.jpg

        • Ugo

          if you were rich you’d know that time is a pretty proletarian concept…

    • egznyc

      I prefer the (not-quite) useless tourbillon version.

  • Jonny Bravo

    I actually like this watch, the dial works so good with the case shape. I can see why it was a success.

  • hatster

    …*checks date*…….

  • Independent_George

    I don’t think this is a bad looking watch. And I don’t think the price is that bad, considering Swiss watch pricing.

    I had no idea that happened to the Swiss Icons watch. One day it was there, and the next, it wasn’t. Know I now. Too bad. I wonder if its demise was due to the watch companies themselves, or watch companies as a proxy for easily offended collectors and enthusiasts. Swiss watch companies seem so languid to me, they are slow to excite, and slow to anger. Maybe they are raving lunatics behind closed doors? But judging by the comments on the blogs and the forums, certain watch enthusiasts, on the other hand, were apoplectic. I think it hit too close to home.

    • commentator bob

      I’m guessing the nasty grams came from AP, Hublot, Panerai, and/or IWC. Hublot is funny given that all they make is trashy Royal Oak knock offs.

  • commentator bob

    Apple is an IP jerk. Just ask Samsung when it comes to anonymous tablet designs.

    But they are smart enough to see this as an honor. And they did not want to stop production before all of the Apple execs were able to get theirs.

    I’m waiting for this to come full circle with a $100 Parnis knock off. That is the level at which I value the joke.

  • Raymond Wilkie

    Can you imagine shelling out 25k for this only for someone to say, ” Is that the new apple watch? “

    • commentator bob

      Can you imagine being so wealthy that it amuses you that people confuse your $25,000 watch for an Apple Watch?

      That’s the kind of buyer we are talking about here.

  • SuperStrapper

    Not sure if by design or by quirk, but if i have ABTW open in more than one window at a time, all Disqus functionality is disabled. Can’t reply to a comment or upvote, etc until the second window is closed. This is new because I’ve caught myself working comments in this site in more than one window several times.

  • Pete Yo

    Nice looking watch. Christmas is around the corner. Guess I’m gonna have to ask Santa for this one.

  • egznyc

    You must enjoy it a little when people eye your “Apple” watch with either acceptance, curiosity, or suspicion. And frankly, it’s also an attractive watch.

  • Jared

    how does Moser run out of movements? I thought they made them in-house?