With their curvaceous stainless steel Streamliner Flyback Chronograph Automatic, H. Moser & Cie has thrown down the gauntlet, setting the bar high for the new decade. This minimalist sports luxe timepiece with its integrate steel bracelet also marks a new era for the company with an entirely new, unique product line featuring a new case design and a new movement – their first automatic chronograph. The Streamliner is also the first integrated automatic chronograph with a central display to offer a flyback function and it is one watch I can’t wait to experience on my wrist at Baselworld in April.
This elegant cushion-shaped piece takes its design inspiration from stopwatches of the 1960s and 1970s, as well as the lines of the aerodynamic high-speed trains of the 1920s and 1930s designed by Raymond Loewy. As a designer, I don’t think I’ve been this excited about a conceptual watch since the launch of those cult, disc-shaped Ikepod watches by Marc Newson in the 1990s and the Ressence Type 1. Incidentally, Ikepod was relaunched last year at Baselworld after a long hiatus and under new ownership, with some of the original designs updated by Emmanuel Gueit, the man responsible for the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore.
The Streamliner arrives on the back of growing attention on all-steel versions of premium sports watches, largely due to rarity as the brands keep the production of their steel editions limited. Although Gérald Genta-designed watches, both vintage and new, will always be highly sought-after by collectors, the release of steel versions of iconic pieces have also made them more “accessibly priced”.
Introduced in 1972, the AP Royal Oak was the genre-defining, Genta-designed all-steel premium sports watch which would inspire many more over the ensuing decades. These include the equally iconic Patek Philippe Nautilus Ref 5711, Vacheron Constantin 222 and, most recently, the Chopard Alpine Eagle, a modern interpretation of its iconic St Moritz from 1980, as well as Bell & Ross with its gorgeous BR05 released last year.
Although the Streamliner by no means mimics anything that came before, the fluid, organic lines of its integrated bracelet are a little reminiscent of Ebel’s original Sport Classic of the 1980s.
Company CEO Edouard Meylan describes the Streamliner as “a chronograph which displays the time rather than a watch which features a chronograph”.
“We preferred understatement, ergonomics and legibility, opting for a central display with no sub dial: perfectly matching our minimalist philosophy. We took the very essence of the chronograph and raised it to the next level.”
Compared to other chronographs, this is the most uncluttered, legible piece I’ve seen, with its anthracite grey dial kept clear of the usual sub-dials. Instead, the tachymeter scale is placed around the circumference with its two white and red minute tracks measuring the seconds (outer) and minutes (inner). The “60” numeral dominates at midday, harking back to the early stopwatches. The chronograph’s seconds hand is red, while the minute hand is rhodium-plated. Fatter three-dimensional curved hands display the time.
At its heart is the caliber HMC 902, developed for Moser by Agenhor, the highly regarded maker of complex mechanisms. Based on their AgenGraphe chronograph movement found in GPHG award-winning watches like the Singer Reimagined Track 1 and Fabergé Visionnaire, the exceptional HMC 902 is on full, uninterrupted view through the open case back, thanks to its tungsten oscillating weight being placed between the movement and the dial. The off-centre crown is positioned at 4 o’clock and two chronograph push-buttons are set at 10 and 2 o'clock.
The 42.3mm Streamliner is a limited edition of 100 and will retail for around R600,000.
• Visit H Mosier & Cie or Boutique Haute Horlogerie 011-325-4119.