H. Moser Endeavour Centre Seconds Genesis Watch
Welcome to Dialed In, Esquire’s weekly column bringing you horological happenings and the most essential news from the watch world since March 2020.
Getting one’s head around the metaverse, blockchains, and all the other modern confections of the virtual world requires the help, on average, of three or four Advil and/or a glass of wine, or maybe the other way round. Head-scratching as it can be, the metaverse offers limitless new possibilities both to inform and entertain. In watchmaking, not an industry universally renowned for its lightening embrace of the new, the advantage of blockchain technology for customer service is just beginning to be grasped and harnessed. Yet, for safeguarding authenticity, provenance, service records, and maintenance, blockchain—for those brands who are already embracing it—represents a far more secure resource than the rather human methods of pen and paper, or a database sitting somewhere on a server.
Swiss independent brand H. Moser has been thinking outside the box—at least in design—since its relaunch in 2002, but especially since it was bought out by the Meylan family in 2015. For Moser, the virtue of being small (it makes just 1,500 watches a year) is freedom of expression. And pivoting from the beautiful (like Moser’s in house minute-repeaters, or its legendary fumé dials) to the head-scratchingly insane (a watch made of cheese anyone?) is something of which Edouard Meylan, the brand’s CEO since 2015, is rightfully proud.
Moser has produced a string of memorable high-end watches from its Neuhausen am Rheinfall base, incorporating pioneering new materials like Vantablack—a uniquely made pigment that absorbs 99.99% of ambient light—and doing unthinkable marketing things like removing the company logo entirely from the dial of certain of its watches. Not that you’d need one. A Moser is a Moser is a Moser, as anyone who is into smaller independent watchmaking at this level will know.
Last week, the brand launched its most ambitious project to date, a multi-channel initiative based on a limited-edition watch that is a mind-bending marriage of the physical, the digital, and the virtual. The watch, available in an edition of 50 pieces, has the relatively conventional name of the Endeavour Centre Seconds Genesis (CHF 27,000). But it also goes by another name, if you want to embrace the whole digital thing: the 01100111 01100101 01101110 01100101 01110011 01101001 01110011. Maybe just “the Genesis” will do for now.
What looks at first sight to be a blockchain experiment gone slightly wrong is actually a cannily designed watch with a pixelated, 3D-printed titanium bezel designed to mimic and extend the actual QR code engraved onto the sapphire crystal. Even the crown is 3D-printed from titanium. Behind the crystal lurks a simple three-hand display against a Vantablack dial. This highly stylized treatment puts the Genesis in a league of its own, even for Moser, celebrating the cutting edge technology that inspired it and bending the rules of watch design at the same time.
One could spend literally hours getting lost in the virtual world that Moser has created for its customers, which debuted along with the Genesis. Within its digital representation of a hyper-modern Swiss chalet, and with virtual nods to the brand’s historical home by the Rhein and the surrounding Alpine landscape, you can explore with your own avatar the company’s manufacture, see the existing products, and meet the Moser team. The associated blockchain technology, more critically, creates added security and traceability for Moser watches, a program the brand plans to extend to all new Moser watches via purpose-built, blockchain-equipped warranty cards in the future. Meanwhile, an exclusive Moser app allows you to access all manner of data about your very own Moser watch.
While all that tech will doubtless delight the small army of Moser fans out there, nothing surely can delight them as much as the Genesis itself: a watch that pushes the design envelope so far forwards for the brand that, even without all the attendant virtual wizardry, it’s likely to be seen as a major milestone in the inexorable rise of this rather brilliant name.
Nick Sullivan is Creative Director at Equire, where he served as Fashion Director from 2004 until 2019. Prior to that, he relocated from London with his young family to Boerum Hill, Brooklyn. He has styled and art directed countless fashion and cover stories for both Esquire and Big Black Book (which he helped found in 2006) in exotic,uncomfortable, and occasionally unfeasibly cold locations. He also writes extensively about men’s style, accessories, and watches. He describes his style as elegantly disheveled.
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