In our office it’s easy to get a little jaded to the wrist-sized awesomeness that visits the office on the regs. But last week our sense of wonder was well and truly present as H. Moser’s Bertrand Meylan dropped in before the Melbourne leg of his Australian roadshow. We were blown away because he had with him what seemed to be the entire Moser collection. Venturers, Pioneers, Alps – you name it. He even had a few special pieces that we can’t tell you about … yet.
And in between photo sessions (I’ve rarely seen our photographer Jason look happier) and table tennis battles, I found some time to chat to Bertrand about all things Moser. Now, I’ll admit, I was a little wary in preparing for this one. I’ve seen how his brother Edouard handles generic marketing ideas, so I suspected I’d get similar treatment if my line of questioning turned to the old favourites of production numbers, SIHH vs Baselworld, and anything involving DNA. So I thought I’d ask some lol-worthy-yet-ultimately-insightful questions about the brand’s Very Rare tagline. Things like “fine art is also very rare — what’s the art world equivalent of Moser?” (I reckon Rothko FWIW). Well, that was the plan, but in the end things took a more personal direction.
What makes your watches Very Rare?
A few different reasons. First of all, the most obvious one is you don’t find it everywhere — we’re very exclusive. We’re also very rare because we make all of our watch — including the hairspring — in house. Any of our product, the maximum we make of each watch is 50. So that’s why.
What else is Very Rare?
Lots of things in life are rare. Experiences are rare. When I was in Sydney — I arrived on Saturday night and on Sunday I went for quite a long walk, along the cliffs. I was by myself, in the non-touristy parts, and suddenly I saw two whales, just in front of me. I could follow them as they moved along the coast. For me, the chance to have a job where those experiences happen is, I think, quite special.
You have the same thing with food, you have experiences that are very rare. I remember an experience, there was a chef near Annecy in France, Marc Veyrat. I was quite young, my father was invited and my mother could not go, so he took me along. It was quite amazing, he was at the time (I believe) considered to be the best chef in the world. He was very famous for his black hat. I remember the experience of tasting that food. I have never reproduced that feeling. It was amazing.
Do you have a similar moment with watches, a moment you will always remember?
You know, we were talking about the watches before, you were asking what I like and what I think is important. For me the Perpetual Calendar in Funky Blue with a Kudu strap is a key piece for us. It’s the first time we had a coloured fumé dial, and we had this new strap on it. A lot of things came together on this watch, and a lot of our success and future direction comes back to it. You see now other brands, the way they’re using colour, that is something we did that was very influential. Two, three, five years ago, people weren’t being as bold with colour as they are now, and not many people were doing fumé. There’s a lot linked to this watch. So I think for me that’s the moment.
Later that night I saw Bertrand (and his watches) again, only this time surrounded by Melbourne’s many Moser fans, many of whom would have never seen, or seen only a few models from the collection (thanks to their exclusive status). And perhaps I’m getting a little saccharine, but I suspect a few people had their own Very Rare moments.