Just when we had finally sussed out the design language of Moser they have another ace up their sleeve and it seems to be a very big sleeve indeed. The H.Moser & Cie Streamliner Flyback Chronograph still feels new, even after being out for almost a year and, with its timeless vibe, I suspect that’ll still be the case after many years, especially with this new and alluring dial.
While the holy trinity of legacy brands tweak their tried and tested icons by a millimetre or two, that safe path is not for Edouard Meylan, CEO of H. Moser.
This is a marked difference to what we’re used to seeing, especially in the hotly contested integrated bracelet category. But I think that’s exactly what we need. Here, instead of homage, we have retro futurism inspired by the streamlined designs of 1920s trains and cars, delivered in a fresh and innovative way.
The H.Moser & Cie Streamliner Flyback Chronograph is a reference for which the word “curvilinear” seems to fit. Angular is not a term Moser needs to express themselves, and this is one of the distinct details that sets them apart. Images will not prepare you for the firm yet soft embrace of this watch.
As integrated bracelets go, this is firmly on another level (or planet, even), merging into a poetic vision of streamlined form, and turning into what is almost a sci-fi vision with a hint of Bullhead chronograph. There’s a ’70s vibe in the case brushing and deep blue dial colour, but there are no registers! How then does this work as a chronograph?
We’ll start with taking in that oceanic dial with its flash of orangey red in the seconds hand. In usual H.Moser style that might instantly distract you from the case, but here the shape is simply unique and demands attention. Framing that dial is the crystal, which has a bevelled edge and a narrow rim that flows toward the edge accentuated by a sunburst brushing of the steel, smooth yet discernibly striated.
The case edges are slightly bevelled and intricately polished – following a flowing cushion shape with delicious twists in the bevelling towards the bracelet, which is one of the best integrated examples I’ve seen. The linked bracelet itself has that indefinable quality of being both pliable and solid, draping itself around the wrist like a piece of alien jewellery. The soft yet firm movement of the links matches any integrated rival with a satin sheen that just catches the light, the polished side bevels underlining the strong shape.
The dial meanwhile is still strong enough to draw you in with its dégradé and fumé depth. It’s a hypnotic deep oceanic blue – close to black towards the rehaut, where the castellated minute track brings a sporty touch, under the slight distortion of the crystal’s edge.
What looks like a single chronograph seconds hand in a flash of orangey red to complement the markings on the minute track is, in fact, two. The upper red seconds hand goes when you press the tactile right-hand pusher while the underlying white minute hand stays at 12, until the first minute passes, when it clicks instantaneously as the red hand glides past.
This flyback function is intensely more legible than small sub registers and delightfully simple to operate while the movement is anything but. The hour and minute hands appear to pinch a thick centre section that is actually a solid luminescent material called Globolight – a mix of ceramic and Super-LumiNova specific for H. Moser.
Turn it around and juxtaposed to the simple but beautifully crafted logic of the dial, the Agenhor-sourced HMC902 movement is a horological feast. The hand-wound chronograph movement with its traditional finishing and layout is a perfect contrast to the Streamliner’s retro futurism.
The anglage is what gets you first, in an intricate mix of flowing lines and razor-sharp corners to the superb bridgework. But this is not a manual movement, there is a rotor behind the dial, ensuring ease of use, while bestowing the caseback with an unhindered view of the HMC902 calibre. And what a view. With its intricate detailing, 55 jewels and a baffling 434 components, it is more than a match for the on-point craftsmanship in the case, the tank-solid embrace of the bracelet and, last but not least that dial.
In the smooth comfort of the Streamliner Flyback Chronograph the 42mm case feels just right, and it’s a shame that, due to the complexity, very few of these beauties are going to be produced annually by H. Moser & Cie. After a difficult year for many manufacturers, the mind boggles as to what Moser will conjure up when the world gets back to normal.
H.Moser & Cie Streamliner Flyback Chronograph price and availability:
The H. Moser & Cie Streamliner Flyback Chronograph is $39,900 USD, and is available now.