Test Bench

Moser Perpetual 1

The treasures of the crown

The Watch Quote™ - November 12th, 2006

Favourite Watch with Complication
at the 2006 Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève.

In autumn 2005, H.Moser & Company reappeared on the international watchmaking scene, spurred on by the influence of Dr Jürgen Lange. We’ve chosen to share this great moment with you by unveiling in pictures one of the new jewels of the Schaffhouse watchmakers, the Moser Perpetual 1.

Moser Perpetual 1 under the looking glass

A short history

Heinrich Moser
Heinrich Moser was born in Schaffhouse in 1805. Son and grandson of watchmakers, he learnt the craft from his father, Erhard Moser.

In 1824, he left Schaffhouse to set up in Locle where he perfected his knowledge in the presence of the greatest watchmakers of the time. Two years later, he tried to return and set up business in his home town, but the Municipal Council rejected his request to be given the honorary post of watchmaker to the town in favour of someone else.
Heinrich Moser & Co came into being in 1828 and in 1829, Moser founded his watchmaking business in Locle to manufacture pocket watches.

In 1831, he opened a subsidiary in Moscow, and became supplier to the tsars, the royal families and the Russian army. Moser also developed sales of his watches in Japan, China, Persia and Turkestan, as well as in Siberia and Kamchatka. (In 1845, the H. Moser companies in Russia employed around fifty people).

Having become a prosperous watchmaker, Moser decided to return and settle definitively in Schaffhouse in 1848 where he had the Charlottenfels castle built. He became one of the key figures in the town, participating actively in its development.

We owe to him:
  • The construction of a canal on the Rhine, that served to feed a water turbine
  • The railway line between Schaffhouse and Winterthur
  • The construction of the biggest dam in Switzerland on the Rhine, which, thanks to its hydroelectric plant, brought Schaffhouse into the industrial age.

In parallel with his industrial activities, Heinrich Moser remained a dedicated watchmaker until his death on October 23rd, 1874, when his second wife, Fanny, became his sole heir.

H. Moser & Cie changes hands.

In 1877, not wishing to take on the responsibility of her husband’s work, Fanny sold the Locle watchmaking business to Paul Girard, ensuring by contract that all Heinrich Moser’s successors would continue in perpetuity her husband’s work under the brand name of H. Moser & Cie or Heinrich Moser & Co. The names of the company and the brand would remain unchanged until the Russian Revolution in October 1917.

In 1920, Moscow founded the “Central watch repair workshop” on the ashes of the Moser watchmaking factories of old Russia. For the seventy-year period of the “Soviet Union” Moser watches would remain synonymous with work of a superior quality for the leaders of the eastern bloc. As proof of this, in 1966, the USSR presented one of its high-ranking military staff a Moser pocket watch dating from before 1917 (this collector’s piece has now been bought back by Moser Schaffhausen AG).

For over a century, the Girard family continued with Heinrich Moser’s work by perpetuating the manufacture of fine watches.

In 1973, Heinrich Moser & Co. was known as a firm that produced precision and special watches, notably in 18 carat gold or with cases inset with precious stones.

In 1979, the Locle watchmaking business became a member of the “Dixi-Mécanique” group and continued under the name of “Hy Moser & Cie”.

In 2002, Dr Jürgen Lange had the name re-registered internationally under the original name of the founder. It was a time of renaissance for the Moser Schaffhausen AG and the reintegration of the Moser lineage.

Today, Roger Nicholas Balsiger, great grandson of Heinrich Moser, heads the company’s administrative council as its honorary president.

In the autumn of 2005, for the 200th anniversary of its founder, the company reappeared on the international watchmaking scene.

Savoir-faire and technology

Flash Calendar, Double Pull Crown and Interchangeable Module…

The Moser Caliber HMC341 is the only perpetual calendar with manual rewind to incorporate the “Flash Calendar” display.

An exclusive mechanism that takes into account the variable lengths of the months of the year. In other words, the date on the watch will jump directly from the month end to the beginning of the following month without any intermediary position. During the changeover, for example from February 28th to March 1st, no unnecessary date will be visible. After 28th, the window on the dial will display directly the 1st. Obviously the perpetual calendar can be adjusted forwards or backwards and the month is selected with a small central hand pointing to the hour indices. At the back of the HMC341 movement there is a year indicator for leap years, which can be adjusted using a button.

Another exclusive feature:

The date is corrected using the "Double Pull Crown" that guarantees a precise positioning of the winding crown. Here, the mechanism of the crown also has three functions controlled by different positions:
  • Position 1 to wind watch
  • Position 2 to set date
  • Position 3 to adjust the hands

Nothing extraordinary so far, but Moser has developed the “Double Pull Crown”, which makes it possible to engage the various positions of the winding crown as precisely as possible. It ensures that when pulling the crown to the stop, only position 2, which corrects the date, will be activated. Only when the crown is released briefly and pulled again to the maximum will it go into position 3, to adjust the hands. This prevents any risk of de-regulating the watch. A final push on the crown will bring it back to position 1 wind. This avoids the laborious search for the intermediary position to correct the date.

At last, a world premier: H. Moser & Cie are offering the first interchangeable escapement module in a wristwatch.

When a movement needs cleaning as part of the regular maintenance process, to eliminate traces of wear and tear due to rubbing, all the pieces need to be dismantled, washed, reassembled and oiled. This is also true for pieces such as the escapement, which must then be reset, a delicate and time-consuming process. Moser have found a solution to this problem: for the very first time in a wristwatch, the whole escapement mechanism is mounted on a separate plate and linked to the rest of the movement just by the anchor wheel. This means that the whole mechanism can be replaced by detaching only two screws. When it is overhauled, it is dismantled and replaced in standard exchange.

Preciosity but with no technical compromises

The escapement wheel and the anchor on the new H. Moser & Cie watches are in solid gold. This innovation ensures greater precision, as wear and tear due to rubbing caused by the impulsion of the teeth of the escapement wheel on the palettes is reduced, thanks to the softening action of a finesse never before achieved. The rubbing between the parts of the movement is also minimised and the life of the watch increased.

On the wrist

Undeniably elegant, the curves and contemporary proportions of the perfectly balanced 40.8 mm diameter case of the new Moser Perpetual 1 will win over many. Set to beautiful effect on a crocodile bracelet with large scales, it is presented as a classic piece with a discreet charm that only connoisseurs will see at first glance. A timepiece with great class.

Technical specifications

Calibrer:manufacture hand-wound movement HMC 341.501,with true bevel wheels and more than 7days power reserve with double-spring barrels (screwed gold mount = mounted on gold chatons).
Functions:Perpetual FLASH calendar with hours, minutes, large date and month display (over third hand in the middle, using the 12 hours indexes for the 12 months), leap-year indicator (through see-through transparent back), power-reserve indicator at 9 o’clock. Calendar adjustable forwards and backwards over the crown, independently of the movement or of the time of the night. Seconds stop function.
Technics:calendar FLASH system (patented: flash date change, without display of nonexistent dates ;for instance February 30th), hand-curved spiral with Breguet end-curving, Moser’s tooth system in wheel train and pinions. Interchangeable Moser escapement (with hardened solid gold anchor and anchor-wheel).
Movement decoration:hand-finished and polished plates and bridges, finely decorated with the historical double-stripes Moser’s pattern.
Case:Rosé gold, three parts, round-shaped.
Diameter 40,8mm.
Case slightly curved for a better wrist fit.
Model also available in White gold (same price) or in Platinum (at a higher price).
Crown:Optimized, slightly conic-shaped, for a better, easier handling. Patented Moser’s « double pull crown mechanism, ensuring a rapid and easy finding of the mid-position (date setting).
Dial:Silvered, with hand-applied solid gold indexes.
Hands:Gold hands
Glass:sapphire polished
Case-back:transparent (sapphire polished) and curved (to fit with the case’s shape)
Water-resistance:30 meters
Strap & Buckle:« full cut » alligator leather with folding clasp in solid gold and HMC hand-engraving.
Retail price:€ 21.700
On the market:immediately

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Opinion of The Watch Quote

The new Moser Perpetual 1 is positioned as an alternative choice in the area of traditional classic watchmaking. Capable technically of rivalling the best-known brands in the sector, the watch is sure to attract both enthusiasts of beautiful mechanics wishing to show their originality by choosing an exclusive timepiece that is also useful and functional. Unfortunately French customers will find it hard to obtain this beauty, as for the time being, the brand envisages production in limited quantities (a hundred pieces per year of this model) and does not yet have a retail outlet in the country. At the same time, we know that as usual, rarity will inevitably create demand and that the fans among you will manage to get hold of the object of desire as well as making a fine investment.

Strong points
  • Mechanics
  • Elegance
  • Low distribution
  • Quality of manufacture

Weak points
  • Low distribution

Our rating: ****

We would like to thank H.Moser & Cie in Paris for their invaluable assistance in enabling us to share our passion with you.

Thierry Castagna / The Watch Quote™
Photos Luc Virginius

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