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Chapter 3: No Place like Home

Team Moser find themselves in a horological mecca, a hotspot for watchmaking since the 1600s…

Papa Moser was always a stickler for quality – as a child, I once remade my bed sixteen times to be sure the corners were neat enough to meet his approval. Over in St Petersburg, standards were just as Herculean. Not a single timepiece sold at one of Papa Moser’s Russian boutiques was allowed to exit through the shop door unless it has been personally inspected by him or one of his select disciples.

But sensational quality demanded insanity-level skills – and where best to find that? Back home in Switzerland, of course. And so Papa founded a specialized factory in Le Locle District, a dainty city in the Jura mountains, with a watchmaking heritage that dated back to the 1600s. Go big AND go home, as they say.

I personally, at the tender age of 24, would have preferred the thrill of galloping into battle, or sealing an advantageous bargain with spit and a handshake–but for Papa, the sound of tiny gears clicking into place at precisely the right moment seemed to give him the same rush of pleasure.

Legend has it that on Papa’s very first trip to Russia, as all young entrepreneurs must, he carried all his worldly possessions on his person in order to avoid the cost of extra baggage. But by the 1830s, with Le Locle running smoothly as a clock, he’d proved his horological credentials enough, I imagine, to put his bags in the hold. Bravo, Papa – and see you in the business class lounge.

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