Luxury can’t be fun? Try us…

“Roger that”

Chapter Four
Keeping the Legacy Alive – Moser in the World of Watchmaking Today

Interview with Roger Nicholas Balsiger - Honorary Chairman at H.Moser & Cie. -

In Chapter Four, we discuss what a time-travelling Heinrich would make of Moser’s revival, and the world of Swiss watchmaking today. Mr. Balsiger explains why Social Responsibility is a watch-word both behind the scenes and on the public stage at Moser. And why a timepiece covered in moss is making headlines. You can also catch up with Chapters One to Three here.

If Heinrich himself could travel in time to visit H. Moser & Cie. today, what do you think he would say? 

There’s still a lot of Heinrich in Moser today.  I’m extremely proud to be a part of this company, and without the incredible level of entrepreneurship, the extraordinary leadership, I’d have to think twice about taking part.  But that honestly never crossed my mind, because the Moser spirit is undoubtedly there. In the language, the ideas, the watches themselves. I think Heinrich would be extremely proud to see the work that is being done, the innovation that continues to unfold– while upholding his great tradition.  He was a sort of revolutionary, a real Pioneer himself. We keep that alive today. 

And what would he make of the current Swiss watchmaking industry? 

The watchmaking industry in Switzerland has been in extremely good shape for the last few decades. They’ve learned a lesson from what happened in the 70’s, when Japanese companies started making much cheaper watches – which became a great threat to the Swiss watchmaking industry.  The Swiss had thought that no one could achieve their level of quality, that their ‘crown’ was secure. We learned quite quickly that that’s not the case! But, like Heinrich, we’ve adapted to the changes and reached for new heights.

Swiss watchmakers have also realised that they need to evolve with technology.  Online sales are a vital new channel – not just relying on the client or retailer coming to the manufacturer, to buy watches directly from the atelier.  And this development has been adopted by many of the brands. It’s made a big difference, allowed them to reach a wider audience. In general, I suppose I’d say the industry still depends a little too much on the Chinese market – and like Heinrich, I believe it’s important not to put all your eggs in one basket!  But generally speaking, the Swiss watch industry is in excellent shape – poised for the future, whatever it might bring.        

How do you think the ‘landscape’ has changed since Moser’s revival?

I guess we should talk about Corporate Social Responsibility here.  That’s a big shift– I was once very skeptical about the concept. When I first heard the term, I thought it was a bit contradictory, that social responsibility really came down to the individual.  But now I see it differently. 

Today we are so much more aware of the problems we’re facing – not just as a business, or even an industry, but universally – climate change being the most obvious example.  And of course this is something we’re examining carefully with Moser. And taking action wherever we can. We produced the Moser Nature Watch, which has been a big talking point in the watch-world;  it’s a watch that actually grows, embellished with living plants. It’s a creative symbol, to draw attention to the issues we are facing now. 

As far as we know, it’s the only Moser ever made from moss! But what about more traditional materials? 

This is another area where must be really vigilant.  To use materials acquired and developed in a socially responsible way.  It’s complex, of course – there are so many nuanced ways to examine how these materials impact the communities and economies they come from.  So I think today we have to really increase our awareness across the board– from the materials you use, their source, to production methods, the people we work with– in order for it all to be sustainable and humanitarian.  And that’s where it’s clear that Moser does its utmost to uphold the most rigorous standards. Remember the Moser Nature Watch? That’s a clear statement to illustrate our higher commitment to sustainable and respectful development. Other brands are also taking responsibility for their methods, and the industry in general is improving on this front all the time. 

Moser has risen to the challenge of ethical practice in today’s complex marketplace, but what does the future of luxury watchmaking look like?  In our upcoming Chapter, we travel back to the future with Mr. Balsiger (and Henrich’s keen eye for detail) to capture the spirit of Moser through the ages… 

Latest posts

Axel Kabus

Meet Axel Kabus, our After-Sales Expert and Guardian of Watches (once they’ve flown the nest to make their way in the world). A sort of Professor Xavier to our creations, Axel is one of a select few experts who take care of our clients’ every need. Repairs, damage, aesthetic requests or regular servicing: he’s got you covered. Ok, please don’t ask him to order you a limo at 2am. But pretty much anything else...

The Fire Starter

The Pioneer Centre Seconds Swiss Mad Red is a maverick timepiece, with a fiery spirit and a burning desire for adventure.

Andreas Albert

The Master of Balance, King of Precision, Artiste of Assembly. Nothing escapes Andreas Albert, with his eagle-sharp eye and surgically-accurate hands. He may run a tight ship, but his atelier sounds like quite a fun place to be. An affectionate guardian to our complex machinery, Andreas is also a bit of an inventor!

Back to Vantablack®

We’ve created three new editions that’ll take you into another dimension – with a mysterious glamour to give even the most refined of aesthetes pause for thought.

Raphael Frauenfelder

Expert engineer, true artist, mad scientist, 21st century alchemist… you decide what title fits Raphael Frauenfelder best. We just call him our Head of Watchmaking, for want of a better term. Charmingly modest, he’d never tell you what a fantastic leader or inventor he is… but we will. 

When Fumé Says It All

In 2020, we’re giving Moser-lovers around the globe the gift of Simplicity in three new Concept pieces – with a flair for fumé.

A New Era in H. Moser & Cie. History: Meet the Streamliner

Marking the start of a new era in the H. Moser & Cie. story, the Streamliner Flyback Chronograph Automatic is an unprecedented reimagining of the Stainless Steel Chronograph. Redefining the traditions of design, movement, and composition, the debut timepiece in H. Moser & Cie.’s latest collection unites our trademark codes of minimalism and contemporary elegance.

The dawn of a new era

Time at its purest. 
Coming January 9 2020… and it’s rewriting the rules of watchmaking. Expect the unexpected when meeting the Streamliner.