Alpine Racing x H. Moser: An Independent Brand Breaking Into F1
Cars & motorsport

Adventures in Speed: H. Moser & Cie. x the Alpine F1 Team’s New Streamliner Limited Editions

Can a serendipitous relationship with an F1 racing team grant a forward-thinking independent watch brand a bigger spotlight? The answer seems to be a resounding “Yes.”

By Mike Espindle
Executive Editor

Despite H. Moser & Cie.’s keen interest in bringing engineering and technology from beyond the watch world into the watch world (the brand’s recent forays with the uncanny Vantablack material and experiments in virtual reality come to mind), getting involved with an F1 racing team at this stage of the game wasn’t something the brand was anticipating.

According to the Neuhausen am Rheinfall-based brand’s CEO and owner, Edouard Meylan, it was a kind of an elder-driven, back-of-house connection that brought the watchmaker and the racing team together. “Both parties were very excited by the opportunity,” Meylan explained. “But we had a very short amount of time to put it all together.”

However, by this past April, the partnership was beginning to bear fruit. The first collaboration, the Streamliner Cylindrical Tourbillon Skeleton Alpine Limited Edition, came out in mid-April and sported a vibrant blue hue (which is also one of the signature livery colors of its F1 partner Alpine Motorsports).

Meanwhile, the second, the Streamliner Cylindrical Tourbillon Skeleton Alpine Limited Edition Pink Livery, came out the first weekend of May, just in time for F1’s Miami Grand Prix, and has a shocking pink colorway to commemorate the Alpine team’s other prominent livery color.

The View Behind the Wheel

The BWT Alpine F1 team (so-called for the team’s primary sponsor, BWT, an Austrian water-treatment equipment manufacturer) started its life as the Renault F1 team.

Alpine, a little-known-outside-of-France sports car maker, is affiliated with Renault (think of the Polestar/Volvo relationship or the Abarth/Mini relationship) and continues to be the hardware provider for the UK-based racing operation. Despite some technical and mechanical setbacks, team leader Pierre Gasly (and teammate Esteban Ocon) remain excited and upbeat about the road ahead.

Famously, Gasly drove with F1 legend Max Verstappen on the Red Bull team in the past, but now, as team leader of BWT Alpine, he feels like he is running on all cylinders, saying: “It’s really the best, ultimate position to be in, no? The opportunity to lead a racing team in the right direction? That’s what it’s all about.”

Gasly has racked up a 2016 GP2 championship, a second place at the 2019 Brazilian Grand Prix, a 2020 victory at the Italian Grand Prix, a podium finish in 2021 at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, and finished third in last year’s Dutch Grand Prix driving for Alpine.

I was on hand to witness the Alpine team’s performance during the F1 Miami Grand Prix, and I must confess: It was thrilling. The team scored their first point in the F1 circuit, with Ocon finishing 10th and Gasly finishing 12th.

That might not seem like a big deal, but considering the competition (Red Bull/Max Verstappen, Mercedes-AMG/Lewis Hamilton, to name only two), these are encouraging results. And there is still the rest of the season to go.

Wrist Rocket

One might expect a collaborative watch made with an F1 racing team to carry an obvious, direct connection to the racing world, like making it a chronograph, right? But these two artful Streamliner Cylindrical Tourbillon Skeleton Alpine Limited Editions are more about creating a subtler through line.

Like an Alpine F1 or endurance racing vehicle, the collaborative timepieces put their engineering prowess centerstage, visible from any angle. Along with the livery color connections, a rugged, comfortable rubber strap, fit for any wrist size, speaks to the always-ready “green for go” nature of racing.

With their slim, stripped-for-weight bodies, wide wings and foils, open wheels, and “pushed down” architecture, F1 vehicles are a form of fiberglass and metal sculpture. The chiseled dimensionality of the limited edition watches checks that sculptural box, too, thank you very much.

Moreover, due to its uncanny one-minute flying tourbillon (produced by Moser’s sister company Precision Engineering AG) fitted with a cylindrical hairspring that rises perpendicularly around the top portion of the balance spindle, like a running race car, this Streamliner is constantly in motion.

Lost Art?

By the way, the production of a cylindrical hairspring is something of a lost art (or, at the very least, exceedingly very difficult to execute). Invented in the 18th century, it was a common feature of marine chronometers of the day.

Nowadays, the approach, especially when attached to a tourbillon, reduces friction and improves overall synchronization properties (as well as adding some additional sparkle to the visual theater of a tourbillon).

More pedestrian time-telling is covered by an independent two-hand sub-dial off-set near 12 o’clock atop a transparent color-matched dome that reminded this author of – you guessed it – a racing helmet’s tinted face shield. And lastly, all the connecting bridgework of these watches has a distinctly curved geometry (think: suspension and struts).

Final Thoughts

Despite all this horological elan, both executions of the H. Moser & Cie. Streamliner Cylindrical Tourbillon Skeleton Alpine Limited Edition are remarkably easy and unfussy to wear.

With a universally wrist-friendly 42.3m steel case size, the overall package is not just sporty: It’s fun; the visibility, colorways, lumed indices, Globolight hand inserts, and 12 ATM water resistance back that all up. Plus, a 74-hour-power-reserve HMC 811 automatic engine drives these cars.

With the blue Streamliner Cylindrical Tourbillon Skeleton Alpine Limited Edition limited to 100 pieces and the Streamliner Cylindrical Tourbillon Skeleton Alpine Limited Edition Pink Livery limited to only 20 pieces, you’ll have to move fast to get in your test drive.

Listing for $98,000 each, you can learn more about the H. Moser & Cie. and Alpine Motorsports partnership by checking out the H. Moser & Cie. website.

(Images © H. Moser & Cie.)

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