H. Moser & Cie. CEO Edouard Meylan on Future Plans and Why the Brand Skipped Watches & Wonders
Known for launching crazy concepts at watch fairs, for 2023, the brand decided to skip the convention hall and brought something different to Geneva. Hint: It’s not a watch!
On March 27, brands, buyers, and journalists came together for a week at Watches & Wonders 2023. And while thrilling, this global watch fair is often overwhelming. It’s like when you visit the Louvre for the first time, and you see so many masterpieces in one day that you have a hard time remembering if you even saw the Mona Lisa or just the crowds surrounding it.
That is why we always look forward to seeing the novelties that H. Moser & Cie. introduces at events like Watches & Wonders or Baselworld before it.
Every year, H. Moser would introduce a cheeky concept watch that would cut through all the white noise of the fairs. And we’re still talking about the legendary Swiss Cheese Watch from 2017 or last year’s almost invisible Streamliner Chronograph “Blacker Than Black.”
So, imagine our shock when we didn’t see H. Moser & Cie. among the 48 brands appearing at Watches & Wonders 2023. And although it did have a presence in Geneva during the show, we wanted to speak with CEO Edouard Meylan about the decision to skip Palexpo and what to expect from the brand in the future.
All Together Now
One week before the opening of Watches & Wonders 2023, we chatted with Meylan in his office via Zoom. Behind him, on a shelf, were his GPHG awards; in front of me, on my lap, my cat tried to get in on the conversation.
We jumped right into the interview because I needed to know why Moser had opted out of the biggest watch convention of the year. And it won’t surprise many to hear that when planning the brand’s 2023 calendar, the Moser team has to ask if the benefits outweigh the costs.
“It’s a good event with a lot of visitors, but for a lot of brands, it’s extremely expensive,” explained Meylan. He added, “We like to control what we say and do. So, we are having a pop-up store downtown.”
Another consideration is inclusivity. As demonstrated with the launch of H. Moser’s Genesis metaverse platform last December, making it easier to connect with its clients is important, so even though Watches & Wonders 2023 is, for the first time, opening its doors on the weekend for the public, its location at the Palexpo convention center near the Geneva airport and close to the French border makes it feel apart from the city. It’s a bit like Las Vegas: It takes at least 20 minutes to find your way out of the airless casino to breathe a bit of fresh air and see the sun, let alone make your way downtown (our words, not Meylan’s).
Meylan commends Watches & Wonder’s organizers for making the fair more accessible to all we enthusiasts, but H. Moser also wanted to tap into the energy and other events happening across Geneva.
As previously mentioned, we look forward to Moser’s concept watches every year; however, for 2023, Meylan promises a surprise. But this time, it’s in the form of a pop-up store, not a physical watch.
“It will be a fun pop-up store, not a reproduction of our boutique,” Meylan told me, adding that one of the highlights will be having all of Moser’s past disruptive pieces in one place for any and all to see. One of the most intriguing things about this presentation is that the timepieces, themselves, have been on their own journeys.
“With the crazy concept Cheese Watch, there was only one made, so we had to reconstruct it with leftover parts,” said Meylan. “And the Moser Nature Watch – [a timepiece] adorned with living plants native to Switzerland – has dried up.”
Meylan hopes that the pop-up concept will bring more humanity to the week. “Being able to hold things they have never seen. It will have less of a trade show energy.”
“That’s what’s fun about independent brands – we’re happy to share,” added Meylan. The pop-up will also present the opportunity to see Moser’s most recent launches in the metal, including the new Pioneer that will hit the market at the end of the month.
Of course, a lot has changed since the storied days of Baselworld and SIHH. “Now we have Geneva Watch Days and Dubai [Watch Week],” Meylan said. “There are more chances to show globally. But it’s not just about the novelties. We have people coming to us saying we’d love to see a Streamliner in the metal, not just on the internet.”
While gorgeous watches and disruptive concepts are a big part of Moser’s success, the brand is also leading the way in vertical integration. Meylan even hinted that the company will soon announce some big innovations in how the brand will deal with supply and demand. Because what’s the point in saving up for a watch only to be placed on a waiting list?