Titanium, black DLC, rubber strap and 120-metre water resistance are words that were hitherto anathema for the highly traditional H. Moser & Cie. The new Pioneer Centre Seconds models, however, have all this and more and will tap an entirely new market that the brand itself refers to as the “daring gentlemen”.
The Pioneer is a reference to the third phase in Heinrich Moser’s life, when he returned from Russia to his native Schaffhausen a wealthy man and proceeded to industrialise the city. His notable achievements include building Switzerland’s largest hydroelectric dam across the Rhine to provide power to the city’s industry, building the railway link between Schaffhausen and Zurich as well as co-founding the companies Georg Fischer and SIG, which are today global companies with their headquarters still based in Schaffhausen.
The new collection comes a year earlier than planned and just one year after the Venturer collection, making it the third in the brand’s product palette. It is sporty but in a typically H. Moser & Cie. style. The new modular nine-part case has the familiar Moser design in 18-carat red gold, but DLC-coated titanium inserts add the sporty touch, as does the black rubber strap – a first for the brand – and the improved water resistance of 120 metres (helped by a screw-in crown) that makes the watches suitable for everyday wear. But the distinctive Moser smoked dials remain, in silver, slate and red gold, identifying the first three references in the Pioneer collection. For the first time these dials have partly skeletonized leaf-shaped hands with SuperLuminova® inserts, distinctive applied hour markers and luminescent dots for each hour.
A new, zero-gravity tested, movement
The Pioneer collection also comes with its own new movement. The HMC 230 calibre is the first mechanical watch movement to have been tested in zero gravity (eagle-eyed observers may have noticed it floating around in weightlessness next to CEO Edouard Meylan on the first zero-gravity parabolic flight to take off from Switzerland). It is the brand’s first calibre to beat at 21,600 vibrations per hour (3 Hz) and features a patented new automatic winding mechanism, based on a bi-directional pawl-winding system, to offer a minimum guaranteed power reserve of three days (72 hours). Its black decoration mirrors the sporty touches on the case, while an engraved red-gold oscillating mass recalls the precious and very rare nature of an H. Moser & Cie. timepiece. At the heart of the movement is the original Straumann® hairspring and a regulating organ produced in-house at sister company Precision Engineering AG.
The three new Pioneer models, each with an 18-carat red-gold case and either a rubber or leather strap, are available from 22,900 Swiss francs.