By Rebecca Doulton
With the hullabaloo surrounding the advent of Apple's smartwatch, it was refreshing to see a traditional watchmaker have some fun with the hype. H. Moser & Cie., in my opinion, is a purveyor of some of the most elegant and simple-to-read complication watches in years. It also got everybody's attention when it announced that it would be jumping on board the smartwatch bandwagon.
Naturally, it was a joke, and CEO Edouard Meylan had a ball showcasing how the smartwatch is not by any stretch of the imagination a novelty: "Thank you for creating amazing disposable gadgets," he said to the camera from a traditional watchmaking workshop run by humans. "As for the original smartwatch, we've been producing it for more than 100 years..." he continued, biting into an apple as the video exalted the legibility, ergonomics, power reserve and beauty of the perpetual calendar watch, crowned with the tagline: looks smart, very clever.
H. Moser & Cie. has done something very clever by tweaking its classic perpetual calendar watch to appeal to either a younger generation or simply those who want a more up-to-date look to their watch. With its electric blue fumé dial and distressed leather strap, the Endeavour Perpetual Calendar Funky Blue men's watch has dressed all the complications of the world's simplest-to-read perpetual calendar with a seductive, contemporary appeal.
You can tell the Dutch industrial designer Benoit Mintiens has had a hand in all Ressence watches with their super-cool minimalism, smooth contours and unconventional and animated approach to displaying the time. Featuring at Baselworld, the Ressence Type 3 literally sees time floating under a bubble that curves up towards the viewer, with its clear symbols marking the hours, minutes, seconds, days and date without the aid of hands or a crown. What is absolutely mind-boggling is how the different indications - which revolve around the bubble - are bathed in a fluid that refracts light, making it look as though they are up against the sapphire crystal. At night, the Ressence watch lights up like the cockpit of an airplane with green and orange luminescence.
Nomos Glashütte is beginning to reap the rewards and international design prizes for its bold decision to sell mechanical watches with in-house movements, coupled with great German design at very accessible prices. The award-winning Metro watch is back this year with a larger case size of 38.5mm and the elimination of the mint green and red circular power reserve symbol on the dial, which personally I loved. The sober, Bauhaus-style dial of the new Nomos Datum watch hides the complex machinery that makes it tick.
Nomos watches has invested heavily in creating its own escapement - a vital part of a watch's heart that very few companies can produce in-house. Christened the "Swing System", this fundamental piece will give Nomos watches a high degree of independence in the future to carry on watchmaking the way it wants to.