H.Moser & Cie. – Interview with Edouard Meylan, CEO – Staff and Interviews – WorldTempus

Edouard Meylan and his family take over H. Moser & Cie. just ten years ago and has fundamentally transformed the almost bicentennial Sleeping Beauty into one of the most prominent independent brands. So much so that the Californian streetwear giant UNDEFEATED, a master of collaborations with, for example, Mc Laren or Nike, initiated an approach for a joint creation. Their manager Eric Peng Cheng, himself a watch collector, acquired the first Streamliner in 2020: “This watch has had the most successful integrated bracelet in the entire industry for a very long time”. Present in Paris to welcome 700 guests from his community during the launch party at a Parisian club, he specifies: “UNDEFEATED carries out completely unexpected collaborations and takes pride in surprising its community every time. With its unconventional approach and philosophy, H. Moser & Cie. is kind of UNDEFEATED of the watch industry, it was a breeze to contact them”.

Streamliner Chronograph UNDEFEATED © H.Moser & Cie.

Was it also for H. Moser & Cie. apparently?

Edouard Meylan: We like to explore new territories, Eric understood what we were doing and the current was good, which already ticks all the boxes. We investigated what common customers we had and the potential for expansion turned out to be very significant. Moser is known as a watch collector, but we wanted to expand this circle on the one hand and learn new ways of working on the other. Beyond the product, I was very interested in understanding how Eric worked with his LA-based team, their street culture, how they prepare, develop and launch such a collaboration because they are experts: they do it with Nike, McLaren or Moncler, so we can learn a lot from them. It was exciting to have this experience with UNDEFEATED, in many ways they go beyond the product and look at a whole ecosystem of products: here for example the Streamliner is offered with a watch, a jacket and a special t-shirt. Ditto for the way they create teasers, run launches on a microsite and then choose the people to sell them to. In fact, each of us has received many more reservations than watches are available. Matching has proved difficult and we have given ourselves a week to analyze each application and select which will be accepted.

Is it also interesting from a purely commercial point of view?

Along with all that learning and notoriety, we’ve sold 76 watches for $55,000, so we’ve got commercial success as well. But what I want most of all is to bring independent watchmaking to a lot of people who have never heard of it. Since their community is very large, a large part can discover and appreciate this niche. It contains enough wealthy people who can potentially fall in love with a micro brand. Many celebrities follow them, athletes or actors and singers. The party they organized for the Paris launch welcomed 700 people.

Interview with Edouard Meylan, CEO

Streamliner Chronograph UNDEFEATED © H.Moser & Cie.

Looking at your various partnerships individually, one might think that they are the result of a certain impulsiveness…

A lot of people think that way when they see the different elements separately, but when we look at what has been implemented over the past ten years, we see that there is a real strategy. It consists of expanding the group of people interested in Moser, provoking them around previously defined topics. However, this does not prevent a certain impulsiveness in a certain environment where the human factor always plays an essential role, and pushes Moser outside his spectrum. We started this collaboration with watchmaking with MB&F, then there was art with seconds/seconds and this year we chose fashion. This universe allowed us to express the two extremes of Moser: first the very traditional and elegant with The Armory, now the wilder with UNDEFEATED. In the next area that we will explore, we will work on the roots of Moser.

Would you say that Moser turned the corner?

One thing is certain: we have reached a certain maturity by leaving the circle of collectors, even if they still represent an important basis. The brand has gone a bit mainstream, which gives us a sense of stability. Therefore, our products launched a few years ago are still selling well, which means we don’t have to launch new products as often. The recognition is there, people understand what we’re doing. We’re now very strong in boutiques: small window displays have given way to entire boutique sections to shop-in-shops, and we’re even opening a boutique in Dubai and Hong Kong. For some retailers, Moser becomes very important, it actually increases our presence, it’s a virtuous circle.

Interview with Edouard Meylan, CEO

Streamliner Chronograph UNDEFEATED © H.Moser & Cie.

In what amounts?

It’s been ten years since my family took over Moser and we continued to develop the brand together with my brother Bertrand. Our volume remains very modest compared to the watch industry, but we will exceed 2,000 pieces this year. The production of the Moser factory is integrated in such a way that it cannot be increased overnight. Especially at an average price of CHF 40,000. In order to meet the increasing demand, we are buying new machines, we are hiring new watchmakers and we are also considering acquisitions, for example by integrating certain subcontractors.

What other highlights are coming up this year?

Undoubtedly the opening of our first store in Hong Kong this fall, as well as a lounge in New York at the premises of our American subsidiary. It has its finger on the pulse, everyone is looking for their own concept and we have to find ours. In Hong Kong we have a showroom that we use a lot, New York is being built with a nice reception area. At the same time, we are announcing the official relaunch of the Hautlence at the Geneva Watch Days, which a small team led by Samuel Hoffmann within our Moser manufactory is getting back on track. They have worked a lot on the product and positioning and initial customer feedback is very positive.

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