Introducing Moser's Swiss Alp Watch Zzzz & BrrrBy Suzanne Wong
Let me tell you something about the Swiss sense of humour. First of all, it exists. However, it’s very badly signposted, and newcomers run the risk of getting completely lost if they somehow wander into this patch of the Swiss cultural landscape without a guide.
Earlier this year I got a couple of Swiss friends to tell me a Swiss joke, and they gave me this story about two guys in a lift, and the punch line involved one of the guys buzzing like a fly. They both laughed uproariously, so I guess it must have been funny on some level, but I’m afraid the point of the joke went right past me.
Swiss humour can be very cryptic, very dry, fairly absurdist with a deep vein of mischief, and blends in so well with regular conversation that you’re often unsure if you’ve just heard a joke pretending to be an anecdote or vice versa.
This is especially so in the birthplace of high-complication Swiss watchmaking, a small valley in the Swiss Jura known as the Vallée de Joux, which explains a lot. It certainly explains everything you need to know about the H Moser & Cie Swiss Alp Watch, the brainchild of Edouard Meylan, CEO of H Moser & Cie, who was born and raised in Le Brassus.
Let’s not kid ourselves about what the Swiss Alp Watch is supposed to resemble. Go YouTube the little promotional video that H Moser & Cie did when they launched the watch. But if you think the Swiss Alp Watch is an opportunistic rip off based on the Apple Watch, you have missed the joke. You are like me a few months ago, thinking hard and feeling cross while two Swiss dudes laugh their heads off.
The point that the Swiss Alp Watch is not-so-subtly making is that we don’t need yet another device that ostensibly increases our connectivity whilst disengaging us from what’s really around us. My watch gives time, and I like that just fine. A smartwatch gives time, but also fractures it, with a phalanx of notifications marching across my line of focus throughout the day. It giveth and it also taketh away, so yeah I’d rather go with the mechanicals, thanks.
This is probably why the new Swiss Alp Watch Zzzz is my favourite of all the Swiss Alp Watch models. Its gloss-black dial is never going to light up with messages from people I’m trying to ghost, or reminders for things I don’t want to do, or updates on the miles to go before I sleep. The “Zzzz” in its name comes from the idea of it resembling a smartwatch on standby, or powered off. There’s one with a blue fumé dial, called the “Brrr”, but I seriously don’t know anyone who’d prefer being cold to being asleep.
The Swiss Alp Watch is not a joke, it is an irreverent, sharp piece of observation — which you get a lot of in the company of Edouard Meylan (see what I did there) — and its ultimate point is still up for debate, I’m guessing.
So perhaps the point is that we shouldn’t accumulate things that purport to give us convenience but in actual fact make us busier. Perhaps the point is that the best things in life shouldn’t be easy (which is to say you shouldn’t be able to swipe to dismiss them). Perhaps the point is that it’s all too common nowadays to have all the information you could need, but a relatively weak grasp of what’s really in front of you.
An unexamined life is not worth living, according to Socrates, but the dude lived thousands of years ago and I doubt he was talking about examining his daily heart rate and number of steps taken. He would have approved of the Swiss Alp Watch Zzzz. From what I hear, he was a deep thinker, and would not have appreciated being buzzed on the wrist every few minutes by his philosophy club’s Whatsapp chat group. (I switched off all my group chat notifications, by the way. I mean, who hasn’t? Otherwise it buzzes all the time and I can’t even.)
Which reminds me, if any of you happen to be familiar with that joke about the two Swiss guys in a lift, please get in touch and explain it to me. I’ve been trying to work it out for months.
Technical Specifications — Swiss Alp Watch Zzzz + Swiss Alp Watch Brrr
18k white gold; 38.2mm x 44.0 mm x 10.3 mm; sapphire-crystal over dial and caseback; fluted crown adorned with an “M”, engraved with “1 of 20”
Black (Swiss Alp Watch Zzzz) or Funky Blue fumé (Swiss Alp Watch Brrr); leaf-shaped hour and minute hands
Hand-wound HMC 324 Manufacture calibre; 2.5Hz (18,000vph); 27 jewels; minimum 4 days power reserve; modular Moser escapement; proprietary Straumann hairspring; hours, minutes and power reserve indication
Hand-stitched black alligator (Swiss Alp Watch Zzzz) or beige kudu leather (Swiss Alp Watch Brrr); 18k white gold pin buckle engraved with Moser logo
Each model limited to 20 pieces only