Following an impressive slew of releases under, shall I say, the “less than ideal” market conditions of 2020, H.Moser looks set to make 2021 a year for consolidation. Ed Meylan & co kicked things off this February with the Swiss Alp ‘Final Upgrade’ — a 50-piece LE that’s the punchline to Moser’s long-running (albeit good-natured) sendup of the Apple Watch — and today, they’re following that bit of first class horological trolling up with another addition to the Pioneer collection. Specifically, a time-only model the brand’s watchmakers have decided to christen the ‘Mega Cool’, featuring central seconds and a gradient dial.
For Moser stans, the Pioneer Centre Seconds is an endemic model. Built in steel, dressed in fumé and given over entirely to the purpose of telling time in a fashion that’s universally appealing, it’s often the launchpad for collectors who are dipping their toe into Moser’s world of ‘very rare’ watches. It’s also occasionally disparaged as ‘entry-level’: a criticism that handwaves away the serious work that goes into giving each model its own discrete look and feel. Case in point: for this iteration of the Pioneer, Moser’s dial makers opted to make the brand signature transparent — so that it’s faintly perceptible under all but the most intense direct lighting. Even if you already own the ‘Cosmic Green’ or ‘Mad Red’, this small deviation gives the ‘Mega Cool’ an identity sufficiently separate enough to warrant investigation.
Like the prismatic assortment of three-handed Pioneers before it, the ‘Mega Cool’ runs off the HMC200. Allowing for the fact that this is Moser’s simplest self-winding movement, there’s still plenty to like if you’re excited by the prospect of mechanical watchmaking. The entire balance wheel (Straumann double hairspring and all) is manufactured by the brand’s sister company Precision Engineering AG, featuring bridgework that is reminiscent of a particularly jaunty moustache. In addition, the movement’s rotor — engraved and discreetly decorated with a bead-blasted finish — drives a bi-directional winding system that can generate up to 72 hours of power, making the ‘Mega Cool’ a prime candidate for wear Monday to Thursday. Not that you’ll want to go without on weekends, because that’s precisely when this watch is at its most appealing.
Thus far, my praise for the ‘Mega Cool’ has been couched in the vernacular of engineering and reliability, whereas the main event is really this watch’s fumé dial — a gradient colourising technique with which Moser and synonymous, and rightly so. Suggesting patina or sun-kissed waters above a coral reef, the watch’s colourway first appears as a brilliant, lagoon blue before graduating around the edges to a dense and smoky green. Moser refers to this particular proprietary shade as ‘Blue Lagoon’, as it’s inspired by “shades of turquoise [that evoke] the waters of paradise islands”: just the sort of refreshing imagery we need in times such as these, when the prospect of an idyllic tropical getaway seems all too remote. Till then, this is a helluva thing to wear poolside.
Watch name: H. Moser & Cie Pioneer Centre Seconds 'Mega Cool'
Reference number: 3200-1214
Case size: 42.8 mm
Thickness: 10.6 mm (without sapphire crystal)
Crystal: Domed sapphire crystal
Water-resistance: 12 ATM
Movement: HMC 200 self-winding calibre
Functions: Hours and minutes, centre seconds
Frequency: 21,600 Vib/h
Power reserve: 3 days
Strap: Kevlar, rubber, steel or alligator leather
Price: CHF 13,900
To learn more, visit Moser online.