How H. Moser’s New Streamliner Chronograph Accelerates On Your Wrist

And one with a seriously impressive engine at that.

By Allen Farmelo 27/02/2020

Operating the Moser Streamliner’s flyback chronograph mechanism is like accelerating off the line in a supercar. The Moser’s engine, like the car’s, purrs at a standstill until you tell it to go. When you do press down, the machine is instantly and wildly kinetic.

The reason the Moser seems to leap forward like a supercar is that the watch has no running seconds, and thus appears motionless until the chronograph is activated. In fact, the centre-mounted chronograph hand almost suggests that the watch has stopped. Meanwhile, the white hour and minute hands hover over the dreamy grey-to-black fumé dial, telling the time with the serene dignity of mid-century classics like the Patek Philippe Ref. 96 or the Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Ref. 7811, both of which forego running seconds.

H. Moser & Cie Streamliner Flyback Chronograph

H. Moser & Cie Streamliner Flyback Chronograph Allen Farmelo

For a racing-oriented thoroughbred like the Streamliner to have captured that dignified stillness is, on the one hand, a feat of counterintuitive design very much in line with Moser’s subtle sense of irony. On the other hand, activation creates an instant acceleration that’s genuinely exciting. From a dead stop, the bright red hand swings into motion, simultaneously revealing a bright white minute-totalising hand beneath. Both of these chronograph hands contrast starkly against the dark dial, offering an immediate visual analog to lap racing. Flying the chronograph back for another lap, and another, and another, replicates the jolts of lap racing to a tee.

H. Moser & Cie Streamliner Flyback Chronograph Caseback

H. Moser & Cie Streamliner Flyback Chronograph Caseback Allen Farmelo

Very few watches do such a good job of integrating the core functions of the movement into the watch’s aesthetic, and it seems clear that Moser designed the rest of the watch to accentuate the sudden accelerations of the flyback. The outer track is a familiar checkerboard design found on many automotive-oriented watches, such as the Schumacher edition of the Omega Speedmaster. The track’s reference to the checkered flag of victory is no coincidence, though it is also a useful way to segment seconds into 1/5ths. Touches of red within that outer track punctuate the discrete white numerical markers whose font is flattened and racy. And then there’s the large shining steel applied 60 at the topmost position, which gives the watch an understated speedometer vibe. Like many of Moser’s designs, there are just enough of these elements to make the point.

H. Moser & Cie Streamliner Flyback Chronograph

H. Moser & Cie Streamliner Flyback Chronograph Allen Farmelo

Like so many brands of late (e.g., Bell & Ross, Lange, Vacheron Constantin), Moser is making a foray into the luxury steel watch market. However, this watch is limited to 100 pieces and retails for approx. $61,000, thus it is not aimed at sweeping up the thousands of customers who have grown tired of waiting for a steel Rolex or Patek Philippe. With Moser, offering a steel watch feels less bandwagon-esque. It’s just Moser doing what Moser does best: contributing in surprising new ways to the most historically important horological traditions, like fumé dials, tourbillons, moon phases, and, now, the luxury steel sports watch.

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