From January 1, 2017, companies are only required to have 60 per cent of the components in a watch to be of Swiss origin for them to qualify for the Swiss Made label. H. Moser & Cie has been very vocal in its opposition of this ruling. The brand feels that the label is too lenient, provides no guarantees and encourages abuse of the system. But the Schaffhausen-based brand found a unique way to express its dissatisfaction at the ruling, or “this absurdity” as the brand termed it. 

In a satirical move, the brand has produced a watch with a case that is 100 per cent natural and entirely Swiss: cheese. Yes, Swiss cheese – a Vacherin Mont d’Or médaille d’or – is mixed with a composite itr2 material made with carbon nanotubes (the same used in the Pebble 2 Smartwatch), then machined and polished with the H. Moser signature finishes to create a unique case. The ‘Swiss Mad watch’ is paired with a strap made from Swiss cowhide. The watch is finished with a red fumé dial and doubled indices at 12, 3, 6 and 9 o’clock, subtly reminiscent of the Swiss flag. The watch is powered by the in-house, hand-wound, mechanical HMC 327 caliber.

Swiss Mad Watch

Interestingly, the Schaffhausen-based manufacture, whose creations are over 95 percent Swiss, will no longer carry the Swiss Made label in respect of all new watches created from 2017 onwards. “The Swiss Made label is meaningless. Worse than this, it gives credibility to the worst abuses in our industry. Our response to this lax and insufficient label is derision,” said CEO Edouard Meylan.

This unique piece will retail at CHF 1,081,291, references the signing of the Swiss Federal Charter on August 1, 1291. All proceeds from the sale of this watch will be used to create a fund to support independent Swiss watchmaking suppliers currently suffering under the difficult economic situation and outsourcing to Asia. 

Meylan and Co. have cultivated a taste for the theatrical. Last year the company’s video to promote the Swiss Alp Watch took aim at the industry’s fixation with the Apple Watch. The video, laced with irony and wit, got them a fair bit of attention at the fair. 

This year too, the launch of the million-dollar Swiss Mad Watch was accompanied by a satirical video starring, who else, but their young CEO again. Gimmicky or not, the Swiss Mad Watch has raised some questions that the Swiss industry prefers not to answer. 

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