Water resistance: 120 meters. Cheeky. From overall concept to minute details such as pressure-resistance ratings, the H. Moser & Cie. Streamliner collection makes no secret of the fact that its creator is back in the ring, picking fights way outside its division. The question stands: Is the latest H. Moser & Cie. Streamliner Centre Seconds Matrix Green watch good enough for a memorable K.O. or just a fight down to the points?
As a consequence of the remarkable success of luxury steel “sports” watches of Audemars Piguet and Patek Philippe, this calculated boxing match among a few giants has been turned into a cage fight with so many fighters in the ring at once, it’s hard to keep track of what’s actually happening. From Bulgari to A. Lange & Söhne and Girard-Perregaux all the way to Laurent Ferrier (yes, Laurent Ferrier), brands we’d never ever have imagined have joined the fight for a moment of glory provided by the successful launch of a luxury steel watch with an integrated steel bracelet.
When steel Daytonas are selling in the twenties and Patek Nautili are selling for triple over retail and more, it’s clear that such ridiculous over-demand will at some point motivate extra supply. Those brands we just mentioned have bitten this bait, and H. Moser & Cie. — a small, Schaffhausen-based manufacture that masochistically (and charmingly) enjoys the role of an underdog — wants in on this, too. The first one-two punches were delivered by the Streamliner Flyback Chronograph Automatic we debuted here, which is so incredible we won’t even begin to try to do it justice here. You’ll have to check out our Bilal’s article and images for that.
Introduced as a continued assault on the competition, the H. Moser & Cie. Streamliner Centre Seconds Matrix Green is a noticeably more compact, more restrained-looking, and more competitively priced follow-up to the chronograph that boasted a remarkably complex caliber by Agenhor. This, on a brief personal note, marks my first time seeing the H. Moser & Cie. Streamliner case and integrated bracelet, so this piece is both a review and a reflection on first impressions.
Conceived by Marcus Eilinger, a freelance designer who has recently worked on watches for IWC, Montblanc, and Huawei, the Streamliner is one of those very few watches that feels fresh despite an underlying (but noticeable) vintage vibe. Upon first glance, the bracelet, especially due to the shape and brushed top of its links, reminded me of a watch from the 1970s and 1980s. I couldn’t, however, remember which one exactly, to save my life, so big kudos to SJX for figuring this out: the Ebel Sport Classic from 1977, made famous in the 1980s on the wrist of Don Johnson in the television series Miami Vice. I’d sure hope a contemporary Miami Vice star would be rocking the Streamliner — it would look so right, now that I come to think of it.
Despite appearances, the bracelet is not a single link, but a two-link design: Look at its flipside and you will see how the overarching outside links are held together by narrower rectangular links. The end result is a rigid bracelet that, at first, is a scary thing to feel out: the majority of bracelets without fully flexible links (where consecutive links can freely rotate and swivel) tend to sacrifice at least some wearing comfort due to stupidly rigid end-links and connections that make it hard for the bracelet to flow neatly around the shape of the wrist.
The H. Moser & Cie. Streamliner bracelet is a positive exception to that rule as even the last two end-links can turn downward at an angle of 90° — a godsend for those with narrow wrists. So, even if you have a smaller wrist (like I do), and 41-42mm is the size limit for sports watches that still look good on you, the Streamliner won’t look goofy-large or extend far beyond the edges of your wrist. In short, it’s a bracelet intelligently designed to be not just pretty but also comfortable.
There’s one nit I do have to pick with it, though, but be warned that it may just be my brain that’s wired up all wrong. Anyway, here goes: The beveled and polished lines that live inside the longer, horizontal edges of the links are so beautiful, it’s borderline disappointing that I can’t see more of them, more of the time. What I do see are the comparably large, brushed surfaces that are simply not as nice to look at as the dense, rich, glistening polish they seem to be hiding. I understand these surfaces, if all polished, would likely make for a tacky watch, but the proportion between fat, brushed surfaces and beautiful, hard-to-see surfaces seems a bit off.
Back to positives, there is the remarkably smooth feel of the bracelet. It is remarkable because that smoothness is not simply a result of glassy surfaces, but that of the flush integration between the links. The front and also the back of the bracelet feels great to the touch, like a river pebble — just about a hundred times more complex, as you feel the links swivel and move around slightly.
On the wrist, the satin-brushed areas dominate the H. Moser & Cie. Streamliner Centre Seconds Matrix Green watch wearing experience. The bezel is a wide and domed design that follows suit with a discreet sunburst style brush where every line seems to be directed towards the very center of the dial, although this pattern is not carried on by the “face” of the Streamliner Centre Seconds.
Instead, what we have here is a Matrix Green dial with a trademark touch of H. Moser & Cie.: a vignette or “ombré” execution, where the edges of the dial transform from dense green into dark black. It could also be called After Eight, I guess, though that is arguably less cool than The Matrix. Speaking of the dial, it has thirteen shiny applied baton indices complemented by a weird arrangement of additional minute markings; reading these to the minute gives me a headache every time, but again, that may just be me. I simply can’t tell where one minute ends and the other begins, and I’m nowhere near laid-back enough to let that go.
A crisp white H. Moser & Cie actively adorns the dial. The script is just beautiful — you tell me when was the last time you saw a printed brand name worthy of complimenting, but this one certainly is. The hands are quite a special shape that reminds me only of Chopard L.U.C’s “Chrysler Building” hands, with two shorter strips supporting a longer center section. This one, however, has an arguably sportier approach with massive white sections that go beautifully with the aforementioned logo. It’s precisely these large white sections of the hands that raise the question of whether the dial would have benefitted from equally large, printed, white hour markers as opposed to applied ones. The current setup is neat, but these appliqués aren’t all that tall, angular, or otherwise special for one not to entertain the prospect of having them replaced for something that better embraced the sporty nature of the Streamliner.
The thinness of the case is a real luxury sports watch trait — make this too bulky and you are immediately out of the race against the likes of the Nautilus and Royal Oak. With the downward-sloped bezel and genuinely thin profile, the H. Moser & Cie. Streamliner Centre Seconds Matrix Green appears and wears slim, as a true ultra-high-end luxury sports watch arguably should. Overall weight remains at a minimum, as well, for such a watch, without any wobble or a crown digging into the skin. Your mileage may vary depending on a number of factors, but there was no hair-pulling that I could feel, which is another important component to wearing comfort. The double-folding clasp is a rather ordinary design, though more nicely polished than others of the same type. Maybe you’ll join me in wishing that new and expensively developed bracelets would always incorporate some sort of a tool-free micro-adjust system — but apparent from how rare this feature is even among newly engineered bracelets, this isn’t quite so much of a priority in the market today.
The HMC200 movement is a stunning piece of kit and that’s only further enhanced by how beautifully it fills up the caseback view. That really is the icing on the cake that makes so much of a difference and helps highlight the beauty of this caliber. In 2017, we had the chance to visit the H. Moser & Cie. manufacture to learn more about where and how these calibers are crafted. The massive gold rotor is in the center of attention for obvious reasons, but thanks to its generously open-worked area, it allows a window plenty large enough to appreciate the beauty of the underlying movement. While the sweeping bevels of the plates are certainly a sight to behold, a particularly neat element is the highly accurately etched H. Moser & Cie. logo next to the balance wheel. Speaking of the escapement, H. Moser & Cie’s sister company within the Moser Watch Holding is Precision Engineering AG, a specialized manufacturer of hairsprings of all sorts of complexity. We gave you an extensive look into the operation of Precision Engineering AG here — be sure to check it out if you are in the mood for nerding out over real watchmaking.
In essence, the legitimacy and high level of appreciation of H. Moser & Cie. are to be found in its dedication to producing its movements in-house and to making watches that are proudly 100% Swiss-made. The brand’s modern history has plenty of examples of it reminding the smoke-and-mirrors Swiss watch industry of its loose interpretation of Swiss Made rules and such — including some instances where it was pulling no punches, causing absolute scandals. When one considers the borderline run-of-the-mill, more or less timid reiterations of the true stars of this segment, the H. Moser & Cie. Streamliner Centre Seconds Matrix Green stands out with a surprisingly original look — because even if its basic principle isn’t totally new, its redesign, execution, and presentation are.
Beautiful on the inside and out, H. Moser & Cie. further extends its short but rich legacy of disruption in the luxury watchmaking segment and that will prove more than sufficient to attain the applause and open support of many well-heeled and intelligent luxury watch collectors. That said, we have high hopes for the next generation of the Streamliner that will be a bit more confident in the presentation of its beautifully finished surfaces so as to put on a yet more spectacular fight against the established heavyweights of its segment.
Price for the H. Moser & Cie. Streamliner Centre Seconds Matrix Green is $21,900, and you can purchase it directly from the brand. To learn more, visit the official H. Moser & Cie. website here.
>Brand: H. Moser & Cie.
>Model: Streamliner Centre Seconds Matrix Green
>Size: 40mm-wide, 9.9mm-thick without crystal
>When reviewer would personally wear it: When among peeps wearing APs and PPs.
>Friend we’d recommend it to first: Well-heeled collector who wants to support a deserving brand and be set apart from his peers.
>Best characteristic of watch: Refreshing design, beautiful movement, fascinating details.
>Worst characteristic of watch: Reflective crystal, a tad too many uninterrupted brushed surfaces.