H. Moser & Cie Streamliner

H. Moser & Cie. Streamliner rolling

H. Moser & Cie.’s Streamliner Flyback Chronograph Automatic dropped this morning. The luxury sports watch arrives hot on the heels of TTAW’s Watch of the Year, the A. Lange & Söhne Odysseus. Not to mention the less-wonderful Chopard Alpine Eagle and the hugely derivative Bell & Ross BR05. HM&C reckons the Streamliner’s a “reimagining of the stainless steel chronograph.” Well, it is different . . .

Streamliner close-up

The seemingly obvious difference: it’s a stopwatch. Actually, that in and of itself is no biggie. The Streamliner’s competition – the Genta-designed Patek Philippe Nautilus and Audemars Piguet Royal Oak – are [theoretically] available as chronographs. Both of those timepieces have subdials. The Streamliner does not.

Streamliner side

The H. Moser & Cie. Streamliner leaves the station without a seconds hand. A red chrono hand keeps track of chrono-activated seconds, its brother keeps track of the minutes. I’ve yet to see a picture with the Streamliner’s two chronograph hands stacked up at 12 o’clock – as they will at “rest” – but I’ve no doubt that the minutes counter disappears under the red seconds counter. Leaving you wondering if the Streamliner has actually left the station.

H. Moser & Cie. StreamlinerEbel watch - Streamliner inspiration?

The Streamliner’s chrono layout deserves plaudits for bravery, legibility and innovation. The matte bracelet, not so much. You could fairly say it’s a “reimagining” of the Ebel Wave bracelet. Did I hear someone say Porsche Design Ocean 2000? I’m not sure anyone cares, just as I’m certain H. Moser & Cie.’s bracelet’s executed with fanatical attention to detail. But there it is, giving us the royal wave.

Streamliner Calibre HMC 902

H. Moser & Cie. is to high horology what Bob Marley was to high raggae – an unassailable performer. Even a brief glance at the Calibre HMC 902 underneath the transparent caseback is enough to grok the Streamliner’s superb craftsmanship. Saying that, the movement isn’t beautiful per se – there is a LOT going on, some 434 components in all (the Agenhor-made chrono bits sit in the middle). A longer, more technical look may be required.

60 minutes logo

On the flip side, the H. Moser & Cie. Streamliner taps into the brand’s use of negative space in a fumé dial to create a distinctly retro vibe, complete with syringe-style hands and a monochromatic case that’s reminiscent of an 1960’s portable TV – rather than the aerodynamic locomotives after which it’s named. (Note: the “railroad track” indices aren’t train compatible.) Speaking of TV, the 60 at the top of the Streamliner’s dial is a dead ringer for the typography used by 60 Minutes, and just as prominent.

I’m sure the well-paid “journalists” at CBS’ news magazine could afford the $40k required to put a 42.3mm Streamliner on their wrist. If they did, they’d own a watch that very few people would recognize as the height of horological expertise. But that it is, complete with its stylactical (stylish + practical) chronographic solution. A welcome addition to the high-end luxury sports watch pantheon? BR05 excepted, aren’t they all?

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