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 . . .
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?