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Thursday, January 12, 2017

$1M Swiss Watch Made Of Swiss Cheese And That’s No Bull

Specialist Swiss watchmaker H. Moser & Cie. used Swiss cheese to create a watch made in protest of the recently updated “Swiss made” requirement. 

Called the “Swiss Mad Watch” it doesn’t refer to Mad Cow Disease but to being mad at the new updated requirement that 60 percent of the watch components must be of Swiss origin in order to be considered eligible for the Swiss Made label—a 10 percent increase over the previous requirement. Edouard Meylan, CEO of the independent watchmaker based in Neuhausen am Rheinfall, uses more than 95 percent of Swiss-origin components to make its watches. He strongly feels the Swiss Made standard is inadequate and his company should not be held to the same standard as those who barely meet the requirement. The company said it will remove the Swiss Made label from all of its new watches starting this year.

"Our Swiss Mad Watch sends a clear message to the Swiss watchmaking industry, the authorities and watch enthusiasts: the Swiss Made label is meaningless,” Meylan said in a statement. “Worse than this, it gives credibility to the worst abuses in our industry. Our response to this lax and insufficient label is derision. At H. Moser & Cie. we produce watches that are truly Swiss, watches that are steeped in watchmaking tradition and centuries of experience. The quality of these pieces speaks for itself and dispenses with the need for a label. We are no longer ‘Swiss Made,’ but we are Swiss—100 precent Swiss in the case of the Swiss Mad Watch and over 95 percent Swiss for all of our other models.”

While there is satire mixed in with this protest it is as serious the price of this one-of-a-kind watch, 1,081,291 Swiss francs. The cost refers to the signing of the Swiss Federal Charter on August 1, 1291. All proceeds from its sale will be used to create a fund to support independent Swiss watchmaking suppliers that the company says are “currently suffering under the difficult economic situation and outsourcing to Asia. These are the very artisans who keep traditional Swiss watchmaking alive and who help it to continually evolve.”

The 42mm case of the Swiss Mad Watch is created from real Swiss cheese as a base material, specifically a Vacherin Mont d’Or médaille d’or, mixed with itr2, a composite material. It is then machined and polished with H. Moser signature finishes. For the strap, Swiss cowhide (the obvious choice) is used. 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. It is powered by an in-house, hand-wound, mechanical HMC 327 caliber.

“Created in Switzerland, by Swiss watchmakers and using Swiss materials, the Swiss Mad Watch has symbolic value, tackling Swiss Made debate head on to reveal the truth behind this label,” Meylan said. “With this unique watch, H. Moser & Cie. demonstrates the importance and urgency of returning Swiss Made to its former heights. Echoing the absurdity and the ridiculous change to the Swiss Made legislation, H. Moser & Cie.'s satirical comment on the issue highlights an alternative resource, 100 percent natural and entirely Swiss, one of the most precious Swiss resources that exists: cows. 

To go with the watch and protest, the company created the hashtag, #MakeSwissMadeGreatAgain.

Below is a tongue-in-cheek video about the watch.

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