A $1.072 million watch seems pricey by any standards, but one such timepiece, enrobed with cheese, has been designed more as a statement than functional arm candy.
Created in Switzerland by Swiss watchmakers with Swiss materials, the Swiss Mad Watch is unique, symbolic and irreverent. It’s purpose? Made with actual Swiss cheese, the watch was maker H. Moser & Cie’s attempt at critiquing the shortcomings of a revised Swiss Made watch label that requires 60 percent of watch components to be of Swiss origin.
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For the Schaffhausen, Switzerland-based manufacturer, whose creations are more than 95 percent Swiss, this new label requirement is “too lenient, providing no guarantee, creating confusion and encouraging abuses of the system.” For these reasons, H. Moser & Cie has decided to remove the Swiss Made label from all new watches it will produce starting this year.
Swiss Mad, according to the company, is meant to highlight “the absurdity and the ridiculous change to the Swiss Made legislation” by utilizing an alternative resource to create the watch that is 100 percent natural and entirely Swiss. The case of the Swiss Mad Watch is created from real Swiss cheese as a base material, a Vacherin Mont d’Or médaille d’or, added to an innovative composite material, itr2, is then machined and polished with the H. Moser signature finishes.
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Cheese is at the center of this protest where the watch is concerned. Disruptive? “Definitely,” responds Edouard Meylan, chief executive of H. Moser & Cie. “Our Swiss Mad Watch sends a clear message to the Swiss watchmaking industry, the authorities and watch enthusiasts; 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. 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 percent Swiss, in the case of the Swiss Mad Watch, and more than 95 percent Swiss for all of our other models,” says Edouard Meylan.
The Swiss cheese-based Mad Watch was unveiled during the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) watchmakers’ expo in January. According to H. Moser & Cie, all proceeds from the sale of this edible item of contention “will be used to create a fund to support independent Swiss watchmaking suppliers 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.” Swiss cheese can evidently assist with the cause.