As we all know, there has been a strong trend in watchmaking for several years now: the versatile sport-chic steel watch with integrated bracelet. There are many reasons for the explosion in demand for this type of watch. I see two main ones. The first reason is linked to the success of the Nautilus or other Royal Oak watches, which may have encouraged certain brands to ride the wave and hope to benefit from a possible deferral of demand. The second reason is much deeper. It is due to the evolution of our lifestyles given the development of new ways of working. This phenomenon has become more pronounced with the health crisis and many people have remained in an almost exclusive teleworking pattern even outside of lock-down periods. This leads to a change in the rhythm of the days and the way we behave and dress. There is a striking example that comes to my mind. Sneakers have now become the majority of work shoes for white collar employees. The tie and suit have almost disappeared from the checkroom and it would be an illusion to think that these profound changes don't affect watches.
We can be happy about this or regret it, but the boundary between private and professional life is blurring. The office is moving to the home and a working day is no longer organized in the same way as it used to be. We can be away for an hour to go to the gym, run an errand, meet a private obligation and then return to the workplace. A kind of fragmentation is taking place where the different periods of the day did not mix a few years ago. More and more frequently, in response to this evolution, customers of watch brands wish to acquire watches that can accompany them through all these stages. These watches must be comfortable, practical and versatile. These criteria have only strengthened the flagship brand, Rolex, because versatility has always been its credo. For other brands, more confidential and more firmly rooted in the dress watch segment, the situation became more complicated at the risk of losing their core customers. They had to react, and that is why the versatile watch made its appearance (or saw its role strengthened) in the collections of a very large number of brands.
You will note the absence of lugs. The cushion case extends the bracelet without breaking the overall lines:
We think of Lange & Söhne, Czapek, Chopard, Bell & Ross and I am far from mentioning all the companies contributing to this trend. We can distinguish between two methods used by the brands. The first consists of drawing from their catalogs a model from the past and adapting it to today's context. This is what Chopard or Girard-Perregaux have done. And then there are the brands, particularly because of their more recent contemporary histories, which have had to create models from a blank sheet of paper. The risk with such an exercise is to be strongly inspired, more or less consciously, by icons of the genre, especially those designed by Gérald Genta. On this point we have to thank Moser: the new Streamliner line has its own identity and this is what makes its success.
The first model of this line, the Streamliner Flyback Chronograph, was presented in early 2020 in Dubai. This watch surprised with its bold design and integrated bracelet. Its accomplished design was inspired by the various creations of the Streamline aesthetic trend in vogue between the 1920s and the 1950s. This inspiration could be found in the striations of the bracelet, the fluidity of the lines and the perfect integration between the different elements of the watch. I particularly appreciated the continuity between the bracelet and the cushion-shaped case in this model. The attention to detail was also evident in the treatment and position of the pushers. The counterpart was the relative thickness of the case despite the use of the superb automatic chronograph movement developed with Agenhor. Moreover, given the complication, the selling price was well above that expected for a three hand watch of this type from a fine Swiss manufacture.
The 3 blade clasp:
The very good news is that the three-hand version was presented a few months later at the Geneva Watch Week. For me, despite all the admiration I had for the work done on the Streamliner Flyback Chronograph, the Streamliner line's aesthetic approach really makes sense with the Centre Seconds model. Smaller, thinner, the Streamliner Centre Seconds embodies the true Moser offering in the versatile sport-chic watch segment. The diameter of the steel case is 40mm (instead of 42.3mm for the Streamliner Flyback Chronograph) but more importantly the thickness is now only 10.7mm (including the glass) instead of the 14.3mm of the original model. The diameter/thickness ratio is thus more favorable, which accentuates the fluidity of the lines and the slender style.
The result is immediately noticeable when the watch is worn. The result is a special, unique atmosphere: the piece is unique and yet refined. Contrary to what one might think, its realization is very faithful to the Moser spirit. The smoked Matrix Green dial is typical of the manufacture's style. Moreover, I find the choice of this color very judicious. It makes it possible to get out of the everlasting blue that in any case was used for the new version of the Streamliner Flyback Chronograph. This green color works very well with the Streamliner Centre Seconds and I wondered why. I may have an explanation. In my opinion, it helps to give the watch a reptilian style. Look again at the striations of the strap, the succession of the links, the cushion-shaped case and the way it extends the strap... At times, the Streamliner Centre Seconds evokes to me a more powerful masculine Serpenti. In any case, Moser's mastery can be felt in the reflections created by the dial (whose spectrum ranges from bright green to bronze) and in the minimalist and graphic approach of the indications. I like the absence of numerals, the subtle alternation of the peripheral graduation as well as the shape of the hands. The watch goes to the essential and I find in a certain way the sobriety, not to say the simplicity of the Endeavour Perpetual Calendar or the Endeavour Centre Seconds.
The HMC 200 movement generously occupies the case:
And then, how can we not evoke the deliberate choice not to display the date? For me, the absence of a date window has only advantages: the watch becomes more thinner, the dial is balanced and aesthetic purity is achieved. It is an essential component in the success of this watch.
The Streamliner Centre Seconds is, unsurprisingly, powered by the HMC 200 caliber. I say "no surprise" because it is the same movement that equips the other "Centre Seconds" in the catalog, namely the Pioneer and the Endeavour. We are thus in familiar territory with a movement that is the basic Moser caliber. Its performances are appreciable with a power reserve of 3 days for a frequency of 3hz. But above all, it is perfectly adapted to the context of the Streamliner Centre Seconds: its own diameter is significant (32mm) which makes it pleasant to observe because it generously occupies the case. Moreover, the winding mass is made of gold and I appreciate this detail. The mass contrasts with the plate and the bridges of the movement and leaves the movement visible thanks to its large opening. It is the regulating organ that catches our eye first and foremost with its hat-shaped balance bridge, the balance wheel with peripheral weights and the use of a Spiral Straumann from the Moser subsidiary Precision Engineering AG. For the rest, the finishing of the movement is meticulous (we recognize the double Moser stripes) without being spectacular. For example, I would have liked the movement to be more open with more ambitious bridges shapes.
I really enjoyed wearing the Streamliner Centre Seconds when I discovered it a few months ago. I was lucky enough to be able to try on a model in my size. In any case, the great strength of this watch, beyond its impeccable execution, is that it does not leave one indifferent. There is a kind of alchemy going on. The watch appears at first glance as strange, bizarre. Then it becomes singular. And little by little, its charm acts. I liked the aesthetics of the bracelet and the articulation of the links. This bracelet was really very well designed. The links fit together well and the overall shape fits the wrist effectively. This is one of the reasons for the comfort of wearing it, the other being the very pleasant 3-blade folding clasp.
The fluidity of the lines is real. By turning the wrist in all directions, the Streamliner Centre Seconds proves to be slender at any angle. Maybe only the crown is different... and I would have imagined a Streamliner without this element... The consequences of implementing an alternative solution being very heavy from a technical point of view and as from a practical point of view, nothing really replaces a crown, it is surely much more reasonable to keep it!
With the Streamliner Centre Seconds, I also really appreciated the play of light. I evoked the reflections of the dial but the bracelet and the case are not to be outdone thanks to the alternation between polished and brushed parts. Despite the sobriety of the whole, the watch is very lively and dynamic. As for the objective of versatility, it is well and truly achieved. The water resistance is 120 meters, the hands are luminescent and the fluidity of the lines allows it to be worn even in a more formal context. It remains to be seen whether the watch will retain its aesthetic appeal over time. I personally believe it will. The design of the Streamliner Centre Seconds is timeless. The watch almost reminds me of a uchronic realization, a kind of watch of the future invented in the past.
I am convinced that Moser has delivered one of the most successful, coherent and attractive sports-chic watches with integrated bracelet in recent years. You just have to put aside the initial impressions, get used to the shape of the bracelet and the cushion case and let its seductive power take effect. In any case, congratulations to Moser for not choosing the simplest path: the Streamliner Centre Seconds does not leave one indifferent, it provokes strong reactions and above all it is the antithesis of a "Genta-Like". And that's quite an asset. Because when you make "Genta-Like", comparisons with original watches are often painful.
The intensity of the dial color changes according to the light conditions:
The Moser Streamliner Centre Seconds is sold at a price of 19,000 Euros incl. VAT. Due to its low production, it is not easily available.
+ an original and committed aesthetic approach
+ the presentation of the dial and the absence of a date window
+ the performance of the movement
+ comfort on the wrist
- I would have liked the movement to have a more open presentation.
- the crown breaks a little the fluidity of the lines