Smartwatches can make phone calls, monitor your vitals, help you navigate the backcountry, and so much more. That leaves mechanical watches, and the companies that make them, in a bind: Analog watches can’t match the capabilities of digital watches, so how do they compete? For most watchmakers and watch collectors, the answer is to focus on fine design and craftsmanship. But Swiss watchmaker H. Moser & Cie has taken that idea one step further with its Swiss Alp Watch Final Upgrade, a timepiece that marries sleek digital-era aesthetics with a handcrafted mechanical movement.
“An ode to minimalism and understatement, the final upgrade for the Swiss Alp Watch strikes a perfect balance between traditional watchmaking and technological development,” says Men’s Journal Fashion Editor Kevin Breen.
The Final Upgrade is the latest—and last—timepiece in a series that H. Moser & Cie launched in 2016 in response to the rise of connected watches. The idea: Find a way to respond to modern tech without abandoning the brand’s mechanical roots. The Final Upgrade, which is available in a limited run of just 50 examples, is the ultimate expression of the watchmaker’s unique fusion between old and new.
On first glance, you might mistake the Swiss Alp Watch Final Upgrade for a touchscreen-equipped digital gadget, but this beauty is completely mechanical. The minimalist dial uses Vantablack, one of the darkest substances ever created, to give the watch an intensely inky background reminiscent of a screen, while the simple hands and lack of logos or indices give it a decidedly sleek appearance. A running second indicator at the 6 o’clock position cleverly evokes a loading wheel, a common sight on nearly any digital device.
If the face of the watch is all digital-era minimalism, the see-through case back is a totally different story. It’s capped with sapphire crystal and reveals the complicated, beautifully crafted inner workings of the Swiss-made HMC 324 movement (a power indicator dial is nestled in there as well). According to H. Moser & Cie., each of the components on display are finished and decorated by hand, and together they make a strong counterpoint to the pared-down aesthetic of the watch’s face. A hand-stitched alligator leather strap completes the look, and the all-black, textured material adds a welcome touch of classic style.
The steel case is coated in black DLC for durability, and at 38.2mm by 44mm, it’s roughly the size of an Apple Watch Series 6. But unlike an Apple Watch, it pays homage to nearly 200 years of Swiss watchmaking skill—and it’s proof that the old and the new can, in fact, coexist.
For access to exclusive gear videos, celebrity interviews, and more, subscribe on YouTube!