My name is Amandine, I am 12 years old and keen on watchmaking. Since the age of 7, when asked what job I want to do, I answer “watchmaker-designer at Bulgari”… In the meantime, I interview people in the industry. Let’s see today who is H. Moser & Cie CEO, Edouard Meylan.
By Amandine, the youngest Swiss Watch Passport columnist
Who are you at the office?
You’ll have to ask my colleagues! I think I’m a pretty cool boss, but I don’t like surprises! I hate surprises, both good and bad. I like to know what’s going on, so I’m always wandering around, asking questions, and they know there can’t be too many surprises. I also like to collaborate, to discuss, to brainstorm, so that everyone can bring their creativity to the table and then make decisions together.
And in real life?
In real life, I’m not the boss: it’s my wife and my children! In real life, my family is very important. I have four children, so we spend a lot of time together. We do a lot of skiing and sports together at weekends. I really try never to work at weekends, except when I have to travel. In my professional life, there are quite a lot of things you have to do for work like trips or evening sessions when you finish quite late. So I focus on my family when I get out of the office. They always criticize that I’m a bit too much on my phone, but I really try to avoid it.
How did you get into watchmaking?
You see, I was born into watchmaking. I grew up in the Vallée de Joux. My father was in the watchmaking business, as were the generations before him. We used to talk about watches at home, and visit the factories. My father worked at Jaeger, Cartier and Audemars Piguet. So, in a way, I grew up in it.
What memories do you have of your first watch?
I have several! But it seems to me that my very first one was when my father was working at Jaeger-LeCoultre. There was an open day, and I was very small because I was smaller than my mother’s hips. I even made a mistake once by pulling on another lady’s skirt… That day, I went into the workshop where the minute repeaters were made. I was captivated. I’m still fascinated by minute repeaters to this day. It’s partly because of that moment, around the age of 4 or 6, I don’t know exactly…
Which watch has the most sentimental value for you?
It was my first mechanical watch, given to me by my father. Unfortunately, I no longer have it. A magnificent Lemania, a very small diameter with a blue dial. I received it when I was in kindergarten or first grade… I remember that at first I was really disappointed because all my friends had Casio, digital watches that were really fashionable. And I had this mechanical watch. I can still see it, but unfortunately I don’t know where it went. So I’d say it’s perhaps the watch that has disappeared, the one that no longer exists, that now has the most sentimental value. Otherwise, I have others. I was lucky enough to receive some watches when my father worked in the watchmaking industry.
In particular, a tantalum-steel one that I received for my 18th birthday or my baccalaureate, I don’t remember. It was the first beautiful watch I ever received, and I fell in love with tantalum. This year, in 2023, we launch a tantalum watch. It was my dream to one day be able to make a watch using this material.
A dream that comes true?
Yes, let me show you, it’s right here.
Do you make watches for young people?
What do you mean by young, because you’re very young! We make watches that appeal to a relatively young clientele. If we consider that we’re aimed more at collectors, because our prices are relatively high, then we have a rather young clientele. Many of our customers are in their twenties. Some are even younger. The youngest I met was 16, or maybe not, and he had a magnificent Moser. Our digital communication is quite daring, with a bit of humor, and we don’t hesitate to provoke sometimes. And I think it speaks a lot to the new generation, or rather to the new generations because there are several of them.
What would you say to young person under 15 to get them interested in mechanical watchmaking rather than their Apple Watch?
It’s funny, I have a son who’s 12 and has always had an Apple Watch! Recently, I bought him a MoonSwatch: I could see something happening in his eyes the moment he discovered fine watchmaking! OK, it’s not a totally mechanical watch, but all of a sudden he had this click, this interest. He started to look at his watch differently. Of course, he’s always said that Mosers are the most beautiful, but now he’s discovered something else. You have to take an interest and listen to your heart. It’s not a question of age, it’s a question of interest. There’s a mysterious side to it, but also a very romantic and philosophical side. To find the key, you may simply have to look inside a watch once, try to understand how it works, and that’s often the beginning of a great passion. Which can be very dangerous, because it gets very expensive very quickly! (laughs)
To find the key, you may simply have to look inside a watch once d’une montre
And what does Moser have to offer to win him over?
Our disruptive, sometimes provocative approach to watchmaking: we work a lot with colors, new materials, we’re very digital, we try to do things a little differently from the others. That’s why so many young people come to us today saying, “I want a classic, elegant watch, but I don’t want a watch that looks like my father’s or my grandfather’s.” So they buy a Moser.
There’s a lot of talk about sustainability. What does it mean to you?
It’s complex, and behind the word sustainability there are many things. It starts at the very basis, with the way we source materials, with our degree of transparency in the way we manufacture. At Moser, we do everything in Switzerland except for the leather straps, which we bring from Italy. We try to be as Swiss and transparent as possible. At Moser, for example, this means working hard on blockchain, so that we can offer real traceability for as many components as possible, and naturally for raw materials like diamonds and gold. It’s more than just marketing! It’s more the ethical side that’s interesting. Moreover, the need to work sustainably no longer necessarily depends on the brand. In any case, as far as we’re concerned, it’s our customers and sometimes even our colleagues who are pushing us. I’m surrounded by young people, people aged 25 and under among our watchmakers. For them, working for a brand with a certain conscience means a lot. We’re lucky enough to live in Switzerland, to work in luxury and to have very few problems compared with others. So if we can add a little more of that “good conscience” to what we do, for them and for us, that’s important.
Do you prefer TikTok, Instagram or LinkedIn?
More Instagram. TikTok, I must admit, I haven’t mastered very much yet. In fact, I was lucky enough to be interviewed by other people on TikTok and to see how quickly it can go viral. So I told my team that we had to start looking into it. Maybe we’re already a bit late, whereas we usually have a reputation for being rather ahead of the game. LinkedIn, for me, remains more of a recruitment tool and a little less of a communication tool. Instagram is very important for us in terms of communication. somehow it’s changed Moser’s life over the past decade. Because we went on it very early and were very active. It’s allowed me to get in touch with lots of people around the world, people I’ve never met face-to-face, but with whom I’ve had really interesting discussions.
What advice would you give me to live my passion and work in the watchmaking industry?
Ha! I think you’re already lucky enough to have people around you who know what they’re doing and can guide you well. Don’t listen too much to what people say, listen to your heart. If you love watchmaking, and you live in Switzerland, and you’ve already shown an interest in it at a very young age, then you’ve got everything you need for a great career. So there you have it, if it’s really your passion, then the doors will open for you.
Any message to pass on, anything to add or announce?
No, I’d like to congratulate you on your initiative. It’s great to see young people taking an interest in watchmaking. You’ll be influencing a lot of other young people, and that’s the future of our industry. And not just to sell watches. I think what you’re doing can bring people into the watchmaking industry. It’s really important because today it’s harder to find people who want to work in watchmaking and have the skills to do so than it is to sell watches. So thank you for your initiative.
Today it’s harder to find people who want to work in watchmaking and have the skills to do so than to sell watches.
Thanks, would you like to take a selfie with me?
With pleasure, where do we do it?