Hands-On: Moser Streamliner Centre Seconds

The Skinny

  • Diameter: 40mm
  • Thickness: 12.25mm
  • Movement: HMC 200
  • Water Resistance: 12 ATM (120m)
  • Price: $21900

We first saw the Streamliner case in January 2020 when it housed the limited edition Flyback Chronograph. With a name inspired by the streamlined locomotives from the 30s and 40s, the design was a divergence from Moser’s normal style of minimal dress watches in precious metals with attention-grabbing colourful dials. The Streamliner Chronograph was positively subdued in comparison, with its dark grey fumé dial in a stainless steel case flowing into an integrated bracelet.

First Impressions

The case now makes a re-appearance with the new Streamliner Centre Seconds and will be immediately familiar to anyone who saw the chronograph. The case is the same modern lugless cushion shape which organically blends into the same reptilian integrated bracelet. The Matrix Green dial fades to a fumé black outer edge. The colour is subdued by Moser standards but this in turn lends the watch an elegance missing from some of the louder colors that Moser is famous for.

The Streamliner Centre Seconds does not have the immediate wrist presence of, say, the 43mm Moser Venturer Small Seconds in Funky Blue, but that is not necessarily a bad thing in my mind. While the Streamliner has no bezel as such, the watch has less dial and more case than other Moser watches, which leads to a well-balanced ratio of dial to case.

That Bracelet

More than the dial, more than the case, it is the Streamliner’s bracelet that makes the real statement. The bracelet has an organic appearance of interlocking reptilian scales but any semblance of natural formation is soon dispelled by its brushed stainless steel execution, reminding you that it is in fact very much, man-made. For me, the bracelet of the Streamliner Centre Seconds is pure, wonderful science-fiction.

The colour is subdued by Moser standards but this in turn lends the watch an elegance missing from some of the louder colors that Moser is famous for.

Do you ever look at your watch dial and forget to register the actual time? I certainly tend to get drawn into the design and details of a watch to such an extent, that I often need to look again within a few seconds to actually read the time. The Streamliner Centre Seconds is the first watch where I sometimes forget to look at the entire watch at all. I have found myself simply staring at the bracelet, moving it back and forth in wonder, without ever getting as far as looking at the watch. Love them or hate them, Instagram wrist-rolls will become obligatory with the streamliner bracelet.

For me, the bracelet of the Streamliner Centre Seconds is pure, wonderful, science-fiction.

Closer examination reveals that the brushed part of the bracelet is not flat. The links have a slight curve on the upper side which makes the brushing dance back and forth as it catches the light. The lower edge of each link is polished just as it disappears under the next link, heightening the impression that this is part of some beast’s metallic hide. This sliver of inner polish is also present on the case where it joins the bracelet. The tolerances and attention to detail here are simply second to none.

The case is technically cushion-shaped but its so close to round and the corners so soft that Moser have succeeded in bringing that typically-vintage shape bang up to date. The case shape combined with distance between the dial to the edge of the case reminds me of the Patek Aquanaut, although the overall design of the Streamliner is more honed than the Patek.

I have found myself simply staring at the bracelet, moving it back and forth in wonder, without ever getting as far as looking at the watch.

The top surface is radially brushed and falls away gently where a bezel would normally sit before transitioning to the polished side of the mid-case. The mid-case itself, now devoid of the buttons of the earlier chronograph, still has the same brushed, subtly concave section. Even though the Center Seconds is not a tall watch at 12.25mm, this midcase detail certainly breaks up the height and adds visual interest.


The answer is out there, Neo

I think we can say that the Wachowski’s 1999 movie has become a globally established cultural icon now that H Moser & Cie reference it for the colour of their dial. In reality, the dial is a more olive than the phosphor green of the the machines’ simulated reality tumbling down Tank’s monitor. The fumé dial’s fade to black and the shift in hue with the light is close enough though to raise a smile on the face of this Matrix fan. By dialing back the intensity of the green in the dial, Moser have made this watch eminently easier to wear. This shade will rarely clash with the rest of your outfit. Rather, it is going to complement it and if anything, it dresses the watch up a little more than if it had a more neutral dial.

The rally-inspired hash marks around the edge of the dial are retained from the chronograph. One aspect of the Flyback Chronograph dial that I thought was a little out of place was the applied 60 numeral at 12 o’clock. The Centre Seconds eschews all numerals for applied polished steel markers that visually link the dial to the case and firmly assert this watch is on the dressy side of the luxury-sport-watch playing field.

The fumé dial’s fade to black and the shift in hue when the light changes is close enough though to raise a smile on the face of this Matrix fan.

The two part hand design is also carried over from the chronograph. Luminous ceramic batons are attached to smaller flat steel hands to provide a unique modern look. I think the design was more successful on the chronograph, especially with the second hand that was painted red. Here all the hands are polished steel and I am not convinced the design carries over to a dressier watch. The second hand in particular does not quite jive with the attention to detail apparent in the rest of the watch. To put things bluntly, at this price point I don’t expect to see a pressed rivet on my seconds hand. This is a minor gripe though, and a personal one at that. While I might not love the hands, to their credit, they are the most visible of any watch I have worn. It does not matter if there is bright sunlight, pitch darkness, the hands are clearly visible. Even in the half-light of dusk which often makes a watch hard to read, the Streamliner Centre Seconds is clear as day.

The Movement

The 21600 vph movement is the same in-house HMC 200 that debuted in the 2017 Endeavour and is unchanged at 5.5mm thick with 27 jewels. The oscillating weight is 18k gold and provides a 3-day power reserve. The level of finish is high, as is to be expected, with the characteristic Moser double Geneva stripes clearly visible on the train bridge. The Moser heraldic logo is also engraved on the bridge and infilled with gold. The same logo is also etched onto the bracelet.

Timekeeping is well regulated with our example recording an error rate of +6s dial up, +3s crown down and +0s dial down. Beat error is well controlled and there were no mechanical issues while the watch was in our possession.

Conclusion

I admit, I was excited to receive the new Streamliner. I had tried the Flyback Chronograph back in January and remember loving that unique case design. The chronograph was of course more than just its case. It was a limited edition timepiece that contained the amazing and complex HMC 902 movement from Aghenor with its concealed automatic rotor. Because of this, the chronograph was priced a fraction under the forty thousand dollars and was always going to be a fairly exclusive watch. The new Streamliner Center Seconds promises to deliver all that style for less by utilising the existing HMC 200 movement.

The level of finish is high, as is to be expected, with the characteristic Moser double Geneva stripes clearly visible on the train bridge.

In this respect, the watch absolutely delivers. The Streamliner case and bracelet are just as special as I remember. If anything the new Matrix Green dial is more arresting and far more typical of Moser than the staid grey of the Flyback Chronograph’s. At $21900, the Streamliner is still significantly more expensive than the $12900 stainless steel Pioneer Center Seconds but it really presents a different value proposition form the Pioneer. The case shape begs comparison with other haute horology luxury sports watches, such as Patek’s Aquanaut, rather than H Moser’s existing steel dress watches. I feel that in this respect the Streamliner really does punch above its weight.

The Streamliner Center Seconds provides Moser high quality, exclusivity, refinement and simplicity of design. You also get one of their famous fumé dials in a colour that is unusual but also tasteful and refined. The unique case is both organic and futuristic and is almost worth the price of the watch alone for that level of engineering and finish. I think the Streamliner Center Seconds is going to prove extremely popular for H Moser and takes it to the heart of the haute horology luxury sports watch sector.