There are a lot of options available right now if you’re in the market for a stainless steel sports watch with an integrated bracelet. The once underrated category that was birthed from the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak is now one of the hottest in the industry. It seems like every brand out there is trying to capitalize on the popularity of integrated models like the Royal Oak and Nautilus, but because of that popularity, there are also many copycat designs, and what you don’t see much of is original takes on the style. Enter the Moser Streamliner Flyback Chronograph, a gorgeous, high-quality, integrated steel sports watch with a new and unique design.
H. Moser & Cie is known for its minimalist and avant-garde watches. They’re a brand that is constantly fighting against the status quo, and they have continued that tradition with the Moser Streamliner Flyback Chronograph. When it was introduced in January of 2020, the Streamliner simultaneously achieved two firsts for the brand as their first integrated steel bracelet watch and their first automatic chronograph. Since then, the Streamliner has grown from this limited edition of just 100 pieces to a foundational model that birthed an entirely new line for the brand. So while many watches in the integrated sports watch category seem stuck in the past, the Streamliner is focused on the future.
The Streamliner design is unique, which is already a rare thing in watches but what sets it apart even more is that it’s a novel design in a watch category that’s full of derivative-looking watches. The Royal Oak heavily inspires many integrated steel sports watches, and because of that, they come off very industrial, with similar traits like exposed screws and hard lines. The Streamliner, however, is very organic. My first thought when I saw this watch was that it reminded me of a snake. The scale-like structure of the bracelet is one of the watches defining traits.
The links are aggressive and sporty but not in an exaggerated way. Another reason why the watch looks so distinct is the combination of design elements from different eras. It’s a 42mm cushion-shaped bullhead style chronograph which is very 1970’s but also, as its name implies, it is heavily inspired by the 1930’s Art Deco streamliner design style often seen on cars and trains from that era. The result is an organic and futuristic-looking wristwatch that is still subtle enough to be versatile on the wrist.
On the dial, you have the very Moser-esque grey fumé gradient with griffé vertical brushing giving the watch a smokey but legible look. The layout is very clean, with about as little ornamentation as you can have on a chronograph. Right off the bat, you’ll notice there are no sub-dials and only three hands visible when the chronograph isn’t running. The way the Streamliner’s chronograph complication works is the long red hand tracks the second’s while elapsed minutes are measured with a hidden hand that stays under the red second’s hand when it’s not being used. So if you’re not using the chronograph, you don’t have any additional clutter on the watch, and even when you are, the additional info is clean and easily readable.
There is a big bold applied 60 at twelve with smaller applied five-minute indications and graduations all around the perimeter. The tachymeter scale is neatly tucked away into the rehaut—again avoiding unnecessary clutter as Moser is prone to do. One detail that stands out is the hands, and particularly the lume applied to them. The hands are all relatively short, but lume reaches out much further like little diving boards. The lume used is called Globolight, and it’s a combination of ceramic and Super-Luminova. Its application here is quite ingenious in that it optimizes the hand’s visibility while minimizing its visual weight. That said, my favorite design trait on this watch is one that you can’t see. The Streamliner is water-resistant to 12ATM, and the chronograph can be used underwater. This is something that I would love to see on more chronographs as it’s my biggest gripe with the genre. It makes the Streamliner a true go-anywhere do-anything sports watch.
Inside the Streamliner is the spectacularly over-engineered Aghenor caliber HMC 902. This caliber was heavily modified from the AgenGraphe chronograph for Moser and was developed by Aghenor founder Jean-Marc Weiderrecht, who once upon a time invented the retrograde perpetual calendar—he knows what he’s doing. Unlike a lot of watch companies who outsource movements, Moser is totally upfront about where they got this movement from; hell, they brag about it, and for good reason.
The HMC 902 is a flyback chronograph—allowing you to reset the timer without stopping—that’s choked full of innovative engineering, including an advanced cam system that enables the chronograph’s minute hand to jump instantaneously when the seconds hand reaches 60. Additionally, the bi-directionally winding automatic rotor is hidden under the dial and does not block the view of the beautifully finished movement. This means you get the convenience of an automatic winding movement—with a 52-hour power reserve—and the pleasing aesthetics of a manual winding chronograph. With 434 components, 55 jewels, and exceptional finishing quality, this is a movement you’ll definitely want full visibility of.
Versus The Competition
As stated at the top of this review, the steel integrated bracelet segment is very hot right now and highly competitive. This Streamliner, however, is up for the competition. I believe it contends with the top options in this category due to its unique and attractive design as well as its advanced, well-finished movement. The first and likely most obvious alternative is the watch that the entire category was birthed from, the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak. Specifically, in this case, the Royal Oak Chronograph reference 26331ST. This reference was released in 2017 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Royal Oak Chronograph. Its design is straightforward and offers all the classic Royal Oak traits with the added benefit of a chronograph complication. I see the Royal Oaks’ technical and sharp design as somewhat of the yin to the Streamliner’s yang. For just $1,500 more than the Streamliner at $46,500, you’re getting an icon of watchmaking and the legitimate standard for the category. That said, it only has 50 meters of water resistance, which, as I said, is a pet peeve of mine, but that may not concern you.
Another timepiece to consider is the A. Lange & Söhne Odysseus. The Odysseus is a kindred spirit to the Streamliner. Both are newcomers to the integrated sports watch category; both come from relatively smaller manufacturers, and they both have very original designs. However, they’re stylistically very different. The Odysseus is a bit old-fashioned and formal, while the Streamliner is futuristic and sporty. Also, while their retail prices—$28,800 for the Odysseus and $39,900 for the Streamliner—are close enough to consider them peers, their second-hand market prices are vastly different. The Odysseus is currently trading in the $80,000 range, which is almost double the Streamliner. It’s also important to note that the Lange is still being produced and sold at retailers—though it is tough to get—while the Streamliner was only produced in 100 examples. Considering the limited availability and price, my choice between those two is easily the Streamliner.
The Streamliner is for someone who finds integrated steel sports watches very appealing but is unwilling to pay a significant markup for a mass-produced, uncomplicated timepiece. It’s the connoisseur’s integrated sports watch for the person who wants all the convenience, versatility, and quality of a Nautilus or Royal Oak but actively rejects the hype around those watches.
While H. Moser & Cie stepped out of character a bit by following the integrated sports watch trend, they didn’t fall into the common traps so many other brands have when making their Royal Oak competitor. The Streamliner Flyback Chronograph is a truly original offering that frankly gives me hope that innovation in the watch industry is not dead. This watch is one of the best arguments for why it’s important to branch out from your favorite brands and see what else is out there because small manufactures like Moser are the ones truly pushing the envelope and moving the watch world forward.