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Alpinist Christian Moser

The 757 DIAPAL proves a reliable companion in Patagonia

A beautiful landscape where Mother Nature shows her wild side

“There is a place where you feel like if you were any closer to your Creator, you could shake hands.” This is the poetic claim Chile uses to attract tourists to Patagonia, and it aptly describes the beauty and grandeur of the region. Patagonia is definitely off the beaten track – indeed, for many it is the very epitome of remoteness and adventure. Perhaps that is why this part of the world, for which there are no fixed geographic boundaries, seems so magical and irresistible.

Located at the southern tip of South America, Patagonia has two very different topographies. Western Patagonia, which belongs to Chile, is a mountainous area of stone and ice, with innumerable fjords and Pacific islands. The spectacular peaks of the Andes command respect as they tower in the sometimes gray, sometimes blue sky. The landscape seems surreal, bizarre, mysterious. Eastern Patagonia is larger and belongs to Argentina. “You will find nothing there. There is nothing in Patagonia.”, the Argentine poet Jorge Luis Borges wrote of this tranquil, largely deserted place. What Borges meant with “nothing” is the sheer vastness, the seemingly endless space, the unceasing wind. The explorer Ferdinand Magellan went ashore in Santa Cruz, as the east coast is called, in 1520, and it was he who gave the region the name “Patagonia.” Because of their size, he called the native Tehuelche Indians “patagones,” a reference to a giant named Patagón in a chivalrous novel popular at the time.

The wild and breathtakingly beautiful region of Patagonia has become home to Christian Moser, a native of Austria who emigrated to Chile in the year 2000. Stretching 4000 kilometers along the west coast of South America, Chile has several very diverse climatic zones. Moser, who claims to have an “adventurer gene,” lives in Puerto Natales. The city with 19,000 inhabitants serves as the base camp for excursions into the famous Torres del Paine National Park and for tours of Patagonia. The fact that the next closest town is 250 kilometers away gives an indication of how vast and remote this part of the world is.

Moser joined the Austrian military when he was 19 and received special training as a paratrooper. One of his missions took him to Cyprus, where he served for ten months in 1990-91 as a member of the UN Rapid Reaction Force. After undergoing additional training programs including survival training, and after visiting many other countries, he came to Chile to work as a free-lance trekking and mountain guide. Of course, his passion for modern hiking and mountain climbing was instilled in his home country and honed through his military training. The decision to move to Chile was of his own volition. He had always had a fondness for South America, and the mountains, glaciers, lakes and forests of Patagonia convinced him to stay there.

For nearly ten years now, Moser has been organizing and leading trekking and mountain-climbing tours for adventurous Europeans. The tours are very challenging, both physically and mentally, for their participants. Not only do they have to deal with boulders and heaps of rubble, they sometimes also have to get up in the middle of the night to go mountain climbing. There are also extreme temperature fluctuations, particularly in northern Chile, along with steady winds of up to 140 kilometers per hour, paired with high-altitude sandstorms in the mountains. At elevations of more than 5500 meters, the air is thin: venturesome mountaineers have only 50 percent as much oxygen as they are normally accustomed to.

“For our mountain expeditions, optimal acclimatization and the use of state-of-the-art equipment are a matter of course,” Moser says on his website, www.moseractive.cl. And of course, that state-of-the-art equipment also includes his watch. His constant companion since September 2009 is the 757 DIAPAL model. Because he wears it over his sleeve, it is exposed to extreme weather conditions.

A long-time fan of mechanical watches, Moser has been interested in robust timepieces he can rely on 100 percent since his days as a paratrooper. And he knows he can count on his 757 DIAPAL. His tours last several days and are organized with military precision. A reliable watch is indispensable for adhering to the strict schedule. “Because we often have to climb mountains in the middle of the night, it’s essential for me to have a watch I can read easily in the dark. So the large luminous triangle on the bezel of the 757 is very helpful to me,” Moser says. And the TEGIMENT and DIAPAL technologies have also proven themselves under the extremely difficult day-to-day conditions in Patagonia. “I’m extremely satisfied with my watch. It is perfect for tours in the wilderness, because in spite of the cold, the rocky boulders and the sand, it shows hardly any signs of wear and tear, and still runs perfectly. It’s resistant to abrasions, and it’s designed to be extremely functional, with no superfluous frills. And although it may look a little clunky, it feels good on my arm.” Moser offers an extreme example to demonstrate that the 757 DIAPAL leaves absolutely nothing to be desired in terms of precision, functionality and freedom from fogging: “Once I left the watch out in the cold overnight. It was 25 degrees below zero, at an altitude of 4300 meters. Early the next morning I lowered on a rope into a geyser that was about 50 degrees hot. Even after this extreme temperature difference, the watch still worked. And thanks to its dehumidifying technology, it didn’t even fog up.” No wonder Christian Moser considers the 757 DIAPAL the best there is, thanks to its technological superiority and “quality based on years of experience.”