The independent Swiss watchmaker H. Moser & Cie. keeps on pushing boundaries with a trio of surprises at Watches & Wonders 2022.
While some people may feel that technology has dramatically reduced the need for mechanical watches, there are watchmakers so passionate about their craft they never cease to reinvent themselves, inject newness and challenge the limits of creativity. One such example is H. Moser & Cie. Besides being adept at creating handsome timepieces, H. Moser & Cie. is also great at generating buzz at every watch fair they take part in.
This year is no different, as they sprung surprises with three newsworthy creations at the Watches and Wonders 2022: the ‘lime green’ Endeavour Centre Seconds Concept watch, the Pioneer Cylindrical Tourbillon and lastly, the Streamliner Blacker than Black.
The Devil is in the Details
Presented with a bright and intense ‘Lime Green’ dial, there is much more than meets the eye for the Endeavour Centre Seconds Concept watch. Look closely, and you will notice that it does not simply feature H. Moser & Cie.’s signature fumé dial but instead revisits it through the age-old art of grand feu enamelling.
Firstly, the base of the dial, crafted in gold, is meticulously hammered to give it a grained texture. Three shades of green enamel pigment are then applied one after the other and baked twelve times to produce the remarkably translucent ombré effect that darkens gradually towards the edge of the dial.
The concept of minimalism forms the basis of H. Moser & Cie.’s line of ‘Concept’ watches, and these are always presented with a clean dial and nothing more than three hands. For this lime green model, each dial is hammered by hand to give a grained texture. In addition, as one cannot control how enamel pigments react when heated in the furnace, no two watches in the collection are identical. The simpler the design, the more there is to scrutinise – the purity of the Endeavour Centre Seconds Concept ‘Lime Green’ can be seen as a testament to H. Moser & Cie.’s relentless pursuit of perfection in the art of watchmaking from a resolutely contemporary perspective.
It is also the brand’s unique way of paying homage to traditional craftsmanship as well as its heritage (they started making Grand Feu enamel dials more than a century ago).
In sharp contrast to the minimalistic Endeavour Centre Seconds Concept with a ‘Lime Green’ dial, is the Pioneer Cylindrical Tourbillon – possibly one of the watchmaker’s most complex-looking creations to date. H. Moser & Cie. has successfully infused its signature contemporary aesthetic into the traditional art of skeletonisation, a technique rarely present in the brand’s creations. Presented in the sporty and robust H. Moser & Cie steel Pioneer case, is a three-dimensional one-minute flying tourbillon equipped with a cylindrical hairspring. On the domed sub-dial rendered in fume funky blue colouration are hands and three-dimensional indices made of Globolight®, a luminescent ceramic compound.
A highly technical component, the cylindrical hairspring was invented in the 18th century and used mainly in marine chronometers. It takes ten times longer to produce than a traditional hairspring, but offers better precision, thanks to the use of 2 Breguet overcoils on both ends. It is also mesmerising to watch, as it vibrates in a concentric manner perpendicular to the balance wheel, unlike flat hairsprings.
The steel Pioneer case was specially selected to house this delicate and complex movement as a sturdy form of protection, on top of adding a touch of modernity. Seen from an angle, the Globolight® components look like white pillars ‘standing’ on the dial’s surface – adding an element of surprise and intrigue when admired closely. Besides the bridges, the oscillating weight, ratchet, and barrel cover have also been meticulously skeletonised.
Beneath the sapphire crystal, the Pioneer Cylindrical Tourbillon looks like a mini amphitheatre of mechanical wonder. It is fitted with the in-house automatic movement, calibre HMC 811, which features a bi-directional pawl winding system and a power reserve of 74 hours.
Now You See It, Now You Don’t
Last but not least, one of the most talked-about watches at Watches & Wonders 2022 was none other than H. Moser & Cie.’s Streamliner Chronograph Blacker Than Black. After experimenting with Vantablack® a few times – the most recent being their limited-edition Swiss Alp watch with a dial made from Vantablack (launched in 2021), H. Moser & Cie. has taken things to the next level by creating a model under the Streamliner family, with the case, dial and bracelet coated entirely with Vantablack®. One of the darkest substances known, Vantablack®, absorbs 99.965% of the light that hits it.
At the fair, the one and only piece was displayed against an equally black backdrop, literally rendering it invisible, save for its hands. It was an intriguing and perplexing sight, as well as a hot topic among fair-goers. However, due to the fragile nature of this material, this not-for-sale concept watch cannot be worn – for now. H. Moser & Cie. is supposedly developing ways to strengthen this material and make it more stable for future use.
One thing is for sure – H. Moser & Cie. has yet again showcased its ability for technical innovation, as well as knack for pushing boundaries and thinking outside the box.