BY ERIK SLAVEN
H. Moser & Cie. is a relatively small luxury Swiss watchmaker that always does its own thing. Daring yet simplistic designs merge with haute horology for some true works of mechanical art. There are enough signature elements to keep H. Moser’s entire portfolio unmistakably H. Moser, even when the brand is among the few to often exclude its own name from the dial. The use of Vantablack, the darkest artificial substance on earth, creates a “black hole” on the dial that mimics a total eclipse, which is the aesthetic that The Armoury menswear brand and H. Moser collaborated on.
There are two watches in this very limited series, one in all stainless steel and the other with red gold accents under the crystal. All are spoken for, either by “insider clientele” or a lucky handful that put deposits down for a lottery (to possibly buy one). Don’t fret if you missed out – many high-end watchmakers and even brands like Ferrari do similar things. You’re either “in the family” or exclusive offerings are usually out of reach. The special Endeavor models are 38mm in diameter with a thickness of 9.9mm, which is a bit small for the brand. Endeavors are otherwise 40mm and above. This was requested by Mark Cho, founder of The Armoury, who prefers smaller cases. The dial steals the show with an exotic simplicity that H. Moser has mastered.
Vantablack is a material made from very dense carbon nanotubes, which absorb 99.965% of all visible light at virtually all angles. Light gets trapped and deflected throughout the tubes, and ultimately dissipates as heat. It’s popular for imaging applications to prevent light pollution (telescopes or infrared cameras), and the technology has even advanced to the point where it can be applied as a sprayable paint. H. Moser has embraced this “black hole” for many of its dials, such as on the Endeavour Perpetual Moon Concept Vantablack and Swiss Alp Watch Final Upgrade (a humorous nod to the Apple Watch). The word is a combination of Vanta – vertically aligned nanotube arrays – and Black. Dial elements are at a minimum with tiny hour markers, a small seconds hand at 6 o’clock (no sub-dial) and Breguet-like hour and minute hands. A special process was developed to drill through the Vantablack surface for the indices as it’s an extremely fragile material. The polished inner ring is either steel or red gold with the hands and indices matching. Combined with the deep black dial, the polished ring represents the halo of light (corona) behind the moon during a total eclipse.
The HMC 327 caliber was specifically chosen by Edouard Meylan, CEO of H. Moser. The hand-wound movement is the brand’s smallest and Meylan wanted a pocket watch vibe with the small seconds at 6 o’clock. There’s a power reserve indicator on the back, just above the escapement and visible through the sapphire case back. This avoids interrupting the minimalism on the front. This in-house movement is hand finished with Côtes de Genève, but shows a bit of deliberate restraint. It’s as high-end as it gets, however, with a silicon escapement and in-house Straumann hairspring, and features a 3-day power reserve and relatively slow 2.5Hz beat (18,000vph).
Founded in 2010 in Hong Kong, The Armoury has ready to wear and custom suits, shirts, shoes and more for discriminating shoppers. Although the Vantablack Endeavor Small Seconds Total Eclipse is another marvel from H. Moser, Mark Cho had significant input in the design with purchases offered through H. Moser and The Armoury. I use the term “offered” loosely as all are spoken for. The price is USD $25,900 and each is limited to 28 pieces. Those that put a deposit down for the lottery will be notified on January 27th if they can purchase a watch. Exclusivity personified.
Visit H. Moser & Cie. here.