Have you ever noticed how fickle your own tastes can be? I don’t like to admit it; I like to think of myself as a very decisive and principled guy, but sometimes my own volatility amazes me. The new H. Moser & Cie Endeavour Tourbillon didn’t grab me at first. I thought it was fine – a solid design with some admirably artisanal features (check out that delicious fumé dial) – but it did not blow my socks off. Not even a DLC coated titanium case that makes what should be a classic design somehow contemporary won me over. No, the thing that got me excited was a hidden hand. And then I started to notice all the other things I like about the watch, how it reminds me of one of my sneaky all-time favourites, the Bvx from Bottega Veneta, and how it sets out to satisfy a bold design brief and comes away with a smug smile on its face.
This watch is not just a tourbillon. It features the option to have a second time zone displayed on the dial. The way in which this is achieved is perfectly simple and, mechanically speaking, nothing new at all. There is a separate hour hand that can be set to either match the current time, or another time zone of your choosing. This time zone hand, painted red to distinguish it from the normal hour hand, works on a 12-hour basis and can be hidden behind the hour hand, effectively “switching-off” the complication. It may be simple, but I think it’s simply brilliant.
Once the disappearing complication had tickled my fancy, I started to look at this watch with softer eyes. I started seeing more and more to like about it. The case is a stylish compromise between a traditional, flowing design, and a modern approach to size and silhouette. The slight hollowing of the case at 3 o’clock gives the impression of a crown protector, despite offering little in the way of support for the winding button, which itself is a handsomely fluted design. It’s hardly a functional element but it is a nod to a modern design element that one would not often see on a tourbillon.
The sculpted case flanks are also nicely conceived, with particular attention paid to the alternation between polished and satin-finished surfaces. This finishing pattern is a familial trait of H. Moser & Cie and ties the Endeavour Tourbillon to its pre-existing siblings. It’s impossible to see how this will look in the metal, as these press release renders are not subject to natural light, but contrasting finishes often look best and can be enhanced by a DLC coating.
H. Moser & Cie went for this dark color scheme to evoke feelings of a “stormy night.” It’s an interesting angle to take – conventional wisdom might suggest that a product should make a consumer feel comfortable and at ease with their purchase, rather than challenging them with an edgy, darker design. But in darkness, light is most apparent. It seems that Moser are trying to draw attention to the tourbillon located at 6 o’clock, framed perfectly by the darkness of the case and edge of the sunburst fumé dial.
It’s not the first time H. Moser & Cie have chosen DLC coated titanium as a material for their wares. Citing its hypo-allergenic, scratch resistant, weight-saving qualities, as well as its warmth on the wrist, the Schaffhausen-based brand stuck with the material they used in their Endeavour Perpetual Calendar Black Edition.
The H. Moser & Cie Endeavour Tourbillon is powered by the HMC 802 automatic calibre. The tourbillon cage features an original Straumann (a company owned by Moser) Double Hairspring that Moser claims improves precision and isochronism, which is exactly what you want from your tourbillon.
The rotor of HMC 802 is solid gold and engraved with a serial number. There will only be 20 of these pieces produced, which is an extremely limited number even when you consider the company only produces just over 1,000 timepieces a year. The movement is 34mm wide and 6.5mm tall and sits neatly within the 40.8mm wide case, which stands up just 11.3mm from the wrist.
The HMC 802 operates at 21,600vph, features Moser teeth for all wheels and pinions, and has a power reserve of at least 3 days. It’s held on your wrist by a particularly sexy black alligator strap with carbon-effect matte finish, which matches the dark, brooding case design well. The H. Moser & Cie Endeavour Tourbillon will retail at a price of $75,000. h-moser.com