“What a beautiful automatic tourbillon movement” is probably one of the first things that came to mind when checking out the H. Moser & Cie. Venturer Tourbillon Dual Time watch hands-on for the first time. While most of the Schaffhausen-based brand’s watches fall into their larger “Endeavour” collection, the Venturer family features a slightly different case shape and only two models at this point: the Venturer Small Seconds and the brand’s current flagship model – this H. Moser & Cie. Venturer Tourbillon Dual Time.
In addition to the classic loveliness which is the standard H. Moser & Cie. Venturer Dual Time, they produced an interesting one-of-a-kind version of this model known as the H. Moser & Cie. Venturer Tourbillon Dual Time Sapphire Skeleton. Presented at Baselworld 2015, this piece unique model begins by replacing the standard 18k white or red gold case and producing it in finely machined sapphire crystal. Next, the in-house made movement is finely skeletonized, and last… H. Moser & Cie. uses a strap which has been 3D printed.
Don’t get stuck on that last statement, but it is totally weird. Look closely at the strap and you’ll see a range of interesting little patterns. Look from a bit further away and it looks (and feels a bit) like Swiss cheese. When I asked H. Moser & Cie. what will happen if and when this delicate strap breaks for the owner of this unique model – they said “we will gladly replace it.” When I pushed a bit more and said “what happens when it breaks again?” The response was “we will replace it as many times as they need – they are paying a million Swiss Francs, after all.”
Yes, if you are feeling brave, you can visit our friends at Chronopassion in Paris, and check out this exclusive H. Moser & Cie. Venturer Tourbillon Dual Time Sapphire Skeleton version that was produced for their store. It is a strange timepiece, for sure, but easily the best part is the skeletonized movement and the ability to view it entirely through the transparent sapphire crystal case. On that note, I am not entirely convinced that I like sapphire-cased watches. First of all, they are extremely expensive, costing over a million dollars in most instances (think Richard Mille), and they aren’t actually very expensive looking. Sure, the wearer might know that the case is sapphire crystal, not plastic, and took all too many hours to machine… but that isn’t necessarily obvious to other people.
There might be something to this sapphire crystal case thing in the future, but for now, I like sapphire crystal as windows, bridges, and sometimes dials. For entire cases, synthetic sapphire crystal seems unnecessary and not even actually blingy. Make a case out of a single giant diamond… and now you are talking some seriously sumptuous decadence. Isn’t that deliciously unnecessary?
OK, so we’ve had our fun with the 1,000,000 Swiss Franc H. Moser & Cie. Venturer Tourbillon Dual Time Sapphire Skeleton, now let’s look at the sans sapphire, sans skeleton version that I think is going to be a bit more interesting to most watch collectors. At 41.5mm wide, the H. Moser & Cie. Venturer Tourbillon Dual Time case feels like a good size for a modern, complicated dress watch. H. Moser & Cie. ensures pretty good proportions and smaller lugs so that it wears very well.
The H. Moser & Cie. Venturer case feels like it has a thin bezel which is good because it allows the dial to appear very wide. Add well-sized hands and elegant markers, and you have a winning design that looks great with the brand’s cursive logo. Well, there of course is the small matter of the tourbillon, as well as the dual time complication to discuss.
Let’s cover this latter element first. As you can see, the H. Moser & Cie. Venturer Tourbillon Dual Time dial has a third central hand in red. This operates as an extra hour hand which can be used for a second time zone. Unfortunately, there is no AM/PM indicator for the second time zone, but that isn’t a deal breaker, and H. Moser & Cie. typically prefers the minimalist way of doing things.
It is also worth noting that the second time zone hand can be hidden under the main hour hand if you prefer a slightly cleaner looking dial. This is one of the frequent benefits of having a dual time watch with the second time zone in a 12- versus 24-hour format.
The lower half of the dial is slightly recessed and given a different finish. This design technique isn’t terribly uncommon, but I like how H. Moser & Cie. implemented this “terraced dial” aesthetic. One very fine detail is the tourbillon bridge which has been skeletonized. I really have to hand it to the people at H. Moser & Cie. for being able to very frequently render graceful lines and curves – which populate the dial and movement when you look closely.
I will, however, say that like some other H. Moser & Cie. watches, the dial of the H. Moser & Cie. Venturer Tourbillon Dual Time suffers from a sapphire crystal that is too reflective and some dial elements that reflect too much light. I explained this issue in my review of the H. Moser & Cie. Endeavour Perpetual Calendar watch here. These issues can be resolved by being a bit more careful in selecting sapphire crystals, as well as working to refine elements on the dial such as the hands and hour markers by affording them the precisely correct finishing and textures.
Visibility does not, however, suffer at all when looking through the rear of the Venturer’s case and examining the H. Moser & Cie. caliber HMC 802 automatic movement. With about three days of power reserve, this 3Hz automatic movement is beautifully simple and elegant. Some special features include a Straumann Double Hairspring and a pawl-winding system for the automatic rotor. Speaking of the rotor, it is produced from solid 18k gold – and I quite like its design.
Going back to the dial-side of the H. Moser & Cie. Venturer Tourbillon Dual Time, you can inspect a lot of details in the tourbillon including the double hairsprings. It is interesting that H. Moser & Cie. got the surface finishing so perfect on the movement while the dial itself has so many reflective elements. It is nevertheless a fantastic watch if you are into simple-dialed tourbillons with an elegant flair.
Attached to the case is a black or brown hand-stitched alligator strap. This particular version of the H. Moser & Cie. Venturer Tourbillon Dual Time is the reference 2802-0200 in 18k white gold with the Ardoise (gray) dial. Other versions include the reference 2802-0401 in 18k red gold with the argente (silver), and the reference 2802-0400 in 18k red gold with the red gold fume dial. Each has a retail price of $98,000. www.h-moser.com