Our team at aBlogtoWatch has spoken extensively about the watch industry’s exotic materials arms race over the past few years, with brands extending into new high-impact case materials ranging from brilliant sapphire to carbon composites, ceramics, titanium, and a variety of unique precious metals. One of the dark horses in this age of material experimentation is tantalum — a rare, malleable, and ultra-durable metal that has made quiet appearances in watchmaking since the mid-‘90s. H. Moser & Cie. is the latest brand to test out this unconventional case material, pushing the boundaries of its finishing capabilities to render its trademark case form in this notoriously difficult-to-work metal. The new H. Moser & Cie. Endeavour Perpetual Calendar Tantalum Blue Enamel takes the company’s signature “luxe minimalist” look to new frontiers, combining a compelling new case material with a playfully integrated suite of complications.
At 42mm-wide and 13.1mm-thick, the H. Moser & Cie. Endeavour Perpetual Calendar Tantalum Blue Enamel is certainly large for a dress-style watch, but the tantalum case material uses this broader canvas to great effect. For those that haven’t experienced tantalum firsthand, this is a dark, dense metal material, with a unique purplish undertone that immediately stands apart from similar metals on the wrist. While the darker hue may be superficially similar to titanium at a glance, this is a remarkably heavy material, with a heft nearly identical to gold. Fans of the brand should be familiar with this case form, with its rounded smooth bezel and uniquely sinuous, organic case side recesses, but maintaining the familiar H. Moser & Cie. look here is noteworthy in and of itself. Although tantalum is both malleable and ductile, allowing the case to be shaped with relative ease, this material also develops a durable natural oxidation layer upon contact with air. While this last point makes tantalum an excellent case material for prolonged wear, it also makes finishing – especially polishing – a real challenge. In order to maintain the bright, predominantly polished look associated with this case, the brand spent upwards of two years testing and perfecting polishing methods. The results of this effort are striking, with a deep luster that emphasizes the metal’s subtle purple hue at certain viewing angles. The interaction between the vertically brushed main case side surfaces and the polished recesses also adds some striking depth to the overall package. Interestingly, the brand reverts to stainless steel for its distinctive flared crown at 3 o’clock and uses the same material for the display caseback. Interestingly, H. Moser & Cie. does not claim a water resistance rating for the Endeavour Perpetual Calendar Tantalum Blue Enamel, but this is far from a sports watch, to begin with.
As the name might suggest, apart from the tantalum case, the other major attraction of the H. Moser & Cie. Endeavour Perpetual Calendar Tantalum Blue Enamel is its new blue Grand Feu enamel dial. Although the dial is filled with recognizable brand hallmarks, including brightly polished leaf hands, a pared-back minimal layout, and a dramatic dégradé effect from the dial center to the edge, H. Moser & Cie. adds a new layer of visual complexity with the dial surface itself. The base gold dial plate is engrained with a complex organic ripple texture before each of the four translucent layers of colored enamel is applied and fired in 12 stages, creating a seamless fade from turquoise at the dial center to a deep oceanic blue at the edge. H. Moser & Cie. calls the resulting finish “Abyss Blue,” and the name is remarkably apropos. On the wrist, there’s a striking aquatic feel to the dial overall, with miles of apparent visual depth and an underlying “seabed” of texture that creates a myriad of highlights and shadows in changing light. In typical brand fashion, the Endeavour Perpetual Calendar Tantalum Blue Enamel packs a suite of complications into the most minimal layout possible. There is no dial text, and there are no indices save for a pair of slender applied batons at 12 o’clock and a truncated pair at 6 o’clock. The softly rounded 3 o’clock date window is the dial’s greatest concession to functionality, offering the first component of its perpetual calendar complication in a bold, high-contrast white-on-black display. As for the other half of the perpetual calendar display, you’d be forgiven for overlooking it at first glance. A minuscule tapering hand nestled between the main timekeeping handset acts as a pointer month display, but without a series of corresponding indices, this small indicator can be exceedingly difficult to read. With that said, how often does one need to be reminded of the current month? It may be a form-over-function design choice, but one that has a relatively minor impact on the actual wearing experience. H. Moser & Cie. takes a similarly minimal approach to the 6 o’clock running seconds subdial, with a small polished alpha hand devoid of scales or corresponding markings. Lastly, the brand visually balances the dial layout with a power reserve indicator at 9 o’clock, pairing a similar alpha hand to a sleek, bare-bones white printed scale.
Inside the H. Moser & Cie. Endeavour Perpetual Calendar Tantalum Blue Enamel beats the in-house HMC 800 hand-wound perpetual calendar movement. Like most of the brand’s movements, the HMC 800 is handsomely hand-finished, with broad Côtes de Genève across the main bridges, linear brushing for the balance bridge, polished anglage throughout, and an ornate gold-filled engraving of the H. Moser & Cie. shield emblem. The brand keeps the perpetual calendar complication front and center even through the caseback, however, with a broad leap year indicator nestled between the bridges. In terms of performance, the HMC 800 offers a hefty 168-hour power reserve at an 18,000 bph beat rate thanks to its dual mainspring barrels. Like many recent H. Moser & Cie releases, the brand fits the watch with a strap in soft matte kudu leather. This supple, medium gray material offers rich visual detail, along with a look and feel that immediately stands apart from calf leather on the wrist.
Although the watch industry as a whole is introducing more exotic materials into production than ever before, tantalum remains a relatively obscure option for most enthusiasts. The H. Moser & Cie. Endeavour Perpetual Calendar Tantalum Blue Enamel proves this material’s potential as a dark horse in the materials arms race, blending a rich, charismatic color palette with brilliant finishing, compelling material qualities, and the brand’s signature blend of soft minimalism with surprising complications. The H. Moser & Cie. Endeavour Perpetual Calendar Tantalum Blue Enamel is available now through authorized dealers. MSRP for this watch stands at $82,500 USD as of press time. For more information, please visit the brand’s website.