Just released by H. Moser & Cie is the Endeavour Small Seconds Total Eclipse, a limited-edition watch done in collaboration with menswear brand The Armoury. Done in either steel or two-tone red gold, the Total Eclipse is manual-wind, 38mm-wide, and has a Vantablack (the blackest of human-made blacks) dial.

Before I get into the watch, here is The Armoury co-founder Mark Cho on his inspiration behind the Endeavour Small Seconds Total Eclipse:
“When Edouard and I first started talking about the idea of making a watch together, my main requirement was that it was small. I like watches that are discreet but reveal a deeper complexity if you pay them some attention. To me, H. Moser & Cie.’s fumé dial and Vantablack® dial are iconic, and I wanted to work with one of them as a starting point for the design. Quickly, I started to favour the Vantablack®, and I had the idea to add markings to the dial somehow. My design partner, Elliot Hammer, suggested that we imagine the design with the theme of a total solar eclipse. Thus, the Endeavour Small Seconds Total Eclipse was born.”

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The Endeavour Total Eclipse comes in two varieties, each limited to 28 pieces. There is the all-steel variant and the model seen here, which is two-tone steel and red gold. Both have the Vantablack dial with the small circular hour indices, which, due to the nature of Vantablack, are drilled into the dial plate beneath before the Vantablack treatment is applied. This specific technique is a first for Moser (or anyone, for that matter), and the result is pretty cool-looking.

While this isn’t one of Moser’s “concept” dials (which forego indices or any markers, as well as dial text), it’s about as minimal as one of its somewhat lesser-known “purity” dials. Moser produced several purity variants of the now-discontinued Venturer that were basically a concept dial plus hour markers. I have a feeling Moser is leaning further into the translucent logo we saw on the Streamliner Perpetual Calendar. Of course, that would be impossible to do on Vantablack.

And then, there is the “Total Eclipse” aspect of the dial, designed to evoke a solar eclipse (when the moon completely hides the sun). The theme totally works with the red gold chapter ring, adding an unusual and wonderful framing to the dial. In my opinion, the two-tone is the way to go if you’re really enthralled by the eclipse aspect of this watch, but I understand many people will gravitate toward the all-steel variant.

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While the Breguet-style hands are unusual for Moser, this isn’t the first time they’ve been used. In addition to some previous Heritage collection models, there was a limited-edition Endeavour done with musician Bryan Ferry some years ago that had Breguet-style hands. In fact, this was also a 38mm small seconds manual-wind Endeavour, but the design (and gold case) couldn’t be more different. Personally, I’m a little ambivalent toward them, but I also acknowledge that the interplay between the hands and hour markers is aesthetically pleasing and cohesive. Plus, I have to give Moser credit for not just sticking to rehashing designs from its most commercially successful pieces.

The Endeavour Small Seconds Total Eclipse comes in the smaller 38mm case with the manual-wind HMC 327 movement. This style isn’t part of Moser’s standard production Endeavour line anymore (which is 40mm and has the automatic HMC 200 movement), but it’s so refreshing to see a new Moser with a manual wind movement. The HMC 200 is excellent — in fact, I own an Endeavour with the HMC 200 — but Moser’s manual-wind movements are something truly special.  Yes, I’m sure these were existing movements and not newly manufactured specifically for the Total Eclipse (considering the HMC 327 was widely used on the Venturer), but that doesn’t make me any less happy to see them.

The case measures 38mm-wide and 9.9mm-thick, which makes it both a perfectly sized dress watch and a unisex piece. If you haven’t experienced the Endeavour case in the metal, I highly suggest doing so. The scalloped parts of the case band are intricately hand-polished and contrast beautifully with the brushed finishing on the rest of the case. Moser dials and the Streamliner bracelet tend to garner the most attention, but I think the Endeavour case is one of the most beautiful things it has produced to date.

Turning the case over reveals —*gasp*—  a movement that isn’t too small for its case. Far too many watches these days have an exhibition caseback that is the size of a yolk on a fried egg. Not here, as the HMC 327 is on full display with a bezel-sized case wrapping the exhibition window. It delighted me to once again see that fissure running down the center of the HMC 327. Hand-finished with double-crested Moser stripes and power reserve indicator, the HMC 327 has a Straumann Hairspring produced by Moser’s sister company Precision Engineering. Reminiscent of old-school pocket watch movements, the HMC 327 operates at 18,000 vph and has a three-day power reserve, as well as hacking seconds.

The H. Moser & Cie Endeavour Small Seconds Total Eclipse is limited to 28 pieces each in either all-steel or steel and red gold. Both come on a black calf leather strap and are each priced at $25,900. You can learn more at h-moser.com.

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