September 24, 2022
by Jake Witkin
As you gaze into the infinite darkness of the recently unveiled H. Moser & Cie. Streamliner Vantablack Tourbillon’s dial, two things can happen. The first is that you get lost pondering the existence of the dial itself. Being so impossibly dark, the only proof it exists is the presence of something that is not utter blackness in its southern hemisphere. The second is that the eye can’t help but be pulled toward the lively tourbillon prancing away at 6 o’clock as if its existence contrasts the dial’s lack thereof. The polarizing juxtaposition of mechanical life thriving with each beat of the double-sprung balance wheel while surrounded by what looks to be a void in space-time can only be executed at this level by a brand well known for its participation at both ends of the horological spectrum. Moser can wholly embrace humor, as is evident with its troll-like production of a “Swiss cheese” watch or a “watch without hands,” or even a tribute to the industry with the “Swiss icons watch.” Simultaneously, it produces immaculately finished, highly complicated, and very rare watches. While the brand usually has at least one special surprise up its sleeve each year, it seems that each iteration of the Streamliner is more special than the next.
When the Streamliner debuted in early 2020, it was a departure from the brand’s existing designs, yet it was still undeniably a creation of H. Moser & Cie. The brand could have gone the safe route with the release, featuring a classic Moser fumé dial and a time-only caliber in the new case, but that’s just not Moser’s style. The first iteration of this new family of watches was a split-second chronograph that shattered expectations of what a next generation — and non-Genta-inspired — integrated bracelet watch could be. As the family of watches grew, it was only a matter of time before it got more remarkable.
It is only natural that the first precious metal Streamliner comes in the epic form of a 40mm 5N red-gold case and bracelet. The heft of the 232-gram package is the first of many pleasing attributes. With a decidedly organic design, the nearly reptilian scale-like links of the bracelet articulate to unveil polished chamfers that play with the light and bring the bracelet to life. “It’s like a golden cobra ready to strike,” as aBlogtoWatch team member Ed Rhee stated. The integration of the bracelet into the case is natural, with the 12 o’clock and 6 o’clock case chamfers echoed throughout the entirety of the bracelet. The undulating lines of the bracelet meet in a nearly hidden clasp that is only truly noticeable thanks to a finely engraved Moser hallmark and the 180º inversion of the links.
The case does not have a bad viewing angle, with immaculately crisp transitions between brushed and polished surfaces—as you’d expect at this price point. The 12.2mm thickness, while comfortable, is additionally disguised by two polished chamfers that run roughly parallel from lug-to-lug and encapsulate a linearly brushed depression that makes up the caseband. Without defined lugs, a lug-to-lug measurement is not clear, but I measured roughly 52mm at the point where the bracelet begins to drape around the wrist. The crown is large, but not large enough to dig into the wrist during regular wear and bears the Moser “M.” While it is trivial, a simple “M” looks casual and out of place compared to the intricate case and bracelet finishing. I would have preferred the detailed engraving of the brand’s logo found at the clasp on the crown instead. The crown is threaded and screws down to help provide a 120-meter depth rating.
By now, the case and bracelet are relatively known quantities of the Streamliner family, so what’s packed inside is truly a treat. Secured with four screws, the sapphire caseback reveals the HMC 804 Automatic manufacture movement, which features a double-hairspring flying tourbillon. The double-hairspring tourbillon is a unique answer to the question, “How can we reduce friction while increasing accuracy?” Adding a second hairspring of equal and opposite exertion and allowing this delicate balance to rotate once each minute reduces positional and gravitationally-induced errors in timekeeping. The tourbillon makes a full orbit every sixty seconds, therefore acting as a running seconds indicator, and beats away at a 21,600 VPH frequency. The movement has a satisfactory 72-hour power reserve, but it is nothing to write home about. A solid 18k gold oscillating weight ensures the movement maintains its power reserve, without detracting from the view when you flip the watch over.
The main dial surface is constructed of a vertically aligned carbon nanotube array (more commonly known as Vantablack) which has the capacity to absorb 99.965% of visible light, making it one of the darkest substances on the planet. It is most often used for interstellar imaging systems to eliminate unwanted inference from additional light. Moser is no stranger to this high-tech material either, having used it in the past and most recently on the exterior of the Streamliner Chronograph Flyback Automatic “Blacker Than Black.” The darkness of the dial is truly something you have to see with your own eyes to fully appreciate. Each of the markers — sans the 6 o’clock due to the tourbillon — is recessed into the dial and features a lightly frosted gold texture that catches the light without creating any glare or reflection. The aperture for the indices is rough around the edges, though it is not easy to see with the naked eye. The dial actually consists of two separate pieces. A rear plate contains the indices and is secured from behind to the Vantablack bearing plate. Two robust syringe-like hands in polished gold carry large three-dimensional Globolight luminous inserts that subtly curve as they extended outward along the dome of the dial. The luminance is a bit disappointing in its strength and duration for a lume-lover like myself. However, even in the pitch black of a moonless night, the time is still legible thanks to the dial being darker than the night itself and still providing contrast to the reflective hands and luminous batons.
On the wrist, the H Moser & Cie. Streamliner Tourbillon Vantablack triggers an incredibly visceral response — one that most watch enthusiasts have felt at some point in their collecting journey. The feeling deep down that is only the result of a surplus of dopamine flooding your system. Whether it be the weight of the solid gold case and bracelet, the excitement of the tourbillon, or the overwhelming darkness of the Vantablack dial, the result is undeniably lovely. While a bit ostentatious for everyday wear, this watch can easily be the pinnacle of any collection and certainly a sight to see given the opportunity. The H Moser & Cie Streamliner Tourbillon Vantablack ref. 6804-0400 is priced at $119,900 USD and is not a limited edition. However, the brand produces nearly 1,500 watches a year which makes the slogan “Very rare” very true. For more information, please visit the manufacturer’s website.