April 1, 2022
by Tom Roth
Denizens of the Internet know about 2014’s legendary “Darkness War” between contemporary sculpture artists Anish Kapoor and Stuart Semple. At the heart of the spat was Kapoor’s maneuver to “trademark” a type of black paint known as Vantablack®, with Semple and other artists tenaciously undermining Kapoor’s attempts at exclusivity, even going so far as to develop a paint called “Black 2.0” that claimed to be even “more black” than Vantablack®. Amidst this bickering, the art public came out ahead. Today, “Black 2.0” serves as a user-friendly, commercially available medium available for purchase online. Unless, of course, you are Mr. Kapoor. He’s prohibited by Black 2.0’s creators from ever purchasing or owning the product, as cheeky retaliation for the kerfuffle with Vantablack®.
Why the beef? Well, it’s not every day that a color comes along that is so… uncolorful. In fact, Vantablack® claims to absorb an astounding 99.965% of visible light, making it a fascinating application when used correctly. It’s a material that is at once hypnotic and puzzling. View a Vantablack®-coated sculpture, object, or car (yes, BMW coated an X6 SUV in 2019 — Google it) and you’ll find that your eye lingers, trying to make sense of what it’s seeing.
And so we arrive at the (deep breath) H. Moser & Cie. Streamliner Chronograph Flyback Automatic “Blacker Than Black.” Unveiled this week at Moser’s booth at the Watches & Wonders tradeshow in Geneva, the Blacker Than Black is the ultimate stealth watch and a play on 2020 Streamliner flyback chronograph, which is a stunner in its own right. Lacking the subdials that so often define chronographs, the Streamliner uses a central seconds chronograph hand that works in conjunction with a central minutes chronograph hand. Combine these with the regular hour and minute hands, and the four-pronged appearance could easily be mistaken for a GMT. But, as it is most times with Moser, things are usually not what they seem. Add a full coating of Vantablack® to the Streamliner’s case, dial, and bracelet and the result is a watch that is visually confounding.
Because of Vantablack’s® delicateness, the Blacker Than Black is not suitable for wear (and you thought the Moonswatch dye-stain fiasco was bad…), but despite being a one-off, Moser has acknowledged it’s exploring ways to make Vantablack® more stable for practicable use. That aside, it’s a safe bet that legions of cash-waving zealots are already hammering Moser’s inbox, vying for The Watch That Wasn’t There.
Brand: H. Moser & Cie.
Model: Streamliner Chronograph Flyback Automatic “Blacker Than Black”
Water Resistance: 12 ATM
Case Material: Stainless Steel with Vantablack® coating
Dial: Sterile, Vantablack® coated
Movement: HMC 902 Flyback Automatic Chronograph
Power Reserve: 54 hours
Strap/Bracelet: Stainless Steel bracelet with Vantablack® coating
Price/Availability: Not available for purchase