It’s always a little daunting to review a simple 3-hand dress watch because, on the whole, they tend to steer on the side of ‘conservative, classic, understated elegance’ and can have you thumbing through your Thesaurus in search of yet another way to express ‘conservative, classic, understated elegance’. Luckily, when it comes to H.Moser & Cie., things are different. Although the Endeavour Centre Seconds Automatic is Moser’s simplest 3-hand dress watch and is the brand’s interpretation of a ‘classic in the making’, it speaks a far more contemporary language than many of its peers, more in-tune with the times and the brand’s pervasive philosophy. The two watches we are looking at today – one in red gold and the other in white gold – might be related but the attitude they transmit couldn’t be more different.
The essence of H. Moser & Cie.
Moser is renowned for its minimalist style and attractive fumé dials. What looks simple on the surface often belies ingenious mechanical solutions that animate complications like perpetual calendars and tourbillons. With no superfluous labelling on the dial – and at times without even the brand name on the dial, as we saw on the Endeavour PC Purity – the beauty of a Moser is that you can spot it from miles away. Almost 90% of Moser’s dials are fumé, meaning a lighter tonality in the centre that intensifies on the borders, often referred to as a gradient dial. Housed in beautifully proportioned precious metal cases (with exceptions like the sporty Pioneer in steel) Moser manages to translate its stylish contemporary aesthetic across all its watch lines. Coupled with in-house movements that are conceived, developed and produced within the brand’s manufacture in Neuhausen am Rheinfall, Moser packages a unique, luxury product that stands out from the crowd. But there is one ingredient missing from the mix and that is Moser’s non-conformist way of communicating its products and its mission to draw the line between what comprises a truly 100% Swiss made watch and what many leading brands claim is a Swiss made watch.
Cool funky blue and white gold or suave champagne and red gold?
Both Endeavour models flaunt superb fumé dials with the same elongated applied indices and elegant leaf-shaped hands. Housed in 40mm cases with a thickness of 10.7mm, the Endeavour family case is the brand’s high-end case, usually reserved for complications. You can feel the satisfying and luxurious weight of the gold, and like other Endeavour watches, the case has a gently curved ergonomic back making this watch exceptionally comfortable on the wrist. With alternating polished and vertically brushed parts, the dynamic lines of the case are accentuated.
The white gold model comes with a funky blue dial, probably the most popular tone of dial and the colour that put Moser on the ‘map of cool’. Not many upscale watch brands would go as far as classifying a colour as ‘funky’, but this is where Moser differs. Moser knows how to talk to a younger, hipper crowd and the idea of combining a luxurious white gold watch with the worn appeal of a raw kudu leather strap is spot on. Kudu is an unusual type of leather sourced from antelopes and characterised by natural scratches and scars due to the bush habitat of these animals. The effect of kudu, a bit like stone-washed jeans, consolidates the stylish, casual nature of this watch.
The red gold Endeavour is an entirely different kettle of fish. The combination of warm red gold and the signature fumé dial (which can best be described as a champagne-grey colour, depending on the light) and the handsome plaited leather strap, lends this watch a more stylish, suave personality, almost Italian in appearance. In a nutshell, the red gold model exudes a sleek, man-about-town kind of look that contrasts with the more laid-back personality of the funky blue white gold model.
In-house automatic movement HMC 200
As a watch aspiring to become your everyday companion, Moser has equipped the Endeavour Centre Seconds with a practical automatic movement with 3 days/72 hours of autonomy (meaning you can take it off on Friday before the action-packed weekend and strap it on again on Monday without missing a beat). Calibre HMC 200 is equipped with a regulating organ manufactured by Precision Engineering AG, Moser’s sister company, and a Straumann hairspring. Like all Moser’s watches, the regulating organ is interchangeable to facilitate service operations. The sapphire caseback allows a view of the large engraved gold oscillating weight and the hallmark Moser double stripes, polished angles and perlage.
Rebel with a cause: a touch of irreverence
The last ingredient that sets Moser apart from the crowd is the brand’s unconventional approach to communication, which has managed to ruffle quite a few feathers in the watch industry. Who can forget the Swiss Mad watch with its case made from 100% Swiss cheese? Outrageously funny and yet an effective way of snubbing the “Swiss Made” label that requires that only 60% of the components in a watch be of Swiss origin. For H. Moser, a brand with a high degree of manufacturing autonomy capable of producing all the components of a watch – including the hairsprings – 60% was insulting to serious watchmakers and decided to remove the Swiss Made label from all its watches.
The white gold Endeavour Centre Seconds Automatic model featured in this article comes on a raw kudu strap while the red gold model is fitted with a plaited leather strap. Both models retail for CHF 19,900. More details on www.h-moser.com.