Minimalist design, stylish contemporary aesthetics and seductive fumé dials are bywords of H. Moser‘s style, but so is Moser’s provocative approach to watchmaking, unafraid to experiment with empty dials and do away with the pretentious jargon often associated with Haute Horlogerie. The latest model, a collaboration with a prestigious menswear brand, is an eclectic combination of high-tech Vantablack, the darkest artificial substance on Earth capable of absorbing practically every last ray of light, and some classically tailored touches appropriated from the world of pocket watches. The idea put forward by The Armoury was to stage the phenomenon of a total solar eclipse on the dial, using Vantablack to recreate the darkest moment when the Sun is completely hidden. Available in two cases – steel and a combination of steel and red gold – both editions of the Endeavour Small Seconds Total Eclipse are limited to 28 pieces and come in 38mm case sizes.
An armoury usually refers to a place where weapons are kept. The Armoury, founded in Hong Kong in 2010 by Mark Cho and Alan See, has an arsenal of options for dapper dressers and has become a retail haven for well-dressed men. With shops in Hong Kong and New York, The Armoury offers ready-to-wear and bespoke suits, handmade Neapolitan shirts, English shoes and the very best products sourced from the finest brands and artisans around the world.
Vantablack is the darkest artificial substance on Earth capable of absorbing up to 99.965% of radiation in the visible spectrum. Developed and patented by Surrey NanoSystems Limited, Vantablack (vertically aligned nanotube arrays + black) is a nanotube-based pigment. Functioning like a black hole, when light strikes Vantablack, it is trapped, deflected and absorbed among the forest of billions and billions of nanotubes. Used in aerospace and defence sectors (telescopes, infrared cameras, thermal camouflage), Moser has used Vantablack on its Endeavour Tourbillon Concept and Endeavour Perpetual Moon Concept to dramatic effect. Stripped of any indications save the hands and the aperture for the Moon or tourbillon, the black light-absorbing dial was as alluring as it was mysterious.
A sartorial touch
Following a direct request from Mark Cho, the case size of the Endeavour Small Seconds is the smallest in the Endeavour family and has a 38mm diameter and a slim height of 9.9mm. Mark Cho and his design partner Elliot Hammer also suggested the theme of a total solar eclipse, and Vantblack was the obvious choice. As Cho explains: “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.”
Vantablack is used on the dial of this Endeavour Small Seconds to represent the silhouette of the Moon, while the gleaming steel bezel and the inner flange – in steel or red gold – represents the halo of the solar corona.
In a clear departure from Moser’s former Vantablack dials stripped to the bare minimum, Mark Cho and Elliott Hammer decided that the dial should have some subtle details in the form of indices and stylised hands. Given the delicate nature of Vantablack that can be damaged by a simple touch, a special technique had to be developed to drill the black matter to accommodate the dot-style markers. Those of you familiar with Breguet’s watches will immediately recognise the provenance of the hour and minute hands with their circles at the tip. The small seconds hand also features a solid circular counterweight to match the indices, and the handsets, in either steel or red gold, echo the inner flange.
The black hand-stitched calfskin strap was also designed and created by The Armoury and features two different textures and a traditional steel pin buckle.
Calibre HMC 327
“Absolutely everything in this model links back to this quest for ultimate elegance, combining classicism with a contemporary feel,” explains Edouard Meylan, CEO of H. Moser & Cie. “Its 38mm diameter is perfectly balanced. We opted for the smallest and finest of our movements, the hand-wound HMC 327 calibre with an offset small second at 6 o’clock, reminiscent of the pocket-watch style.” The sapphire crystal caseback reveals the power reserve indicator and the in-house manual-winding movement. Fitted with a silicon anchor and escape wheel and an in-house Straumann hairspring with a Breguet overcoil, the movement beats at 18,000vph and delivers a 3-day power reserve. Drawing from the tradition of Moser pocket watch movements, all the components are traditionally hand-finished and decorated.
Availability and Price
The H. Moser & Cie. Endeavour Small Seconds Total Eclipse, available in two editions of 28 pieces, will be available in The Armoury stores in New York and Hong Kong, as well as on the online sales platforms of both companies. The retail price for the steel model (ref.1327-1200) and the steel and red gold (ref.1327-1201) is CHF 23,900 or EUR 25,100. The watch comes with a pocket-handkerchief developed by The Armoury for H. Moser & Cie.
For more information, please consult H. Moser.com.