H. Moser & Cie. unveils its latest take on the flying tourbillon complication housed in a stainless steel Pioneer case ready to battle the elements. This is not Moser’s first tourbillon – it has already appeared in the upmarket Endeavour, Venturer and Swiss Alp Watch collections – nor is it the first complication to reach the Pioneer family, which hosts a QP complication. The novelty here is the combination of a one-minute flying tourbillon and its corresponding automatic movement inside the sportier case of the Pioneer. Forming part of Moser’s SIHH 2019 novelties, the brand that likes to row against the tide of convention has decided to beat the flurry of pre-SIHH teasers and puts the Pioneer Tourbillon for sale on the market today. Shielded by its beefy 42.8mm steel case that is water-resistant to 120m, this is Moser’s concept of an ATV tourbillon that can take on the challenges of everyday wear and tear – and also the brand’s most accessible tourbi ever.
The new habitat of the tourbillon
Tourbillons are turning up in all sorts of guises these days. Abandoning the traditional limousine of elegant gold or platinum dress watches, the tourbillon complication is spinning its way into more adventurous terrain. To get a feel of the new territory of the tourbillon, don’t miss our article of the 10 best tourbillon watches from Baselworld 2018. Dressed in sportier stainless steel or ultra-modern sandblasted titanium cases (like the record-breaking ultra-thin Bvlgari Octo Finissimo Tourbillon), the tourbillon is very much the complication du jour. So much so that even the accessible luxury brand Frederique Constant was tempted to hop on board with its Perpetual Calendar Tourbillon for under 20K.
Made to be Worn
With the introduction of the Pioneer Centre Seconds in 2017, Moser addressed the gap in its portfolio for a sportier stainless steel watch with a slightly less onerous price tag. ‘Slightly’ is the operative word here because at just under EUR 50,000, the sales pitch of the all-terrain Pioneer Tourbillon is certainly not the price point but the wearability factor – even though it remains quite a fair price for such a watch. Originally housed in dressier precious metal collections – including the recent minimalist masterpiece Endeavour Tourbillon Concept – Moser introduces its one-minute tourbillon complication inside the more rugged case of the Pioneer.
More solid and more contemporary than its precious metal brothers, the case of the Pioneer measures 42.8mm in diameter and is 10.8mm thick (without the sapphire crystal), and it shows. As Moser’s interpretation of the luxury sports watch, the case is impeccably finished with alternating polished and brushed surfaces along with the characteristic indentations on the caseband that display a ribbed decoration. The screw-down crown attests to the 120m water-resistance of the case while the luminescent dots on the flange and the semi-skeletonised hands with lume underline the sporty and practical nature of the model.
“Fumé” or gradient dials are a speciality at Moser and the Pioneer Tourbillon boasts a midnight-blue fumé dial that changes according to the light from an intense, almost blackish blue to a more electric azure colour. The fact that the hour markers are so large and so exquisitely facetted means that the sides reflect the dark colour of the dial and seem to push up against the domed sapphire crystal. The contrasts between the blue dial and the indications are sharp, bold and extremely elegant.
Flying Tourbillon Automatic Calibre HMC 804
Like the flying tourbillons featured on other Moser models, the aperture is like a large sinkhole with no frame or small seconds indicator to distract you from the show. What’s more, the bridges holding the tourbillon in place are skeletonised maximising the viewing pleasure as the gravity-buster performs its one-minute rotations. Powered by in-house calibre HMC 804, the movement is fitted with a double flat hairspring developed and produced entirely in-house by Moser.
Thanks to the pair of matched hairsprings, the movement of the point of gravity on each spring when it expands is corrected improving accuracy and isochronism. An additional benefit of the paired hairsprings is the reduction in friction usually experienced with a single hairspring. Another ingenious feature is the modular tourbillon escapement which can be easily extracted from its cage and serviced. The bi-directional 18k red gold rotor has also been skeletonised to let you enjoy the movement and keeps the watch ticking for 3 days.
The aspect I most value about the Pioneer Tourbillon is how it dispenses with the extreme care usually required when handling a tourbillon. It’s the kind of watch you can wear every day of the year, in any kind of situation, without having to worry about damaging the tourbillon. It is crisp, smart, elegant and confident, but also eminently practical.
Price & Availability
Presented on a handsome black alligator leather or a black rubber strap fitted with a steel folding clasp, the Pioneer Tourbillon is a limited edition of just 50 pieces and retails for CHF 49,900 / EUR 47,600 – certainly not a cheap watch but still one of the most accessible tourbillon watches made by an independent watchmaker. For more information, please consult www.h-moser.com.