Watches: H. Moser & Cie Venturer Tourbillon Dual Time Collection
By Thierry Ané on September 5, 2014
Baselworld 2014 was the opportunity for H. Moser & Cie to introduce the new “Venturer” collection, a line that draws upon design elements from traditional pocket watches as well as details reminiscent of the Bauhaus era or the convex crystals fashionable in the 1960s. For the inaugural launch, a “Venturer Small Seconds” was presented in red gold with three different dial options: silver sunburst, ardoise sunburst or the brand’s breathtaking red gold fumé. I refer the readers to my previous in-depth articleWatches: H. Moser & Cie Venturer Small Seconds Collection (+live pics) for my impressions of these extremely refined timepieces and for a lot of live pictures.
Today, this high-end manufacture reveals the second chapter of a collection bound to become a timeless classic: the “Venturer Tourbillon Dual Time”. This exceptional model houses the very first tourbillon model ever developed by H. Moser & Cie. But the HMC 802 calibre is not just another tourbillon on the market: it is the embodiment of the brand’s reflection on how this 18th century complication could be improved.
Everybody knows that this complex escapement for use in pocket watches was supposed to negate the effects of gravitational forces and enhance the accuracy. For the device to be effective, the watch has to be kept in a vertical position as was the case with the pocket watches tucked away in the jacket. Wristwatches, however, are held in a multitude of positions and by their very use counterbalance the tourbillon’s effects.
The first improvement achieved by the HMC 802 calibre is to make use of the innovative double hairspring technology already featured in other H. Moser & Cie timepieces. The Straumann Double Hairspring improves accuracy counteracting the gravitational influence of each hairspring by its counterpart so that the centre of gravity remains in the middle, transforming the tourbillon in a device adapted to needs of wearers in the 21st century.
There is a reason why the tourbillon perfectly epitomises the world of Haute Horlogerie. It is an extremely intricate mechanism as difficult to assemble as it is to create and only mastered by the finest watchmakers. The qualities that make it so appealing for seasoned watch aficionados are also the source of countless headaches when it comes to servicing the timepiece. Even for the most skilled watchmakers, the task is extremely time-consuming and the tourbillon is always difficult to synchronise.
The brand’s talented watchmakers have also showcased their innovative thinking is this important area. Indeed, the HMC 802 calibre is equipped with a unique interchangeable tourbillon module. The module is assembled but also regulated independently of the movement with a simple “plug-and-play” system. This ingenious system clearly facilitates servicing: it can now be done by a watchmaker without tourbillon expertise!
Lastly, when most high-end tourbillon timepieces are manually-wound, H. Moser & Cie offers the convenience of a self-winding system to its “Venturer Tourbillon Dual Time” collection. A bi-directional pawl winding system transfers the energy from the 18-karat red gold rotor to the barrel and offers a minimum of three days of power reserve to this timepiece beating at the frequency of 21,600 vibrations per hour. With the needs of frequent travellers in mind, the brand also included a second time zone indicated by a swallow-shaped red-coloured hand that can be hidden behind the hour hand when a single time zone is required.
The technical innovations are so impressive that one could almost forget to discuss the aesthetic qualities of this collection. This would be a shame though, as the watches are absolutely beautiful! Three versions have been introduced, all sharing the same 41.50 mm case with a thickness of 14.30 mm. A white gold model presents a beautiful ardoise sunburst dial and two red gold versions are available: the first features a silver sunburst dial while the second showcases the brand’s famous red gold fumé face.
All versions share the same refined dial shape cambered towards the edge of its surface to follow the curvature of the convex sapphire crystal. The beautiful swallow-shaped hands in red or white gold depending on the model are gently curved to hug the shape of the dial. The slender and elongated gold hour markers add another elegant touch to these exceptional dials. The lower part of the dial shows more exuberance without losing the natural refinement of the brand’s style. The tourbillon held by a skeleton bridge takes centre stage on the movement plate decorated with Côtes de Genève rayonnates. A deliberate gap between the bridges allows for a better view of the circular grained wheels of the gear train. As a finishing aesthetic touch, the dividing line between the upper part of the dial and the movement bridge is chamfered to clearly highlight the difference in level between both dial parts and enhance the 3-dimensional effect.
As should always be the case with a timepiece of this standard, the back is equipped with a sapphire crystal for you to admire the beauty of the movement. The red gold rotor bearing the brand’s hallmark has been skeletonized in order not to obstruct the view. Rhodium-plated and decorated with the famous Moser stripes, this calibre also presents chamfered and highly polished edges, circular grained gear trains and perfectly polished screw heads. The red gold versions are mounted on a brown alligator strap while the white gold model is paired with black alligator. All of them are secured by a folding buckle in the same gold as the case.
Once again, my favourite versions are the ardoise sunburst model in white gold and the red gold timepiece with the fabulous red gold fumé dial. The silver sunburst is less striking for my tastes but whatever version you prefer, there is no doubt this is an absolutely stunning exceptional timepiece. What a great way to expand the “Venturer” collection…
For more information please visit the H. Moser & Cie web site.