I was drawn to the unusual dial of the H. Moser & Cie Venturer Tourbillon Dual Time. However, beneath the attractive face of this watch is a profoundly impressive specification which demonstrates this watch company’s incredible ability to innovate. In this article from my online magazine Escapement, I discuss the timepiece in detail.
Whenever we meet another person our attention is initially drawn to their face. Thereafter, we may choose to appraise their stature, their other physical attributes, and perhaps even their attire. In many respects, this is similar to how we appraise a timepiece.
Often, when I pick up a watch, it is the dial that initially captures my interest. Only after looking at the dial do my eyes migrate toward other details such as the case, crown, push-pieces, etc. The nature of writing about watches is that there are many pretty dials to elicit words of praise but it is only with prolonged examination that the truly exceptional becomes obvious. H. Moser & Cie create some incredible timepieces and I have waxed lyrical on many occasions about this brand’s fine watches. Recently, I had the opportunity to examine one of its new watches at close quarters and its dial offers a degree of excellence seldom found on other timepieces. The watch company from the Swiss canton of Schaffhausen launched its Venturer Small Seconds model last year. This represented the first model in a new line of watches, the Venturer collection, aimed at a younger clientèle. Now, the brand has released a second model, the Venturer Tourbillon Dual Time, pairing a tourbillon with a GMT function.
The Moser Venturer Tourbillon Dual Time is offered in three dial variations, ardoise, argenté and rose gold fumé. It is this latter dial which is the focal point of this review. The rose gold fumé is stunningly attractive and resembles no other dial I can call to memory.
An attribute I often remark upon when appraising watches is the arrangement of dial elements that confer depth. However, the Venturer Tourbillon Dual Time takes this concept to another level, quite literally. The dial is stepped, effectively creating two planes. The upper section of the dial, occupying approximately 75 percent of the total dial surface, is domed near its center, where it exhibits a brighter shade. Towards the edges of the dial surface it tapers downwards, delivering a range of darker hues. This is a dial that expertly toys with light and masterfully exploits depths to comely effect.
Swallow, shaped hands impart the hour and minutes with graceful poise, exhibiting a welcome sense of decorum with their tasteful style. The hours are denoted with slender batons, which prove refined and highly legible. Despite the striking appearance of the rose gold fumé, the watch never appears showy or garish. Indeed, there is a degree of judiciously applied restraint. The dual-time function employs a red hand to denote the prevailing hour at home. However, when the dual time function is not required, the red hand can be hidden behind the hour hand. This is not the first time the brand has adopted this approach. The part-time hand first featured on the Nomad Dual Time, now referred to as Endeavour Dual Time, and it still remains a very tidy method of showing the hour in a second time zone.
The lower portion of the dial sits below the adjacent upper surface and is decorated with circular waves stretching outwards towards the periphery of the dial. At the center of this lower dial surface is a one-minute tourbillon.
The 18k rose-gold case has a diameter of 41.5 mm and height of 14.3 mm. While this model is larger than some models from H. Moser & Cie, it avoids excessive scale, which should ensure it does not suffer the indignity of changing tastes.
At first glance, the case looks simple in its design, but with prolonged examination the complexity of its creation becomes apparent. The gold frame encircling the dial is slender and, together with the convex sapphire crystal, appears to make the dial area appear especially wide. Adjacent the crown, the case band is brushed. However, adorning either side of these brushed areas are highly polished recesses that gleam in ambient light. The left-hand case band shares the same design.
The lugs taper downward sharply and this is accentuated by the beveled edges gracing their form.
H. Moser has equipped this watch with an exhibition caseback, with a wide sapphire crystal according an extensive view of the movement.
The HMC 802 is a self-winding movement equipped with an open-worked, 18-carat red gold oscillating mass. This oscillating mass features the Moser hallmark and looks resplendent.
Beneath the rotor, the bridges are adorned with “Moser Stripes.” The decoration is similar in concept to côtes de Genève or Glashütte ribbing, but has its own distinct character. An aspect I particularly like about the movement design is the notable degree of space between each bridge, allowing a greater view of the circular-grained wheels. The finishing of the movement is excellent, with jewel and screw sinks evincing a brilliant shine. Each bridge has superbly beveled edges, delivering a sumptuous contrast with the adjacent Moser Stripes. The tourbillon was originally conceived for negating the gravitational errors on the balance within a pocketwatch, typically held in a vertical plane. However, a wristwatch is held in a myriad of positions, hence negating some of the benefits of a tourbillon. The HMC802 is equipped with the Straumann Double Hairspring, which optimizes accuracy by pairing two matched hairsprings. Each opposing hairspring effectively cancels the gravitational influence on its counterpart with the center of gravity located equidistant between them. The result of this ingenuity is enhanced accuracy.
“Ingenuity” is a word which freely leaves the lips when discussing the specification of this watch. The handsome timepiece is equipped with an interchangeable tourbillon module, reputedly a world-first. This module is assembled and regulated independently of the movement and can effectively be plugged in. The benefit of this system is manifestly obvious. Ordinarily, when servicing or repair is necessary, a tourbillon would be returned to the factory responsible for its creation. However, in theory, a replacement tourbillon module could be sent to a regional service center for installation by a trained watchmaker, even if they lack tourbillon expertise, mitigating the time the watch is away from its owner.
Sometimes, when confronted with attractive packaging, the contents fail to match the same standard. The same could be said of an attractive face or statuesque physique which superficially hide less virtuous characteristics. Rest assured that beneath the beguiling exterior of the Venturer Tourbillon Dual Time is a meritorious ensemble of mechanical wonderment. Each aspect of the HMC 802 demands respect and indulges the desires of purists with the sublime refinement delivered. Part of the strength of H. Moser & Cie is that it operates from the same premises as its sister company, Precision Engineering AG. The two subsidiaries of MELB Holding have worked closely together on hairsprings and escapements, a competence few other brands share. The ingenious Straumann Double Hairspring represents the interesting outcome of their joint endeavors.
Finally, I have to return to the rose gold fumé dial. This is arguably the most difficult dial I have ever tried to photograph and after repeated attempts I still feel my images do not do justice to its spellbinding appearance. The way the dial interacts with light is intriguing as it exhibits different shades when viewed from various angles. The tiered construction to its form augments the passion I feel for the face of this watch and reaffirms why I believe the dial is on another level from many of its competitors.
- Model: H. Moser & Cie Venturer Tourbillon Dual Time
- Reference: 2802-0400
- Case: 18k rose gold; diameter 41.50 mm; height 14.30 mm; sapphire crystal, front and caseback.
- Functions: Hours; minutes; dual-time; one-minute tourbillon.
- Movement: Caliber HMC802, self-winding movement; frequency 21,600 vph (3 Hz); 29 jewels; power reserve of at least 3 days.
- Strap: Brown alligator leather strap supplied on 18k rose gold folding clasp.