It was only a year ago that H.Moser & Cie. revealed the Endeavour Flying Hours timepiece at SIHH 2018. Its take on a wandering hour display was unlike anything we had seen at the time. Soon after that initial announcement in Geneva, we saw Moser’s sister brand Hautlence borrow the unique time-telling display for its own distinctive treatment in the HL Vagabonde 01 and 02. At SIHH 2019, Hautlence updated the watch with a 5N red gold case and a tourbillon.
Before delving into the watch’s specs, here’s a quick refresher on how to tell time on the various Flying Hours and Vagabonde iterations. Take a quick glance at the dial of the Hautlence Vagabonde Tourbillon pictured above. There are three separated skeleton disks set underneath a sapphire minute disc that rotates on a 240° arc all laid out on top of a blue PVD dial that has gone through an extensive microblasting treatment. The satellite discs have a sunray finish, while the central disc features an anti-reflective coating on both sides and a filigree honeycomb pattern.
On a typical wandering hour display — such as on the Arnold & Son Golden Wheel — the time is read through a jumping digital hours indication. The difference between the Golden Wheel and the Endeavour Flying Hours and HL Vagabonde is that where the Arnold & Son model has the hour disks on a single carriage, the H. Moser and Hautlence versions have three separate hour dials that each rotate on their own axis. The three dials are separated into 3, 6, 9, and 12 o’clock; 2, 5, 8, and 11 o’clock; and 1, 4, 7, and 10 o’clock. Directly underneath each hour marker, there’s an arrow that gives you the exact minute according to the floating wheel. When the current hour ends, the minute arc continues on and the hour dials adjust so that the next hour marker is in the correct position and marked in gold, while past and future hours appear in blue.
Take another look at the new HL Vagabonde Tourbillon in the live shot above. See how the “10” on the right disc is in gold while the visible numerals on the rest of the discs are in blue? That shows that it is now at 10 o’clock. Now see the arrow that’s placed directly underneath the numeral? That indicates the passing minutes on the sapphire honeycomb disc. So, the current time in the above image would be approximately 10:23. It’s a little confusing to figure out at first, but overall this is a more effective and transparent way of telling time compared to a typical wandering hour display.
The latest release from Hautlence is the first time that this specific time-telling display has been combined with a tourbillon. After seeing the new model in Geneva, I have to say that the tourbillon is an effective complement to the Vagabonde’s classic TV screen case shape (dimensions: 39 mm by 46 mm) and the four annular discs. It goes without saying that this design won’t be for everyone, but being able to see the passage of time in a constant display of kinetic action via the four display discs and opposing tourbillon should be an appealing proposition to fans of avant-garde timekeepers.
The HTL 405-1 automatic movement inside is based on the H. Moser 804 caliber and is new this year. It beats at 21,600 vph and features a power reserve of three days. The Hautlence HL Vagabonde Tourbillon is priced at CHF 79,000.