Blue For You: H. Moser & Cie Endeavour Perpetual Calendar Heritage Limited Edition
Following the provocatively cheeky news of the Swiss Alp Watch ahead of the 2016 SIHH opening its doors (see 9 Brand-New SIHH 2016 Watches By Jaeger-LeCoultre, Richard Mille, Piaget, Montblanc And More), it was hard to tell just exactly where H. Moser & Cie was heading in terms of its big debut at the brand’s inaugural SIHH showing.
The Endeavour Perpetual Calendar Heritage limited edition was certainly not what I was expecting, and that’s actually a good thing.
Even though it’s still early, 2016 is already proving to be a significant one for H. Moser & Cie. Smart watch jabs aside, the independent manufacture is celebrating 10 years since the launch of its most emblematic creation: the award-winning Endeavour Perpetual Calendar.
For the occasion, the boutique brand has come up with a timepiece that not only marks the occasion in a most flamboyant manner, but also embodies the very values and crafts that H. Moser & Cie and its CEO Edouard Meylan are so adamant to blatantly defend against: the supposed horological singularity that is the smart, connected watch.
While it is perhaps a far cry from the kind of minimalism that the Concept edition of the Endeavour Perpetual Calendar brought to the table, the Heritage is all about exuberance in a way we’re just not used to seeing from H. Moser & Cie. It’s a big, bold, vibrant, and not very Swiss-German at all.
And, yet, it’s exactly the kind of watch the company was making nearly two centuries ago.
The Endeavour Perpetual Calendar Heritage Limited Edition is essentially a wristwatch reproduction of a late nineteenth-century H. Moser & Cie pocket watch, one that was most likely made for the Russian market where Heinrich Moser had set up shop in the earlier part of his watchmaking career in the first half of the nineteenth century.
To recreate the lavishly ornate piece, Moser sought out Switzerland’s finest artisans.
Though the wristwatch case is considerably larger than that of the original pocket watch, the red gold housing retains the same proportions and silhouette, measuring 46 mm in diameter and 13.8 mm in height.
That’s definitely big; in fact, it is by far the largest modern Moser to date. But it remains relatively slender despite all of its complexity. The case features two hinged covers, with the dial-side example opening by means of a push-button mechanism integrated in the crown. The back cover is a more traditional snap-on type that can be manually opened and closed with the help of a flattened tab that protrudes slightly from the case.
The slender wire lugs lend a converted pocket-to-wristwatch look to the ensemble that don’t take away from the case’s magnificence.
Various Swiss artisans and craftsmen worked on the case elements, and there’s definitely a lot of work involved. The case is first milled and polished, then hand-engraved with a floral motif and guilloche pattern. The case is then enameled with a translucent blue enamel sectored application. Finally, diamonds are hand-set on the central motif.
I can’t imagine how many hours were spent on this single case, especially considering how many different hands it had to go through. The slightest misstep along the way and the case would have to be scrapped and started all over from scratch.
Opening the case reveals the white grand feu enamel dial with a slightly grained texture painted with black pad-printed Roman numerals just as the original pocket watch exhibited.
The display is instantly familiar for those acquainted with Moser’s perpetual calendar, especially the oversized date window and central small hand indicating the month. The hour and minute hands are flame-blued in a dovetail shape.
Just as beautiful from the back
Opening the reverse side of the case hosts an entirely different kind of feast for the eyes: the HMC 341 movement executed with a red gold main plate as well bridges done with a matte finish. Other features that set this version of the integrated perpetual calendar movement apart include the Straumann Double Hairspring, diamond endstones, and a superior level of hand decoration and engraving.
Overall, this watch is a very pleasant surprise from H. Moser & Cie.
Between the Swiss Alp Watch and Concept pieces – not to mention newer watch model monikers like Funky Blue – one might almost think this neo-classical brand could be stepping outside its comfort zone for unchartered (and sometimes controversial) waters.
That may well be the case, but it’s interesting nonetheless to see this tribute exercise take a different approach to vintage or historical re-creation.
Okay, it’s not likely to become a daily wearer for its future owner, but it is an outstanding work of art bringing together a plethora of crafts that, while not entirely unique to Switzerland or the application of watchmaking, best exemplify the values and traditions of Swiss artisanship; the very same values that H. Moser & Cie believes the watch industry should stick to instead of worrying about ephemeral gadgets.
The Endeavour Perpetual Calendar Heritage Limited Edition will be created in a series of 10 unique pieces, this being the first.
For more information, please visit www.h-moser.com.
Case: 46 x 13.8 mm, 5N red gold, engraved, enameled, and diamond-set
Dial: white grand feu enamel, flame-blued hands
Movement: manually wound Caliber HMC 341 with 18-karat red gold bridges and main plate, 7 days’ minimum power reserve
Functions: hours, minutes, small seconds; perpetual flash calendar with oversized date, central month hand, and leap year indicator on movement side, power reserve indicator
Limitation: unique piece, 9 other pieces may be created upon order with slight variations to make them each unique as well
Price: 250,000 Swiss francs excluding tax