Photo credit: H. Moser
H. Moser Cie Venturer Tourbillon Dual Time Sapphire Skeleton
For my next article I wanted to find a unique piece from a truly independent haute horlogerie atelier. When I think of independents, a few names come up. There’s Journe, there’s MB&F, there’s Ferrier, and then there’s Moser. H. Moser & Cie could very well be one of the hidden treasures of independent watchmaking. Their name means nothing to the uninitiated, but to those that care to delve a bit deeper into watchmaking, their brand is synonymous with innovation, history, pedigree and prestige. The Venturer Tourbillon Dual Time alone is a superb piece, brilliantly finished and without a doubt housing one of the finest tourbillons on the market today. Pull apart the precious metal and instead cover the piece with a sapphire crystal skeleton, and what you get is a piece unique that is more watch than you’ll ever need.
First off, lets break down what exactly the making of a sapphire crystal skeleton involves. First off, sapphire crystal is extremely tough. It can withstand direct and blunt impact, and has the ability to keep a timepiece’s intricate heart safe and sound from the hardships of the world. H. Moser & Cie employed the Kyropoulos method to create a Sapphire crystal skeleton that was both beautiful, strong and clear of any inclusions. They started by using aluminium oxide on the sapphire crystal ingots which gave the crystals a much clearer and uniform quality. From there, the ingot is cut and machined down to create a case that is much more complex and sophisticated than one would imagine.
From an aesthetic stand point, everything is beautifully exposed. The contrasted effect between the sapphire crystal case and the inner workings of the calibre HMC 803 is exceptional, and providers its lucky wearer the unique ability to admire the watch’s external and internal finishing and beauty at the same time. But the draw back of skeletonising a watch to this extent is that everything is exposed. That means even the slightest of blemishes will eventually come to light. H. Moser & Cie obviously realise this and have insisted upon at least 100 hours of attention be given to the decorating, detailing and finishing of the piece’s movement.
Beyond the triumph of the piece, which so obviously are its outstanding aesthetics, the H. Moser & Cie Venturer Tourbillon Dual Time Sapphire Skeleton represents what many people believe is the future of watchmaking. And that is innovation without losing tradition. The pedigree of high-watchmaking is something that is extremely important. The master watchmaker Philippe Dufour once mentioned that it is imperative to not only remember but pass on the knowledge of traditional watchmaking. Now I’m not saying that we should stick to the old ways of doing things, because that’s just unrealistic. But what H. Moser & Cie have done is pay homage to that ode and created a piece that showcases haute horlogerie of the highest regard using the most contemporary of design techniques without really forgetting the roots and fundamentals of watchmaking. And I know what you all realy want to know, the price. The H. Moser & Cie Venturer Tourbillon Dual Time Sapphire Skeleton has costed the lucky collector a cool CHF1,000,000!