An unmarked dial done in the blackest man-made substance on earth housed in a solid red-gold case and adorned with a tourbillon would ordinarily be a head-scratcher. But, of course, this is Moser we’re talking about. This latest creation is the new H. Moser & Cie. Streamliner Tourbillon Vantablack (Ref. 6804-0400), a watch that initially sounds almost arbitrarily chaotic in theory but nails the execution. This is Moser at its best: A unique horological creation that immediately stands out from the crowd while being eminently wearable. It’s ‘minimalist excess’ at its finest.
This is the first precious metal Streamliner, coming in a solid red-gold case and bracelet. The bracelet has been the crux of the Streamliner from day one with its links coming together like magnificently angular fish scales. Just as important is how comfortably it wraps around the wrist so it’s not just form-fitting but also secure with no flimsiness. Fortunately, nothing is lost in translation from steel to solid red gold—the Streamliner in red gold is well-balanced and a joy on the wrist.
Water resistance may not be top of mind when considering a solid gold watch with a tourbillon, but at 120 metres, this Streamliner really is as much a sports watch as its simpler steel siblings. Measuring 40mm wide and 12.1mm thick, the size is just right as well.
It’s difficult to really convey the depth just how black Vantablack (an acronym for Vertically Aligned Nano Tube Array Black) is in photos or words. It just needs to be seen in person, which is a bit sad since there are so few watches out there with these, what can perhaps best be referred to as, “black hole dials”. For those unfamiliar with Vantablack, it became known as the blackest man-made material on earth when it was introduced in 2014 and absorbs 99.965 percent of light. Not a dial material in the traditional sense, Vantablack is actually applied as a sprayable S-VIS coating comprised of carbon nanotubes.
Needless to say, it’s impossible to print anything on Vantablack so Moser applied a relatively new technique here. First done with their Endeavour Total Eclipse collaboration with The Armoury, Moser actually cuts or drills the Vantablack to create the apertures for the indexes that are actually secured to the dial plate beneath. Under high magnification, you can actually see the delicate “fraying” of the edges where the Vantablack is cut. This is an unavoidable result inherent to using Vantablack, which is made up of the aforementioned nanotubes. While there’s no logo on the dial, this isn’t considered one of Moser’s hyper-minimal ‘Concept’ dials that lack text or indexes. Moser used to call these “purity” dials but I don’t think that lingo has been around since the days of the Venturer collection. Like the other Streamliner watches, this model has the two-section-construction hour and minute hands with Globolight lume.
And then there’s the one-minute flying tourbillon, which is made even more special by the double hairspring of the in-house HMC 804. Finished with skeletonised bridges for some flair, the tourbillon is the third layer of decadence on top of the solid gold case and Vantablack dial. It’s excess without being “too much”. The HMC 804 is, like all Mosers, easily identified by the double-crested Moser stripes and that large brand insignia. Here you’ll also notice special touches for a higher-end piece like the gold chaton right under the ‘Switzerland’ text as well as the ceramic bearings used for both the tourbillon and the rotor, something beneficial in negating the need for lubrication therefore reducing the need for servicing. Operating at 21,600 vph, the HMC 804 has a 72-hour power reserve.
The H. Moser & Cie. Streamliner Tourbillon Vantablack is a thoughtfully executed and surprisingly wearable novel concept that stands out from the crowd. Of course, the solid gold case, tourbillon, and Vantablack dial add up when it comes to price but that’s just baked into a watch like this.
The story first appeared in the print issue of WatchTime USA and then carried in the Jan-March 2023 issue of WatchTime India.
Images: Courtesy Brand