We had the opportunity to examine one sample of the new H. Moser x MB&F Endeavour Cylindrical Tourbillon in funky blue fumé dial, and discussed technicalities with Edouard Meylan, CEO of H. Moser. And bring you this exclusive take on the novelty. Five models are released, in conjunction with this announcement.
H. Moser x MB&F Endeavour Cylindrical Tourbillon
This was a collaboration waiting to happen. And frankly we are a bit surprised that it did not happen earlier. Both Moser and MB&F are small, independent maisons run by passionate people. The brands have been working together for more than 10 years, with Precision Engineering AG, a sister company of H. Moser & Cie. supplying MB&F with balance springs.
As we understand it, Max Büsser called on Edouard Meylan to take part to help create a Performance Arts piece.
“When I called Edouard to tell him that I wanted to collaborate on a creation, I mentioned that I really liked the double balance-spring, the Moser fumé dials and the Concept watch series. Edouard immediately told me that he would let me borrow these features, but on condition that he could also reinterpret one of my machines. After an initial moment of surprise, I gave it some thought. Being 50% Indian and 50% Swiss, I am firmly convinced that mixing DNA creates interesting results, so why not try the experiment in watchmaking? I therefore agreed and suggested the FlyingT model, which is particularly dear to my heart.”Maximilian Büsser
Thus the project was born. The initiation took place some 1.5 years ago, but it was not until January 2020 when both Edouard and Max had the first viewing of the new watches. Two new models were jointly created, available in several versions and issued in 15-piece limited series. This number is a nod to the 15th anniversary of MB&F as well as honouring the 15th anniversary of the relaunch of H. Moser & Cie. By pooling their strengths, these two competing yet friendly brands are working to harness the combined strengths of talented artisans, entirely in keeping with the philosophy adopted by MB&F.
The Moser X MB&F watch is the Endeavour Cylindrical Tourbillon in 5 dial variants, each limited to 15 pieces. And the MB&F X Moser is the LM101 n 4 dial variants, each also limited to 15 pieces. Details of the MB&F X Moser LM101 is found in the press release here.
The case dial and hands
The Moser X MB&F piece started off as a base which was the Legacy Machine 101, though we think perhaps its closest relation is the LM Thunderdome, and the design brief was to make it a Moser. Thus, the case is the standard MB&F LM case in stainless steel, measuring 42mm in diameter with a considerable height of 19.5mm at the highest point of the dome.
Other than the high dome-like sapphire crystal protecting the protruding elements of the movement, this is a rather traditional round case, with sloped bezel. Interestingly the crown is in an unconventional position at 9 o’clock, no doubt dictated by the movement layout.
In the Thunderdome, the hour minute sub-dial is at 6 o’clock, inclined to face the wearer and directly above at 12 o’clock is the huge triple axis tourbillon suspended by its curved, dual armed bridge. The Thunderdome had the sub-dial in classic MB&F style – white, Roman numerals, bombé shaped, with a stretched membrane over for that glossy look.
On the Moser X MB&F piece, this basic layout remains. And in the place, the hour minute sub-dial is a sapphire glass disc, also inclined at 40°, and marked only by stick hour markers.
“We have Moserized the MB&F universe by developing a sapphire sub-dial, which melts into the background so as to highlight the beauty of our fumé dials. And to preserve the purity and elegance of this true work of horological art, we have inscribed our logo like a watermark on the sapphire sub-dial, thereby underlining the personal character and intimate relationship binding it to its owner”.Edouard Meylan
We find in daily use, however, the dial, being in sapphire glass and nearly transparent, coupled with the smallish hands tend to disappear into the scheme of things on the dial. This makes reading the time is rather difficult, especially in low light and for elder eyes. Plus, the eyes is naturally drawn to the animation of the tourbillon at 12 o’clock, though, given the beauty of the escapement is not a bad thing.
And in place of the Coudray designed triple axis tourbillon of the Thunderdome, the Moser Flying Tourbillon stands proud of the main dial, and carrying the cylindrical hairspring by Precision Engineering. Incidentally, the Thunderdome’s hairspring is also cylindrical and, like many of those used in MB&F watches is also made by Precision.
The base dial is available in five different versions – all in the famed Moser fumé colours of Funky Blue, Cosmic Green, Burgundy, Off-White or Ice Blue dials. We got to photograph and try out the Funky Blue dial, and feels it is every bit as gorgeous as it can be.
Visually, the dial side of the watch has an immense artistic presence. The Performance Art aspect in the collaboration brief was realised in a magnificent way, and the entire design gels very well together, giving a sense of harmony and sculptural quality.
The movement – HMC 810
Edouard Meylan tells us that almost the entire movement is made and assembled in-house in Schaffhausen. The movement is the brand new HMC 810, with automatic winding giving 72 hours autonomy on full spring. The main feature of the movement is the cylindrical balance, sitting in a flying tourbillon, visible from the dial side.
Invented in the 18th century, the cylindrical balance spring is reminiscent of a worm- or corkscrew, rising perpendicularly around the upper rod of the balance staff. This hairspring was common in historical marine chronometers, and offer the advantage of being able to breathe concentrically. But the main disadvantage is the height required, and precludes a flat movement.
The cylindrical hairspring has a significant advantage over the flat balance spring. In the flat spring, opposite ends tend to exert forces on the pivots. To reduce this effect, the Philips or Breguet terminal curves which were specifically developed to partially correct the non-concentric opening of the balance spring. However, the cylindrical hairpsring can be fitted with a Breguet overcoil at both attachment points, This reduces pivot friction and greatly improves isochronism. Due to its specific shape, the cylindrical balance spring is far more difficult to produce and takes ten times longer to make than a traditional balance spring.
Movement finishing is very good, with all the traditional haute horlogerie finnisage detailing done par excellence.
We do note that other than the LM Thunderdome, cylindrical hairsprings have been employed in modern wristwatches before, perhaps most notably by Jaeger-Duomètre Sphérotourbillon in 2012 (and more here) and Villeret Tourbillon Cylindrique Geosphères Vasco da Gama in 2015. But both of these are significantly different from the H. Moser x MB&F Endeavour Cylindrical Tourbillon that comparisons are moot. So we leave this section as it is.
On the wrist, the H. Moser x MB&F Endeavour Cylindrical Tourbillon wears smaller than the 42mm x 19.5mm dimensions might suggest. We had initially thought that the high dome of the crystal to catch on things, but in practice, it was rather well behaved, and felt almost like a regular watch.
At S$ 120,100, the pricing strikes us as particularly sensible. Especially for a flying tourbillon with unique features like the cylindrical hairspring, and made by an independent watchmaker in very small quantities.
Visually, the aesthetic impact of the Moser x MB&F is a masterwork of the collaboration of two bodies of expertise, two sets of DNA, but blended in a beautiful and mutually enriching way. And in a way, supports the press release blurb that the collaboration experience brings together the two different communities of the two maisons, pooling together their skills in a wonderful spirit of openness and transparency.
Photo Note: All photographs of the Moser x MB&F were taken with the Fujifilm GFX100 with GF120 f/4 LM OIS WR Macro, the GF50 f/3.5 R LM WR and MCEX extension tubes.
H. Moser x MB&F Endeavour Cylindrical Tourbillon Technical Specifications
Reference 1810-1200, steel model, Funky Blue fumé dial, black alligator leather strap, limited edition of 15 pieces
Reference 1810-1201, steel model, Burgundy fumé dial, black alligator leather strap, limited edition of 15 pieces
Reference 1810-1202, steel model, Cosmic Green fumé dial, black alligator leather strap, limited edition of 15 pieces
Reference 1810-1203, steel model, Off-White fumé dial, blued hours and minutes hands, black alligator leather strap, limited edition of 15 pieces
Reference 1810-1205, steel model, Ice Blue dial, black alligator leather strap, limited edition of 15 pieces
Steel topped by a high domed sapphire crystal
Diameter: 42.0 mm
Height: 19.5 mm
Height without crystal sapphire: 9.4 mm
Crown at 9 o’clock, engraved with a “M“
See-through sapphire crystal case back
Main dial: Funky Blue fumé, Burgundy fumé, Cosmic Green fumé, Off-White fumé or Ice Blue fumé with sunburst pattern
Hours and the minutes displayed on a 40° vertically tilted sapphire dial at 6 o’clock
Leaf-shaped hour and minute hands, blued on the reference 1810-1203
HMC 810 three- dimensional automatic Manufacture calibre
Diameter: 32.0 mm or 14 1/4 lignes
Height: 5.5 mm
Frequency: 21,600 vibrations/hour
Automatic bi-directional pawl winding system
Oscillating weight in 18-carat gold with engraved H. Moser & Cie. logo
Power reserve: minimum 72 hours
One-minute flying tourbillon at 12 o’clock with skeletonised bridges
Hours and minutes
Hand-stitched black alligator leather
Steel folding clasp engraved with the Moser logo