H. Moser & Cie announced the new Pioneer TourbillonTourbillon A tourbillon is a complication in a mechanical watch that is designed to improve the accuracy of the watch by compensating for the effects of gravity on the balance wheel and escapement. It consists of a rotating cage that holds the balance wheel and escapement, which rotates on its own axis once per minute. This rotation helps to average out the positional errors caused by gravity, making the watch more accurate [Learn More] today. We were given the opportunity to get up close and personal with this particular piece at our Lunch with H. Moser earlier this month. All pictures in this article are ‘real’ (no renders) and taken in a non-studio environment.
What’s in a name
As the name suggests, it’s a Pioneer with a Tourbillon. The Pioneer line is a tribute to H. Moser’s pioneering spirit. The original Pioneer, at its inception, was the first Moser watch to defy gravity. It was launched in ‘zero gravity’ as they took product-testing for the Pioneer to another level. And that is to be taken quite literally as you can see here in their video documenting the event. I find it therefore quite poetic to now see this gravity defying complication, the tourbillon, make its way to the Pioneer. The addition of the tourbillon to the Pioneer-design results in a contemporary & sporty watch, that is still clearly and unmistakably an H. Moser & Cie watch:
Wearable and Haute Horlogerie don’t always go together, yet here it passes that test with flying fumé colors. The blend of hyper traditional elements (tourbillon) & sports elements make for a striking, versatile and wearable watch. The Pioneer with the addition of the Tourbillon is undeniably a modern watch, with its 42.8mm steel case, applied indices and superluminova on all the essential bits. Note also the Moser specific detailing of the steel case. It is an overall elaborate & interesting case design with sculpted sides. The case design execution is top notch, as was also confirmed by the audible whispers of sheer amazement echoed by the attendees at the lunch event:
Not very visible on the picture above – despite my best of efforts – is the nicely curved sapphire crystal. It flows very organically from the case and is a perfectly flush fit. The Pioneer Tourbillon keeps its 120meter water resistance, true to its roots. One of the ways the water resistance is achieved is by the screw-down crownCrown The knob on the outside of the watch that you typically use to either wind the mainspring or set the time [Learn More] (nicely decorated with an ‘M’). It is a detailed, refined yet robust looking crown design as you can see below. It is executed in a well proportioned size relative to the case’s overall dimensions:
The movement powering the overall watch is the HMC 804 Manufacture calibre. This particular calibre is a wonderful movement to look at. We’ve covered this movement with macro photography previously, and I stronlgy encourage you to go see it here. The HMC 804 is quite a bit different from the HMC 200 which you’d find in the Pioneer Center Seconds, and I don’t just mean the addition of a tourbillon complication. The overall finishing and detail of the HMC 804 is quite a bit more fancy across the board:
H. Moser & Cie stands for Haute Horlogerie, and that is obvious when looking at the (in-house) movement’s design & finishing. First thing you will note is the tourbillon. It is a flying tourbillonFlying Tourbillon Like the classic tourbillon, its purpose is to counter the effects of gravity on the rate of the watch (rate deviances). It tries to achieve this by rotating the escapement and balance wheel in all possible directions. The balance, anchor and escape wheel are positioned in a cage, which rotates 360° in one minute. With the Flying Tourbillon this complex construction is anchored on one side only, which lends the complication its apparent weightlessness, enables increased precision and gave rise to its name. There is no bridge obstructing the view, giving the appearance that the tourbillon is indeed flying. [Learn More] to be exact, located at the 6 o-clock position, featuring their (in-house) Straumann© double hairspringHairspring The hairspring is a thin spring in a mechanical watch movement that is connected to the balance wheel. The balance wheel oscillates back and forth at a consistent rate, and the hairspring helps regulate these oscillations. The hairspring works by applying a restoring force to the balance wheel, which helps to keep the balance wheel oscillating at a consistent rate. The hairspring is also known as a balance spring. [Learn More]. Look closely and you will also see the tourbillon’s lovely skeletonised bridgesBridges The bridges of a watch movement are the metal plates that hold the wheels and other components of the movement in place. They are attached to the main plate of the movement with screws. Bridges are used to support the balance wheel, the escapement, the mainspring barrel and other elements. Combined with the main plate they are the foundation of any watch movement. [Learn More]. The tourbillon is in fact an interchangeable modular tourbillon. Developed by – and unique to – Moser. Developed for ease of adjusting, cleaning & servicing, “enabling the watchmaker to remove the existing module, clean and oil the rest of the movement before installing a new pre-adjusted module”.
The skeletonised oscillating weight in 18-carat red gold, engraved with the H. Moser & Cie logo makes for an enticing visual contrast against the scintillating backdrop. The bi-directional pawl-winding system helps the watch wind quickly and power up that (minimum) 3 day Power Preserve. Looking at the details, jewelsJewels Watch jewels are small, synthetic sapphire or ruby bearings that are used in mechanical watches to reduce friction and wear on moving parts. They are typically made from corundum. They are used as bearings for a.o. the pivots to reduce friction. [Learn More] are either set in gold chatons, or nestled in nicely polished countersinks.
All the little details combined make for somewhat of a visual feast. Below a close-up of Moser’s detailed finish and use of gold chatons in the HMC 804 calibre:
Other details that we can see are the typical Moser Geneva stripesGeneva Striping Geneva Striping is a decorative technique used in the finishing of mechanical watch movements, it's also known as "Côtes de Genève". It is a type of linear graining that involves making small, parallel lines on the surface of movement components, such as the main plate using a specialized tool. [Learn More]. The Geneva stripes alternate between wide and narrow, which is a decoration found across Moser’s Calibres. In addition, pay close attention to the wheels, which feature ‘Moser Teeth’. Moser teeth differ from usual teeth as they are stronger & more difficult to manufacture. Visual clue to them is that they feature round bottoms:
Finally, the listed specifications are as follows:
- Pioneer Tourbillon, Midnight Blue Fumé, Steel (3804 – 1201)
- 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 red gold
- Power reserveRéserve de marche Also known as Power Reserve. A watch's power reserve refers to the amount of time a mechanical watch can run without being wound. The power reserve of a mechanical watch can vary depending on the size of the mainspring, the efficiency of the gear train, and the rate at which the mainspring releases energy. If a watch has a Power Reserve 'complication' it simply means that the status of the power reserve can be seen on the watch itself (either on the dial or movement side of the watch). [Learn More]: minimum of 3 days
- Original double hairspring Straumann ©
- One-minute flying tourbillon at 6 o’clock with skeletonised bridges
It comes on a black alligator strap or black rubber with a steel folding clasp (engraved with H. Moser & Cie. logo)
A Very Rare Pioneer Tourbillon limited to 50 pieces, retailing at CHF 49.900.- more info can be found at h-moser.com