When pondering what defines an H. Moser watch, the H. Moser & Cie Heritage Perpetual Moon isn’t necessarily what would first come to mind. And that’s precisely why we’re having a closer look with this write-up.
In a nutshell, this watch is an ode to watchmaking, a tribute to the art of watchmaking – and a very well executed one indeed. The watch draws its inspiration from the old H. Moser pocket watches from way back (hence the ‘heritage’ in the name). And while at first glance the watch appears classic and restrained, upon closer inspection a whole set of subtle details become more apparent.
The case is in 18K white gold which gives it that extra bit of luster. The crownCrown The knob on the outside of the watch that you typically use to either wind the mainspring or set the time [Learn More] is on the larger side and has distinct grooves. Add to that the wire lugs which are a clear nod to the past and you have a ‘heritage’ watch that is on point.
Now, flip the watch on the side and a whole new world of finishing opens up:
The sides on any Moser watch always offer some sort of detail & interest. On this particular watch, they did just that and took it the extra mile. Do you see that blue paint? Yes, it’s blue alright, but that’s not paint, it’s enamel. Beautiful execution and a detail that adds a very luxurious feel to the overall watch. This is not something you’ll see every day, and it works very well with the diamond-like engraving below the surface. This type of finishing is quite frankly gorgeous and you have to see it in real life to really appreciate the wonderful execution.
Next up, you have the white dial & blue hands. The white dial however, is a grand feu enamel dial. In practice, that means that in order to make one dial (requiring a delicate balance between the intense heat and power) they are likely to first mess up quite a few. As a result, these dials are not only difficult to make, but also cost an extra penny or two. Grand feu is french for either ‘pain in the …’ or ‘big fire’, I forgot. But yes, it is a ‘bit’ of a pain to master this technique. The way these dials are made is by essentially cooking, or rather ‘baking’, enamel powder layer by layer on the dial at extremely high temperatures (over 900°C). It is a specialized technique which requires experienced artisans to ensure the dials are ‘baked’ to perfection. Just like your steak, it’s very easy to under or overcook these. Getting them ‘just right’ is where the difficulty lies and is an extremely time-consuming process. The resulting finish is one of a white yet creamy dial with a certain warmth to it, rather impossible to appreciate based on pictures alone. Add to that the hand painted blue roman numerals paired with the heat-bluedBlued Screws Not all blue screws are equal. Traditionally heat-blued screws, involves... heat! The blue color is achieved by heating the screws to a high temperature in a controlled and clean environment. This process produces a thin layer of oxide on the surface of the screws, which gives them their distinctive blue color. It is not uncommon to find blue screws on a watch movement that were simply chemically treated, and not heat-blued. [Learn More] hands, and you have the essence of a high end watch face.
The moon phaseMoonphase A moonphase complication is a feature found in some watches that displays the phase of the moon as it appears in the sky. It typically includes a small disc with a representation of the moon, usually with a depiction of the lunar surface, that rotates to indicate the current phase of the moon. The disc rotates once every 29.5 days, the same period of time it takes for the moon to go through its lunar cycle. [Learn More] indicator is executed in typical Moser fashion, with a twist. The representation of the lunar cycle is seen in a large window at 6 o-clock. In a clean & easy to read format with an accuracy achieved by few: One day’s deviation in every 1027 years. If you look closely, you’ll see a very small and discrete arrow pointing to 9-o’clock. This is the AM & PM indicator: the hour indices from 12 to 6 o’clock represent AM from midnight to midday and the left side of the dial indicates PM from 1 pm to midnight. Very subtle, very clever.
The watch is powered by the calibre HMC 801, a manual winding perpetual moon phase movement. Catching the eye is Moser’s ingenious interchangeable escapementEscapement The escapement is a mechanism in a mechanical watch movement that regulates the release of energy from the mainspring and keeps the watch ticking at a steady rate. The escapement is made up of two main components: the escape wheel and the pallet fork. The escapement is responsible for the ticking sound of the watch, and it ensures that the watch runs at a consistent rate. As the escape wheel rotates forward, it locks and unlocks with the pallet fork, allowing a small amount of energy from the mainspring to be released. This causes the balance wheel to oscillate and the watch to 'tick'. [Learn More] module. 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 entire escapement module is held in place by the two highlighted screws. Another quite exceptional detail, the ‘Straumann’ 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] is entirely produced in-house. Note also the power-reserve indicator, flanked by the barrels resulting in a 7-day 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].
In true Moser fashion, the movement is also manufactured in-house and has a finish fit for Haute Horlogerie. Note the use of the gold chatons which are visually very satisfying. The 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] alternate between wide and narrow, edges are nicely finished and the movement has a certain visual balance to it with the lovely flowing line separating the main 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]. I could watch this all day:
Overall, a lovely (or lovingly) executed timepiece which succeeds in its mission to pay tribute to ‘exceptional artisan watchmaking’ while at the same time bringing a certain freshness to it which is that other Moser trademark.
When I first saw this watch, I thought “Is this still a Moser watch?”. Moser, to me, stands for beautifully manufactured movements, exceptional (fumé) dials and a watchmaker that makes it his mission to be different and fresh in an industry often shackled by its own traditions. Looking through all the details that went into the execution, I have to say: Yes, this is very much, a Moser watch.