“Look ma, no hands!” – H. Moser & Cie took their mastery of minimalism another step further by releasing a watch, with no hands.
Moser is no stranger to keeping the watch face as clean as possible. Removing the markers, logo’s and now, yes indeed, the hands from the face of the watch. Moser is also no stranger to trolling the industry, say by releasing a watch made of Swiss cheese or the recent ‘Nature’ watch. So when I first read about this watch release on my way to SIHH, I was a bit puzzled: which one was this? The former or the latter?
That is, until I actually saw this piece in the metal and was able to try it out. This turned out to be, a surprisingly fun and very good-looking take on the minute repeater.
This watch does not tell time visible, but audibly. Not with hands – with a minute repeaterMinute Repeater A minute repeater is a complication in a mechanical watch that allows you to hear the time by activating a chime. It chimes the hours, quarter hours, and minutes on command by activating a slide or a button. The mechanism is based on a set of gongs and hammers that strike the gongs to produce the chimes. The minute repeater is considered to be one of the most complex and difficult complications to manufacture. It is a traditional complication that was used in the past to tell time in the dark or in low-light environments. [Learn More]. You tell time by takin a moment to listen to it. How very meta. The minute repeater complication is not a standard at Moser, and so for this edition the calibre was developed with Manufactures Hautes Complications SA. The result from this collaboration is a movement that packs punch. It features the minute repeater and there’s a 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] too for good measure. These are no minor complications and it all fits in a very clean and tidy package which is an additional feat.
And so, when you turn the watch around and look at the movement, you see that you’re in a whole different ballgame. Absolutely nothing minimalistic there! The movement is, simply put, lavish & beautiful. The layout of the movement is very different from what we usually get to see. There’s of course the rectangular shape, but just look at the 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] and the details, the square gong (not round as you’d usually find), and that top right corner where the hammers go to town. It is quite… striking. Now, while the booth at SIHH where we got to test this was certainly not quiet, the minute repeater sounded very nice and pronounced. Quite important of course as it is the only way you can actually use this watch to tell time.
All good and well you say, but how do I even set the time with no hands to offer a visual cue? Well, they thought of that by upgrading 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]. When pulling out the (beautiful) crown, it’ll actually show you the visual cues instead, making setting time essentially a breeze. Overall, this turned out to be a very intriguing piece. Visually speaking, the look with the perfectly black dial is one that is about as cool as it gets. A fascinating deep black face with just a tourbillon held high with that skeletonizedSkeletonizing A decorative technique that involves removing some of the material from the movement parts to create a see-through effect, often used on the plates and bridges. [Learn More] bridgeBridges 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], c’est beau!
Obviously this watch is not for everyone. It literally isn’t, as it is a pièce unique and retails at CHF 350.000.