If there’s one thing we know and love about H. Moser & Cie, it’s the two polar opposite sides to the watchmaker. There’s perhaps no other company crazy enough to make watches out of cheese or poke fun at Apple Watch (even if it’s just to make a point), and yet have a complete grasp of elegance and minimalism, reimagining complications and creating the most stunning fumé and Vantablack dials.
It’s the latter that caught the attention of Mark Cho, who first met Edouard Meylan, CEO of Moser in New York two years ago. An avid watch collector, Cho was fascinated by Moser’s dials – and when both men began chatting, they realised they had a shared passion for clothing and watches. Soon enough, the idea of a collaboration began to surface.
Cho co-founded The Armoury, a highly specialised menswear brand alongside business partner Alan See in 2010, to bring classic tailoring and style to the modern man while telling the stories of truly exceptional craftsmen and their products. They have created collaboration watches before – just last year, The Armoury partnered with independent Scottish watch brand Anordain to create a small production of mechanical watches with special vitreous enamel dials.
But this year, it’s Moser on the map. The Endeavour Small Seconds Total Eclipse is truly a Mark Cho watch. “When Edouard and I first started talking about the idea of making a watch together, my main requirement was that it was small,” says Cho in the official release. “I like watches that are discreet but reveal a deeper complexity if you pay them some attention. To me, H. Moser & Cie’s fumé dial and Vantablack dial are iconic and I wanted to work with one of them as a starting point for the design. Quickly, I started to favour the Vantablack and I had the idea to add markings to the dial somehow. My design partner, Elliot Hammer, suggested that we imagine the design with the theme of a total solar eclipse. Thus, the Endeavour Small Seconds Total Eclipse was born.”
The watch is a perfect balance of science and poetry. Named the blackest black, Vantablack absorbs 99.965 percent of light and is a material made from carbon nanotubes. Like a solar eclipse, the Vantablack dial evokes the silhouette of the moon, edged by a thin steel bezel and red gold or steel polished inner bezel that depicts the halo of the solar corona. We can’t stare too long at a solar eclipse but at this watch, we can.
Cho also asked for subtle details to be added to the dial, including small seconds, Breguet hands and dotted hour markers in steel or red gold. This last part presented a rather large challenge to the watchmaker. Vantablack isn’t a pigment but carbon nanostructures that cannot come into contact with anything else. It took some trial and error but the final creation is absolutely worth it.
Insisting on creating a small size watch at 38mm, the Endeavour Small Seconds Total Eclipse is also the smallest Endeavour watch to date. “Absolutely everything in this model links back to this quest for ultimate elegance, combining classicism with a contemporary feel,” says Meylan. “Its 38mm diameter is perfectly balanced. We opted for the smallest and finest of our movements, the hand-wound HMC 327 calibre with an offset small second at 6 o’clock, reminiscent of a pocket-watch style.”
The watch comes with a black calf leather strap specifically designed by The Armoury to enhance the overall elegance of the watch. Two editions are available, both cased in steel, but one with red gold indices and hands, and the other in all-steel. The Endeavour Small Seconds Total Eclipse is limited to 28 pieces per version.
The timepieces are now available in The Armoury stores in New York and Hong Kong, as well as online at both The Armoury and H. Moser & Cie.
This story first appeared in Prestige Online – Hong Kong