A One-of-a-Kind Sapphire-cased, Skeleton Tourbillon with 3-D Printed Strap by H. Moser

April 5, 2015

For its talking piece this year, H. Moser & Cie. has decided to craft a new model in its Venturer — with a case created entirely in sapphire crystal and a 3D-printed rubber watch strap. Intrigued? Same here. You don’t get much less conventional than a piece like this!

The solid sapphire case was created using a technique that very few people in the world have mastered: the Kyropoulos method. Now I’m no expert on sapphire crystal production so it is hard to put this statement in perspective, but I can agree that the result is wonderful. It is a 3-piece case, and even the screw-in crown engraved with an “M” is made of sapphire crystal.

To make it even better, H. Mose has filled the sapphire case with a fully skeletonized version of its HMC 803 calibre. Sharp eyes will notice that the movement baseplate is made of nickel silver (German Silver), with its slightly oxidised look — a signature of German Silver that is so prized by many collectors. The bidirectional rotor, made from 22-carat solid red gold, is also open-worked. The cal 803 is a classic Moser caliber, with Original Straumann Double Hairspring®, bi-directional pawl winding system (min 3 days power reserve), and Moser teeth for all wheels and pinions. The highlight, of course, is the minute tourbillon at 6 o’clock with skeletonized bridges (interchangeable if need be). Moser points out that more almost 100 hours of work went into the creation of this caliber and all its finishes and refinements.

Of course there isn’t really a dial. The outer flange which has hour markers is part of the solid 3-piece sapphire crystal case. Those midnight blue indices nicely match the center-set hour and mintute hands and provide just the right dash of color to the mix. This being a GMT watch, there is also a second, rhodiumed-hand which hides behind the blue hour hand unless set otherwise.

For a piece of haute horologerie, this is definitely a world first. The rubber strap has a complex structure featuring organic shapes. I would not expect to find a 3-D printed rubber watch strap on a watch like this. Actually, it looks very good. The mere thought of placing a 3-D printed watch strap with such a high-end piece causes my head to spin in circles. But Moser has pulled it off — I like it.

To close, I would like to credit the leadership and entire team at H. Moser for the work they are doing these days. They are only a couple years into a “revitalization” of the brand, but the results, in my mind, speak for themselves. H. Moser is innovating in all the right places, while at the same time not moving too fast or too far beyond the brand’s distinctive style nor compromising its carefully cultivated image of fine & rare timepieces. I can almost feel a bit of youthfulness, of vitality — a desire to not be so stodgy — permeating the brand and bringing new hope and life to it. I hope that deep pocketed and collectors are recognizing this as well.

words by Kyle Stults

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