Black Magic: H. Moser & Cie. x The Armoury’s Endeavour Small Seconds Total Eclipse
Inspired by the deep dark of a solar eclipse, a haberdasher-turned-hip menswear brand taps the legendary dial mastery of a Swiss watchmaker to deliver an artfully stylish timepiece with elegance and oomph.
It might be a bit of a disconnect, but when I saw the new collaborative Endeavour Small Seconds Total Eclipse from H. Moser & Cie., by way of The Armoury, my first thought was of Rob Reiner’s seminal 1984 mockumentary This is Spinal Tap.
In the film, Rob Reiner plays a documentary filmmaker named Martin “Marty” Di Bergi, who follows the (fictional) English rock band, Spinal Tap, as its members try to reignite their careers via a tour of America. In one of its most famous scenes, Christopher Guest, as guitarist Nigel Tufnel, comments to Marty on his band’s new all-black album cover: “It’s like, how much more black could this be? And the answer is none. None more black.”
And that pretty much sums up my first thought upon seeing the new Endeavour Small Seconds Total Eclipse by H. Moser & Cie. and The Armoury. Let’s discuss.
Dialing It In
Though certainly not the only laudable aspect of fine Swiss maker H. Moser & Cie’s DNA, the firm’s dial work has a particular reputation for being quite exquisite. Richness, depth, flair, saturation, the play of light...
In short, the Neuhausen am Rheinfall-based watchmaker is second to none when it comes to dials, particularly in its superb fumé approaches. And, while the brand’s timepieces evoke an enduringly classic sense of size, proportion, and materials, it would be a wild misrepresentation of the artisans at H. Moser & Cie. to describe them as technology averse.
And for this timepiece, some science definitely came into play; specifically, Vantablack, the cutting-edge substance with a carbon nanostructure that absorbs 99.965% of light, creating a virtual black hole on your wrist.
Vantablack is an exacting and delicate substance; a simple touch or any kind of external contact can damage the noire sheen. H. Moser’s manufacture developed a special technique to meet the collaborative intentions of the watch.
The Influence of Style
“When [H. Moser & Cie. CEO] Edouard [Meylan] and I first started talking about the idea of making a watch together, my main requirement was that it was small,” Mark Cho, co-founder of The Armoury, explained. “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 favor the Vantablack.”
Available in both gleaming all-steel and bi-color 5N red gold and steel 38mm case executions, the tight circular frame of the casework continues the eclipse inspiration, recalling the sun’s corona during the moon’s occasional cosmic blocking maneuver. A textured hand-sewn black calf leather strap (designed by The Armoury) amplifies the mysterious appeal. As does the very minimalist dial design itself.
Two small apertures at 12 o’clock and one for each additional hour marker are very carefully drilled into the dial to expose the underlying plate and communicate some of the dial’s inherent depth. Moreover, while the small seconds hand rides the traditional 6 o’clock position, there is no sub-dial to draw the eye away from the pitch-black canvas, plus the hand’s counter-arm features a circular dot the exact same size as the hour indices.
Simple Breguet-style hour and minute hands play that same minimal-distraction card yet, at the same time, inject a dose of retro-astronomical instrumentation aesthetic into the mix. The watch also sports a three-day-minimum power reserve and exhibition caseback.
“Absolutely everything in this model links back to this quest for ultimate elegance, combining classicism with a contemporary feel,” Edouard Meylan, CEO of H. Moser & Cie., said. “It’s 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 the pocket-watch style.” In the black, indeed.
Pricing & Availability
Both executions (the all-steel, Ref. 1327-1200, and bi-color, Ref. 1327-1201) of the H. Moser & Cie. x The Armoury Endeavour Small Seconds Total Eclipse are limited editions to 28 versions each and will be available at The Armoury stores in Hong Kong and New York as well as both the H. Moser & Cie. and The Armoury websites.
Finally, a special pocket handkerchief designed by The Armoury specifically for the collaboration is also included. The list price is $25,900 for both models.
(Images © H. Moser & Cie.)