Breaking News: H. Moser & Cie. Erases Its Dials
The horological pranksters at H. Moser & Cie. continue their April Fool’s tradition with a cheeky new watch.
H. Moser & Cie. is famous for its April Fool’s Day watch announcements. In 2019 the brand posted a picture of a timepiece with a Vantablack dial with Vantablack hour and minute hands, which later inspired the Venturer Vantablack Black Hands – a 20-piece limited edition from 2020.
Or how about the never-produced 2018 Swiss Icons timepiece, a watch that was a mash-up of a Rolex GMT Master II, an AP Royal Oak shape, a Panerai crown guard, a Patek dial, a Hublot case, and a Girard-Perregaux Golden Bridge.
This April 1st, H. Moser & Cie. has announced a new timepiece: the Endeavour Centre Seconds Concept X Seconde/Seconde/. And while it’s no joke, it is definitely a timepiece that pranksters will love.
So far, 2021 has seen much discussion of cancel culture. Patek Phillipe shook the watch world earlier this year when it discontinued the 5711. Audemars Piguet just announced that it is pulling The Royal Oak 15202ST “Jumbo” from the catalog by the end of the year. Even H. Moser & Cie. itself recently announced that the most recent iteration of the Swiss Alp Watch would be its last.
In 2015, H. Moser & Cie., in the pursuit of maximal minimalism, removed its logo from its Concept dials and had the brand’s iconic fumé dial stand alone, making them the signature of these limited edition pieces. This approach – taking the spotlight off of the brand and returning to the product, the expertise, the essentials – was so successful that the manufacture asked artist Romaric André, a.k.a. seconde/seconde/, to take it a step further through the creation of a conceptual model.
And in his radical reinterpretation of the brand's essentialist approach, an anachronistic graphic of an old-school eraser – vividly colored and pixelated – replaces the hour hand. Interestingly, this seemingly small change adds an irreverent and ironically poetic edge to the classic Endeavour Centre Seconds Concept model.
Beautifully crafted dials are a signature of the Schaffhausen-based watchmaker. Think, for example, of the 2020 time-only Endeavour Centre Seconds Concept, which proved that blue was the new black with a funky fumé dial. It came framed in a 40mm round case with a sloping bezel and distinctive lugs. And while the dial was completely blank, the caseback and automatic calibre HMC 200 were signed.
At the time, the company called this free and uncluttered sfumato effect, a return to the basics of watchmaking, “Like a Renaissance painter's canvas,” said a press release for the model. It makes sense then the H. Moser & Cie.’s next bold move would be offering its distinctive dial as a canvas for an artist.
One of seconde/seconde/’s signature services is the "hand swap." André frequently switches one or more hands on an existing watch to create disharmony and dissonance. “It is my way of disorienting the product, deconstructing it,” the artist said in a statement. “I can then reconstruct it. To reveal an unknown facet or show another perspective.”
In the case of the Endeavour Centre Seconds Concept X Seconde/Seconde/, André has chosen a pixelated eraser – a banal everyday item – that gains power from its association with the watch – a prestigious exceptional object. “It is a metaphor for removal and for minimalism – notions clearly dear to H. Moser,” he said. “But [it is] also a metaphor for that constant striving effort, for these fruitless attempts, often hidden from view, that we erase a thousand times before solving the equation, before successfully completing this work. To sometimes find what you seek, you must constantly make mistakes and erase."
While the ideas behind the Endeavour Centre Seconds Concept X Seconde/Seconde/ elevates the watch into a work of art, the craft that goes into each piece is also exceptional.
At the heart of its steel case beats the self-winding calibre HMC 200, a manufacture movement entirely designed and created by H. Moser & Cie. And its regulating organ was manufactured by the brand's sister company, Precision Engineering AG, using expertise that very few manufactures can claim to have in-house.
The Endeavour Centre Seconds Concept X Seconde/Seconde/ model is now available as a limited edition of 20 pieces and comes with an exclusive numbered artwork by seconde/seconde/. Priced at $21,900, it is only for sale on the H. Moser & Cie. website.
(Images © H. Moser & Cie.)