H. Moser & Cie combines two of its trademark minimalist components into one of its best-known collections to create the new red gold Streamliner Tourbillon Vantablack, which is also the first non-steel model within the award-winningStreamliner collection.
For this debut, the Schaffhausen-based independent watchmaker places its highly efficient, dual-hairspring automatic HMC 804 one-minute flying tourbillon caliber beneath a Vantablack dial, a design that features high-tech Vantablack, an ultra-black coating that absorbs more than 99 percent of all light.
The resulting ‘black hole’ dial beautifully contrasts with the finely wrought tourbillon at the 6 o’clock position, all framed by the Streamliner’s striking, Deco-influence cushion-shaped 5N red gold case.
H. Moser has created at least two Vantablack dials for watches in its Streamliner case. You might recall that H. Moser presented what may have been a precursor to this model with the steel-cased Streamliner Tourbillon with a Vantablack dial for the 2021 Only Watch charity auction. H. Moser also displayed a non-tourbillon iteration earlier this year at Watches and Wonders in Geneva when it displayed a one-off Streamliner ‘stealth concept’ watch.
Here H. Moser & Cie. carefully enhances a sharp black/gold contrast by fixing the dial’s red gold indexes from the back of the dial so that they appear or disappear against the Vantablack. All this is framed by a case that H. Moser finishes with vertical brushing alternating with polished lines — an effect mirrored along the fully integrated red gold bracelet.As noted, H. Moser’s automatic HMC 804 caliber powers the watch and is equipped with a double hairspring made by H. Moser & Cie.’s sister company Precision Engineering AG. This component, just one of many technical highlights found throughout H. Moser’s designs, reduces friction and improves the movement’s accuracy and isochronism. (See below for full specifications.) Price: $119,900.
Specifications: H. Moser & Cie Streamliner Tourbillon Vantablack
Movement:HMC 804 automatic Manufacture caliber, frequency of 21,600 vibrations/hour, automatic bi-directional pawl winding system, oscillating weight in 18-karat red gold with engraved H. Moser & Cie. logo, power reserve of three days, original double hairspring, one-minute flying tourbillon at 6 o’clock with skeletonized bridges.
Case: 40mm by 12.1mm 5N red gold topped by a slightly domed sapphire crystal, screw-in crown adorned with an engraved M, see-through sapphire crystal case-back, water-resistant to 120 meters.
Dial: Vantablack,hour and minute hands with Globolight inserts, indices secured from the back of the dial using a plate.
Bracelet: Integrated in 5N red gold, folding clasp with three blades in 5N red gold, engraved with the Moser logo.
Earlier this summer, Zenith hosted collectors and enthusiasts at its Master of Chronographs exhibition in New York. During the special three-day pop-up exhibit and watchmaking clinic, the Swiss watchmaker hosted hands-on demonstrations of chronograph movements and displayed a room full of historical Zenith chronographs.
We spoke with Zenith CEO Julien Tornare during the event to learn more about the purpose of the exhibit. His responses are below.
IW: What do you hope people will learn about Zenith when they see this exhibition?
Julien Tornare: If they know about Zenith, then they probably already know about the El Primero. But they may not know about our history before 1969. My objective is to show that starting from the end of the 19th-Century the race for precision and chronometry began. That’s how we got to the El Primero.
In the 1960s we did not wake up and suddenly decide we were going to make super precise integrated chronographs. No. This started much earlier in the minds of our watchmakers.
This exhibit is to show existence of our heritage and where we got to where we are today.
At the turn-of-the-century, the only argument for the best watches focused on the most precise. In those days precision not only meant accuracy but also security. Sometimes it was a question of life or death, for example in an airplane or in a train it was very important to be precise.
There was no digital backup or satellite at that time. That was the ultimate proof of quality. Zenith has won with so many chronometry prizes, 2,333, out of which 233 or ten percent, were won by the Caliber 135.
Today most clients aren’t going to check the super precision of their watches. During those years this was key and Zenith was the leader. In this exhibition we display this point clearly.
I wish we had more of these. This is unique. When we started the project we begin talking about the commercial versions of the Caliber 135. But the extra-specialized versions of that caliber, which were made strictly for racing contests, will never be done again.
We have only a limited quantity of those. We use these to get them on people’s wrists because we believe this is the best testimony to our incredible past achievements. The remaining pieces we will keep in our museum. All of the recent debut pieces are already sold out.
We will however have one more unique piece later this year with a different material, and a different dial, also by Kari Voutilainen. Phillips will auction that piece at the end of the year.
Many people wrote to me to obtain one of the ten limited-edition pieces. I told them you still have a chance when this piece comes to auction later this year.
Have the Skyline and new Chronomaster debuts met with your sales expectations in stores?
This is a fantastic program, one of the most exciting projects we have started. It is more than a project, it is happening. But we don’t produce those watches so we have to look for them and acquire them. The main challenge is the sourcing. Most of the time we have to find their watches and go to acquire them.
Last year, we acquired between twenty-five and thirty watches and ninety percent of those sold out. So if you go to one of the five Zenith boutiques today where we have these icons, you will see a few, but many of them are empty. Sold out.
We cannot produce these, so this is a great concept but we need to acquire more of the pieces. We are fully prepared with the restoration capabilities.
What are collectors looking for among the vintage Zenith pieces?
They are looking for a nice vintage watch that they know it is fully guaranteed and restored and certified by the brand. Many of them have purchased a vintage watch at auctions in the past. Or they bought them on other resale sites.
And when they receive their watch, it was not working properly. Or they realize much later that some of the parts in those watches are not genuine.
So we thought why not guarantee that you were getting something fully perfect. I’m not excited as much about the revenue from this project, but more about the concept and the message we give to our clients.
What is that message?
The message is that Zenith does commit. We will restore and repair every single watch since day one. You know there are some brands that just will not repair their own watches after twenty or thirty years. I don’t want to do that. I want to be sure that if anybody buys our watches, old or new, we can always restore them.
That is a strong message. The inspiration is there. When one of our employees is wearing an A386 from 1969, and we want to sell a new Chronomaster Original, the speech is right there. Just the presence of the vintage pieces in the stores will help sell the new pieces.
Are the late 1960s pieces currently most in demand among the vintage items?
Yes, primarily the A386, A385, A384. We are just starting to see interest in some of the vintage Defy pieces. The A277, the earlier Chronomaster Sports.
Next year we will begin the new generation of pilot watches, so I expect vintage pilot watches to also come back in demand.
Why should a watch collector today choose a new Zenith Watch?
When you buy a Zenith you buy three things. You’ve buying a brand that has a strong heritage. And when you get to know the brand, our history is so rich. This is a very important and it speaks to our legitimacy.
Second, look at our authenticity. At Zenith I can tell you that all of our stories are authentic. There are other brands that are successful commercially based on good marketing. Do you want to buy a marketing story or a true story?
Finally, we express our history in a very contemporary manner. We have, for example, the big Defy Extreme but also the Caliber 135, which is super elegant and decorated by Kari Voutilainen. We can do both of these things. We have the heritage, we focus on authenticity – and we exist in the 21st-century.
For its first chronograph, independent watchmaker MB&F teams with Irish watchmaker Stephen McDonnell to launch the Legacy Machine Sequential EVO, a two-column-wheel chronograph with split-second, independent and lap timer modes – a watchmaking premiere.
The new watch, powered by MB&F’s twentieth caliber, boasts a ‘Twinverter’ switch that controls both chronograph systems.
The binary switch inverts the start/stop status of each chronograph. As MB&F explains: “this means that if both chronograph displays happen to be stopped (at zero position or otherwise), pressing the Twinverter (at 9 o’clock) will cause both of them to start simultaneously. If they are both running, the Twinverter makes them stop. If one is running and the other is stopped, the Twinverter stops the one that is running and starts the one that is stopped.”
Belfast-based McDonnell previously worked with MB&F to finalize the MB&F HM1 and most famously developed the GPHG-award-winning MB&F Legacy Machine Perpetual.
His design for the new watch allows the user to perform the same functions as a split-seconds chronograph. But overall, McDonnell focused the design for everyday use rather than specifically for sporting functions, according to MB&F’s Charris Yadigaroglou. Most of the new timing modes are novel to this design and not available when using a traditional chronograph.
For example, in ‘independent mode’ the wearer can assist with varied cooking times. In this so-called ‘pasta mode” the wearer could operate the two chronographs via their respective pushers. One might start when placing pasta into boiling water and the other can separately time when vegetables go in the oven. Additional modes include Simultaneous mode, Cumulative mode and Sequential mode.
MB&F places McDonnell’s caliber into its sporty EVO case much like the case that houses the latest example of the LM Perpetual. This is a 44mm by 18.2mm zirconium structure with no bezel, a domed sapphire crystal, a screw-down crown (offering 80 meters of water resistance) and MB&F’s own anti-shock FlexRing system.
MB&F will launch the new watch in two versions. One features an ‘atomic’ orange CVD dial plate and the second features a ‘coal’ black PVD dial plate. Both come with an integrated rubber strap with a folding titanium buckle. Price: $180,000.
Specifications: MB&F Legacy Machine Sequential EVO
Movement: Fully integrated dual chronograph system developed for MB&F by Stephen McDonnell, featuring Twinverter switch allowing multiple timing modes. Manual winding with double mainspring; Balance frequency: 3Hz (21,600 vph). Three-days of power reserve. Flying balance wheel with regulating screws at 12 o’clock, Breguet overcoil. Superlative hand finishing; internal bevel angles highlighting handcraft; polished bevels; Geneva waves; hand-made engravings, darkened bridges (NAC finish). Power reserve indication at the back of the movement.
Dial: Galvanic black dials with Super-LumiNova on numerals and hands.
Functions: Time display (hours/minutes) at 6 o’clock.
Left chronograph: Seconds displayed at 9 o’clock and minutes at 11 o’clock; start/stop pusher at 10 o’clock and reset at 8 o’clock.
Right chronograph: Seconds displayed at 3 o’clock and minutes at 1 o’clock; start/stop pusher at 2 o’clock and reset at 4 o’clock.
Twinverter pusher at 9 o’clock: binary switch that inverts the current start/stop status of both chronographs.
Case: 44mm by 18.2mm zirconium. Water resistance to 80 meters. Screw down crown. FlexRing annular dampener fitted between case and movement, providing shock protection along the vertical and lateral axes. Sapphire crystals on top and display back treated with anti-reflective coating on both faces.
Strap: Integrated rubber with titanium folding buckle.
Highlighting its LVMH Watch Week, Bulgari unveils BVL100, a new miniature mechanical movement, which Bulgari places inside the head of new snake-shaped Serpenti bracelet watches.
Bulgari dubs the new movement Piccolissimo (Italian for “very small”), and it is indeed one of the smallest mechanical calibers available, measuring a wispy 12.30 mm in diameter and 2.50 mm thick.
“We believe this is the smallest round caliber currently on the market, and it opens up a new world of possibilities for us in this collection and beyond,” notes Antoine Pin, managing director of Bulgari Watches.
Bulgari launches the new caliber inside four lacquered and gem-set Serpenti Misteriosi watches.
With this 2022 debut, Bulgari re-establishes a mechanical time display within the Serpenti collection. The watch and jewelry maker debuted Serpenti in the 1950s outfitted with manual-wind calibers but in recent years has equipped the line with quartz movements. With only a few very limited exceptions, the Serpenti lines have been powered by quartz calibers since the late 1980s.
In addition to the new mechanical caliber, the Serpenti Misteriosi offers a wholly new convertible option: Each watch is designed to be worn on either wrist.
Bulgari has cleverly devised an interchangeable movement housing for Serpenti Misteriosi that can be removed from within the snake’s head and turned in the other direction to be visible on the left or right arm.
Bulgari explains that it builds the new BVL100 caliber with 102 components that in total weigh a mere 1.3 grams. In order to power the hands, watchmakers fit a 170mm-long mainspring into a barrel that measures 5mm thick and 1.47 mm across. And to ensure the greatest inertia, Bulgari opted for a white gold balance wheel.
The wearer views the time on the new Serpenti models by pressing the snake’s tongue, revealing the diamond-set dial. A bidirectional crown on the caseback controls Winding and time setting.
Since 2014 Bulgari has introduced a series of record-breaking (and award-winning) ultra-thin watches within its Octo Finissimo collection. With its new Piccolissimo caliber, Bulgari now expects to extend its dominance of ultra-thin watchmaking to what have traditionally been ‘ladies’ sized models with small diameters and high gemstone counts.
MB&F has joined forces with Bulgari to create the new Legacy Machine FlyingT Allegra, a dramatic colored-gem-set iteration of the LM FlyingT, MB&F’s first venture into feminine-focused design.
You may recall that the LM FlyingT was quite a success upon its launch in 2019. Customers clamored for it, and the industry awarded it the prize for Best Ladies’ Complication at the 2019 Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève. The 39.5mm by 20mm watch displays hours and minutes on a 50° vertically tilted dial with two serpentine hands regulated by a dramatically raised flying tourbillon at the center.
Just last year MB&F added a limited edition guilloché-dialed LM FlyingT series cased in red gold and platinum. More recently, the watchmaker launched an eye-catching Lapis Lazuli LM FlyingT model. MB&F noted at the time that it expected to announce at least one new gemstone-set edition annually.
For the newest edition, the MB&F x Bulgari LM FlyingT Allegra, Bulgari’s well-established gemstone expertise merges with the LM FlyingT’s existing diamond-set dial plate to create a terrific counterbalance the technical center of the dial.
Prominent single stones of tourmaline, tsavorite, diamonds, rubellite, amethyst, tanzanite and topaz flank the watch’s diamond-set flying tourbillon and the balance at the center.
Bulgari opts for a cabochon cut for each stone, a choice that not only makes the stones all the more prominent above the dial, but that also perfectly matches the FlyingT Allegra’s round case.
On the back of the watch MB&F again creates a sun-shaped oscillating weight with gold rays rotating on a ruthenium disc above a platinum counterweight.
MB&F will offer twenty MB&F x Bulgari LM FlyingT Allegra watches, cased in either pink gold or white gold. Each is set with fully diamond-set dial plates and adorned with Bulgari’s fine gemstones. Price: $185,000.
Specifications: MB&F x Bulgari Legacy Machine FlyingT Allegra
Movement: FlyingT featuring three-dimensional vertical architecture, automatic winding, conceived and developed in-house, central flying 60-second tourbillon, balance frequency of 18,000 (2.5 Hz), power reserve of 100 hours, three-dimensional sun winding rotor in 18k 5N+ red gold, titanium and platinum.
Dial: Hours and minutes displayed on a 50° vertically tilted dial with two serpentine hands. White gold version set with diamonds, tsavorite, topaz, amethyst, tanzanite and tourmaline. Pink gold version set with diamonds, tsavorite, tourmaline, tanzanite, amethyst and rubellite.
Case: 39mm x 20mm white gold or pink gold, set with diamonds. High domed sapphire crystal on top with anti-reflective coating on both sides, sapphire crystal on back. Two crowns: winding on left and time-setting on right. Water resistance to 30 meters.
Strap: Alligator leather strap with white or pink gold pin buckle matching the case.