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For many years Precision Engineering AG, a sister company of H. Moser & Cie., has been making balance springs for MB&F. These two high-profile independent watchmakers today expand their ties well beyond sharing component-makers by each launching a watch with functions and designs originally found on watches from both companies.

Thus, on the new Endeavour Cylindrical Tourbillon H. Moser × MB&F the wearer sees a cylindrical tourbillon and tilted dial that immediately recalls the MB&F LM Thunderdome or its Flying-T.

Likewise, on the new LM101 MB&F × H. Moser we see the highly recognizable MB&F suspended balance flying above a trademark H. Moser fumé dial with minimalized H. Moser hands indicating both time and power reserve.

Both companies have jointly created these two new watches and will make them available in several versions with each issued in a fifteen-piece limited series. Fifteen signifies the 15th anniversary of MB&F and the fifteenth anniversary of H. Moser & Cie.’s re-launch.

Endeavour Cylindrical Tourbillon H. Moser × MB&F

For this 42mm model, H. Moser & Cie. takes the MB&F concept of three-dimensional movements to another technical level with a one-minute flying tourbillon (with the aforementioned cylindrical balance) popping out of an aperture at 12 o’clock.

Down at 6 o’clock we see a 40-degree tilted dial, lifted directly from MB&F’s LM Thunderdome or Flying –T.  Rather than the white lacquer dial used by MB&F, here we find clear sapphire marked only by the H. Moser name, two hands and the twelve hour markers.

H. Moser CEO Edouard Meylan explains that his company has “Moserized the MB&F universe by developing a sapphire subdial, which melts into the background so as to highlight the beauty of our fumé dials.”

H. Moser will make the watch available in five different versions cased in steel and with a selection of favorite H. Moser fumé dials: Funky Blue, Cosmic Green, Burgundy, Off-White or Ice Blue.

LM101 MB&F × H. Moser

For its part in the cooperative venture, MB&F has outfitted its Legacy Machine 101 with distinctive H. Moser elements.

MB&F has retained the watch’s suspended flying balance, but has removed its own logo as well as the LM101’s white domed subdials, replacing them with an H. Moser fumé dial and three H. Moser hands showing hours, minutes power reserve.

MB&F chose four fumé dials to illustrate the watch’s cooperative nature: Red, Cosmic Green, Aqua Blue and Funky Blue. MB&F also retained the 40mm by 16mm steel case and domed sapphire crystal.

MB&F has also redesigned the LM101’s large suspended balance wheel by adding a Straumann double balance spring produced by Precision Engineering AG, the component maker that shares ownership with H. Moser. MB&F says the new spring actually improves the movement’s precision and isochronism while also reducing friction.

And there’s more ‘Mosering’ visible on this new LM101 MB&F × H. Moser. Rather than using a Kari Voutilainen finish, MB&F has supplied a contemporary NAC treatment to the movement, which is visible from the clear sapphire caseback.

Moser CEO Edouard Meylan and MB&F founder Maximilian Büsser compare their new creations to a “duet recital in the form of an exceptional concerto for devotees of fine watchmaking.”

Clearly, the two independent watchmakers are making beautiful music together. 

The two models are available in several versions, each issued in a fifteen-piece limited series. Prices: $79,000  (Endeavour Cylindrical Tourbillon H. Moser × MB&F) and $52,000 (LM101 MB&F × H. Moser).

 

 

 

Story and Photos by Steve Lundin

Travelling through Berlin’s fractured, graffitied and tattooed streets, it’s understandable that Nomos founder Roland Schwertner would have been drawn to the balance, symmetry and inherent calm of the Bauhaus style. It represented an escape from the chaotic environment that was Berlin from before the war to the fall of the wall– and to this day.

The Berlin Wall

The net result of the confluence of Schwertner’s entrepreneurial spirit and a singular moment in history resulted in the formation of one of the most aesthetically pure and culturally reflective watch brands to emerge from Germany.

Uwe Ahrendt, Nomos Glashütte CEO

Schwertner, schooled in technology and photography, found himself, along with millions of other Germans, in a whirling vortex of opportunity with the opening of the Berlin Wall in November 1989, signaling the beginning of reunification of West and East Germany under the chant, “Tor auf!”

By the time reunification became official, on October 3, 1990, Schwertner had already made his move to establish a new German watch brand in GlashütteSaxony, where the German watchmaking industry began.

Schwertner wanted to build clean watches, something new and not gaudy, like many of the 1980s watches, with a reference to draftsmanship. He and designer Susanne Günther went through catalogues of watches from Glashütte and found one that was made in 1920s, that was not ornate like most watches of that time,” says Thomas Höhnel, product designer for Nomos Glashütte, and the creative driver behind , the Ahoi, the breakout water resistant sports model that received the Good Design, iF and Goldene Unruh awards. “This exception watch he found was simple and provided inspiration for the first watch.”

Thomas Höhnel, product designer for Nomos Glashütte

Höhnel works at Berlinerblau, the Nomos design studio, located in Berlin in what would be considered the urban part of any city in the world. The Hipster meets Goth meets Businessman meets Mad Max forms the interwoven Kevlar of the human experience that mesh together and drive the pulse of the busy streets surrounding the studio.

Through a courtyard that could have easily been a darkened spy drop during the Cold War, up an industrial steel grey elevator and through imposing doors lies the Nomos cognitive center, the head, populated by a crew of engineers, designers and marketers who feed their ideas to the production facilities in Glashütte, the thundering hands of the company.

“The creative part of the company comes from Berlin, there’s a reason why it’s there,” observes Uwe Ahrendt, CEO of Nomos Glashütte. “The spirit of the place is important. Glashütte is a town of watchmakers, it’s historical, but the design sensibility has to come from Berlin.”

“Berlin experienced chaos and then came together again,” adds Höhnel. “It’s evident everywhere and has helped it to becomes a creative hub.”  Höhnel conducted a thorough history of the company and its products from one of airy, white conference rooms at the Berlin studio.

Inside the Berlin Studio.

Berlinerblau itself is a reflection of the clean symmetry of the company’s design aesthetic, from the Eames furniture to the neat placement of nuts and chocolates thoughtfully positioned on the conference tables. It’s a highly ordered and logical environment, a far cry from the tumult in the streets below.

It started with Tangente

Among the mood boards and many company artifacts dotting Berlinerblau is a group of hand drawn numeric fonts on paper that were utilized in the design of the first family of products, the Orion, Ludwig, Tetra and Tangente, released in 1991. The elegant, elongated font is ascribed to “Suzi,” scrawled on the bottom of the art, however that actual name is lost in history. To everyone working at Nomos today, it’s simply called “the font.”

The original Nomos font, signed by ‘Suzi.”

The Tangente proved the star of the original lineup and is still the number one best-selling model, according to Florian M. Langenbucher, a multilingual watch industry professional and true gentleman who conducted our tour through Nomos’ many facilities.

The Nomos Tangente Update in dark platinum with Neomatik date caliber (DUW 6101).

The Tangente, held in mythic regard by the company, is the most emblematic watch of the entire 150-unit product line and has received multiple industry awards over the years, including the Chrono, iF and the highly coveted international Red Dot awards. Photos of the permutations of the model are everywhere, as are exploded diagrams of its guts, citations of its awards, advertising imagery and a library of articles detailing almost every aspect of its existence. Originally offered as a 39mm manual wound unisex watch with a Swiss movement, the line has expanded to twenty-one models, powered by in-house manual and automatic movements.

Höhnel gently caresses various models of the Tangente as he offers them, with gloved hands, for review.

“Notice how the slim Tangent is raised above the wrist on its lugs,” he observes, “this makes even the smaller models seem bigger.”

Three Nomos Tangente Club Sport neomatik 42 date models, with the first Nomos bracelet, handcrafted using 145 parts.

For Nomos, the Tangente is a challenging canvas for their creative output, as variation in the theme is restrained by  Schwertner’s mandate to not violate the original elemental aspects of the dial and case.

The addition of the crown guards, found on the new Sport Neomatik 42 ($4,980), or the external date ring on the Neomatik 41 update Ruthenium ($4,100), which won the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève (GPHG) Challenge Prize, required months of design deliberations and hand wringing before they were green-lighted for production.

“The development process on movements and cases can take up to two years,” says Höhnel. “Every model is reflective of the sensibilities of our audience. We must know how the end user thinks, what they like in design, in architecture, in cars, how they will interact with and use the watch. Sometimes we bring in outside designers, like Mark Braun who worked on the Metro Date Power Reserve ($3,780) a fantastic model with a unique power reserve indicator, to bring a new feel to the line. We work with all kinds of materials and colors just to get to a 3D- printed version that enables our team to interact with the product. Sometimes you just have to put a project down and let it sit for awhile.”

      Outside parties involved in the process include the case makers, hand makers and strap makers, with a supply chain that stretches all the way to the United States.

And then there was Glashütte

Two hours south of Berlin, near the famous city of Dresden, lies the small town of Glashütte, population 7,000, located in a valley that is home to more than ten watchmakers and manufacturers. It is here that the Nomos production facilities turn the ideas of the Berlin studio into a tangible product.

Nomos headquarters at the former Glashütte train station.

The pioneering work of Ferdinand Adolph Lange (of A. Lange and Söhne) established the area as a source of German watches, an alternative to importing Swiss products, while leveraging the local workforce. His work served to germinate a generation of watchmakers and parts suppliers that would ultimately work with other famous brands from the region including Tutima and Muhle-Glashütte.

Wartime production of aviation watches and timing devices to support the Axis military earned the region a target designation in WWII, and Allied bombers destroyed many of the factories and railways. After the war Germany was divided and Glashütte was now located in Soviet East Germany: the German Democratic Republic (GDR).

The Soviets seized the machinery as part of war reparations and began converting production to timekeeping pieces for Soviet consumption. In 1951, pre-war era private enterprises were outlawed and all commercial assets and intellectual property were combined to form the state-controlled Glashütte Uhrenbetrieb (GUB). The fall of the wall passed control of the GUB to the newly forming German Republic, and created opportunities for the legacy companies– and entrepreneurs like Schwertner.

Forming Nomos

For a German watch company, association with the name Glashütte represents an elite status. To receive the designation “Made in Glashütte/Sa,” more than fifty percent of the watches’ value has to be created on location. Protection of this identifying mark is strictly enforced by the manufacturers in the region, who have sought legal channels in the past against transgressors who have falsely identified the origin in their products, in the same manner that champagne producers guard the use of their region’s output to products made specifically in the Champagne region of France.

By locating production in Glashütte and design in Berlin, Schwertner successfully capitalized on two of the country’s hallmark regions.

Schwertner acquired the rights to several now defunct German companies, one of which was Nomos-Uhr-Gesellschaft, Guido Müller & Co. This company was in operation between 1906-1910 and was put out of business by other Glashütte companies for misleading advertising that indicated that it was producing authentic, assembled-in-Glashütte products.

Ironically Schwertner’s Nomos would later sue watch manufacturer Mühle, in 2007, for the same violation, driving Mühle into Chapter 11 insolvency. Mühle Glashütte returned to regular production in 2008, after agreeing to ensure that their production process added at least fifty percent of the value of the watch in Glashütte.

The Glashütte Name

“America represents our most important growth area, followed by the U.K. and Asia. The strength of the Glashütte name, the power of our brand and the quality we deliver for the money will help us become top brands in those areas,” said Ahrendt, from his stunning glass- walled office located in the town’s converted train station with direct views of competitors A. Lange & Söhne and Glashütte Original.

Uwe Ahrendt’s vintage Mercedes

Ahrendt arrived in a vintage pastel blue Mercedes and is himself a reflective embodiment of the brand. He carries the Berliner sense of style on the frame of a Saxon boxer, a hybridization of the intersection of the two regions.

“Our move to in-house movements represents two things: our liberation from suppliers and a demonstration of our innovation,” adds Ahrendt.

“We produce all our own calibers, including the Alpha, our original hand-wound movement, and six others, and our award-winning automatics. They are all sleek, highly crafted movements that represent the highest standards of engineering.”

The Nomos Alpha 01 movement

The Nomos production facilities are spread across several buildings in Glashütte and house technologies and capabilities equal to most tier-one manufacturers. Nomos worked with the Technical University of Dresden and invested 12 million Euros to develop its escapement and swing system, critical core elements of any watch movement, released in 2014. This move freed Nomos from relying on external suppliers, such as the monolithic Swatch Group, for this important element.

Nomos base plates.

The spotless facilities employ hundreds of skilled personnel who are involved with all aspects of the watchmaking processes. CNC machining equipment turns out base plates, which join over over 150 smaller parts made of brass, steel and other materials that are manufactured, ground, polished and finally assembled to pump out the region’s highest volume of products.

In 2015 Nomos released its 3.2 mm height DUW (Deutsche Uhrenwerke) 3001 Neomatik caliber automatic movement, an ultra-slim creation loyal to the brand’s style aesthetic.

The Nomos DUW 3001 movement, showing balance bridge.

This movement became the seed from which the entire automatic line grew, and the basis for the highly impressive DUW 5201, found in the Tangomat GMT ($4,920) and Zurich World Time ($6,100) models. Nomos’ current in-house produced calibers include the manual-wound Alpha, found in the original Tangente, and the DUW 1001, DUW 2002, DUW 4101, DUW 4301, and DUW 4401. Automatic movements include the DUW 3001, DUW 5001, DOW 5101, DUW 5201, DUW 6101 Epsilon and Zeta.  Collectively this impressive list of movements power thirteen families of watches and 150 models.

The Nomos Metro in a 33mm rose gold case.
The sapphire caseback of the Nomos Metro rose gold 33 shows the Nomos hand-wound Alpha caliber.

Price is one of the key differentiators of the Nomos brand, and something that’s repeatedly referred to by company representatives at every level. There is no one involved with the company that isn’t aware of the high level of quality and craftsmanship being delivered.

“Unlike most companies, when we produce a limited edition model we actually offer them at a lower price, like our ‘Century of Bauhaus’ Tangente commemorative model,” says Langenbucher.

“This market ethos also carries throughout the entire brand line. Look at the Metro Rose Gold 33, for $7,200 or the Tangente Neomatik 41 with a rare Ruthenium dial for $4,100. These are incredible products for the money,” he adds.

The Club Campus Neomatik 39 with midnight blue dial.

Speaking of money, when asked why Nomos continues to remain independent in spite of numerous offers from other companies, Ahrendt has a thoughtful response.

“We produce a watch called the Lambda Rose Gold, reference 930. It’s a fine, elegant men’s gold watch and if you look carefully at the balance cock you will see the words inscribed by hand, ‘lovingly produced in Glashütte.’ We put that there because it’s fun to do so. To answer the question, we won’t sell because we, and all the families that work with us, are just having too much fun.”

Four Nomos Duo models, all with white silver-plated dial, a brown dial font and a beige-colored velour leather strap.

And where will the company be in five years?

“Sharing our vision of quality and fun in many more markets internationally,” he adds. And if the meteoric rise of Nomos over the past twenty-nine years is any indication of future growth, this company may one day become a household name like other well-known and loved international brands.

This article originally appeared in the Fall 2019 issue of International Watch.

 

Wempe Glashütte I/SA, the watchmaking division of German-based watch and jewelry retailer Wempe, this week adds a third watch collection to its roster with Iron Walker, a set of four steel sport-leisure watches for men and women.    

The new Wempe Iron Walker Automatic Chronograph

Named in reference to steel girders used to build skyscrapers, the new Wempe Iron Walker is the latest of many high-profile collections industry-wide featuring integrated stainless-steel cases and bracelets. Of the recent integrated steel-cased watch debuts we’ve seen, Wempe’s Iron Walker is among the most comprehensive (and affordable) with a chronograph, a diver’s watch and two dressy unisex models. All together, Wempe is launching sixteen models (including a few with quartz movements).

Wempe’s new Iron Walker Automatic Chronograph

Automatic Chronograph

At the top of the line is an ETA 7753 (Valjoux)- powered automatic chronograph offered with two dial treatments: steel blue or black-silver in a ‘reverse panda’ layout. The 42mm watch features a date, tachymeter and three totalizers in a tri-compax arrangement; all hands and markers are coated with SuperLuminova. Two protected rectangular pushbuttons control the chronograph.

As is the case with all Wempe chronographs, the caliber here is adjusted in the company’s own workshops in Glashütte so that it passes the more stringent German chronometric testing standards. These require the movement’s maximum average rate variation at only two seconds per day when mounted in the case. Price: $4,250.

Wempe Iron Walker Automatic Diver’s Watch

Automatic Diver’s Watch

Water resistant to 300 meters, the dive model in the new collection is also a certified chronometer that adds a folding safety clasp with an extension element to the Iron Walker’s signature integrated three-row stainless-steel bracelet. With the extension element, the watch’s length can be increased by as much as 17mm.

This dive model utilizes an internal bezel dive-time ring, mounted behind the sapphire crystal, to meet all DIN and ISO standards for dive watches. To satisfy all underwater visibility requirements, Wempe has marked the watch’s triangular zero mark and its hands and markers with SuperLuminova. Both crowns are screw-in for added water resistance.

The Wempe Iron Walker Automatic Diver’s Watch on the wrist.

Despite its dive-ready technical design, the Wempe Iron Walker Automatic Diver’s Watch is sleeker than most dive watches. The watch is only 11.7mm thick – a moderate size that means it will fit nicely under any sleeve.

Inside Wempe places an ETA 2892 automatic movement that it watchmakers have adjusted to meet German chronometer and ISO 3159 dive watch standards. Price: $3,450.

Automatic and Quartz Unisex 


Iron Walker Automatic Women’s Watch (36mm).

As a moderately sized (40mm) or smaller sized (36mm) three-hand dress watch, Wempe’s remaining Iron Walker option is a simpler model offered with a choice of automatic or quartz movement.

Wempe’s 40mm Iron Walker Automatic Men’s Watch, also offered with a quartz movement.

All four models are certified chronometers with central hour, minute, and seconds hands and a date, and each features raised, luminous markers.

Iron Walker Automatic Women’s Watch (36mm).
Iron Walker Automatic Women’s Watch (blue dial).

Available with a black, blue or white dial, the automatic models are powered by an ETA 2892-A2 (power reserve of 50 hours) while and ETA E64.111 powers the quartz models (constant running time 41 months).

To impress as a dress watch, Wempe has made the both the larger ‘Men’s’ size and the smaller ‘Women’s’ size with a sleek 9.75mm-thick case. Nonetheless, any of these four dress models offers the same solid three-link tapered steel bracelet that marks the entire Iron Walker collection.

Iron Walker Automatic Women’s Watch
Iron Walker Quartz Men’s Watch

Prices: $1,950 (36mm quartz), $2,650 (36mm automatic), $2,050 (40mm quartz) and $2,750 (40mm automatic).

I’ve long been impressed with high value Wempe has built into its Chronometerwerke and Zeitmeister collections. With Iron Walker, Wempe appears to again combine well-considered styling with top-level specs.

Iron Walker’s elegant look, backed by the collection-wide chronometer rating, new angular case and three-link solid steel bracelet, is a winning combination. For details see the Wempe website.  Wempe’s U.S. store is located at 700 Fifth Avenue in New York City.

By Gary Girdvainis

The story of Waldan Watches is an inspiring one.  I’ve followed the progress of the company since the early days of International Watch, and with the re-birth of Waldan Watches underway, led by its new-generation leader Andrew Waldan, it’s time to review the Waldan story and introduce its latest collection. 

Founding Era

The groundwork that laid the foundation for the Waldan International watch brand goes back to the late 1970s during a period when founder Oscar Waldan supplied retailers in the United States with in-house-branded timepieces.

Andrew Waldan and his father Oscar Waldan, the founder of Waldan International. Andrew took over as CEO of the Waldan brand when his father passed away in January 2018.

A polish immigrant, Waldan arrived in the U.S. in 1946 as a rare survivor of not one, but two separate German concentration camps – thanks in large part to his ability to service and repair wristwatches. The decades between Oscar’s arrival in the U.S. in 1946 and the launch of his own brand in 1979 saw Oscar working in various positions in the U.S. offices of Tissot, Universal Genève, Van Cleef & Arpels, Tiffany & Co., and others.

Three decades after his arrival in the U.S., Oscar took the leap to start his own brand in 1979. He designed his own series of mechanical watches featuring exquisite dials, including chronographs, chronometers, world timers, alarms, and more.

A original Waldan Chrono 38, made in an 18-karat rose gold case.

These were all mechanical watches and all would carry the Waldan trademark on the dial.

Bear in-mind that this was in an era long before the cookie-cutter options that make it simpler for anyone to buy an off-the-shelf “made in China” watch. Back then, you really had to know what you were doing to have any chance to bring a watch brand together – especially when you were one of the few members of the industry that still believed the mechanical watch had a future in the newly minted quartz era. These early Waldan watches remain collector’s favorites and embody what a fine luxury wristwatch should be; mechanical complications with top-quality components inside and out, and a design that will never go out of style.

That said, these were, and are, out of the reach of most consumers. They were crafted exclusively in precious gold and platinum with mechanical Swiss Made chronographs and other complicated movements within, and their prices reflected those components.

But while Oscar’s early Waldans were worth more than he charged, they still called for a substantial investment in the thousands of dollars to acquire.

Next Generation

It’s no surprise that the founding father of Waldan Watches would bring his son Andrew into the family business.

At a very young age, Andrew was often found at the New York headquarters of Waldan International. There, with his father and the staff of assistants and watchmakers, Andrew grew into a young man surrounded by all things watches. All the while Andrew was developing an insider’s perspective on an industry about to experience a renaissance that his father had never actually abandoned.  

Guided by his father’s indelible principles, Andrew combined an understanding of current market trends with his own experiences when he was called on to take over the company due to his father’s failing health in 2017. Having actively worked with his father at Waldan International since 2013, Andrew was well prepared to take the lead as the CEO of the Waldan brand when his father passed away in January 2018.

Andrew had decided it was time to evolve the brand. During this rebirth process he came to the conclusion that making the classic Waldan design available to a much wider audience might make sense.

So in a daring departure from the established path, he decided to build a watch in the United States, not in Switzerland, using the newly minted Ameriquartz movement inside.

Watches from the all-new Waldan Heritage collection are cased in 40mm steel and feature Ameriquartz movements.

Crafted in steel, the watches are targeting a retail price of under $500 each with a goal of expanding the potential reach for his father’s design(s) by an order of magnitude.

Working with his team, Andrew has now brought to life a watch collection that embraces the design cues of a Waldan watch, including the Waldan font, hands, color palette, fine leather straps, and, most critically, the iconic curves of the stepped case and lugs, all at a retail price will appeal to anyone at a modest $299.99.

More than skin deep

In making watches, the devil really is in the details. It’s easy to make a cheap handsome (or pretty) watch that won’t last until the first battery dies. Making one that will last a lifetime and beyond calls for a different approach.

Applied numerals and markers on the entire new Waldan Heritage collection are mechanically attached for durability.

Here’s where Andrew and his team – including his chief technical advisor – came together over the course of more than a year to examine and approve every component and every detail to finally put together a watch that passed muster for both esthetics and durability.

Andrew also chose to source American suppliers where possible to continue his father’s own goal in building a legitimate watch brand in the U.S.  Waldan is currently the only brand authorized to use the Ameriquartz trademark on the dial of their watches.

Waldan is currently the only brand authorized to use the Ameriquartz trademark on the dial of their watches.

Ameriquartz

Those unfamiliar with Ameriquartz movements should note that they are jeweled all-metal movements built in at a state-of-the-art facility in Fountain Hills, Arizona, to the highest standards.

As both a founding advisor to the company and as its sales manager, I can tell you that each movement is built using a combination of modern and traditional engineering to bring the quartz movement to its zenith with regards to accuracy and reliability, and each one is individually tested and certified when manufactured.

The Ameriquartz movement, used inside all the new Waldan watches.

Each movement also carries a manufacturer’s five-year warranty against manufacturing defects.

The Collection

Waldan’s new collection is presented in an easy-to-wear 40mm diameter case with a slim 8.6mm profile.  Crafted in 316L stainless steel, they are water resistant to 50 meters with a flat sapphire crystal protecting each of six variations on the theme. 

Waldan is introducing Heritage Professional series with dials in four colors, including black, white, off-white and green.

These join two Waldan Heritage Sportline versions with oil-pressed linear-patterned dials in black and silver, which rounds out the initial launch of the Waldan Heritage collection.

An oil-pressed dial imparts a more rugged look to the Waldan Heritage Sportline Collection.

Although not limited to a specific numbered series, each Waldan Heritage is hand built in the U.S. using a proprietary ATAC (assess, test, assemble, certify) Zero-Defect protocol and will be limited by production capacity and likely to be a hot commodity when it releases in mid July.

Custom leaf (feuille) hands, seen on the new Heritage Professional Series, are a Waldan trademark.

To stay up to speed with new releases and details check in at the Waldan web-site (www.waldanwatches.com) which is currently being updated and modernized to better meet the preferences of today’s consumers.

 

Known for drawing attention to unorthodox designs, whether on April Fools Day or any other day, H. Moser & Cie. tones down the flash this year with three new watches that are more understated than provocative. And unlike the one-off  ‘launches’ of previous years (remember the Swiss Cheese watch?) these new models are both immediately available and will be made in ongoing production.

The new H. Moser Venturer XL Vantablack Black Hands.

            This week H. Moser launches three watches that each feature a dial made from Vantablack, the ‘blackest black’ ever produced by artificial means. And while H. Moser has offered five additional Vantablack-dial watches since the Endeavour Perpetual Moon Concept model introduced the idea in late 2018, this new trio takes the all-black concept to the next level with their minute and hour hands also blackened, though not with Vantablack.

The H. Moser Venturer Vantablack Black Hands.

            The new watches are the Venturer Vantablack Black Hands, available in a choice of two diameters (a 39mm white gold case and a 43mm steel case for the XL version) and the 42mm (blackened steel case) Endeavour Tourbillon Vantablack Black Hands. The tourbillon model, a limited edition of fifty, utilizes H. Moser’s own technically excellent double-hairspring 
one-minute flying tourbillon at 6 o’clock and skeletonized bridges coated in black PVD.

The H. Moser Endeavour Tourbillon DLC Vantablack Black Hands.
Back view of the H. Moser Endeavour Tourbillon Steel DLC Vantablack, showing H. Moser’s own technically excellent double-hairspring 
one-minute flying tourbillon and skeletonized bridges coated in black PVD.

No Joke

            The notion of black hands on a Vantablack dial at H. Moser initially drew attention as an April Fools lark last year. Drawing many positive responses, H. Moser decided to produce the stealthy watches. Launched to elicit an emotional response, according to H. Moser, these new watches might also elicit second or third glances since their minute hands and hour hands are matte-black colored, just barely visible atop their black-hole-like dial.

The H. Moser Endeavour Tourbillon DLC Vantablack Black Hands, with a black case and black skeletonized bridges.

       Did I mention that you won’t see any indices on any of these dials? Or a logo.

       If you’re not familiar with H. Moser’s earlier uses of Vantablack, here’s a primer on the ultra-black material. Vantablack is composed of carbon nanotubes that are 10,000 times finer than a human hair, aligned vertically alongside each other. When a photon hits Vantablack, the material absorbs 99.965% of the light. As our eyes need reflected light to perceive what we are looking at, Vantablack is perceived as the absence of matter, much like a black hole.

Moser CEO Edouard Meylan notes that the Vantablack material was developed by a British company for aerospace use and is now found in telescopes and on certain military equipment. The material can be fragile when placed onto a dial, which is why his watchmakers protect it by using specialized production procedures and by topping each Vantablack dial immediately with a sapphire crystal.

    All three watches are now available via an online sales platform set up by H. Moser & Cie, as well as from H. Moser’s retailers. Prices are $26,600 for the 43mm XL style in stainless steel, $27,600 for the 39mm white gold version and $69,000 for the DLC-blackened stainless steel tourbillon model.  

 

 

        MB&F re-imagines still-astounding elements of earlier MB&F Machines with the new Horological Machine No. 10 Bulldog, the independent brand’s latest demonstration of its imaginative watchmaking.

       Underneath a familiar sapphire dome, a dramatic suspended balance rotates to and fro over rounded minute and hour time domes (the Bulldog’s ‘eyes’) in the most biomorphic version of this pairing we’ve yet seen from the mind of MB&F founder Maximilian Busser.

            Just below the ultra-lightweight time domes, however, MB&F’s design genius then takes another bite out of tradition by devising a power reserve indicator unlike any other. True to its name, the HM10 Bulldog’s power reserve indicator displays its function in the form of a metallic set of hinged jaws that shut to indicate your time is up. When the jaws are open, the HM10 Bulldog shows his teeth and is ready to attack the time, backed by forty-five hours of reserve power.

When the jaws are open, the HM10 Bulldog shows its teeth to indicate up to forty-five hours of reserve power.

            You may recall another unusual power reserve in a past MB&F machine. The LM1 Xia Hang from 2014 featured a small human figure that bowed to indicate the watch’s reduction in power reserve.           

             And of course the suspended balance, which we first saw in the Legacy Machine N°1 in 2011, continues here to beat at its leisurely 18,000 vph ­– and still enthralls. This balance has since appeared in most MB&F Legacy Machines, in Horological Machine N°9, and now takes it place at the center of the new HM10 Bulldog.

The balance, suspended beneath the central sapphire crystal dome, beats at 2.5Hz (18,000vph).

            Another feature here that recalls earlier MB&F designs is the ribbed grille and logo just below the balance. This ribbing motif echoes those found on the auto-inspired HM8, HMX and HM5. The automotive echoing continues with the beautifully brushed case, which is shaped as much like a vintage racecar as a four-legged English canine. And as noted earlier, those ultra-light aluminum domes, first seen in the HM3 Frog, and refined in 2014’s HM6, double as the bulldog’s ‘eyes’ and serve as reminders of MB&F’s history of showing the time using unusual displays.

 

This ribbing motif echoes those found on the auto-inspired HM8, HMX and HM5.

 

                  In yet another canine analogy, the strap attaches to case here thanks to a sprung strap attachment, which could be seen as the Bulldog’s legs, connecting snugly to the wrist. Finally, the calf-leather strap recalls a serious dog-walker’s leash and is fastened with either a folding buckle or using Velcro.

The HM10 Bulldog’s strap attaches to its case with a to
sprung strap attachment, which could be seen as the Bulldog’s leg.

    The MB&F Horological Machine N°10 ‘Bulldog’ is available in two launch editions: grade 5 titanium body with blue “eyes”, and a red-gold and titanium body with black “eyes”. Price: $105,000 (titanium) and $120,000 (red gold & titanium).

Specifications: MB&F Horological Machine N°10 ‘Bulldog’

Movement: Manual-winding in-house w/frequency of 2.5Hz (18,000bph), bespoke flying 14mm balance wheel with four traditional regulating screws floating above the domed dials, SuperLuminova on the hour and minute domes and markers, single barrel with 45 hours of power reserve, 301 components, left crown at 11 o’clock for winding; right crown at 1 o’clock for setting the time

Functions & Indications: Hours on left dome (aluminum dome rotating in 12 hours), minutes on right dome (aluminum dome rotating in 60 minutes). Power reserve indicated in 3D by the opening and closing of the jaws (end of power reserve = closed jaws).

Case: 54mm x 45mm x 24mm, Version Ti: grade 5 titanium, Version RT: 18k 5N+ red gold and grade 5 titanium, water resistant to 50 meters, two sapphire crystals.

Strap & Buckle: RT version: hand-stitched brown calf-leather strap with custom-designed red gold folding buckle.

Ti version: hand-stitched blue calf-leather strap with Velcro system and titanium buckle.