When Max Büsser and Ed Meylan, the respective heads of MB&F and H. Moser, bring their brands together, the outcome is simply stunning. The brands seem to pull each other just the right amount in the other direction in order to create watches that are a perfect embodiment of modern beauty. MB&F, a brand that has an indefatigable drive to push boundaries and reexamine what a watch can and should be, pulls the more conservative Moser away from its reliance on fumé dials for excitement. Moser’s commitment to contemporary Swiss watchmaking at any cost reins in the sometimes outlandish aesthetics of MB&F’s machines. The two meet in the middle, have a little dance, and sit back and marvel in the resplendent beauty of what they’ve come up with. Combining MB&F’s hallmark three-dimensionality with Moser’s technological ingenuity and stunning case and dial work, the H. Moser X MB&F Endeavour Cylindrical Tourbillon may be the best example of the phenomenon of synergy that can occur when two great brands come together.
You may not know it, but MB&F and the modern incarnation of H. Moser were founded in the same year, 2005. Best known for its Concept series, which pares watches down to the absolute essentials, Moser has made further name for itself through its unwavering commitment to being as Swiss-made as possible, including its infamous Swiss Cheese watch. MB&F, on the other hand, has challenged what watches can look like and even how they work, resulting in bold statement pieces that resemble frogs and bulldogs. When Max Büsser got in touch with Ed Meylan to discuss a collaboration including Moser’s signature fumé dials, it was Meylan who insisted that Moser have the chance to interpret an MB&F design in exchange. MB&F created the LM101; Moser created the H. Moser X MB&F Endeavour Cylindrical Tourbillon.
Let’s get it out of the way. The H. Moser X MB&F Endeavour Cylindrical Tourbillon is 19.5mm thick. The massive sapphire dome accommodates the three-dimensional movement that rises above the plane of the fumé dial, which is available in Funky Blue, Cosmic Green, Burgundy, Ice Blue, or Off-White (as seen here). While there’s no getting around the height, and it won’t fit under any kind of cuff, the doming means one won’t feel every millimeter on the wrist. The 42mm case is stainless steel, as is the push-button deployant buckle on the attached 20mm alligator strap. The case features the expected Endeavour design, with scalloped sides and vertical brushing. Otherwise polished, the case features dramatically curved lugs and a concave bezel. To accommodate the novel display, the pull-out crown is at 9 o’clock; the watch has a very modest 30m of water resistance, though you likely wouldn’t even think of taking this near the water, or doing anything that would remotely endanger the watch.
Whatever the dimensions, they’re well worth it. When discussing watches, we usually just have the one dial, maybe a few subdials, to discuss. Not here: the fumé dial serves just as a colorful backdrop for the ingenuity of two great brands. The time is displayed on a sapphire dial tilted to 40 degrees so that it is only viewable by the wearer. It features the blued leaf hands you love from Moser, filled with lume. The indices and the Moser name are all printed in lume, as well, meaning everything on the sapphire dial lights up. In fact, it may be that poor light is when the time looks best, as the see-through dial’s daytime readability undoubtedly suffers in the name of maintaining visibility of the mechanics peaking through the base dial. Like the superdome sapphire, it’s worth it. Immediately behind the sapphire disc is the gear train powering the time display, with satinated and beveled bridges, and at 12 o’clock is the one-minute flying cylindrical tourbillon.
The H. Moser X MB&F Endeavour Cylindrical Tourbillon is powered by the in-house HMC810, revealed through sapphire caseback. The 184-component automatic movement has 29 jewels and operates at 3hz, with a power reserve of 72 hours on a full wind. The movement is rhodium plated and features a solid 18k gold rotor, Moser’s signature double striping, perlage, and anglage. The centerpiece, of course, is the cylindrical tourbillon. The HMC810 is derived from the Moser’s HMC802 tourbillon movement, with the movement rotated 180° to allow the dial to face the wearer (which explains the 9 o’clock crown). What’s truly novel, though, is the dimensionality of the one-minute tourbillon, which rises up and is supported on top and bottom by skeletonized bridges. The tourbillon features a cylindrical hairspring, supplied by Moser’s sister brand Precision Engineering AG, with Breguet overcoils on both ends, allowing for nearly perfectly concentric expansion and contraction and almost eliminating the stress put on the pivots. The result is improved isochronism…and a great one-minute show. To accommodate the tilted dial, additional conical gearing has been borrowed from MB&F to transmit the power across planes.
Versus the Competition
Well, if you aren’t getting Moser’s half of the bargain, you might as well get MB&F’s: the MB&F x H. Moser LM101. With MB&F’s flying balance wheel and Moser’s Concept aesthetic, the LM101 is the other side of the coin, presenting MB&F’s take on Moser’s typical designs. Then again, if the Endeavour Cylindrical Tourbillon isn’t your thing, the LM101 may not be either.
Tourbillons are old news. Zenith has the new new: the Defy Zero-G Gravity Control. It’s got a much more angular and modern look, and while the Moser at hand has a tourbillon with a lovely cylindrical hairspring, the Zenith has a gyroscopic device that always maintains the regulator in a vertical position, hypothetically eliminating the effects of gravity on the movement. Mic drop.
Now, I want you to stay with me on this next one: the skeleton Cloche de Cartier. It’s a unique watch with a dimensional dial from a brand that cannot seem to miss. Sound familiar? Like Moser taking a spin with MB&F, Cartier in a way spins its own classic roman numerals to construct a movement that acts as its own dial.
There’s a geeky refinement to the Endeavour Cylindrical Tourbillon, isn’t there? The watch achieves an elusive high-tech sophistication. I can see Bill Gates wearing it, if Bill Gates was a bit more suave. Mark Zuckerberg, if Mark Zuckerberg was a bit less… Mark Zuckerberg. Imagine a reclusive titan of Silicon Valley heading to a $50,000-per-plate fundraising gala—this is the watch on that titan’s wrist.
It is no simple task to blend the DNA of two brands together. While MB&F and Moser are both standard bearers of modern Swiss watchmaking, they go about it in very different ways. The H. Moser X MB&F Endeavour Cylindrical Tourbillon, though, manages to perfectly meld the striking designs of MB&F with the simple elegance of H. Moser. It is neither an MB&F nor an H. Moser, but the meeting of both which has created something new.