The Blacker than Black concept piece from H. Moser & Cie that made its first appearance earlier in this year’s Watches and Wonders was surely quite memorable for how it virtually disappeared into the display cabinet despite being surrounded by harsh spotlights in the venue. The watch was undoubtedly stunning for how it absorbs 99.965% of reflected light which in turn completely omits its visual sense of geometry, leaving only watch hands visible. But given the rather extreme delicacy of the Vantablack’s carbon nanostructure, the coating which enables this feat of prestidigitation, the watch was simply too fragile to be worn or handled at that stage, though Moser was said to be researching ways of strengthening the structure, so it could withstand the stress of daily wear.
We have, however, seen Moser incorporate this super cool material on the dial of other concept watches, such as the Venturer and Swiss Alp Watch that fall under the Specials Collection, and the Streamliner Cylindrical Tourbillon made for last year’s Only Watch Auction. Since 2012, the creative use of Vantablack on the dial has almost become a signature move for Moser despite most of the watches not having the brand’s logo printed on it in light of the brittleness of the material, it remained recognisable to the keen eyes of watch enthusiasts. It was therefore natural to expect that Moser would seek to apply Vantablack to its latest signature collection, the Streamliner, which has become quite successful in recent years for its original, retro-inspired silhouette of the cushion case and bracelet, offering a unique aesthetic to the competitive market of “sports watches”, with several complications and dial colour to diversify the lineup. And just as Edouard Meylan once mentioned the possibility of the Streamliner being in metals other than stainless steel, Moser has just debuted a red gold Streamliner Tourbillon Vantablack for the Geneva Watch Days event.
It would seem Moser is now experimenting with application methods for hour markers. Unlike the Endeavour Small Seconds Total Eclipse in collaboration with The Armoury, which had their dot-like marker drilled into the dial plate before the Vantablack treatment, this Streamliner employs a different design. What looks to be an ordinary dial with a levelled transition between the surface and indices is actually a composition of two plates stacked together. The Vantablack top plate is perforated with slots that allow the bottom plate, where the hour markers protrude at just the right height, to fit in and create this harmonious look to the dial. It is an interesting way to integrate hour markers though it would seem Vantablack is perhaps not exactly the ideal material to create a smooth edge on cutouts like a regular machined dial. At a glance, the visual void of the dial really engulfs the flying tourbillon and effectively puts it to the centre of attention, highlighting the lovely depth of the rotating escapement and Moser’s signature double balance spring.
The case and the integrated bracelet are made of 5N red gold which gives the watch a rather satisfying wrist presence, the heft allowing the bracelet to drape around the wrist naturally. The different finishing techniques between links are also benefited by the extra hue and colour of the metal, showing better contrast between the brush and polished finishing, and giving an extra pinch of elegance to the already unobtrusive design of the bracelet.
In terms of the movement, this Streamliner employs the automatic HM804 calibre that animates many existing Moser tourbillon models. It has a minimum of three days of power reserve, an 18K red gold rotor that winds in both directions, and a tourbillon escapement that beats at 3hz (21,600 vibrations/hour). Currently priced at HKD 948,000, it remains a rather competitive choice within the niche of luxury metal sports watches with a tourbillon escapement.