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H. Moser & Cie Endeavour Small Seconds Bryan Ferry

H. Moser & Cie has collaborated with the music legend, and accomplished artist, Bryan Ferry, to create a very rare, limited edition timepiece, the H. Moser & Cie Endeavour Small Seconds Bryan Ferry. Angus Davies discusses this vintage-inspired wristwatch and explores its fascinating composition.

This detailed review of the H. Moser & Cie Endeavour Small Seconds Bryan Ferry includes live images, specification details and pricing.

Image of H. Moser designed by Bryan Ferry, featuring small seconds and power-reserve indicator

I have often remarked that Baselworld is a frenetic environment, where back-to-back meetings and weary feet are the order of the day. However, H. Moser & Cie are canny folk, exhibiting their novelties in a cool, air-conditioned oasis, away from the madding crowd, in a function room at the nearby Ramada Hotel, high above the clouds.

It is here that fatigued journalists can luxuriate in comfortable chairs, sip chilled beverages and take time to absorb the many nuances which come with H. Moser & Cie ownership. For these timepieces are not run-of-the-mill, churned out with production line alacrity. No, Moser watches are paragons of horological virtue, usurping the adequate, imbued with both delightful aesthetic details and impressive technical expertise.

Last year, the practitioner of fine watchmaking from Neuhausen am Rheinfall announced it had collaborated with Bryan Ferry, the legendary lead singer of the pop and rock band, Roxy Music. The artist and musician, who studied fine art in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, worked closely with H. Moser & Cie, exercising his renowned artistic prowess, to conceive a classically styled watch bearing his name. However, it was not until Baselworld 2016 that I finally got my clammy hands on this delicious dose of horological gorgeousness and I was not disappointed.

The nostalgia factor

While cradling the H. Moser & Cie Endeavour Small Seconds Bryan Ferry in my respectful hands, I began to reminisce about the 1970s and 80s. I was first introduced to Roxy Music by my late father and can still recall thumbing the many LP covers, adorned with scantily clad ladies. Even at a young age, I knew such glamorous females were unobtainable and solely the preserve of Mr Ferry and a few of his sophisticated band of brothers.

Image of H. Moser designed by Bryan Ferry, featuring small seconds and power-reserve indicator

Bryan Ferry in discussions with Edouard Meylan of H. Moser & Cie.

Later, in 1981, shortly after the death of John Lennon, I remember watching Bryan Ferry on television, sartorially clad in a powder blue suit and candy pink tie singing, ‘Jealous Guy’. Thereafter, my Harpers & Queen phase ensued. I became a pimply, teenage wannabe, crooning away to the song, ‘Slave to Love’, dressed in a long, heavy woollen overcoat, nearly succumbing to heat exhaustion in the name of fashion but oh-so desperate to appear ‘cool’.

Bryan Ferry, along with David Bowie and Freddie Mercury were my musical heroes. They were rare talents, inaccessible, yet strangely captivating. I was always envious of Bryan Ferry, he lived a glitzy lifestyle which seemed far removed from my world, living in a soot-clad Lancashire mill town.

I had almost forgotten about Ferry, his image cast to the sepia-toned archive in the back of my mind. However, when Moser mentioned his name in passing, all my childhood memories of pouting in the mirror, hair brush in hand, came to the fore.

Image of H. Moser designed by Bryan Ferry, featuring small seconds and power-reserve indicator

I had been eager to see the eponymous H. Moser & Cie Endeavour Small Seconds Bryan Ferry, a watch conceived by my adolescent hero and crafted by one of my favourite watch companies. Nevertheless, I paused for a moment, reconnected with my professional insight, set aside my romantic notions and commenced my uniform appraisal process, keen to see if this watch was worthy of my hero’s name.

The dial

The dial of the H. Moser & Cie Endeavour Small Seconds Bryan Ferry would not look out of place on a pocket watch, with its vintage mien. While I would not have been surprised to have seen a 70s pop-art inspired dial, the classical appearance of this watch did come as a surprise. If you think of Axl Rose singing Madame Butterfly you may appreciate where I am coming from. However, on reflection, I should not have been stunned, Bryan Ferry has always been a little different from his contemporaries, exhibiting a notable degree of sensibility.

Image of H. Moser designed by Bryan Ferry, featuring small seconds and power-reserve indicator

The face of the H. Moser & Cie Endeavour Small Seconds Bryan Ferry evinces a cultured character. Each aspect of its composition is truly beautiful and the proportions are a worthy match for the Vitruvian Man. The dial is populated with a sea of white matte lacquer and there is a distinct absence of sheen, reinforcing the softly-spoken nature of the dial. The hour markings, Arabic numerals, echo the styling of pocket watches from the 19th century and lucidly perform their role while delivering an agreeable dose of period style. I especially appreciate the idiosyncratically red text at noon. Indeed, this latter detail adds a tasteful smattering of colour without impairing ease of read off.

Floating above the white, artistic canvas of the Endeavour Small Seconds Bryan Ferry, Breguet style blued hands impart time with an extraordinary eloquence, conversing with the wearer with crisp, succinct delivery.

Nestling above 6 o’clock, the small seconds display, encircled with a chemin de fer, proves simple to read while not overburdening the dialscape with undue size. Gracing the periphery of the dial, a black chapter ring combines black strokes with Arabic numerals, arranged at 5-minute integers. This latter detail makes interpreting the minutes straightforward. Once again, a flurry of red text occupies the display at ’60’ seconds.

Lastly, it comes as no surprise that this artistic horological vista is signed, the forename and surname of the legendary singer appear in discreet red text just below the small seconds display.

The case

The 38.8mm 18-carat rose gold case is a tad small for my own personal tastes but perfectly suits the almost self-effacing character of this watch. While this timepiece is not classified as ‘ultra-thin’, its comparatively slender profile, 9.3mm, allows the watch to partially hibernate beneath the shirt cuff, successfully supplementing any sartorial ensemble.

Image of H. Moser designed by Bryan Ferry, featuring small seconds and power-reserve indicator

The concave profile of the bezel toys with light, casting beguiling shadows, interspersed with glorious episodes of brilliance. The lugs are short, arcing sharply downwards and, in so doing, commanding the strap to embrace the wrist.

Moser has expended much effort on the minuscule details which are likely to enrich the long term ownership experience. The winding crown, adorned with a letter ‘M’ on its vertical plane, has an unusual knurled motif gracing its circumference, delivering both a charming aspect and a delightful tactile encounter. Pulling out the crown results in the seconds hacking, proving ideal when synchronising the timepiece with a reference clock.

Image of H. Moser designed by Bryan Ferry, featuring small seconds and power-reserve indicator

The exhibition caseback allows sight of the HMC 321 Calibre in all of its exquisitely executed glory. Surrounding the sapphire crystal, various text is presented, including ‘Limited 100 PCS’, reminding the wearer they own a very rare timepiece of exalted creation.

Complementing the autumnal tones of the 18-carat rose gold, three-part case is a brown ‘hand-stitched, hand-finished’ calfskin leather strap which stylishly befits this most elegant of timepieces.

The movement

The hand-wound in-house HMC 321 calibre will be familiar to fellow admirers of the Moser brand. The manual movement has powered the Endeavour Small Seconds for some time. Indeed, prior to becoming known by its Endeavour moniker, this model was called the Mayu Small Seconds.

Image of H. Moser designed by Bryan Ferry, featuring small seconds and power-reserve indicator

Note – The HMC 321 Calibre housed within the Endeavour Small Seconds Palladium

This has always been a gorgeous mechanical movement. The bridges are adorned with ‘Moser Stripes’, a motif similar to Côtes de Genève. Each stripe is beautifully expressed with exquisitely defined lines. The anglage is sublime, bestowing a delightful brilliance and contrasting wonderfully with the horizontal plane of the bridges. The bridges are engraved with gold text and the brand’s crest.

A power-reserve indicator assumes residence on the movement, wisely avoiding the risk of marring the aforementioned uncluttered dial.

There are a myriad of elements which make this HMC 321 calibre appeal to my horological proclivities. The jewel sinks are highly polished, sparkling magnificently. The gear train wheels are circular grained and the screwed balance features a Straumann Hairspring ® crafted by the maison’s sister company, Precision Engineering AG. The hairspring is also equipped with a Breguet Overcoil, reinforcing the perception that the movement does not subscribe to the notion of compromise.

Two elements which especially induce nods of approval from my direction are the interchangeable Moser escapement and the unusually large gaps between the bridges.

The interchangeable Moser escapement allows a trained watchmaker ‘to remove the existing escapement module, clean and oil the rest of the movement before installing a new pre-adjusted module’. This ingenious idea mitigates the amount of time the watch is parted from its fortuitous owner, illustrating the inventive culture which is clearly prevalent in Neuhausen am Rheinfall.

The unusually large gaps between the bridges fly in the face of the approach taken by many brands who choose to hide a movement’s mechanical manoeuvres behind oversized, secretive bridges. H. Moser & Cie has revealed much of the mechanical thoughts taking place, sating my desire to absorb each revolution of the gear train wheels and succumb to the hypnotic to and fro motion of the balance wheel in flight. Make no mistake, this is a purist’s movement.

Closing remarks

In the last few years, H. Moser & Cie has been very active, releasing various new models equipped with an array of mouthwatering complications. However, in this instance, it is the simplicity and retro styling which makes the H. Moser & Cie Endeavour Small Seconds Bryan Ferry an attractive ownership proposition.

The dial is an exemplar of clarity, displaying time with conspicuous legibility. Nevertheless, in delivering impressive readability the H. Moser & Cie Endeavour Small Seconds Bryan Ferry does not forgo style. In fact, I could never imagine any object bearing Bryan Ferry’s name to eschew style, his nomen is a byword for sartorial elegance.

A true masterpiece encompasses many meanings and is imbued with depths. Beyond the pure white facade of the lacquered dial is a mechanical movement blessed with profound intellect and mechanical wholesomeness.

I make no apologies for revealing my adoration of this watch early on, but it is very difficult to suppress my unbridled love for this exceptional watch.

So, everything is perfect? Not quite, it seems Mr Ferry is not content with being a talented singer, performer and artist who has spent most of his life with drop-dead gorgeous ladies falling at his feet, now he has shown himself to be a talented designer of watches too. I am jealous, very jealous …. indeed, I am a jealous guy.

 

Technical specification

  • Model: H. Moser & Cie Endeavour Small Seconds Bryan Ferry
  • Reference: 1321-0116
  • Case: 18-carat rose gold; diameter 38.8mm; height 9.3mm; sapphire crystal to front and caseback.
  • Functions: Hours; minutes; small seconds; power-reserve indicator
  • Movement: HMC 321 Calibre, hand-wound movement; frequency 18,000 vph (2.5 Hz); 27 jewels; power reserve minimum 3 days.
  • Strap: Brown ‘hand-stitched, hand-finished’ calfskin leather strap presented with a solid gold pin buckle
  • Price: £12,600 (RRP as at 1.9.2016)
  • Limited Edition: 100 pieces

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