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H. Moser & Cie Heritage Perpetual Moon

The H. Moser & Cie Heritage Perpetual Moon is equipped with a moon-phase indicator, grand-feu enamel dial and a gorgeously engraved, enamelled case. Angus Davies gets ‘hands-on’ with this most exquisite of horological creations.

This detailed review of the H. Moser & Cie Heritage Perpetual Moon includes live images, specification details and pricing.

Image of H. Moser & Cie Heritage Perpetual Moon

The face of the moon looks down on romantics everywhere. Its face is pure white and its mind is all knowing. Its fingers toy with the ocean’s tides, cupping waters in its hands and playing with sea levels for its own enjoyment. When awake the moon’s power is formidable, however, on occasion it chooses to hibernate and occasionally disappears from view.

The latest timepiece from Swiss watchmaker, H. Moser & Cie, features ‘the most poetic complication ever: the representation of the lunar cycle’. The Heritage Perpetual Moon is the first of a new family of watches, the ‘Heritage’ line, accompanying the Endeavour, Pioneer and Venturer collections.

Recently, at the prestigious SIHH 2017, I had the opportunity to look closely at the Heritage Perpetual Moon, a formidable paragon of fine watchmaking.

The dial

Purity is conferred with a pure white grand feu enamel dial. Its creation necessitates skilful mastery of powder and heat. When making a grand feu enamel dial there is an inevitable failure of several dials during the manufacturing process. Cracking and bubbling of the dial surface are occupational hazards for the enameler as dial temperatures reach 700 – 800°C.  Those dials which are successfully produced are highly prized and justify their protracted creation. Indeed, the dial surface,  once made, exhibits a lustre whose permanence will not fade with the passage of time. 

Image of H. Moser & Cie Heritage Perpetual Moon

The shape of the hour and minute hands are described as being like a ‘swallow’s tail’. They are flame-blued and exhibit an alluring sinuous profile. The hands articulate time with clear tone and an air of elegance.

Each hour is denoted with Roman numerals, delivered in a hand-painted blue hue. The profile of each numeral is elongated, standing tall and reinforcing the sense of grace and deportment. Encircling the dial is a chemin de fer, railroad track, which collaborates with the blued central sweep seconds hand to impart time. At the fulcrum of the dial is a small hand which indicates AM/PM. The hand circumnavigates the dial once every 24 hours, the hour indices between 12 and 6 o’clock represent AM, whereas the hand pointing to the hour markers on the left hand side of the dial indicate PM.

At the base of the dial is a large aperture revealing the moon. The scale of the moon provides a refreshing alternative to the usually small examples found on other watches. The lunar cycle shows a depiction of the sunlit moon when viewed from earth. The moon phases are adjusted with a pushpiece set in the caseband. Moser attest that the display can be ‘set, read and predicted to within a minute’. I suspect many wearers of this watch will not be too concerned with the status of the moon on their watch but, rather, will be drawn to the aesthetic appearance this comely complication confers.

The case

The case is formed of 18-carat white gold, measuring 42mm in diameter, with a height of  12.2mm. The slender wire style lugs eschew the style found on other Moser watches. Indeed, the lugs play a deferential role to the main case, accentuating the pocket watch aesthetics.

Image of H. Moser & Cie Heritage Perpetual Moon

Adjacent the sapphire crystal (dial side), the bezel arcs notably, resting neatly on the caseband and highlighting the roundness of the case. The case band is engraved and features rich, luxurious blue enamel. The engraved diamond-style motif resembles woven fabric and invites inquisitive fingers to engage in tactile exploration.

The crown has a very pronounced fluted edge, aiding ease of adjustment and winding. Residing at 9 o’clock is the aforementioned pushpiece corrector for the moon-phase indication. There are few items to obstruct or impact upon the glorious engraved sections adorning the caseband.

Image of H. Moser & Cie Heritage Perpetual Moon

A pane of sapphire crystal to the rear of the watch bestows a widescreen view of the hand-wound movement within this magnificent timepiece. The H. Moser & Cie Heritage Perpetual Moon is supplied on a hand-stitched blue alligator leather strap paired with an 18-carat solid white gold pin buckle.

The movement

The HMC 801 Manufacture Calibre upholds Moser’s reputation for being a vertically integrated manufacture.

Image of H. Moser & Cie Heritage Perpetual Moon

Gold chatons are in evidence, reaffirming the no-compromise credentials of this movement. The bridges are adorned with ‘Moser Stripes’, a similar decoration to Côtes de Genève, but where the stripes are broader.

Moser has thought about the ease of servicing by equipping the watch with an ‘interchangeable Moser escapement’ and, in so doing, mitigating the amount of time the watch has to spend apart from its fortunate owner.

The movement features a 7-day power reserve and includes a power-reserve indicator on the movement to show the state of wind.

The frequency of the balance is 18,000 VpH (2.5Hz) and the movement contains 28 jewels. The movement lacks the brand’s impressive double hairspring but does contain the ‘original Straumann hairspring’, produced by moser’s sister-company, Precision Engineering AG. The screwed balance incorporates gold adjustment screws. The balance bridge looks resplendent with its gleaming upper surface. Moreover, the slender balance bridge grants a wondrous sight of the escapement with its gold escape wheel and pallet lever industriously working to serve its keeper.

Closing remarks

Moser has been prolific in recent years, creating several gorgeous new timepieces. The advent of the H. Moser & Cie Heritage Perpetual Moon provides a new direction for the Swiss brand while still proving recognisable as a watch from Neuhausen am Rheinfall. This watch resembles a pocket watch, but still evinces a cohesive look with its blue alligator leather strap.

The grand feu enamel dial, with painted indexes, and the engraved and enamelled caseband stand testament to the skills of the various artisans employed. This is a timepiece to be cherished.

Beauty can also be found in the manufacture movement which has been crafted to an incredibly high standard and imbued with lovely soupçons of high-end finishing. The creation of the movement shows few signs of expedience and is the conclusion of painstaking craftsmanship.

However, ultimately, I have to return to the moon-phase indication which is beautifully presented in this large-scale format and wonderfully captures the romanticism of the smiling body that looks down on us all.

Technical specification

  • Model: H. Moser & Cie Heritage Perpetual Moon
  • Reference: 8801-0200
  • Case: 18-carat white gold; diameter 42mm; height 12.2mm.
  • Functions: Hours; minutes; central sweep seconds; am/pm indicator; large moon-phase display; power-reserve indicator (on movement)
  • Movement: HMC 801 Manufacture Calibre; hand-wound movement; frequency 18,000vph (2.5Hz); 28 jewels; power reserve 7 days
  • Strap: Blue alligator leather strap supplied on 18-carat white gold pin buckle.
  • Limited Edition: 30 pieces

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