There couldn’t be two more seemingly strange bedfellows than the minimalist (and mischievous) Swiss watchmaker, H. Moser & Cie and a Hong Kong-based purveyor of relaxed-but-classic menswear, The Armoury. The former is best known for its ultra-clean dials and cheeky limited editions (including a high-end mechanical-tourbillon timekeeper playfully modeled after an Apple watch) while the latter, The Armoury, is sought out for its hip take on old-school tailoring.
But when Moser CEO, Edouard Meylan, and The Armoury co-founder, Mark Cho, met in New York in 2019, they discovered they both shared a passion for each other’s line of work. The idea for a collaboration suddenly seemed like a no-brainer. “When Edouard and I first started talking about the idea of making a watch together, my main requirement was that it was small,” says Cho, who is known for an affinity for watches a bit more diminutive in diameter, in a statement. “I like watches that are discreet but reveal a deeper complexity if you pay them some attention.” He quickly zeroed in on Moser’s iconic Vantablack dials and the result of the blending of the two tastemakers’ visions is the elegant and ultra-sleek 38 mm Endeavour Small Seconds Total Eclipse—an undeniable “aha!” moment.
The Vantablack dial, so dark it absorbs 99.9 percent of light, has long been a signature of Moser, lending to its purist aesthetic. Previously, the material was seen only on clean, mostly unmarked dials, but the collaboration marks the first time the company has added a few flourishes to the purity of its ultra-minimalist execution. The Armoury’s co-founder, Mark Cho, added classical watchmaking elements such as Breguet-style hands and subtle hour indices (which are actually small holes revealing the metal plate beneath the Vantablack). Sounds simple, right? Think again. It required the Moser manufacture in Schaffhausen, Switzerland to develop a special technique in order to create the delicate holes for the dot-style hour markers because the Vantablack surface, which consists of carbon nano-structures is so fragile it can be destroyed by a single touch. The icing on the cake is a sleek polished inner flange, available in steel or 5N red gold, representing the glowing corona that halos the dark moon during a solar eclipse.
Beneath its shadowy exterior, Moser used what it describes as its “smallest and finest” of its movements, the hand-wound HMC 327 calibre, first introduced in 2014 and previously seen in the brand’s Venturer models, which features traditional fine watchmaking finishing, a minimum power reserve of three days and a hacking-seconds function.
The Total Eclipse is a design tour de force that looks poised to become a serious collector’s piece for both fans of Moser and The Armoury. Both have a cult-like following with a seriously dedicated clientele, so you can expect many to already be destined for well-dressed wrists.
Limited to just 28 models in both the steel version or the model with 5N red gold accents and available via H. Moser & Cie or The Armoury, the $25,900 Total Eclipse comes on a black leather strap and includes a pocket square from The Armoury.
But if you miss the window on one of these acquisitions, you might want to pick up a copy of the March issue of Robb Report, just in case. Hint, hint.