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Complex and Minimalist at the Same Time

Among fans of luxury watches, there are all kinds of subgroups.  Obviously, there are always going to be people who like their watches as complicated and as complicated-looking as possible.

Others admire elegant simplicity, and there’s something to be said for a watch that conveys simplicity.  Movado has gone that route for decades, though they’ve recently started to introduce some more elaborate-looking models.

h moser & cieYou have to hand it to H. Moser & Cie, however, for coming up with a watch that simultaneously manages to convey complexity and simplicity.  That’s hard to pull off, but they’ve done it with their new, limited, and very expensive Endeavor Tourbillon Concept.

This gorgeous watch offers what is very close to the ultimate in simplicity, as it offers a nearly-blank watch face completely lacking in hour markers.  There’s no second hand, either, and no date complication, day of the week, moonphase, chronograph or minute repeater.

No, this is a very simple, time-only watch…with a flying tourbillon at the 6 o’clock position.

h moser & cie Endeavor Tourbillon ConceptThe tourbillon and the hands themselves are the only things on the face of this watch that take away from the otherwise empty space.

All of this is housed in an 18k white gold case with sapphire crystal.  Inside is a in-house-designed 804 calibre automatic movement.  The watch includes a 72 hour power reserve.

The tourbillon is rather remarkable, as it has two hairsprings, which expand and contract in opposition to one another.  This is thought to make the watch more accurate, though accuracy in timekeeping is rarely the primary appeal of owning a tourbillon.  It’s more of the “I’ve got one and you don’t” sort of appeal.

The tourbillon in this particular watch is also modular in design, making it easy to remove (and replace, if necessary.)  That should save a little bit of money when it comes to those annoying, twice-a-decade returns to the factory for service, though if you’re worried about the cost of that, you’re likely not going to be in the market to buy the Endeavor Tourbillon Concept, anyway.

Sticker price for this absolutely stunning watch is some $69,000.

H. Moser & Cie is a Swiss company htat has been making watches since 1828.  The company originally sold movements, but eventually moved into making timepieces under their own name.

The company languished for quite some time, but made a comback starting in 2005 when Heinrich Moser’s great-grandson, Roger Balsiger brought the company into the 21st century with their cutting-edge, handcrafted timepieces.

At the moment, the company’s Website only shows 14 different models, but they’re all quite attractive (and all fairly expensive.)

As with most luxury watch brands, the watches of H. Moser & Cie are sold only through a limited number of authorized retailers.  In the United States, for example, there are only six such retailers, so unless you live on either coast or in Chicago, you’re going to have to travel a bit to try on one of their watches.

We suspect that it’s worth the effort.

Anyway, we look forward to seeing what else this interesting company might have to offer in future models, as they seem to know how to make an attractive watch.

The Toc 19 Watch – Elegant Bauhaus Design

It seems to us that a lot of watches these days are overdesigned.  People get in a tizzy over features, complications, gadgets, gemstones and who knows what else.  In the process, they sometimes forget how to make a simple, attractive watch.

Toc 19 watchThat’s what’s most appealing about the Toc 19 watch, which is currently completely funded through a Kickstarter campaign.  The founders of the company wanted to get back to basics and come up with a basic but attractive watch with a design inspired by the Bauhaus school of design from roughly 100 years ago.

The result is amazing.  The Toc 19 has a simplicity about it, yet it’s attractive and elegant at the same time.  Not only that, but it’s quite affordable, with prices starting at about $220.  (It’s priced in Euros, so the price will fluctuate a bit for U.S. buyers.)

While the company eventually plans to introduce other models, the Toc 19 is the only one that’s ready to go at present.  Options include one of six different face colors and several different colors of Italian leather strap.

Toc 19 watch case backSo, what do you get for your €189 or so?  The Toc 19 offers the following features:

  • 44mm case made from 316L surgical steel.
  • Sapphire crystal over the watch face and the case back
  • Manually wound Seagull ST3621 movement
  • 30 meters of water resistance
  • Six different colors

The face has a clean look, with a small inset dial to indicate seconds.  That’s it.  There are no chronograph features.  No date.  No chimes.  Nothing else to complicate the design, which was inspired by a long-gone German company that made watches prior to World War II.

As the watch is a relatively simple design, so are the funding options for the Kickstarter campaign.  You can get one watch for a set price, two watches for double the money, and for roughly six times the money, you can get all six different versions.

A lot of people seem to have found this appealing, as the company has already nearly doubled their funding goal.

It’s rare to see mechanical watches offered by new companies anymore.  It’s also almost unheard of to see sapphire crystal on a watch at this price point.  The see through case back is also a nice touch, but then again, if you’re going to include a mechanical movement, why not show it off?

The Toc 19 is considered to be a unisex watch, suitable for both men and women.  The company expects to ship this coming November.

It’s also worth noting that this watch is a limited edition.  The company says that they will not produce more than 1919 pieces.   The number was chosen to reflect the date of the origins of the Bauhaus movement that inspired the watch design.

We’re seeing a lot of new watch companies use Kickstarter to fund their products these days, and not just startups.  The nice thing about Kickstarter’s model is that you have an opportunity to gauge demand before you spend a lot of money manufacturing something that people many not actually want.  By going through Kickstarter, you’ll know if people are interested before you spend the money for production.  If they want it, you have the money and you build it.

It’s a great idea for watchmaking companies.

You can learn more about the Toc 19 at the Kickstarter page.


A Chronograph With a Single Button

Chronographs have been around for a long time, and due to their features, which include the ability to record elapsed time, they remain popular with average watch buyers and collectors.

Models are available in a wide variety of price ranges, as well; you can buy a chronograph for as little as $20 or spend tens of thousands on one.

porsche design They all generally have the same look to them, however – multiple dials, usually at 4 and 8 o’clock, and three buttons on the edge of the case.  The center crown controls time for the watch itself, and the upper and lower buttons control the chronograph features.

It’s been this way for a long time, and most people simply understand this design to be How It Is when it comes to a chronograph.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing.  People know a chronograph when they see one.  They understand what it does, and if you’ve ever worn one before, you’ll intuitively understand how it works and more importantly, how to use it.  That’s great, because you won’t have to spend time with a learning curve when you first buy one.  You can just put it on and go.

So leave it to Porsche Design to turn the tables on chronograph design.  They’ve come up with a model that looks quite a bit different, in more ways than one.

At first glance, you’ll see that the inset dials are not in the usual location, but are instead at 12 o’clock and 6 o’clock.  That’s a bit different, but what really stands out is what you’ll see when you look at the crown.

One button.  Just one.

The Monoblock Actuator makes use of a rocking actuator arm that uses the crown as a pivot point.  This allows you to have a single control that has multiple functions.

It also streamlines the look of the watch, which, we must say, looks terrific.

The watch will be available with either a black face or a blue one, and with a leather strap or a titanium bracelet.

That’s the good part.  The bad part is the price.  While not in the Stratosphere, it will be out of the price range of most buyers, as the watch starts at a bit over $6000.

On the other hand, if you’re a fan of the company’s automobiles, and you already own one, then you’re already likely in the income range necessary to buy one of these beauties.