Review H. Moser & Cie Pioneer Tourbillon Steel – breaking unwritten rules

H. Moser & Cie Pioneer Tourbillon Steel Ref. 3804-1201
H. Moser & Cie Pioneer Tourbillon Steel Ref. 3804-1201
Reading Time: 5 minutes

H. Moser & Cie Pioneer Tourbillon Steel Ref. 3804-1201 is one of the brand’s 2019 novelties. Presented in Nov. 2018, before SIHH, the sportiest piece of the Schaffhausen brand integrates a traditional tourbillon. This could be seen as an entry-level, though the movement’s beauty and finishes have nothing to do with “entry-level”. This is my review of the watch seen at SIHH 2019.

H. Moser & Cie Pioneer Tourbillon Steel Ref. 3804-1201

Review H. Moser & Cie Pioneer Tourbillon Steel

I will admit that I am a big fan of the H. Moser & Cie timepieces. There is none to dislike. On the other hand, I am enchanted by the brand’s daring approach to the traditional horology. Maybe you can recall some spectacular pieces that created big waves. Acclaimed by some, disapproved by others, certain pieces broke unwritten rules. But even the most controversial timepieces did actually no harm to anyone. Tributes to modern times, traditions and key signatures, those pieces were created from the best of the hearth.

Not that controversial, but clearly a depart from the canonical view of traditional horology is the Moser Tourbillon in steel. This, as the name suggests, integrates a highly desirable complication in a steel and rubber sports watch. H. Moser & Cie is no stranger to the tourbillon, but it is the first use in such a sporty approach.

H. Moser & Cie Pioneer Tourbillon Steel Ref. 3804-1201

A steel-cold approach

For the Pioneer sports collection, H. Moser & Cie opted for a solid 42.8 mm steel case. The case construction uses very distinct elements. The top uses a highly polished rounded bezel.

H. Moser & Cie Pioneer Tourbillon Steel Ref. 3804-1201

The case body is a delight. An overall brushing covers sinuous lines. The case side suffers from massive mass substruction, yet received engraved decorations and lovely polish. Viewed from the side, the elegant lugs remind me of the magnificent streamliner locomotives of the ’30s and ’40s.

H. Moser & Cie Pioneer Tourbillon Steel Ref. 3804-1201

The H. Moser & Cie Pioneer Tourbillon Steel Ref. 3804-1201 is fitted with a Moser “M” decorated crown. The crown inspires robustness. The “M” cap motif can be also found on the screw mounted case back.

H. Moser & Cie Pioneer Tourbillon Steel Ref. 3804-1201

The sports watch comes with a rubber strap and a steel buckle, with engraved H. Moser logo. The decorations follow the case’s theme: brushing, polishing, engraved lines.  Of course, the watch can be fitted with a more traditional alligator leather strap.

 Strap in black alligator leather or black rubber – Steel folding clasp, with engraved H. Moser logo

Feeling kind of blue?

Moser’s dials satisfy my love and need for blue in my life. Their specific Midnight-Blue fumé is not less than gorgeous. The brand-specific simplicity is interrupted by a large aperture at six 0’clock. But for a good reason – a large tourbillon is on display.

H. Moser & Cie Pioneer Tourbillon Steel Ref. 3804-1201

The sun-ray pattern fits perfectly the blue shades. The dial is adorned with hand-applied volumetric, multi-faceted indexes. Balancing the aperture, the top of the dial bears the H. Moser & Cie calligraphic logo.

H. Moser & Cie Pioneer Tourbillon Steel Ref. 3804-1201

The sports characteristics of the Pioneer Tourbillon include partly skeletonised hands filled with SuperLuminova and luminescent dots on the inner bezel’ flange.

H. Moser & Cie Pioneer Tourbillon Steel Ref. 3804-1201

The view of the tourbillon with a gold balance wheel is rather breathtaking. The complete opening in the Calibre HMC 804 confers to the tourbillon an entire theatrical stage to unfold its gracious ballet.

H. Moser & Cie Pioneer Tourbillon Steel Ref. 3804-1201

It’s Moser style…

H. Moser & Cie Pioneer Tourbillon Steel Ref. 3804-1201 is powered by the manufacture calibre HMC 804. This calibre is familiar from other prominent Moser lines: Endeavour and Heritage. Usually cased in precious metals, the HMC 804 brings, in the case of the Pioneer Tourbillon, the terms “haute horlogerie” and “sports watch” together in an almost unlikely combination.

H. Moser & Cie Pioneer Tourbillon Steel Ref. 3804-1201

The calibre is sublime. We can find, beside the gilded Moser hallmark and engravings, gold chatons with polished sink and fixed with screws, the lovely Moser stripes. The bidirectional gold rotor also received several finishes.

H. Moser & Cie Pioneer Tourbillon Steel Ref. 3804-1201

Note in the picture above the gorgeous implementation used for the tourbillon’s construction: skeletonised bridge’s arms and ultra-modern ball bearing. Note the mainplate perlage decoration in the background. Another detail reflecting the tourbillon’s robustness is the double anti-shock system.

H. Moser & Cie Pioneer Tourbillon Steel Ref. 3804-1201

A gentleman will walk, will never run

H. Moser & Cie Pioneer Tourbillon Steel Ref. 3804-1201 is a good looking sports watch with a tendency for elegance. Changing the rubber strap with an exquisite leather one will morph this one in a gorgeous business piece, even a dress piece (if we make abstraction of the size). The watch is comfortable on the wrist. It wears smaller than expected, hence the idea of a dress watch.

H. Moser & Cie Pioneer Tourbillon Steel Ref. 3804-1201

Madness or spark of a genius? I don’t care… My kind of madness, my kind of genius! The watch world has enough examples of ultra-sporty watches with a tourbillon. Let’s not forget the guy who smashed a tourbillon piece to the wall just to demonstrate its robustness. Here is not the case for such dramatism. You have a lovely steel case, sporty in design and finishes and a rubber strap. But to this well-behaved sports watch, let’s say a gentleman’s sports piece, the brand added that sought complication.

H. Moser & Cie Pioneer Tourbillon Steel Ref. 3804-1201

While personally I don’t see it as a sports piece per se, I find the Pioneer Tourbillon Steel a fabulous daily piece. It is prepared to take everything unexpected with an elegance of its own. The H. Moser & Cie approach is part of the brand’s key signatures. A gentleman will walk, will never run but, at need, will punch the teeth out of your jaw for the right reasons – this is my perception of the H. Moser & Cie Pioneer Tourbillon Steel Ref. 3804-1201.

H. Moser & Cie Pioneer Tourbillon Steel Ref. 3804-1201

H. Moser & Cie Pioneer Tourbillon Steel Technical Specifications

Reference 3804-1201

Case

  • Diameter: 42.8 mm
  • Height without sapphire crystal: 10.8 mm

Movement

  • Self-winding HMC 804 Manufacture calibre
  • Frequency: 21,600 vibrations/hour
  • Automatic bi-directional pawl winding system
  • Power reserve: minimum of 3 days
  • Original double hairspring
  • One-minute flying tourbillon at 6 o’clock with skeletonised bridges

Functions

  • Hours and minutes

Strap

  • Strap in black alligator leather or black rubber
  • Steel folding clasp, with engraved H. Moser logo

Price

  • CHF 49,900
  • EUR 47,600

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