I honestly can’t believe it’s taken me this long to get around to writing about this watch. When I first saw it at SIHH last January, I was totally taken with it, both in principle and execution. If Moser’s well-known Concept dials (those with a fumé finish and no text or markings at all) are a little too minimalist for you, the Venturer Small Seconds Purity offers you something one step in the other direction. There are still no logos, but basic markings have been restored at the poles, giving you a just a little bit more.
There are two basic Venturer Small Seconds Purity models, the white gold model with a Funky Blue fumé dial and the red gold model with a standard fumé dial. I spent a few days with the latter, thinking it would be interesting to get to know the dressier-looking of the two watches, as I really think that’s where something like this could shine.
First things first, what are we dealing with here? The Venturer Small Seconds Purity is 39mm in diameter and 11.9mm thick. It wears on the large side though, both because the low profile of the case and the pairing of the wide-open dial with the slim bezel. The case also has the sculpted sides that you’ll likely familiar with if you’ve seen Moser’s watches in the metal before. It’s a little touch that I think adds a lot of personality to the final watch. The dial is a domed fumé dial, with that faded smokey color shimmering at the center and darkening to almost black at the edges. The only things breaking up the dial are the applied gold markers at the poles (two at 12 o’clock), the gold hands, and the recessed sub-dial at six o’clock for the seconds. There’s still no logo and no numerals of any kind.
Inside is the Moser caliber HMC 327, which is a manually-wound movement with a three-day power reserve. It also features a relatively slow 18,000 vph (2.5 Hz) balance with a Staumann Hairspring made by Moser themselves. This beat rate is a little anachronistic, with most watches beating at 4 Hz these days, but it makes the movement charming to watch in action through the sapphire caseback. Finishing is elegant throughout, with alternating stripes on the plates and bridges, beveled edges, and polished countersinks for the jewels. You’ll also notice a power reserve indicator just to the side of the balance wheel in case you need to check how much juice you have left.
My biggest issue with the Purity, however, is something you’ve probably noticed by now: it’s essentially like wearing a small mirror on your wrist. The combination of the wide open metallic dial and the dramatically domed crystal make it nearly impossible to look at the watch without getting a panoramic view of yourself and your surroundings. You can see in all of these photos that there are reflections. Even using a lightbox, the curvature of the crystal always seems to catch some little detail of the environment.
Could we have gotten photos without this? Sure, but they wouldn’t show this watch as it actually exists on the world at all. If you look at these quick iPhone snaps, you can see what it looks like without any tools or Photoshop magic:
To me this is disappointing, as the fumé dials are so beautiful – if fact, they’re some of the best dials being made today. But, with all the reflections, I found that I couldn’t really enjoy the open Purity dial nearly as much as I wanted to. I still love the idea in theory, but I think the execution could use a little tweaking. That said, if you’ve got one of these watches and disagree, I’d love to hear about it. Drop any thoughts in the comments below.
Ultimately, the Venturer Purity ticks a lot of the boxes you’d want it to. It has a beautiful case that has incredible sculpted lines, the signature fumé dial is really stunning and looks great with just the little touches of gold punctuating the expanse, and it’s very comfortable on the wrist. If it weren’t for those darn reflections, I really don’t think I’d have anything to complain about.
The H. Moser Venturer Small Seconds Purity is priced at $21,500 in white gold and $20,500 in red gold. Each is a limited edition of 100 pieces. For more, visit H. Moser online.