For their joint contribution to this November’s Only Watch charity auction, H. Moser & Cie and MB&F have released the Streamliner Pandamonium. Made up of a Moser Streamliner case, fume dial, and minute repeating movement, the Pandamonium gets the MB&F exposed, oversized balance wheel construction along with a panda DJ miniature sculpture.
These two brands are not strangers to each other, having collaborated many times before, this joint effort however, seems to be much more Moser than MB&F, given this is essentially a Streamliner with a hint of MB&F. Though it is an appealing watch if you like the Streamliner design, I expected the whole to be greater than the sum of the parts with such creative companies combining their powers.
While the panda figure looms large in the marketing for this watch, in reality, it is easy to miss on the dial since it just under the flying balance wheel. MB&F has employed a tiny sculpture as a power reserve indicator in the past, but here the panda is no more than a nice piece of miniature art. It would have been great if there was more of a mechanical aspect to this character, which would have transformed it into a modern take on old-school automaton repeaters – which is not too much of a stretch given the price tag.
This watch is undoubtedly whimsical, but it has credible horological backing. The estimate of CHF300,000-400,000 is entirely expected for a minute repeater, and will likely be surpassed, albeit not by multiples, given the reputation and fan bases of both brands.
A musical Streamliner
At its core, this watch is a Streamliner, with the bracelet integrated to the squarish case in brushed stainless steel. Though seemingly identical to the standard Streamliner, the case has also seen further modifications, as it has been hollowed out to create a sound box, allowing for better amplification of the repeater. It is also larger than the typical Streamliner, though it retains the same sleek form. The case measures 42.3 mm wide and even without the domed crystal, stands 12.7 mm thick.
The dial has the signature Moser fume finish in a new shade for the brand, aquamarine. Above the dial lies most of the action: the chiming mechanism is anchored at 10 o’clock, with the gongs circling the perimeter of the dial, and black polished hammers on either side of the 5.35 mm-tall panda DJ.
Although the HMC 906 movement has been revamped for the Pandamonium, it is based on the Manufacture Haute Complication calibre that Moser used in previous models such as the Endeavor Minute Repeater.
Of course, the Moser movement had to be adapted to incorporate the MB&F “flying” balance wheel ported over from the Legacy Machine series. Towering over the centre of the dial, the balance means the sapphire crystal is highly domed, taking the total thickness of the watch to 17 mm. While this balance wheel is quintessentially MB&F, the double hairspring was created by Moser’s sister company Precision Engineering, a specialist components supplier.
Although the case back shows screws on the back, it was not possible to mount this movement in the case from the back, so the constructors had to design a removable bezel, allowing it to be installed from the front. The finishing throughout is excellent, with the distinctive Moser double stripes across most of the visible plates. The bridges have been partially open-worked so that the gear train and aspects of the repeater can be seen through the sapphire case back.
This is the third time MB&F has used the panda in its Only Watch creations, with the first appearance being in 2011, and the again in 2021 when a HM10 “Bulldog” was transformed into a panda. For founder Max Büsser, the use of the panda is linked directly to the core purpose of the charity auction, to “see things through the eyes of the children, more specifically those suffering from muscular dystrophy.”
Due to all of the other features of the dial, the time display has been relegated to the top right corner, almost appearing as an after-thought. There is somewhat of an imbalance to the finished dial, with a large amount of dead space on one side, which is outweighed by the cluster of complications on the rest of the dial.
Key Facts and Price
H. Moser x MB&F Streamliner Pandamonium
Diameter: 42.3 mm
Height: 127 mm
Water resistance: 50 m
Movement: HMC 906
Functions: Hours, minutes, and minute repeater
Frequency: 18,000 beats per hour (2.5 Hz)
Power reserve: 54 hours
Strap: Steel bracelet
Limited edition: Unique piece
Availability: At Only Watch 2023 on November 5 in Geneva
For more, visit onlywatch.com.
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