In the constant pursuit of pushing the boundaries of what’s possible and creating something completely unique, watchmakers sometimes end up making creations that make us scratch our heads in bewilderment, often forcing us to ask “why?” Case in point, H. Moser & Cie.’s new Streamliner Chronograph Flyback Automatic “Blacker Than Black” timepiece at the Watches & Wonders 2022 tradeshow in Geneva. The pictures might confuse you into believing that you are looking at a set of hands floating in the air against a black background. It’s only when you look at the pictures taken from the side do you realize that there’s a complete watch with all its components inside the glass case. The Swiss luxury watchmaker achieved this by covering the entire watch in a special paint called Vantablack, making the whole watch disappear.
Vantablack was developed by Surrey NanoSystems in the United Kingdom as one of the darkest coatings known that can absorb up to 99.965% of visible light. In 2016 artist Anish Kapoor was able to exclusively license Vantablack for uses outside of military and aerospace applications. Several attempts have been made over the years to put Vantablack into commercial use, including the BMW X6 concept showcased a few years ago. Even Ferrari recently was spotted testing the coating as a way to camouflage their pre-production test cars. In fact, H. Moser & Cie. has been experimenting with the blackest black coating for several years now and even released a $75,000 limited edition timepiece with a Vantablack dial.
However, their latest creation is very different. It’s the first watch that has everything except for the hands and the internal components completely covered in the special paint, making it the ultimate stealth watch. The one-off concept watch is based on the manufacturer’s 2020 Streamliner flyback chronograph and its unique finish will make it appear like a black hole on the wrist. The video posted by H. Moser & Cie. on Instagram looks trippy, to say the least. Thank god the hands were not coated in Vantablack or the watch would have been completely useless. Sadly, the prototype was deemed too fragile to be worn or handled without damaging the unique finish, which is why it was never brought out of the glass case during the show.