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The discreet appeal of solid gold dials and movements from H. Moser and F.P. Journe watches

To be worth your weight in gold is not always synonymous with taste: we look at H. Moser & Cie. and F.P. Journe watches which understand Midas touch.

27 August 2014

By Rebecca Doulton

Let's face it: gold watches can sometimes be too loud, too anxious to let the rest of the world know their weight in carats and their owner's current economic status.

Fortunately, the Midas touch has been incorporated in a handful of timepieces with impeccable taste, restraint and refinement. H. Moser & Cie. is a classic example of a watch company that has understood that less is more and that simplicity on the dial wins hands down over complexity.

Having created one of the sleekest and easiest-to-read dials for its highly complicated Perpetual Calendar, H. Moser presents a black-tie version of this model with a scratch-resistant titanium case to protect its solid gold movement and dial.

Read more on perpetual calendar watches 

Given the simplicity of the dial, the new Endeavour Perpetual Calendar Black Golden Edition, might, at first glance, appear to be a less complex watch than its name denotes. Far from it; here, set against a beautiful sunburst gold dial, are all the functions of a complicated perpetual calendar with a discreet short arrow anchored between the hour and minute hands acting as a month indicator.

The solid 18-carat gold dial with gold indices and hands features H.Moser's trademark fumé decoration that fades and blends into the dark, mirror polished titanium case. The numerals in the large date window are also golden and can be adjusted forward and backward, an exceptional ability for a perpetual calendar.  The only perpetual calendar function that is not displayed on the dial - and that is not essential on a daily basis - is the leap year indicator, which is placed on the movement.  

The real treat for watch enthusiasts lies on the reverse side of the watch where in-house, hand-wound caliber HMC341 executes its movements surrounded by solid gold plates and bridges with a lovely matte finish and hand-engraved hallmark. Double barrels ensure precision for 7-days and the curved 41mm titanium caseback makes for a comfortable fit on the wrist. The only downside is that the watch is limited to 10 pieces. 

Independent watchmaker François-Paul Journe created his eponymous brand in 1999 and, in 2004, became the first brand to produce a movement made almost entirely in 18-carat rose gold. 

Making a good thing even better, F.P. Journe has incorporated gold dials and hands on three of his models: Chronomètre Souverain, Octa Lune and Octa Réserve. Although the dials seem silvery in colour, the base is solid gold. The gold is carefully sanded before a silver layer is applied giving the surface a lovely matte grain. The embossed numerals are polished with a diamond tool to make them shine like mirrors.

Both the manual winding Chronomètre Souverain and the two Octa automatic winding watches are equipped with rose gold movements and a choice of 40 mm platinum or red gold cases, available exclusively in the ten F.P. Journe boutiques worldwide.  

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